Beethoven: Symphony no. 3 in E-flat Major, op. 55 “Eroica”

Beethoven: Symphony no. 3 in E-flat Major, op. 55 “Eroica”

  • Composed 1803
  • Dedicated to Prince Lobkowitz
  • First performed 1805, in the palace of Prince Lobkowitz.

Four movements:

First movement:  Allegro con brio.  Sonata form.
Second movement:  Marcia funebre.  Adagio assai.  Funeral march, very slow. Rondo-like structure – A1 B A2 C A3 D A4 Coda
Third movement:  Scherzo.  Allegro vivace.  Triple meter.
Fourth movement: 
Allegro molto.  Theme and Variations.

Herbert von Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic

1st movement: 00:00
2nd movement: 13:26
3rd movement: 29:56
4th movement: 36:07

Here is a fabulous documentary on the Eroica Symphony from Michael Tilson Thomas (sometimes affectionately known as MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.  This is part of the MTT “Keeping Score” series.

The program notes for this video are illuminating:

Not all revolutions are political. Some overturn artistic conventions. Beethoven’s Eroica challenged accepted artistic notions of music as a kind of decorative background and brought the listener along on a gripping voyage into the unconscious.

Beethoven spent three years writing the Eroica, which was an intimate and unflinching journal of his personal crises. The piece marked his emergence as an original master. In this film Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony invite you to discover the music of the Eroica and the circumstances surrounding its creation.

Retracing Beethoven’s steps through Vienna’s aristocratic ballrooms and Austria’s rustic villages, MTT explores how Beethoven channeled his fears of deafness, his admiration for Napoleon, and his obsession to prove himself the greatest composer of his time and to write a piece that forever changed what a symphony would be.

The first part of this video is a wonderful, in-depth discussion of the symphony, with a host of musical examples.  This is followed by a performance of the entire symphony, conducted by MTT with the San Francisco Symphony.

The actual performance of the Eroica symphony begins at 55:35, and begins with a brief description by Michael Tilson Thomas.  Here are times for each movement:

MTT Introduction:   0:55:35

First movement:      0:56:25
Second movement: 1:13:17
Third movement      1:30:20
Fourth movement    1:36:25

Eroica - 1st movement:

Erocia - 2nd movement:

Erocia - 3rd movement:

Erocia - 4th movement:​

An additional treat - complete film "Beethoven's Eroica"

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