I have spent a good part of the last couple of years working on a book about Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. It’s a little strange to spend so much time in the company of a 200-year-old piece of music. I can’t even remember the first time I heard it — the familiarity is almost oppressive. But its familiarity is the main reason we care about it, the main reason there’s a book’s worth of stories to tell about its cultural cachet.
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