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Friday Arts Feature - The Eroica Adagio

by Chauncey Tinker – 11 Oct 2019

Scotland Forever!, the charge of the Scots Greys at Waterloo

Image By Elizabeth Thompson - http://visualoblivion.blogspot.com/, Public Domain, Link

I began this series by quoting a famous poem about finding time to stand and stare, time to meditate away from the turmoil of the madding crowd. One thing I find about classical music is that it helps me to think, I often listen to classical music while I am writing.

Many of my most favourite movements from Beethoven’s works are the slow reflective movements, although of course there is much to enjoy in the more tumultuous movements as well. Here is one example, the slow movement from the 8th Piano Sonata, nicknamed the “Pathetique”, a great favourite of mine, here played by Artur Rubinstein (5 minutes):

Another great example comes from Beethoven’s 2nd movement of the 3rd Symphony. He had originally dedicated the work to Napoleon Bonaparte, but when it became clear that Napoleon in fact had imperial ambitions, and seemed to have abandoned the enlightenment ideals that Beethoven held so dear, he ferociously scratched out the name Napoleon and renamed the symphony the “Eroica”.

Image By François Bouchot - www.histoire-image.org (direct link), Public Domain, Link

Perhaps if Beethoven were alive today to see how the European Union project has also abandoned any pretence of democratic ideals, and its imperial ambitions have become plain for all to see, he would have been similarly mortified and demanded the EU cease to use his music for their anthem. Anyway, without further ado, here is the adagio from the Eroica Symphony, conducted by Leonard Bernstein (18 minutes):

Have a good weekend everyone.

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