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Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 3 Op. 55 "Eroica" E flat Major

Review of the Work - ─░ngilizce

Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in E flat major (Op. 55), also known as the Eroica (Italian for "heroic"), is a musical work marking the full arrival of the composer's "middle-period" a series of unprecedented large scale works of emotional depth and structural rigor.

The symphony is widely regarded as a mature expression of the classical style of the late eighteenth century that also exhibits defining features of the romantic style that would hold sway in the nineteenth century. The Third was begun immediately after the Second, completed in August 1804, and first performed 7 April 1805.

The symphony is scored for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B flat, 2 bassoons, 3 horns in E flat, 2 trumpets in E flat and C, timpani in E flat and B flat, and strings.


I. Allegro con brio
II. Marcia funebre: Adagio assai in C minor
III. Scherzo: Allegro vivace
IV. Finale: Allegro molto

The first movement, in 3/4, is of the Sonata-Allegro form. The movement opens with two large E flat Major chords played by the whole orchestra, thus firmly establishing the tonality. The first theme is introduced by the cellos, and by the fifth bar of the melody, a chromatic note (C♯) is introduced, thus establishing the harmonic tension of the piece.

The melody is finished by the first violins, with a syncopated series of G's (which forms a tritone with C♯ of the cellos). After the first theme is played by various instruments, the movement transitions to a calmer second theme that leads to the development section. The development, like the rest of the piece, is characterized by remarkable harmonic and rhythmic tension due to dissonant chords and long passages of syncopated rhythm.

Most remarkably, Beethoven introduces a new melody in the development section, breaking the classical tradition that the development section only works with existing material. The development section leads back into the recapitulation; notably, the horns appear to come in early with the tonic melody while the strings are still playing the dominant chord.

The movement ends in a long coda that re-introduces the new melody of the development section. Overall, the noble character of the movement has led to its being called a portrait of the hero celebrated by the work.

The second movement is a funeral march in C minor with a trio in C major. The movement contains multiple fugatos, and its solemnity has led to its being used in public funerals.

The third movement is a lively Scherzo. The trio features hunting calls from the three horns.

The fourth movement is a set of variations on a theme that Beethoven had used several times before. The theme first was used in the finale of his ballet music for The Creatures of Prometheus (1800), the seventh of 12 Contradanses, WoO 14 (1800-1802) and later as a set of piano variations, Op. 35. The theme's subsequent use in this symphony has given the Op. 35 set the nickname "Eroica Variations".

The variations here are structured in a similar manner to those Op. 35 in that the bass line of the theme makes the first appearance and is subjected to a series of strophic variations leading up to the full appearance of the theme itself.

Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 3 Op. 55, the Eroica Symphony is a milestone in the history of the classical symphony for a number of reasons. The piece is about twice as long as symphonies by Haydn or MozartÔÇöthe first movement alone is almost as long as many Classical symphonies, if the exposition repeat is observed.

The work covers more emotional ground than earlier works had, and is often cited as the beginning of the Romantic period in music. The second movement, in particular, displays a great range of emotion, from the misery of the main funeral march theme, to the relative solace of happier, major key episodes.

The finale of the symphony shows a similar range, and is given an importance in the overall scheme which was virtually unheard of previously ÔÇöwhereas in earlier symphonies, the finale was a quick and breezy finishing off, here it is a lengthy set of variations and fugue on a theme Beethoven had originally written for his ballet music The Creatures of Prometheus.

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Reference info: "Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 3 Op. 55 "Eroica" E flat Major", 2012 , Klasik Notlari website, https://www.klasiknotlari.com/en/331/Ludwig van Beethoven Symphony No 3 Op 55 Eroica.html

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