Egmont Overture Op 84 – Ludwing Van Beethoven

Beethoven – 1814

This piece was incidentally set for the 1787 play of the same name by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It’s light in the beginning and gorgeously drawn-out and then becomes a swash-buckling finale. It was written between 1809 and 1810. It was composed during the Napoleonic Wars when the First French Empire had extended its domination over vast swathes of Europe and Beethoven found himself having to leave Vienna because of it. Coincidently I just added Napoleon to my Ankidroid and now he was cause of Beethoven’s reason to escape his home-land!

Beethoven wasn’t a big fan of the French conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte. He expressed his own political concerns through the exaltation of the heroic sacrifice of a man condemned to death for having taken a valiant stand against oppression. The subject matter of the Egmont rebellion and triumph over tyranny was of deep concern to the composer. Count Egmont is a historical personage of the 16th century and he was entrapped imprisoned and finally beheaded. In the final moments of the play, Egmont realizes that his death will signal a rebellion against tyranny and oppression. He said:

Defend your land! And to liberate your loved ones, give yourselves joyfully, as I have given you an example!

Just at the darkest moment after a slow introduction by Beethoven, he adds in the final section, very quietly at first but soon building to a glorious fortissimo. This is one of Beethoven’s finest triumphant endings.

References:
1. Wikipedia – Egmont (Beethoven)
2. The Story Behind Beethoven’s Overture from “Egmont” – Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra.

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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5 comments on “Egmont Overture Op 84 – Ludwing Van Beethoven
  1. badfinger20 (Max) says:

    Hmmm….they say I post old music! LOL… He was a musical genius. He still composed after he was deaf…just unbelievable.

    • I’m getting on my soap box. Please forgive me Max:
      People especially young ones should know this music and its history like they do the Beatles, Bob, Cohen or whoever else contemporary even Lady Gaga. This is the stuff that makes one appreciate music and more than that the history and what our ancestors endured to enable us to live comparatively harmonious and comfortable lives today.

      I was in a long taxi drive this morning and the Colombian driver listened to classical music the whole journey and I said to him – ‘You have the best choice in music’. What would have been a stressful journey with much traffic etc turned out so tranquil and everything at peace. It was glorious.

      • badfinger20 (Max) says:

        I totally agree with you Matt. He influence in one way or another the artists you just talked about. He laid the foundation of popular music.

        That is a really cool story about the Taxi driver… I doubt many in America would have that.

      • Yeh the Ludwing Van, amongst many other hundreds of classical artists.

        Thanks for the comment about the taxi driver. It was perhaps my first time in a taxi after hundreds of drives I heard that music. That’s why it hit me. Also the driver was different to the rest in his manner of being. It was great.

        Thanks Max for making me think about all this.

  2. Catxman says:

    There would have been a different story about Beethoven if he had been a client of Napoleon’s patronage. Like all artists, Beethoven required money, which is desired by the sensitive and needed by the effervescent. Beethoven was on the wrong side of history for the period in which he was composing. His triumphant nature was situated with the underdog, something that was ill-at-ease in being.

    — Catxman

    http://www.catxman.wordpress.com

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