Dvo?ák composed his fifth symphony in the summer months in June and July 1875. The opus number is actually incorrect. The autograph was marked with opus number 24, but the publisher Simrock (ignoring the protests of the composer) gave this symphony a high number of 76. It is considered largely pastoral in style, similar to Symphony No. 6 which he wrote about five years later. The symphony was first performed four years after it was written, on March 25, 1879 at the Slav concert of the Academic Readers' Association in the Prague ?ofín concert hall, conducted by Adolf ?ech. It was published by Simrock in 1888 (also as a piano arrangement for four hands). The composition was revised in the autumn of 1887.
The work consists of four movements:
A typical performance of the work has a duration of about 40 minutes.
The symphony is written for an orchestra of two flutes, two oboes, two soprano clarinets with one doubling bass clarinet, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, triangle and strings.