Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7: ‘Apotheosis Of The Dance’

Wikimedia Commons/Illustration: CPR/Brad Turner
Photo: Beethoven Symphony 7 slide

The Beethoven 9 as we explore the world of Beethoven through the lens of his symphonies with renowned classical biographer Jan Swafford.

Each month is dedicated to a different symphony. Each week you’ll hear a different interpretation from a world-class orchestra.

In July, we look at Symphony No. 7.

The Seventh is not Beethoven's best-known symphony, but maybe it should be.

The memorable hooks aren’t quite as catchy as the opening to the Fifth, the Ode to Joy of the Ninth or strains of the Sixth that Disney helped make famous in the 1940 animated film “Fantasia.”

But listen to this work all the way through and see if you can keep your feet from moving.

The first audience was rapt in 1813, insisting the somber, uber-lyrical, throbbing second movement be played as an encore.

The critics agreed. Years later, Richard Wagner shouted its praises, calling it the “apotheosis of the dance” for its endless yet varied dance rhythms.

Beethoven had already thrust his bold stake into the ground with his previous symphonies. With the Seventh, he drove it well into bedrock.

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