During the winter months, the holidays we celebrate are about ways to celebrate finding and keeping light in our lives. Regardless of our heritage, humans follow the light through darkness, through forging new paths and through sheer persistence.
Beethoven wrote Symphony No. 3 during a time of incredible social and political change. He wrote this struggle into the music and created sounds expressing what it meant to him to be alive at that time.
He called the symphony Eroica in honor of Napoleon. To him, Bonaparte represented the revolutionary age, the age of when all of our modern values, the idea of the freedom of the individual, the opposition to tyranny were spoken of for the first time. But when Napoleon declared himself emperor, he revealed himself to be a tyrant like everybody else.
It was a huge disappointment to Beethoven. Nonetheless, he kept the title in memory of the ideal of heroism. Moving through by sheer force of will, through struggle we can reach the stars. (I have paraphrased some of critic Julian Johnson’s introductory comments. For the pre-concert conversation, please click here
We also want to share something lighter and joyful. Beethoven’s Piano Trio Op. 1 No. 1E flat Major written by a young Beethoven and here performed by the ATOS Trio in Berlin.
Wherever you are at this moment in time - may a light shine for you always.
The Dranoff 2 Piano Foundation