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The first four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony are instantly recognizable to music listeners around the world. Since the symphony’s premiere in 1808, people of many cultures have found special meaning in those four notes. Some have heard fate knocking on a door, while others have heard the spirit of revolution or the essence of the Romantic sublime. The Chinese Communist government initially banned it then embraced it. Some listeners even heard the call of a common European sparrow. Tonight on Inquiry, we talk with MATTHEW GUERRÍERÍ about his wonderful new book: THE FIRST FOUR NOTES: BEETHOVEN’S FIFTH AND THE HUMAN IMAGINATION.
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