Cast Program notes Appears in More info
The birth of the Romantic Symphony or the Eroica
The Symphony No. 3 in B flat Major Op. 55, the famous Eroica is premiered in Vienna on April 7, 1805 under the direction of the composer. A Major turning point in the work of Beethoven and in the history of music, the dedication of the work already, in itself, is a legend. Beethoven initially dedicated the symphony to Bonaparte, but when the latter had himself crowned emperor thus flouting the composer's revolutionary ideal, he struck out Bonaparte's name and replaced it with the following words, "An heroic symphony composed to celebrate the memory of a great man." This would be completely fortuitous if the "heroic" term chosen did not impose a fundamental innovation, that of spirituality in a musical work, a work which also broke with the classical symphony already because of a length which had never been attained before (approximately fifty minutes). Completely misunderstood at the time ("Boring, interminable and disjointed," according to one critic), it was to be appreciated only with posterity. This was also a revolution: from then on works were written for posterity and not for immediate recognition.