Pietari Inkinen (conductor)

New Zealand Symphony Orchestra

The Immortal Beethoven

The Immortal Beethoven Photo: NZSO

Last week we embarked on a thrilling exploration by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra of Ludwig van Beethoven’s nine symphonies, each offering a different portrait of the composer, from his classical beginnings to the heroism of his middle period and then the complexity of his last works. Tonight we continue with his Symphony No. 4 and 5.

Beethoven’s fourth and fifth symphonies were composed simultaneously, and they are ideal companions. After a long and serious introduction, Symphony No. 4 then transforms into a work that is light, languorous and filled with singing phrases that soothe the spirit. Such breezy joyfulness only heightens the drama of Beethoven’s mighty Symphony No. 5. Opening with the most famous motif in music history – the fateful ta-ta-ta-TUM – this work occupies a special place in the orchestral repertoire. Wild, uncompromising, bold, and with a vast expressiveness and mastery of structure, it is little wonder that the fifth symphony is perhaps Beethoven’s most famous work. (Source: NZSO)

Recorded live in Wellington’s Michael Fowler Centre by RNZ Concert