Symphony No. 3 | Sinfonia eroica

Symphony No. 3 (Es-Dur) op. 55 (Sinfonia eroica)

1802-1804, dedicated to Franz Joseph Maximilian Fürst Lobkowitz

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There are numerous anecdotes regarding the composition and performance of the Third Symphony, also called "Eroica". The most persistent and known anecdote says that Beethoven intended to dedicate the composition to French consul Napoleon Bonaparte and noted his intention on the title page. After Napoleon declared himself Emperor, the enraged Beethoven allegedly tore the sheet apart and loudly complained about Napoleon not being any different than an ordinary man, ignoring human rights, only following his own ambitions and turning into a tyrant. This anecdote is partially supported by the title page of the symphony's copy where a hole in the paper suggests the heavy use of an eraser - in no case did the composer tear the entire sheet apart. Beethoven's opinion of Napoleon was very ambivalent and he often changed it during his lifetime. Initially fascinated and impressed with the Frenchmans's ideals and achievements, Beethoven's disappointment about Napoleon's high-handedness and declaration as emperor, reported by Ries, is historically proven. The symphony was performed for the first time in the early spring of 1804 in the Vienna city residence of Prince Lobkowitz. (Text source: Beethoven-Haus Bonn)