THE NAPOLEON CONNECTION
THE MUSICAL REVIEWS
In 1798, General Bernadotte, the French ambassador to Austria, suggested to Beethoven that he might write a symphony in honor of Napoleon. Although today we think of Napoleon as a conqueror, he had begun his career as an advocate of French freedom and had already built a reputation as a great leader, so it is unsurprising that Beethoven agreed. The idea of the symphony languished until the summer of 1803, but work then proceeded rapidly.
In the spring of 1804, Beethoven's friend Ferdinand Ries saw a copy of the score with the title page labeled ``Bonaparte'' at the top (and, interestingly, ``Luigi'' van Beethoven at the bottom). But on May 18th, 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor, and upon hearing the news Beethoven tore the title page in half, screaming that Napoleon would ``become a greater tyrant than anyone!''-prophetic words indeed. When the symphony was finally published, it was listed as a ``Heroic symphony, composed to celebrate the memory of a great man.''
Besides the famous story of its rededication, however, the ``Eroica'' is important because it was Beethoven's first truly Romantic composition. Whereas Beethoven's first two symphonies suggest the mature works of Haydn and Mozart as models for orchestral composition, the "Eroica" is a manifestly original work which heralds a new age in symphonic style. It adheres to the Classical principles of tonality and the use of themes and motifs, but extends their limits so far that it remained musically the most innovatory of all Beethoven's symphonies up to the Ninth.
The "Eroica" is almost twice as long as any earlier symphony. And despite the fact that the performing forces have been enlarged by just one instrument - a third horn - there is an unprecedented depth of orchestral color. It is no coincidence that the opening theme of the first movement, first played by the cellos, is based on the notes of the major third, i.e. precisely the notes which are most characteristic of the sound of the horn. For when - soon after the recapitulation begins - Beethoven suddenly steers the harmony off course towards the distant key of F major, he is able to accentuate its remoteness from the tonic key of E flat by using the horn to state the opening theme in F - the first time in the piece that this instrument has strayed from the home key.
The first movement has an abundance of such "new" orchestral sounds and modulations to distant keys, as well as numerous clashes of sound between opposing instruments. All of these innovations are more than merely striking effects: they form an integral part of the design of the piece, and are the principal justification for the very aspect of the symphony - its inordinate length - that Beethoven's contemporaries found most displeasing when the work was first performed in 1805.
The Funeral March, whose extra-musical associations justify the programmatic title Beethoven gave to the symphony as a whole, is a large rondo structure. Its principal section, a solemn dirge in C minor, contrasts with brighter episode in C major and the massive fugato in F minor.
The "Eroica" is the first symphony to integrate the traditionally slender minuet of scherzo movement into the larger dramatic plan of the work, Beethoven achieves this by avoiding any statement of a well-defined theme until after the home key has been established, by the strings. He then gives the oboe a catchy tune, but in a new key. We then hear it on the flute, in yet another key. And so its third appearance is all the more exciting when the full orchestra jubilantly plays it for the first time in the home key. The trio section features the three horns as a discrete ensemble for the first time in the symphony, and can thus be thought of as a celebration of the work's special instrumentation.
The finale is based on a contredanse Beethoven wrote in 1801 and subsequently used in the Prometheus ballet music and as the theme of the Variations op. 35 for piano, and is the composer's first major synthesis of variation and sonata-form principles. It has an exposition in which the theme is gradually assembled, beginning with a terse bass line and eventually incorporating a broad melody; a development which comprises a fugato on the first four notes of the bass line, a stern march-like episode in the minor mode, and two false reprises of the main body; and a recapitulation which begins with a second fugato, in the home key and the based on an inversion of the same incipit of the bass line, to which a fragment of the main melody appears as a countersubject. There follows an extended coda, beginning with a stately Andante which features a nobler form of the melody and after a passage of harmonic transition, concluding with an exuberant Presto.
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 in E flat major
"Eroica" Op. 55
Program Notes by James Keays
Orchestration: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 3 horns,
2 trumpets, timpani, strings
As the French Revolution spilled over the borders of France it quite naturally began to affect the lives of virtually all European citizens. Ludwig van Beethoven, who was at that time a poor, lower-middle class musician living in Bonn, Germany, was no exception. The tenets of the revolutionliberty, equality, and fraternitybecame the basis for his own personal artistic credo. He became the first great musician to be totally free of patronage; to be considered the equal of princes; and to foster the ideal of universal brotherhood in his works.
According to Beethoven's biographer, Schindler, the idea of composing a heroic symphony to honor Napoleon was first suggested in 1798 by Bernadotte, the French envoy to Vienna during the uneasy peace that preceded the invasion of 1805. Despite the fact that Beethoven began to experience a growing dissatisfaction with the course of the Revolution, he pressed ahead with the composition of the symphony. It evolved into a work not about the heroism of Napoleon, but about heroism in a Promethean sense. The symphony was composed mainly between May and November, 1803, and was completed in April, 1804. At that time he still intended to dedicate it to Napoleon. A close friend, Ferdinand Ries, wrote that "he had Bonaparte in his mind, as he was when he was First Consul. Beethoven esteemed him greatly at the time and likened him to the greatest Roman Consuls. I saw a copy of the score lying on his table, with the word 'Buonaparte' at the extreme top of the title page, and at the very bottom 'Luigi van Beethoven', but not another word.."
On May 18, 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor. A few days later Ries brought the news to Beethoven and reported that the composer "flew into a rage and cried 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 then went to the table, took hold of the title page by the top, tore it in two and threw it on the floor." The first page was rewritten and only then did the symphony receive the title Sinfonia Eroica. The published first edition bears the title "to the memory of a great man."
The Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 55 was performed for the first time in February 1805. The players, critics, and listeners all found the work extraordinarily difficult. It was clear from the beginning that this was no ordinary symphony. The exposition of the first movement was more than twice as long as any previous symphony. In classical symphonies it was unusual to find a funeral march in the place of a song-like slow movement. The third movement was no longer the traditional minuet and trio, but a relentlessly driving scherzo with a contrasting trio for hunting horns. The last movement was a set of variations on a theme from Beethoven's ballet The Creatures of Prometheus.
The symphony begins with two fortissimo E-flat major chords followed immediately by a simple theme constructed out of the notes from the chord. Virtually all of the melodic material in the work is built from this single chord. Additionally, there are many striking harmonic details such as the exploration of distantly related keys and the use of dissonant chords. Underlying the entire work, and adding one more layer of complexity, is a continual conflict between duple and triple meter. The first movement in particular frequently places accents every two beats even though the music is notated three beats to the measure.
Never before in the history of music had a composer produced such a revolutionary work. Although volumes have been written about the Eroica, words cannot adequately describe its greatness. What Nietzche said about Beethoven's music most certainly holds true in the case of the Eroica : "Beethoven's music is music about music." Fourteen years after the work was premiered, a close friend of Beethoven asked which of the symphonies (eight at the time) was his favorite. The composer unhesitatingly replied, "The Eroica."
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3, "Eroica"
Composer Ludwig van Beethoven (Germany, 1770-1827)
Title Symphony No. 3 in E flat Op. 55, "Eroica"
What it is Symphony in four movements
Length 48' (17' + 13' + 6' + 12')
Why it's famous The Napoleon connection; the funeral march; the bright opening.
Where you heard it before
Even without the Napoleon connection, the spectacular structure, purpose and message expressed in the Third Symphony - the Eroica - would ensure its reputation as one of the greats. The work is of huge proportions, and it set a trend for long finales: heroes are always larger than life. There are many references to Beethoven's heroic ballet Prometheus, with the implication that music, like Prometheus, can civilise by the power of harmony: perhaps the composer is therefore the hero. But the most celebrated aspect of the work is its intended dedicatee.
The third symphony was originally entitled "Bonaparte" in tribute to the young hero of revolutionary France who was almost exactly the same age as Beethoven. He saw Napoleon as a heroic overthrower of the old order; when he heard that the tyrant had declared himself emperor, he supposedly tore up the dedication, shouting "now he will trample on all human rights". The front page of the surviving manuscript has Napoleon's name crossed out so furiously that the paper has been torn; now the title-page celebrates merely "the memory of a great man". Napoleon's views on the matter are unrecorded.
The symphony is a shattering experience and stunned audiences at its first performance in April 1805. Right from the start Beethoven does things differently with sequences, chords and cadences which had scarcely been dreamt of before: even the opening seems to wake us up with a vigorous two-chord slap in the face. Above all else, an overwhelming feeling of confidence bestrides the entire work. This was Beethoven's greatest single achievement and while the world remembers him for many other things, music is forever indebted to him for this one symphony.
Emperor of France
1769 - 1821
1804 Napoleon becomes Emperor of the French
1805 Battles of Trafalgar (British naval victory) and Austerlitz (French army victory)
1806 Napoleon brings the Holy Roman empire to an end
1808 - 14 The Peninsular War in Spain
1812 Napoleon reaches Moscow; is forced by partisan warfare and burning of Moscow to retreat to France
1813 Napoleon defeated in the "Battle of the nations", Leipzig
1815 Battle of Waterloo; final defeat of Napoleon
1815 Congress of Vienna follows defeat of Napoleon; map of Europe decided
Napoleon Bonaparte was born on August 15, 1769 in Ajaccio on the Mediterranean island of Corsica. Through his military exploits and his ruthless efficiency, Napoleon rose from obscurity to become Napoleon I, Emperor of France. He is both a historical figure and a legend -- and it is sometimes difficult to separate the two.
Napoleon returned to France in 1799 and overthrew the government. He made himself Emperor for life. Napoleon invited the Pope to his coronation. He asked the Pope to crown him emperor. The Pope refused because he said that only God had the right to decide who should be Emperor. Napoleon, of course, had announced himself as Emperor for life.
At this time, France was at war with most countries in Europe. Napoleon led his armies into Italy, Spain, the German states, Belgium, Holland and many other countries to conquer them. He had an enormous empire by 1812 and made sure that each country was loyal because he placed his brothers and sisters to rule.
Napoleon was one of the greatest military commanders in history. He has also been portrayed as a power hungry conqueror. Napoleon denied being such a conqueror. He argued that, instead, he had attempted to build a federation of free peoples in a Europe united under a liberal government. But if this was his goal he intended to achieve it by concentrating power in his own hands. However, in the states he created, Napoleon granted constitutions, introduced law codes, abolished feudalism, created efficient governments and fostered education, science, literature and the arts.
Napoleon also introduced the Metric System to ensure that everyone used a common set of weights and measures. Another important law that Napoleon made was that every child had to go to school between the ages of 5 and 11. This was because he thought Education was necessary for everyone.
Emperor Napoleon proved to be a superb civil administrator. One of his greatest achievements was his supervision of the revision and collection of French law into codes. The new law codes -- seven in number -- incorporated some of the freedoms gained by the people of France during the French revolution, including religious toleration and the abolition of serfdom. The most famous of the codes, the Code Napoleon or Code Civil, still forms the basis of French civil law. Napoleon also centralized France's government by appointing prefects to administer regions called departments, into which France was divided.
The widespread notion of Napoleon's shortness lies in the inaccurate translation of old French feet ("pieds de roi") to English. The French measure of five foot two (5' 2"), recorded at his autopsy, actually translates into five feet six and one half inches (5' 6.5") in English measure, which was about the average height of the Frenchman of his day. It's also probable that the grenadiers of his Imperial Guard, with whom he "hung out," were very tall men, therefor creating the illusion that Napoleon was very short.
In 1812, Napoleon tried unsuccessfully to invade Russia. This was his big mistake as he went against the advice of his generals not to invade justs before the start of winter. His armies either starved or froze to death. Hundred of thousand of soldiers died.
The countries of Europe now combined to attack France. Over the next two years, Napoleon was beaten in battles and was banished to exile on the island of Elba in the Mediterranean Sea in 1814.
However, the French remembered his courage and leadership skills and when he escaped, they flocked to join him in tens of thousands. Napoleon faced the British in his last battle, at Waterloo, in Belgium on June 18, 1815. It was a battle he nearly won. The German troops had waited on the side lines to see which way the battle was going before they joined in. When they saw the British were in trouble at the end of the day, they sent reinforcements to help. The French were totally defeated by both the Anglo-Dutch coalition led by Wellington and the Prussian army led by Blücher. The defeat led to the Fall of the First Empire. He abdicated on June 22, and Louis XVIII restored the monarchy to France.
The Battlefield: BRAINE L'ALLEUD (south of Waterloo by the N.6): - Saint-Etienne church: used as a hospital for a short while after the battle.
- Hougoumont farm : one of the most famous sites related to the battle. There are many commemorative plaques and a few tombs in the orchard. At the bottom of the orchard, the only monument ever to be dedicated to the French soldiers killed at Waterloo was erected in 1913.
- The Lion's Mound: this enormous mound (130 feet high and 500 yards wide) was raised at the exact place where the Prince of Orange was wounded at the end of the battle. Topped by an cast-iront lion symbolizing a victory heralding European peace, it offers a fine view of the battlefield.
Napoleon was captured and sent to the island of Saint Helena in the South Atlantic, a far more remote island than Elba, many thousands of kilometres away from his beloved France. He remained there until his death. He died a lonely death there in 1821.
TheArc de Triomphe
was built in 1806 to commemorate
Napoleon's victories and the
courage of his soldiers.
It is decorated with scenes of battles,
and the names of his generals.
In a message dated 2/22/2001
We watched the Grammy's last night despite not wanting to give the time of day to Eminem, but Joe wanted to see what the hype was all about
First off - all I saw in the Grammy awards is the death of music in America. Right after the award show I emailed MTV and advised them I am holding them responsible for the devolution of music in America. What a pitiful musical offering was offered last night. Face it, all the music industry had was Eminem and I approve of him. He is high drama and has a lot to say and you have to really look beyond the surface. What is the difference between what Em is saying and what Jerry Springer and even Washington D.C. offer this country? No it's not politically correct but it is protected by the Constitution. If I want to say what I have to say Eminem has to be allowed to
I'm am a major U2 fan, but the Grammy winner? Hey, they've done a lot of CD filler that was better than that. I'm so tired of these little over sexed girls who offer no more voice to women than an image and a tiny little oppressed voice on a thread, where is their celebration of being women?
If music truly does reflect the current culture I can only assign one word to the culture of today and that is shallow.
As a person of the 60's shame on the music industry - shame on them.
If Eminem ever develops a focused political agenda with the power that is just being thrown at him by the critics and special interest groups - watch out. He has a following of people who long ago feel that they have lost all connection to this country today and they are angry and that anger is immediate and applied to the immediate realities of their life.
Part of my feelings come from my deep belief that this Country and World can't change because they have the people divided into ethnic, Religious and sexual preference special interest groups. When do the people get a grip and realize we all want the same thing? Food, a home of our own, warmth and enough jingle in the pocket for dinner and a movie once a week? Why isn't it happening? Because everyone is oh so different and that difference must be addressed. I know it's been harsh on the gay community and it's been harsh on women and it's been harsh on the Latino's, it's been harsh on the Blacks, it's been harsh on the Jews. So why don't we recognize our sameness instead of our differences.
Eminem? I'm glad someone is angry. He is the product of neglect and it is ugly and the thought process of that neglect is ugly. Scary thing is he isn't the only one out there.
The Grammy's and the Aftermath
> First off - all I saw in the Grammy awards is the death of music in America. Right after the award show I emailed MTV and advised them I am holding them responsible for the devolution of music in America. What a pitiful musical offering was offered last night.
I agree. I was looking forward to a music show.. but it was the most disappointing music I've seen in ages.
> Face it, all the music industry had was Eminem and I approve of him.
You know, I think that performance was actually the best one, though I DON'T agree with his anti-gay stance. I think it was neat to see him perform with openly gay Elton.
> He is high drama and has a lot to say and you have to really look beyond the surface. What is the difference between what Em is saying and what Jerry Springer and even Washington D.C. offer this country? No it's not politically correct but it is protected by the Constitution.
Yes, that's true.
> If I want to say what I have to say Eminem has to be allowed to I'm am a major U2 fan, but the Grammy winner? Hey, they've done a lot of CD filler that was better than that. I'm so tired of these little over sexed girls who offer no more voice to women than an image and a tiny little oppressed voice on a thread, where is their celebration of being women?
Even Bono agreed- commenting about God laughing at their current work.. "hey, that song doesn't even have a hook.., etc" He was admitting they had sold out.
> If music truly does reflect the current culture I can only assign one word to the culture of today and that is shallow.
it is indeed. Very sad.
> As a person of the 60's shame on the music industry - shame on them. If Eminem ever develops a focused political agenda with the power that is just being thrown at him by the critics and special interest groups - watch out.
That is true.
> He has a following of people who long ago feel that they have lost all connection to this country today and they are angry and that anger is immediate and applied to the immediate realities of their life.
He's a classic Indigo Adult.. (grown up Indigo Child). Indigos are nonconformist, rebellious, and also gifted and creative.. Usually identified ADD.. and you know what.. the ones who are being spurned by society are doing pretty tragic things.. like the school violence.. Columbine, etc. If you don't know what I'm talking about, see my website http://www.metagifted.org and go to the section about Indigos.
> Part of my feelings come from my deep belief that this Country and World can't change because they have the people divided into ethnic, Religious and sexual preference special interest groups. When do the people get a grip and realize we all want the same thing? Food, a home of our own, warmth and enough jingle in the pocket for dinner and a movie once a week? Why isn't it happening? Because everyone is oh so different and that difference must be addressed. I know it's been harsh on the gay community and it's been harsh on women and it's been harsh on the Latino's, it's been harsh on the Blacks, it's been harsh on the Jews. So why don't we recognize our sameness instead of our differences.
Yes, well, we need to recognize our similarities in goals, but also respect our individual differences and talents ;)
> Eminem? I'm glad someone is angry. He is the product of neglect and it is ugly and the thought process of that neglect is ugly. Scary thing is he isn't the only one out there.
Ding Ding Ding - exactly.. people are changing.. and the kids today are going to change the world, whether we like it or not!!
Love and Light,
Subj: Re: [earthchanges] The Grammy's and the Aftermath
Date: 2/23/2001 12:01:58 AM Pacific Standard Time
From: email@example.com (Denise Smith)
My daughters and I watched them as well and I was putting Eminem down until I was advised by my daughter what the song really meant. I truly listened for the first time and it was a tragic song about being misunderstood. I won't go out and by a CD but I will say listen to the words and look at what happening in the world. No wonder people are offended, this place is hell and it's all our doing...Denise
Subj: Re: The Grammy's and the Aftermath
From: RioRita 88
Thanks for the 'coverage' of this Non-Event! ...... I totally agree with it. Such hype over such "non-music" is depressing. I read the rap words in the TIMES and every single line had a "deleted expletive" Strange how this bottom of barrel stuff is fed to the eager crowds. Are they really loving it or are they brainwashed that it is good or cool? A total waste of time and money.
Perhaps Eminem is possessed by a dozen or more Reptillians!
Nice animated piano.
Photos of Sunsets
DREAMS OF THE GREAT EARTHCHANGES