See Beethoven's Symphony No. 7 on March 14


Beethoven's Symphony No. 7

It can often be challenging to pinpoint exactly what a classical piece of music is. The thought is often, "I recognize the piece, but could not tell you who it is or what it's called." Beethoven's 7th Symphony, as impactful and catchy as it is, often falls in the shadow of Beethoven's 5th (you can't beat the "dun dun dun dun") and his 9th Symphony, his "Ode to Joy." Still, his 7th stands on his own, evoking danceable melodies in the first movement and a building intensity in the second. These two movements are often used in popular TV shows and movies, although the fourth movement has been used sparingly as well.

You've likely heard Beethoven's big and bold 7th Symphony before—here are some of our favorite placements.

Cosmos: A Personal Voyage

Carl Sagan in Cosmos: A Personal Voyage
PBS (1980)

Touted as "Cosmos: Probably the greatest science documentary in the universe" by The Guardian in 2009, Cosmos: A Personal Voyage with Carl Sagan features the first movement to "underscore the vastness and diversity of Earth with its 'resplendent spaciousness.'"

The Fall (2006)

The Fall
Tarsem (2006)

The Fall is a self-reflective fantasy adventure film that primarily focuses on the concept of storytelling as our main character Roy (played by Lee Pace) tells his companion Alexandria his story. Her imagination brings it to life, but there is a discontinuity on what she imagines and what he tells. The second movement, Allegretto, is used at several points in this film.

The King's Speech (2010)

The King's Speech
Paramount Pictures (2010)

In The King's Speech, the future King George VI (Colin Firth) is struggling with a stammer and sees Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian speech and language therapist. The men become friends as they work together, and after his brother abdicates the throne, the new king relies on Logue to help him make his first wartime radio broadcast when Britain declares war on Germany in 1939. The second movement is used during King George's climactic speech at Buckingham Palace after the commencement of the country's involvement in World War II. The slow build up of the movement highlights his struggle and perseverance in overcoming his speech impediment.

X-Men: Apocalypse

X-Men: Apocalypse
20th Century Fox (2016)

In this installment of the vastly popular franchise, the X-Men face an ancient mutant and Egyptian ruler En Sabah Nur, who is awakened by a group of worshipers. En Sabah Nur feels that humanity has lost its way in the centuries he's been asleep and decides to make a new world. The second movement is featured at the climax of the film.

Our Flag Means Death (2023)

HBO (2023)

In the first episode of the second season, Ed (Taika Waititi) confronts the bedridden Izzy (Con O'Neill) in an intense scene with the second movement underscoring the emotions felt by the characters.

The Fall of the House of Usher (2023)

The Fall of the House of Usher
Netflix (2023)

Loosely based on various works by 19th-century author Edgar Allan Poe (most prominently the eponymous 1840 short story), the series adapts otherwise unrelated stories and characters by Poe into a single nonlinear narrative set from 1953 to 2023. The second movement is played when the titular family has their last supper together in the first episode, as well as throughout the credits.

Join us on Thursday, March 14, to experience your Eugene Symphony perform this piece, paired with Wynton Marsalis' electrifying Violin Concerto.

You can listen to the whole 7th Symphony as part of our Spotify playlist, which also features other pieces on the program and other works performed by guest violinist Bella Hristova.