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The Full Works Concert with Jane Jones 8pm - 10pm
11 October 2019, 16:59 | Updated: 11 October 2019, 17:20
Listen to the epic crescendo that bridges the third and fourth movements of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. It’s just remarkable.
Wagner might have higher decibels and Richard Strauss might have more brass, but we reckon the greatest moment of soft to loud happens in Beethoven's masterful, epoch-defining Symphony No. 5.
Hear us out, then don some headphones and see if you agree.
(And if you want to help support Classic FM’s charity, Global’s Make Some Noise, why not donate here?)
This extraordinary moment occurs at the end of the symphony's third movement, heralded by punchy rhythms and probing legato themes, combining to hint that something is about to explode... and it really does. Let us walk you through it.
Naturally, seeing as it's a crescendo, the beginning of this incredible passage is marked a whispering ppp. We journey though sempre pp (literally 'still very soft') and then suddenly grow though the crescendo to a storming ff.
There's nothing like a tonal switch to make something feel really epic. The first and third movements of this symphony are darkly minor and this crescendo through a massive dominant chord into a blast of C major goodness is just so satisfying.
You can almost hear fate knocking in this third movement, especially in the timpani: all is dark, contorted, troubled and, frankly, a bit depressing. But after this wonderful symphonic swell, a brass fanfare opens up a heroic, optimistic and celebratory finale.
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