“Eroica” In April of 1805, Ludwig Van Beethov

“Eroica” In April of 1805, Ludwig Van Beethoven finished his third symphony. It was the time of the French Revolution and Napoleon. Beethoven, a poor, lower-middle class musician living in Bonn, Germany, was affected by the Revolution, as was the rest of European citizens. Napoloen as looked up to during these times. Beethoven believed Napoleon to be “Unique among leaders in his concern for oridnary people.” The idea of composing a heroic symphony to honor Napoleon was first suggested in 1789. Despite the fact that Beethoven has a growing dissatisfaction with the course of the Revolution, he began the composition of the symphony. Beethoven composed the symphony during May and November of 1803. At this time, the symphony was still to be dedicated in honor of Napleon, but it soon evolved into a symphony not about Napoleon’s heroism, but it developed into a symphony about heroism in a “Promethean sense.” While composing this symphony, Beethoven was beginning to become aware of his hearing problems. The frustration that was caused with the hearing loss served only to reinforce the revolutionary aspects of his artistic personality. On May 18, 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor. By this time, the symphony had already been completed and was ready for shipment to Paris, when a friend presented the news that Napoleon had crowned himself Emperor. When Beethoven was told, he went into a rampage, crying out, “Is he then too nothing more than an ordinary human being? Now he too will trample on the rights of man and indulge only his ambition. He will exalt himself above all others and become a tyrant!” Beethoven went to the table, took his neatly printed copy of his “heroic sumphony” and tore the title page in two then threw it on the floor. He then began to rewrite the symphony, then titleing in “Sinfonia Eroica.” “Eroica” was first performed in February of 1805 in E flat. Players, listeners, …

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