Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Simply Beethoven. That is all that is needed for he is one of a handful of great composers (Bach, Brahms, Wagner , Handel) whose magnificence and genius is encapsulated in the simple pronouncement of his last name.
But in Beethoven's case we may add Hero to the name, for he will forever be associated with the Heroic style in music. Foremost in evidence we have his Third Symphony, The Eroica Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 55, along with several of his other greatest compositions, that demonstrates the power of his Heroic style. In his book, Beethoven Hero, Scott Burnham includes Symphony No. 5 in c minor, Op. 67, and the Coriolan Overture, op. 62, as further examples of the Heroic style.
Beethoven's music is one of struggle, the original "sturm und drang" that leads to the eventual triumph of man - the sign of his greatness. Who is Beethoven's hero? Milan Kundera, in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, commented, "We believe that the greatness of man stems from the fact that he bears his fate as Atlas bore the heavens on his shoulders. Beethoven's hero is a lifter of metaphysical weights."
Beethoven is the Hero of men who love humanity.

Beethoven Hero by Scott Burnham. Princeton University Press. 1995.

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