Beethoven: Funeral March from Symphony No 3 in E flat major, "Eroica"

>> Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Beethoven had originally conceived of dedicating the symphony to Napoleon Bonaparte. The biographer Maynard Solomon relates that Beethoven admired the ideals of the French Revolution, and Napoleon as their embodiment. In the autumn the composer began to have second thoughts about that dedication. It would have deprived him of a fee that he would receive if he instead dedicated the symphony to Prince Franz Joseph Maximillian Lobkowitz. Nevertheless, he still considered giving the work the title of Bonaparte.

When Napoleon was proclaimed Emperor of France in May 1804, Beethoven became disgusted and went to the table where the completed score lay. He took hold of the title-page and scratched the name Bonaparte out so violently with a knife that he created a hole in the paper. He later changed the title to Sinfonia eroica, composta per festeggiare il sovvenire d'un grand'uomo ("heroic symphony, composed to celebrate the memory of a great man").



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