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10 Pieces of Music That Can Change Your Life: Awe. Some.

a bronze bust of Beethoven against a bright blue sky
Eric E. Castro/Creative Commons/Flickr
The towering Beethoven will make you feel just awesome in this installment of '10 Pieces of Music That Can Change Your Life."

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony

I can think of no other piece of classical music that towers in the collective soul as mightily as does Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. From its iconic opening – “fate knocking at the door” – to its majestic scherzo, to the riveting transition into its triumphant finale, there are too many great moments in this symphony to count, and each one leaves you feeling better than the ones before. There’s a reason why Beethoven’s Fifth is arguably the best-known, best-loved work in the classical repertory – it’s music so inspired that every performance of it seems to bring out the best of humanity.

How this music can change your life: After hearing Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, you’ll feel like you can do anything. And it’s good to be reminded that, really, you just about can.

Here’s the complete Fifth Symphony by Beethoven. Leonard Bernstein conducts the Vienna Philharmonic:


Jennifer Hambrick unites her extensive backgrounds in the arts and media and her deep roots in Columbus to bring inspiring music to central Ohio as Classical 101’s midday host. Jennifer performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago before earning a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.