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Music

Beethoven Symphony Cycle (pt. 4 of 8)

This hour, the work that is Beethoven's clearest musical expression of the concept of heroism: the Symphony No. 3 (Eroica)

Despite this composer's deafness, which he started to notice as a young adult, he had the astonishing ability to hear internally how every note should sound. We'll hear the composition Beethoven was at work at after he'd started to notice his disability - the one that like none other documents his heroic determination to master his fate.

Beethoven’s "Eroica" reflects his idealism as a young man. But as Stephen Maddock, managing director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, told DW, Beethoven knew that here, he was describing a utopia:

"I think his aspirational wish for universal brotherhood and for all men to live together was as impossible as it was to ask the sopranos to sing a top b all the way through the Missa Solemnis," said Maddock. "He didn’t care whether the performers found the music too difficult. It was the attempt of trying to reach it that made you a better person. Some composers always made sure that their music could be performed. And then there are the people like Beethoven who thought it didn't matter but that you should probably die trying..."

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
Symphony No. 3 E-flat Major, op. 55 (Eroica)
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Andris Nelsons
Recorded by West German Radio, Cologne (WDR) in the Beethoven Hall, Bonn on September 7, 2014

Rebroadcasting Rights: one broadcast before November 30, 2015

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