Choral Fantasia in C minor Op.80 (Choral Fantasia)
Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven's choral masterpiece falls 53 places this year
Of everything Beethoven composed, this is one of his most intriguing works. The unusual instrumentation he chose would certainly not have been something to which audiences of the time would have been accustomed. Indeed, you could easily believe the Choral Fantasia to be a piano sonata, given the expansive solo passage at the start.
When the Choral Fantasia was first performed in 1808, Beethoven had a number of things on his mind. After all, this was the very same concert where, among other works, he was introducing two of his best-loved symphonies (Nos. 5 and 6) to the world for the first time. Far from being a slick affair, the Choral Fantasia's birth was a difficult one. The performance was clunky, the sense of ensemble between the musicians poor, and the reception decidedly lukewarm.
Find out more
Listen to Classic FM online, on air and on the go
Discover more ways to enjoy the nation's favourite classical music station, wherever you are, from listening on your digital radio to downloading our free app for smart phones and tablets.
The Movie Music Hall of Fame
Discover the nation's favourite film soundtracks in the Classic FM Movie Music Hall of Fame, featuring music by John Williams, Ennio Morricone and Hans Zimmer.
Don't miss the Classic FM Hall of Fame Hour
Join John Suchet for an hour of the very best classical music, from full-blooded Romantic concertos to delicate Classical miniatures.
Browse Halls of Fame past
Discover more about our annual chart and explore Halls of Fame past, as far back as 1996.