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MUH2116 (Music and Context after 1800)

Tutorial week 1: Beethoven biography and background to Symphony 3

Life:
Beethovens origins were humble. His grandfather, a Belgian, had moved to the
provincial German town of Bonn in 1733 in order to take up the post of bass singer in
the court chapel choir. 30 years later he had been promoted to the courts Director
of Music. Shortly after arriving in Bonn he had met and married a local girl who,
before turning to hard drink, produced a son. He, too, was found employment in the
court at Bonn as a singer. In 1767 he married the daughter of the courts head cook
and the two of them produced some seven children over the course of eight years.
Only three survived infancy including their second-born, a boy, who was baptized on
17th December 1770 (we do not know the actual date of his birth) and given the
name Ludwig. He followed in the family tradition and entered the service of the court
as assistant organist where he soon began to demonstrate exceptional musical gifts;
his first music was published when he was just 11, at 13 he was appointed to the
important post of harpsichordist with the court orchestra, and at 17 the court paid for
him to travel to Vienna to have lessons from Mozart. The extent of Beethovens
lessons from Mozart is unclear, but within two weeks he was back in Bonn where,
shortly afterwards his mother died, his father turned to drink and was relieved of his
duties, and the teenage Ludwig van Beethoven found himself responsible for the
care and upkeep of his two younger brothers. The court gave him a relatively
generous salary for a variety of musical duties which included playing the organ and
directing the choir in the chapel, playing the viola in the court and theatre orchestras
and giving piano lessons to members of the local aristocracy. One local aristocrat,
Count Waldstein, was so impressed with Beethoven that he recommended him to
the composer Haydn who suggested Beethoven become one of his pupils in Vienna.
Five weeks after he arrived in Vienna (in 1792) Beethoven learnt that his father had
died, and he remained in the city for the rest of his life. In Vienna Beethoven first
came to fame as a pianist and this served him well financially for he was able to
build up a large number of wealthy pupils and only slowly became recognised as a
composer in his own right. By 1801 he was in a position to dictate his own terms.
As he wrote to a friend back in Bonn; My compositions bring me in a good deal and
I may say that I am offered more commissions than it is possible for me to carry out.
Moreover for every composition I can count on six or seven publishers. People no
longer come to an arrangement with me. I state my price and they pay. Perhaps
one of the best-known facts about Beethoven is that, for the last 25 years of his life
he suffered severe hearing loss. The first signs of deafness appeared sometime
between 1796 and 1799, but he did not go totally deaf for another twenty years or
so. During that time, as his hearing deteriorated, he was subjected to continually
high-pitched whistling and buzzing in his ears, and it became so bad that he
consulted numerous doctors, none of whom was able to cure the problem.
Then, in the winter of 1801-02 Beethoven sought the council of Doctor Johann
Schmidt. In the course of his treatment, Schmidt advised the composer to seek
peace and quiet for an extended period, so in April Beethoven travelled to the village
of Heiligenstadt, on the outskirts of Vienna. The atmosphere of the little village was
both restful and conducive to work and Beethoven's stay there would prove

productive. Letters from this time as well as biographical accounts indicate life as
usual; Walks in the country, composing, negotiations with publishers and lessons, all
in a quiet and leisurely setting.
But his hearing did not improve and in a fit of depression in late September or early
October, he drafted a last will and testament, a document that has come to be known
as the Heiligenstadt Testament. It is addressed to his brothers Carl and Johann,
though Johanns name is strangely absent with a blank space in its stead. As we
would expect of the document, Beethoven bequeaths his belongings to his siblings
but not until he writes at length of his illness, pleading for understanding. He goes on
to reveal that he has considered suicide but that his art has prevented him taking
that course. The language of the Testament is fraught with pain and in reading it one
can feel the despondency that possessed the writer.
Beethoven was never to reveal this document to anyone and had it in his possession
when he died. By then it had been superseded by other wills and its value would turn
out to be that of a snapshot in time.
Beethovens Heiligenstadt Testament
For my brothers Carl and Beethoven
Oh you men who think or say that I am malevolent, stubborn, or misanthropic, how greatly
do you wrong me. You do not know the secret cause which makes me seem that way to you.
From childhood on, my heart and soul have been full of the tender feeling of goodwill, and I
was even inclined to accomplish great things. But, think that for six years now I have been
hopelessly afflicted, made worse by senseless physicians, from year to year deceived with
hopes of improvement, finally compelled to face the prospect of a lasting malady (whose
cure will take years or, perhaps, be impossible).
Though born with a fiery, active temperament, even susceptible to the diversions of society, I
was soon compelled to isolate myself, to live life alone. If at times I tried to forget all this, oh,
how harshly was I flung back by the doubly sad experience of my bad hearing. Yet it was
impossible for me to say to people, "Speak Louder, shout, for I am deaf". Oh, how could I
possibly admit an infirmity in the one sense which ought to be more perfect in me than
others, a sense which I once possessed in the highest perfection, a perfection such as few in
my profession enjoy or ever have enjoyed. Oh I cannot do it; therefore forgive me when
you see me draw back when I would have gladly mingled with you.
My misfortune is doubly painful to me because I am bound to be misunderstood; for me
there can be no relaxation with my fellow men, no refined conversations, no mutual
exchange of ideas. I must live almost alone, like one who has been banished. I can mix with
society only as much as true necessity demands. If I approach near to people a hot terror
seizes upon me, and I fear being exposed to the danger that my condition might be noticed.
Thus it has been during the last six months which I have spent in the country. By ordering
me to spare my hearing as much as possible, my intelligent doctor almost fell in with my own
present frame of mind, though sometimes I ran counter to it by yielding to my desire for
companionship.
But what a humiliation for me when someone standing next to me heard a flute in the
distance and I heard nothing, or someone standing next to me heard a shepherd singing and
again I heard nothing. Such incidents drove me almost to despair; a little more of that and I
would have ended my life. It was only my art that held me back. Oh, it seemed to me

impossible to leave the world until I had forth all that I felt was within me. So I endured this
wretched existence, truly wretched for so susceptible a body, which can be thrown by a
sudden change from the best condition to the worst. Patience, they say, is what I must now
choose for my guide, and I have done so - I hope my determination will remain firm to
endure until it pleases the inexorable Parcae to break the thread. Perhaps I shall get better,
perhaps not; I am ready. - Forced to become a philosopher already in my twenty-eight year,
oh, it is not easy, and for the artist much more difficult than for anyone else. Divine One, thou
seest my inmost soul thou knowest that therein dwells the love of mankind and the desire to
do good. Oh, fellow men, when at some point you read this, consider then that you have
done me injustice. Someone who has had misfortune may console himself to find a similar
case to his, who despite all the limitations of Nature nevertheless did everything within his
powers to become accepted among worthy artist and men.
You, my brothers Carl and Johann, as soon as I am dead, if Dr. Schmid is still alive, ask
him in my name to describe my malady, and attach this written documentation to his account
of my illness so that so far as it is possible at least the world may become reconciled to me
after my death. At the same time, I declare you two to be the heirs to my small fortune (if so
it can be called); divide it fairly, bear with and help each other. What injury you have done me
you know was long ago forgiven. To you, brother Carl, I give special thanks for the
attachment you have shown me of late. It is my wish that you may have at better and freer
life than I have had. Recommend virtue to your children; it alone, not money, can make them
happy. I speak from experience; this was what upheld me in time of misery. Thanks for it and
to my art, I did not end my life by suicide - Farewell and love each other.
I thank all my friends, particularly Prince Lichnowsky and Professor Schmid; I would like
the instruments from Prince L. to be preserved by one of you, but not to be the cause of
strife between you, and as soon as they can serve you a better purpose, then sell them. How
happy I shall be if I can still be helpful to you in my grave - so be it. With joy I hasten towards
death. If it comes before I have had the chance to develop all my artistic capacities, it will still
be coming too soon despite my harsh fate, and I should probably wish it later - yet even so I
should be happy, for would it not free me from the state of endless suffering? Come when
thou wilt, I shall meet thee bravely. Farewell and do not wholly forget me when I am dead; I
deserve this from you, for during my lifetime I was thinking of you often and of ways to make
you happy - be so - .
Ludwig van Beethoven
Heiligenstadt,
October 6th, 1802

The effect on Beethovens music:


1803 saw a drastic stylistic change in Beethovens music Immediately following
Heiligenstadt Beethoven's music suddenly becomes more daring. The learned rules
of his teachers were cast aside as he struck out on a new path with the Eroica
Symphony as the frontispiece of this change. Within weeks, perhaps days, of
signing the will, Beethoven jotted down the first sketches of the Sinfonia Eroica. That
his bold new style and the traumatic events of late 1802 occur at precisely the same
point in time is no mere coincidence. The Heiligenstadt Testament and the Eroica
are inseparably linked and may in a sense be the same creation.
First Period Music (1792-1802):
Piano Sonatas: Nos. 120

Symphonies: Nos. 12
Piano Concertos: Nos. 12
String Quartets: Nos. 16 (Op. 18)
Violin Sonatas: Nos. 15
Trios (violin-cello-piano): Nos. 14

II. Beethovens Middle Period (1802-1814)

Piano Sonatas: Nos. 2127 (including the Waldstein, Appassionata, and Farewell
Sonatas)
Symphonies: Nos. 38
Concertos: Nos. 35 for piano; Violin Concerto
String Quartets: Nos. 711 (including the three Razumovsky Quartets, Op. 59)
Violin Sonatas: Nos. 610 (including the Kreutzer Sonata)
Trios (violin-cello-piano): Nos. 57 (including the Archduke Trio)
Opera: Fidelio

The Writing of the Eroica


In May 1803 Beethoven again left the heat and noise of Vienna and made his way to Baden,
as was his habit in spring. After a brief rest there he moved to his summer lodgings in a
village called Dbling at berdobling No. 4.
Describing the setting, Thayer comments..
"...it had gardens, vineyards or green fields in both front and rear. True, it was half an hours
walk further from Heiligenstadt ...but to compensate for this, it was so much nearer the city was in the more immediate vicinity of that arm of the Danube called the "canal" - and almost
under its window was the gorge of the Krottenbach, which separates Dbling from
Heiligenstadt, and which, as it extends inland from the river, spreads to a fine vale, then very
solitary and still very beautiful." Life of Beethoven, Alexander Thayer.
Beethoven would devote the rest of that summer and autumn to the creation of the Eroica
and the little house in Dbling would become the birthplace of a revolutionary work of art.

Gerald Abraham, writing in 1938 in his classic survey of the Romantic era 100
Years of Music suggests that the real change in the symphony started with
Beethoven's Third, which "set a new standard of musical logic, of symphonic
thoughtits suggestion of an implied emotional programme". That programme is
given on the title page of the Symphony's first printed edition; "Heroic Symphony
composed to celebrate the memory of a great man".
What prompted Beethoven to draw into a symphony ideas and emotions fired by
non-musical events was his interest in politics and, in particular, his belief in the
concept of democracy. Beethoven first settled in Vienna seven months after France
had declared war on Austria. The French Revolution had seen the old aristocratic
rulers of France swept aside and a newly enfranchised middle-class asserting its
independence, and Napoleon Bonaparte, the general commanding the French
armies, was determined to spread these idealistic tentacles further and rid Europe of
its despotic and unelected rulers. As such he was seen by the ordinary people in
Vienna as their great saviour and, caught up in the fervent atmosphere of the time,

Beethoven and his close friend Ferdinand Ries, decided to travel to Paris to pay
homage to the great man, on which occasion it was Beethovens intention to present
Napoleon with a specially-written symphony. That was in 1802 and he told his
publishers that he was planning a new grand symphony. The title of the Symphony
is really Bonaparte.
Schindlers biography of Beethoven states;
The Ambassador of the French Republic to the Austrian Court was at that time
General Bernadotte, who later became King of Sweden. His salon was frequented
by distinguished persons of all ranks among whom was Beethoven, who had already
expressed great admiration for the First Consul of the Republic. The suggestion was
made by the General that Beethoven should honour the greatest hero of the age in a
musical composition. The idea soon became a reality which the master, having
battled with his political scruples, gave to the world under the title Sinfonia Eroica.
(This statement is disproved since Bernadotte is known not to have met Beethoven
until 1814.)
Ferdinand Ries letter to Simrock, the publisher, on 22 October 1803;
He will sell the symphony to you for 100 Gulden. It is in his estimation the greatest
work which he has written until now. Beethoven played it for me recently, and I
believe that heaven and earth must have trembled at this performance. He wants
very much to dedicate it to Bonaparte; if not, since Lobkowitz wants it for half a year
and is willing to give 400 Gulden for it, he will title it Bonaparte.
[Prince Lobkowitz wanted exclusive rights to the Symphony for six months and would
have expected the dedication for such a generous payment. Apparently still eager to
honour Napoleon, Beethoven may have decided to dedicate it to Lobkowitz yet title it
to Bonaparte. In the end, the dedication would go to Prince Lobkowitz and
Beethoven would title the work Eroica.
Beethoven's projected move to Paris provides an apparently simple motive: the
Bonaparte Symphony and the proposed dedication of the Violin Sonata, op.47 to
Adam and Kreutzer may have been intended to smooth Beethoven's entry into the
French capitol. And the cancellation of the tour coincided rather closely with the final
removal of Bonaparte's name from the Third Symphony. (Maynard Solomon,
Beethoven, p.177)
The French Revolution (17891799)
Causes:
behaviour and opulence of the ancin regime (Louis XVI & Marie Antoinette)
widespread famine & unemployment, leading to starvation, disease, crime
enlightenment ideals of nationalism, equality, inalienable rights
example of the American revolution (begun in 1776) France supported the colonists
huge national debt & exorbitant taxes imposed by Monarchy & Church
France had lost colonial holdings in the 7 years war against Prussia & Britain
1789-1791 French Revolution

Elections known as the estates-general held (3 estates were nobility, church &
everyone else) in attempt to weaken the absolutism of the monarchy. Different
regions disagreed on voting system and number of votes per estate.
National Assembly 10 June 1789, the third estate who called themselves the
commons continued to meet; they invited church/nobility to join them, but made it
clear they would take power into their own hands if necessary; Louis XVI ordered
their assembly hall closed and forbade them to meet, but their membership kept
growing; eventually 60% of clergy joined them, and 47% of nobility. In July they
renamed themselves the National Assembly and began drawing up a constitution for
a French republic.
14 July, a mob, fuelled by hatred of the monarchy and fear that the king was
gathering an army to close the Assembly, stormed the Bastille fortress a prison for
political prisoners, and the armys storehouse of weapons and ammunition and a
symbol of royal military power the governor (Marquis Bernard de Launay) was
decapitated and his head paraded around the city on a pike. The mob, now out of
control, also assassinated the mayor (prevot des marchands Jacques de Flesselles).
La Fayette took command of the National Guard.
King & people briefly reconciled but Bastille had sparked more riots, paranoia, and
violence made worse as no end to unemployment and famine in sight. The Womens
march on Versailles (oct 1789), caused the King to move his family to Paris under
the protection of the national guard. 1790 attacks upon the church, abolishment of
monastic vows, church becomes a department of the state. Factions within the
assembly made developing a constitution and maintaining order difficult.
1791 legislation against the migrs those members of the nobility who had fled the
violence of Paris. Royal family fled to Varrennes, but were pursued, arrested and
brought back to Paris. Louis XVI forced to sign the new constitution which made
France a constitutional monarchy but left the King as little more than a figurehead.
1792-1799 Revolutionary Wars & Reign of Terror
France entered into war with Austria & Prussia;
August 1792; radical factions in the assembly unhappy that France was still a
monarchy, stormed the Tuileries Palace, arresting and eventually executing Louis
XVI and Marie Antoinette, along with 1400 supporters of the monarchy; in Sept
France was declared a republic (Maximilien Robespierre as head of committee for
public safety). 1793-1794 (or up to 1797) became known as the Reign of Terror,
during which up to 40,000 individuals who were thought to be counter-revolutionary,
died without trial 16,594 by the guillotine (according to archival records). New laws,
philosophies and constitutions were made and remade.
A new council, known as the directoire was formed; but it too found it difficult to
govern the people were weary of war, scared of the reign of terror and distrustful of
all governmentso the council turned increasingly to military power to suppress
riots, maintain order, and effect government.
1799-1803 Rise of Napoleon
One particularly adept military leader was Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821). The
Corsican second lieutenant rose quickly through the ranks and gained much power
by using superior technology and tactics. In 1797-98 he made international fame in
the Austrian & Italian wars, forcing Austria to sue for peace and Venice to surrender
completely. His 1798 Egyptian expedition (which included 167 scientists) was a
victory against the British on land, but a defeat at sea (against Horatio Nelson), his
army was weakened by disease (bubonic plague) and poor supplies.
On 9 Nov 1799 Bonaparte staged a coup (the coup of 18 Brumaire) and seized
political as well as military power, installing himself as first consul. Continuing military
ventures include the second Italian campaign (which liberated Italy from the

Austrians); the French defeat in the Haitian revolution and the Louisiana Purchase
(French holdings sold to America for 3 cents per acre).
1803-1815 Napoleonic Wars & Empire
Napoleons increasing power spurred anti-Napoleon factions and failed assassination
plots. Napoleon wanted absolute power in name as well as military & political
leadership.
On 2 December, 1804, Napoleon crowned himself emperor in Notre Dame de Paris,
and crowned his wife, Josephine Empress. In 1805 he was also crowned King of
Italy.
1805 Britain, Austria & Russia formed a coalition against France. 10 years of bloody
war ensued, with the balance of power shifting often. 1805, Battle of Trafalgar, Britain
won victory at sea. Arc de Triomphe commissioned to commemorate Ns victory at
Austrelitz over Austria and Russia. Prussia (fourth coalition) defeated the following
year. 1807 N invaded Spain and Portugal, defeating Spanish forces and ruling Spain
until 1813. 1809 Austria fought back, but was again defeated. 1812 N invades
Russia. Ns German allies switched sides, his French Marshals mutinied, and in
March 1814 Napoleon was finally defeated, and exiled to the Italian island of Elba.

The Prometheus Connection


One of the most perplexing issues of the Eroica-Napoleon connection has been: why
did Beethoven utilize a funeral march followed by a joyous scherzo and finale?
Nineteenth century commentators were at a loss to explain the seeming
contradiction of death and celebration in the context of an homage to Bonaparte.
Several scenarios were advanced though none were persuasive. Even Wagner
weighed in on the question committing a considerable amount of ink to paper.
Additionally, early writers noted thematic similarities between the Eroica and
Beethoven's own ballet, Die Geschpfe des Prometheus (The Creatures of
Prometheus) Op 43 as well as his Variations, Op 35 and 12 German Contradances
WoO 14. They were able to guide us passage by passage through the parallels to
be found in the music but never touched upon the deeper kinship between the Eroica
and Prometheus. The distinguished Beethoven scholar William Kinderman, citing
the work of Constantin Floros, has now proposed the possibility that the whole of the
Eroica symphony is an allegory for the Prometheus legend. That is to say, the
Prometheus legend as portrayed in Beethoven's ballet.
In the various Greek versions of the legend, Prometheus is punished by being
chained to a rock where upon an eagle eats his liver every day only to have it
regenerate each night. After years of suffering Prometheus is finally freed. In the
version staged by Beethoven and the dance master Salvatore Vigano, Prometheus
is put to death for his transgression and is later re-born.
"Floros's work has shown that the links between the ballet and the symphony are
more substantial than has usually been assumed. Floros traces various rhetorical
and formal parallels between the opening Allegro con brio of the symphony and, in
particular, the eighth piece of the Prometheus music, the 'Danza Eroica'. Still more
important is the affinity of the two following pieces of the ballet, the 'Tragica scena'
(no. 9) and 'Giuocosa scena' (no. 10, in which the dead Prometheus is restored to
life), to the progression from the Marcia funebre to the scherzo in the symphony".
[Beethoven, William Kinderman; Oxford University Press, 1997]
Symphony No.3 (Eroica) Initial performances

Two years later things were different; let Ferdinand Ries take up the story. In this
symphony Beethoven had Bonaparte in mind, but as he was when he was First
Consul. Beethoven esteemed him greatly at the time and likened him to the greatest
Roman consuls. I, as well as several of his more intimate friends, saw a copy of the
score lying upon his table with the word Buonaparte at the extreme top of the title
page. I was the first to bring him the intelligence that Bonaparte had proclaimed
himself Emperor, whereupon he 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. He will exalt himself above all others, become a tyrant! Beethoven went to
the table, took hold of the title page at 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. It was first performed in Vienna on 7 th April 1805. Seven months
later the French army arrived in Vienna, occupied the city, and Napoleon took up
residence in the Schnbrunn Palace
Before that, however, Prince Lobkowitz had paid for six months exclusive access to
the Eroica. Ferdinand Ries states in Biographische Notizen ber Beethoven, that "it
was given in his palace several times". During the rehearsals Beethoven was able
make significant revisions and corrections, including a decision concerning the
repeat in the first movement. When the symphony was first completed, Beethoven
thought the Allegro might prove too lengthy if the customary repeat was included.
He had it played through, with and without the repeat and concluded it should stay.
Additionally, a substantial number of corrections were made during the Lobkowitz
rehearsals as the score that Beethoven was using (and remained in his possession
throughout his life) stemmed from an inattentive copyist. The majority of these
corrections involved ties, slurs, accidentals, etc. [NB. Bathia Churgin; Exploring the
Eroica: Aspects of the New Critical Edition, Oxford University, 1998]
Ries who was present, at the first rehearsal, gives the following amusing account:
Beethoven has a wicked trick for the horn; a few bars before the theme comes in
again complete, Beethoven lets the horn indicate the theme where the two violins
still play the chord of the second. For someone who is not familiar with the score this
always gives the impression that the horn player has counted wrong and come in at
the wrong place. During the first rehearsal of this symphony, which went appallingly,
the horn player, however, came in correctly. I was standing next to Beethoven and,
thinking it was wrong, I said, 'That damned horn player! Can't he count properly? It
sounds infamously wrong!' I think I nearly had my ears boxed - Beethoven did not
forgive me for a long time." [Biographische Notizen ber Beethoven, F. Wegeler
and F. Ries, 1838]
Of the Lobkowitz performances there is a surviving report in the form of a letter by
Georg Griesinger, to Breitkopf and Hrtel, 13 February, 1805.
"The symphony has been heard at Academies at Prince Lobkowitz's and at an active
music-lover's named Wirth, with unusual applause. That it is a work of genius, I hear
from both admirers and detractors of Beethoven. Some people say there is more in
it than in Haydn and Mozart, that the Symphony-Poem has been brought to new
heights! Those who are against it find that the whole lacks rounding out; they
disapprove of the piling up of colossal ideas."

A performance, of which little is known, occurred in January 1805 and is now


referred to as the Wrth performance. Griesinger makes mention of it in the above
letter to Breitkopf and Hrtel. The Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung, for February 13,
1805, speaking of the Wrth performance, described the Eroica as...
"A daring, wild, fantasia, of inordinate length and extreme difficulty of execution.
There is no lack of striking and beautiful passages in which the force and talent of
the author are obvious; but, on the other hand, the work seems often to lose itself in
utter confusion. It begins with a powerfully scored Allegro in E flat, followed by a
Funeral March in C minor, treated fugally towards the end. The Scherzo and Finale
are both in E flat. The writer belongs to Beethoven's warmest admirers, but in the
present work he finds very much that is odd and harsh, enormously increasing the
difficulty of comprehending the music, and obscuring its unity almost entirely."
Beethoven Eroica Symphony description
As with all Beethovens compositions, this, Beethoven's third symphony, was actually
formed over a period of years during which he continually modified and revised his
ideas. Even the two strong, positive and unequivocal chords with which the 1st
movement opens were not part of his original plan but evolved only after much
experimentation. This was one of Beethovens most dramatic departures from
traditional symphonic practice two chords replacing the more customary long
drawn-out introduction and immediately the main theme of the movement is
introduced by the cellos and basses. The 2nd movement begins with a sombre
processional theme played sotto voce by the violins, later taken up by the oboes and
gradually developed to involve the full whole orchestra. Beethoven wrote (in Italian)
at the head of the completed score composed to celebrate the memory of a great
man, and this passionate funeral march clearly represents the lofty ideals of
Freedom, Equality, Fraternity which died, in Beethovens view, with Napoleons selfelevation to Emperor.
It was not unusual in the 1820s to perform just the first two movements of the
Eroica Symphony it was felt that the third and fourth movements did not fit in with
a programme concerning the heroic deeds and human failings of Napoleon
Bonaparte. However these movements are strongly influenced by another hero,
Prometheus, who was close to Beethovens heart at the time of the Symphonys
composition; he was actually working on incidental music for a stage performance of
The Creatures of Prometheus. The 3rd movement is inspired by an episode in which
the god Pan and his lively spirits bring Prometheus back to life. The Trio section is a
classic hunting scene involving three horns, the inclusion of which makes the
orchestration of the work somewhat unusual. The 4th movement is a set of
variations on a theme from The Creatures of Prometheus, which he had also used
as the basis for his Piano Variations (Op.35) of 1802 (and which, recent research
has shown, actually originated from a traditional English folk dance). The theme is
not heard initially, rather the bass line is heard and varied, and it is only when the
movement has been going some two minutes that the woodwind announces the
theme which is rapidly taken up by the whole orchestra.