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“So he is no more than a common mortal! Now, too, he will tread under foot all the rights of Man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, become a tyrant!”

Beethoven upon hearing that Napoleon had proclaimed himself Emperor.



Something for the weekend.  Symphony number three, Eroica, by Ludwig van Beethoven.  Written mainly in 1803-1804, it was originally inspired by Beethoven’s admiration for Napoleon Bonaparte. It is ironic that Beethoven quickly soured on Bonaparte after Napoleon proclaimed himself Emperor of the French.  Beethoven now regarded his former hero as a tyrant.  Good music survives far longer than fleeting political passions.

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  1. It’s also a reminder that artists are not to be trusted as political prophets. At least Ludwig saw the light, but how many who admired Lenin, Stalin or Che turned as quickly and honestly as he did?

  2. What a coincidence. I just put on my ancient LP of the Third, with Fritz Reiner conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It is, states the blurb on back of sleeve, “…the highest harmony that can be realized on earth”.

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