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Music

Listen: Kurt Masur conducts Beethoven's Symphony No. 5

Exclusive concert recordings with the recently-deceased maestro and the Dresden Philharmonic, as download or on-demand audio stream.

Listen to audio 35:56

Masur conducts Beethoven's Symphony No. 5

"Fate knocking at the door," "The first riff in music history:" much has been said and written about those first four notes of Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Many have seen this iconic composition as a musical narration of defeat and triumph, suffering and redemption - and most of all, a struggle with fate. It would be difficult to find a piece of music more clearly revealing the spectrum of emotions, from huge joy in living to desperation and deepest suffering.

One thing is certain, however: historical sources reveal no statements by Beethoven himself regarding the thoughts behind or the motivation to this work.

Hardly any piece of classical music is more familiar. For performers, the challenge is to make it sound fresh and new - an art mastered by the late conductor Kurt Masur.

Kurt Masur, Theo Adam, Peter Schreier and Rosemarie Lang. Photo: picture-alliance/dpa

Kurt Masur (r.) with Theo Adam, Peter Schreier and Rosemarie Lang at the rehearsal for the opening of the new Gewandhaus in Leipzig, 1981

This edition:

Ludwig van Beethoven:

Symphony No. 5 in C Minor, op. 67 (Fate Symphony)

Dresden Philharmonic

Conductor: Kurt Masur

Recorded by DW in the Gasteig Philharmonic Hall in Munich on December 9, 2012

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