Symphony No.7 in A major Op.92
Ludwig van Beethoven

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The 14th of Beethoven's 17 entries in the Ultimate Hall of Fame. This peaked at number 16 in 2007.

It's tempting to feel sorry for Beethoven's Symphony No. 7. Hidden away amid the fifth (the most famous opening four notes in the history of classical music), the sixth and the mighty colossus that is his ninth, you feel as if the seventh is a work that could easily get forgotten. That fate has arguably befallen Symphony No. 8 but not No. 7.

There's a visceral quality to the music not least in the almost crazed finale when the musicians appear to be playing as if their lives depend on it. In the case of the premiere, those orchestral musicians included fellow composers Meyerbeer, Spohr and Moscheles, with Beethoven himself on the podium.

Battle of Hanau by Horace Vernet (1824); Symphony No.7 was premiered at a charity concert for soldiers wounded in the battle, in 1813.