About This Event
Beethoven's Fourth and Fifth symphonies have strikingly different characters despite being composed at the same time. He began sketching the Fifth in 1804 but didn't complete it until four years later. Its unprecedented intensity and drama are embodied in its first four notes—the most famous motif in classical music. In the period between the Fifth's first sketches and its completion, Beethoven wrote some of his most lyrical music, including his opera Fidelio
, his Violin Concerto, and the Fourth Symphony. The Fourth's consistent high spirits contrast starkly with the struggle against fate represented by the Fifth.