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Episode 487             Episode 489
Episode 488

Symphony No. 5 (Beethoven)
Tue, 2018-Sep-04 00:16 UTC
Length - 2:33

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Welcome to random Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of a random Wikipedia page every day.

The random article for Tuesday, 4 September 2018 is Symphony No. 5 (Beethoven).

The Symphony No. 5 in C minor of Ludwig van Beethoven, Op. 67, was written between 1804–1808. It is one of the best-known compositions in classical music, and one of the most frequently played symphonies. First performed in Vienna's Theater an der Wien in 1808, the work achieved its prodigious reputation soon afterward. E. T. A. Hoffmann described the symphony as "one of the most important works of the time". As is typical of symphonies in the classical period, Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is in four movements.

It begins with a distinctive four-note "short-short-short-long" motif:

The symphony, and the four-note opening motif in particular, are known worldwide, with the motif appearing frequently in popular culture, from disco versions to rock and roll covers, to uses in film and television.

Like Beethoven's Eroica (=heroic) and Pastorale (=rural), symphony NO. 5 was given an explicit name, besides the numbering. It became popular under "Schicksals-Sinfonie" (=symphony of destiny), and the famous five bar theme was coined "Schicksals-Motiv". This name is also used in translations.

Since the Second World War, it has sometimes been referred to as the "Victory Symphony". "V" is the Roman Numeral character for the number five; the phrase "V for Victory" became well known as a campaign of the Allies of World War II. That Beethoven's Victory Symphony happened to be his Fifth (or vice versa) is coincidence. Some thirty years after this piece was written, the rhythm of the opening phrase – "dit-dit-dit-dah" – was used for the letter "V" in Morse code, though this is probably also coincidental. During the Second World War, the BBC prefaced its broadcasts to Europe with those four notes, played on drums.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:16 UTC on Tuesday, 4 September 2018.

For the full current version of the article, go to

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