Ludwig van Beethoven debuted his Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, Op. 67 and Symphony No. 6 in F Major, Op. 68 on this day in 1808 at Vienna’s Theater an der Wien. Both performances were underrehearsed
The fiery Symphony No. 5 is one of the most well-known and often-played symphonies is music history; it’s impossible to not hear the four note opening motif and be unsure what song you are hearing.? Strange but true: The BBC used the motif to open their broadcasts during World War II because it evoked the Morse Code for the letter V (”. . . _”) as in Victory.?
Symphony No. 6 is often known as the “Pastoral Symphony.”? It’s reception that night was met with a cold shoulder due to No. 5. You could consider it the exceptional younger brother to No. 5’s overachieving sibling.
As Beethoven himself said of Symphony No. 6, it is “a matter more of feeling than of painting in sounds.” Though the calmer and more introspective No. 6 was greeted lukewarmly, it has since become a favorite for many classical music indulgers. The symphony breaks from standard symphonies being composed of five movements, rather than four.