Anybody notice that today is the 200th anniversary of the first performance of Beethoven’s fifth symphony? It was 22 December 1808 at the Theater an der Wien, if Thayer is not mistaken.
The orchestra played badly, the hall was cold and audience tolerance was exhausted by an overlong programme.
But this was the night that the symphony shed its courtly deference and became a universal art form – a work that represented fate and the individual, and indicating that a free person can take control of his or her own destiny.
Beethoven Fifth is the beginning of liberation.