Music that Strikes a Chord — Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A, Op. 92: II. Allegretto

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d2/H%C3%B6fel_-_Beethoven%2C_d%E2%80%99apr%C3%A8s_un_dessin_de_Letronne.png/494px-H%C3%B6fel_-_Beethoven%2C_d%E2%80%99apr%C3%A8s_un_dessin_de_Letronne.png
Ludwig van Beethoven, etching print by Blasius Hofel

It’s one of my best works.
Beethoven, at its premiere at the University in Vienna on December 8, 1813

Last year I watched the HBO series, “Watchmen,” which is based on the graphic novel of the same name. I loved it so much that I bought the Blu Ray of it. Am going through it again now and last night a song jumped out that suddenly seemed so familiar, like I’d heard it before (other than in this series.) Going to imdb and then doing a general google search, I identified it as Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 7 in A, Op. 92: II. Allegretto.” It is the 2nd movement of 4 in Symphony No. 7.

Wikipedia says:
Beethoven’s life at this time was marked by a worsening hearing loss. I remember reading a letter that Beethoven wrote to his brothers, titled The Heiligenstadt Testament , some years ago and weeping, where he talks about the anguish and helplessness of it. Written in 1802, the letter was opened 25 years after it was written, following Beethoven’s death at age 56.

The symphony is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in A, 2 bassoons, 2 horns in A (E and D in the inner movements), 2 trumpets in D, timpani, and strings.

What really caught my eye at wiki was how many different films and series have used it. No wonder Allegretto sounds so familiar. Besides “Watchmen,” which isn’t in the list, it’s also been used in:

The 1934 horror film The Black Cat features the second movement prominently.

The 1974 science fiction film Zardoz (1974), directed by John Boorman. An excerpt from the Second Movement is played over the closing montage and the end credits.

The first episode of Cosmos: A Personal Voyage (1980) features the first movement to “underscore the vastness and diversity of Earth with its ‘resplendent spaciousness'”.

The 1995 drama film Mr. Holland’s Opus uses the second movement to underscore the high school music teacher Mr. Holland recounting the tragedy of Beethoven’s hearing loss, with Holland’s son being deaf and unable to share his father’s passion for music.

The 2006 film The Fall uses the second movement at several points in the film.

The 2006 live-action adaption of Nodame Cantabile uses the first movement as the opening theme. The 2007 anime adaptation uses it as the ending theme

The 2007 comedy-drama film The Darjeeling Limited uses the fourth movement.

The 2009 science fiction film Knowing uses the second movement during the climactic scene, a mass exodus from apocalyptic Boston.

In the 2010 historical drama film The King’s Speech, 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 “accents his struggle and his perseverance”.

In the 2016 superhero film X-Men: Apocalypse the second movement is played during the launch of all the world’s nuclear weapons.

Take a listen and give it your full attention to appreciate its magnificence.

Do you recognize it?  If so, from where?

17 Comments Add yours

  1. ghostmmnc says:

    Interesting to read about and to hear, but I don’t remember ever hearing it before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      When I read it was in Zardoz (a movie I think you’d appreciate) I remembered that’s where I’d heard it before. Thanks for reading, Barbara.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. memadtwo says:

    I’m sure I’ve heard it performed. Where and when, who knows? It’s a long time since I’ve been to any concert, let alone one with classical music. Could even have been at one of my daughter’s high school concerts. They had two orchestras as well as a band and two choruses. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Glad it brought memories back of your daughters in high school, making music.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. memadtwo says:

        Those were good times.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Badfinger (Max) says:

    I liked the Watchmen movie a lot.
    What a pure genius he was…that term gets thrown around a lot but he was one in music. I’ve seen The Black Cat.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      I found the graphic novel at a comic book store in GR by chance while looking for something else. I love the movie also and think they did it up right. With the series, they turn a lot of the plot points on their ear. They have a great special features disc where they talk about where they are coming from in flipping the script. Having it set in Tulsa across times is brilliant. Hoping you and Bailey get a chance to see it at some point.

      I love Beethoven and a lot of other classic music, but it takes quiet and focus to really appreciate it, and most of the time I don’t take the time to appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Badfinger (Max) says:

        We do want to see it because we are huge fans of the movie that got overlooked at the time.
        Yea I don’t appreciate him enough either… I can’t imagine being deaf and still composing.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Marleen says:

        I appreciated the series (while the film didn’t really catch my interest when I saw it) . I’ve heard a lot of Beethoven (and others in the realm) in my life. I tend not to turn such music on any more. Once in a while.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Glad you saw and appreciated the series. It tells such an important story and has such worthwhile social commentary in it that can benefit humankind. Why did you stop listening to classical music?

          Like

          1. Marleen says:

            This isn’t founded in anything solid, historically, probably… but who knows, really, when what I read earlier today of how Ludwig thought (!thanks for that link!) he sounded pretty idealistic (which I still am but used to be along with a little but deep dash of naïveté). I think it went out for me when my naïveté headed out painfully. I don’t think I have as much “quiet” as I used to enjoy.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. msjadeli says:

              Well, he was a very young man at the time and his hearing meant everything to him so I can see where would respond the way he did. I understand about losing naivete and the often grim realism sets in. Sometimes you just have to say fuggit I believe in the goodness of others from time to time. We cannot dwell in that dark place. Remember what Geo Harrison sang about it?

              Like

            2. msjadeli says:

              p.s. I’m glad you read Ludvig’s letter to his brothers.

              Like

    2. msjadeli says:

      p.s. What’s The Black Cat??

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Badfinger (Max) says:

        An old horror movie… I really like those older horror movies… they have an eerie atmosphere.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          Oh right, that’s one of the movies the music is in, sorry my brain isn’t with the program again!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Badfinger (Max) says:

            I’m with you!

            Liked by 1 person

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