Beethoven: The Heroic Years - Spring 2020 - Mr. Harvey Sachs
(Beethoven The Heroic Years SP20)

Between 1802 and 1812, when Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was in his thirties and early forties, he created an almost incredible quantity of works – works that remain staples of the world’s musical repertoire. Even a drastically abbreviated list of the music that he composed during what we generally refer to as his “Middle Period” would have to include his Third (“Eroica”), Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth symphonies; Leonore (the name he gave to the early versions of the opera that would eventually become Fidelio); the Fourth and Fifth (“Emperor”) piano concerti; the Violin and Triple concerti; the “Waldstein,” “Appassionata,” and “Les Adieux” piano sonatas; the Ninth (“Kreutzer”) and Tenth (G Major) violin sonatas; the Third Cello Sonata, Op. 69; the String Quartets Op. 59 (“Razumovsky”) and Op. 74 (“Harp”); the “Ghost” and “Archduke” piano trios; the Coriolan, Egmont, and three Leonore overtures; the Choral Fantasy; and the Mass in C Major. These works gave birth to the familiar image of Beethoven as a tempestuous genius who shook his fist at fate and brought the art of music into the Romantic era, and that made him a European musical icon and a symbol of artistic freedom. We will select some of these milestone works and see how they fit into the drama not only of Beethoven’s turbulent life but also of the turbulent life of Europe in the aftermath of the French Revolution and during the upheavals of the Napoleonic Wars.