(A New Yorker Best Book of 2012 and Los Angeles Magazine's #1 Music Book of the Year) A music critic for the Boston Globe and the host of the classical music blog SohoTheDog, Matthew Guerrieri offers this unique and revelatory book of music history, examining in depth what is undoubtedly the best-known musical opening ever written: the four-note motif at the top of Beethoven's Fifth, the Symphony in C minor, opus 67. Guerrieri reaches back before Beethoven's time to consider what might have influenced his composition, and forward into our own time to describe the ways in which the Fifth has, in turn, asserted its influence.
"Can you really squeeze a book out of the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony? Guerrieri shows us how, dashing back and forth from the terse notes to all the meaning-baggage that's been heaped on them. It's a formidable act of intelligent scholarship and imaginative connection-making."—The New Yorker