By Constantin Floros
With this examine the writer «opened up a formerly locked door of Beethoven examine» (Martin Geck). The e-book offers conclusive solutions to questions that had occupied critics for greater than a century. It makes transparent what precisely Beethoven and his contemporaries intended via the time period «heroic». It proves that the «heroic-allegorical ballet» The Creatures of Prometheus is a key paintings for an figuring out of the Eroica, and exhibits that Beethoven linked the 1st Consul of the French Republic, Napoleon Bonaparte, with the legendary determine of the Titan Prometheus. The booklet attracts on interdisciplinary researches within the parts of Greek Mythology, Napoleonic background and Comparative Literature.
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Extra resources for Beethoven's Eroica: Thematic Studies
Writing to the publishing house Breitkopf & Härtel on January 22, 1803, he offers them, besides the Second Symphony and the Third Piano Concerto, the following four pieces from the Prometheus music: the overture, a “martial scene,” the Pastoral (No. 10) and the Finale (No. 16). ” For it, Beethoven has created a spaciously designed composition in D major (No. 8),21 which engages the entire orchestra. The piece is composed of a march and a series of dances evidently meant, after what has been said, for armed warriors.
6 and 7. To begin with, the music of No. 7 is stately – the expression mark is Grave. It cannot possibly have been designed for a dance of the Graces, whose lightness is proverbial. Secondly, the drafts in the Berlin Sketchbook prove that for the dance of the Graces Beethoven had conceived from the start a, well, graceful music, such as we, in fact, have in the final version of No. 11 For these reasons one may regard it as certain that No. 6 was designed for the dance of the Graces and No. 7 for the scene in which the first humans demonstrate their gratitude and their love for Prometheus.
We can be certain that he used the Italian translation of a French narrative by Anne-Gabriel Meusnier de Querlon. Entitled Les Hommes de Prométhée, it appeared in 1748 in London and, according to Raymond Troussons,10 enjoyed an incomparable success. In 1775, it was put into verse by CharlesPierre Colardeau and somewhat later rendered into Italian by an anonymous translator, appearing in 1790 in Bassano under the title Gli uomini di Prometeo! The theme of this idyllic narrative: the creatures of Prometheus marvel at the beauties of nature, discover love and surrender to it.