Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gardiner on Beethoven's Fifth

Sir John Eliot Gardiner thinks there is something French about Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Did Beethoven use French tunes written during the Revolution to incorporate ideas of rebellion and liberty into his symphony?

Part I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII | IX


  1. Forgive the use of the term, but this is awesome. John Elliot Gardiner has the best job in the world!

    This analysis makes a lot of sense and in no way detracts from Beethoven. The way it's portrayed musically is pretty compelling. But if the 5th was written during a period when Napoleon was doing his worst, how would Beethoven have viewed anything of French origin? Unless he was longing for the original Promethean ideals of the Revolution and pointing up the gap between those ideals and the Emperor? A complicated and fascinating question and thanks very much for posting!

  2. I admit I was a tad skeptical at the notion before he made his case, but I too find it compelling; you've summed up the situation quite well: indeed!

    And yes, Gardiner has some job! It is so refreshing and pleasing to see how thoroughly and with what joy he delves into such big projects (this one, the Bach Cantatas Pilgrimage, et cetera.) Too, as demanding and painstaking as much of the work is, it really does look like he's having a blast.