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5 things you (probably) didn’t know about Beethoven’s Symphony 7

Mon Mar 31 2014

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Beethoven’s 7th Symphony will be featured in our upcoming concert on 8 April in Royal Festival Hall (and 5 April at the Anvil in Basingstoke)  Here are a few things you (probably) didn’t know about it…

1. Beethoven was staying in the Bohemian spa town of Teplice in the hope of improving his poor health when he began composing his Symphony No. 7 (and very soon after, No. 8) from 1811-1812.

2. During the premiere, the piece was conducted by Beethoven himself, who was so engaged with the music that he would jump in the air to introduce fortes.

3. When the work was premiered in December 1813 it was so well received, that the second movement was encored immediately (you can imagine the outrage if that was done today!)

4. Tchaikovsky apparently described the finale as ‘a whole series of images, full of unrestrained joy, full of bliss and pleasure of life’.  While Wagner described it as ‘the apotheosis of the dance.  The sheer physical energy of the work – expressed in bracing, muscular rhythms – can, in some performances, border on the unnerving.’

5. The sombre second movement is probably the most well-known movement within the work.  It has been featured in countless adverts, TV shows and movies.  One of the more recent examples is that of the climactic scene from the 2010 Academy Award Best Picture winner, The King’s Speech.


Gamechangers: Symphonic Greats will take place on 8 April 2014 at Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre from 7:00pm.
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