Beginning of concert:
Maestro enters, conducts Symphony No. 5, first movement (8”)
At end: applause, bows, screen flies in, HOST enters, greets Maestro who sits.
Slide on screen: fate motto (four notes)
HOST: (to screen) “Thus Fate knocks at the door”. (To audience) That is how he described the first four notes of his Fifth Symphony, arguably the most famous four notes anyone has ever written. They are indelibly etched in our collective psyche because…well, why? What is it about those four notes that make them so foreboding, so unforgettable?
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, I’m (host) and on behalf of Maestro (conductor) and your magnificent (orchestra), welcome to (title of concert series).
Those four fateful notes are the calling card of Ludwig van Beethoven, and it was his fate to be the human test tube in which the classical ideals of the 18th century were mixed with the revolutionary ideals of the 19th century, producing the volatile reaction we know today as neuroticism….I mean, Romanticism. Sorry, Freudian slip. Well, actually, neuroticism and romanticism often go hand in hand, as we will see this evening with Beethoven: Immortal, Beloved.
A famous philosopher once said: “Everything great in the world comes from neurotics. They alone have founded our religions and composed our masterpieces.” Beethoven the neurotic was possessed by rages, yet capable of radiant warmth and tenderness. He was an imperfect perfectionist who drove people crazy, yet he was so beloved that twenty thousand showed up at his funeral. And if indeed Fate had knocked on his door, Beethoven could not have heard it, for the greatest composer of the 19th century was going deaf when he wrote those four notes.