Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 3

Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 3 "Eroica" & 8

by George Szell
     
 

Beethoven's Third Symphony, subtitled the "Eroica" (heroic), was originally dedicated to Napoleon, until the tempestuous composer became disillusioned with the Corsican's megalomania and, in a fit of rage, ripped the dedication from his manuscript. As a substitute, the bland phrase "composed to celebrate the memory of a great man" appeared on the title page when the… See more details below

Overview

Beethoven's Third Symphony, subtitled the "Eroica" (heroic), was originally dedicated to Napoleon, until the tempestuous composer became disillusioned with the Corsican's megalomania and, in a fit of rage, ripped the dedication from his manuscript. As a substitute, the bland phrase "composed to celebrate the memory of a great man" appeared on the title page when the symphony was published in 1806. But that's about the only mild feature of this path-breaking work. Modern listeners accustomed to complex, dissonant music may have difficulty appreciating the revolutionary aspects of the "Eroica," but to Beethoven's contemporaries, it seemed the work of a mad man. Not so the Eighth. Composed in 1812, that work is the calm between the twin storms of the Seventh and Ninth Symphonies, and audiences of the time -- never a reliable judge, apparently -- found it uninspired. Posterity disagrees, ruling it full of Haydnesque charm, especially the chirping woodwinds in the Allegretto, which mimic the sound of the recently invented metronome. George Szell honed the Cleveland Orchestra into one of the world's greatest, and their virtuosity is ample on this classic recording from the early '60s. Szell's direction is taut and full of energy -- a Modernist interpretation more akin to Toscanini's than Klemperer's or Furtwänlger's Romantic approaches. Search out their recordings if that is more to your taste, but Szell's Beethoven will never disappoint.

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Editorial Reviews

Gramophone - Richard Osborne
Exceptionally fine.
Penguin Guide to Compact Discs
A fine performance in the Toscanini tradition, hard-driven and dramatic. The digital remastering is very successful.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/29/2002
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998983229
catalogNumber:
89832
Rank:
17778

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Symphony No. 3 in E flat major ("Eroica"), Op. 55  - Ludwig van Beethoven  - George Szell  -  Cleveland Orchestra
  2. Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93  - Ludwig van Beethoven  - George Szell  -  Cleveland Orchestra

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