Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, Op.33 – Anton Eberl
Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major, WoO 1, S. 49 – Johann Nepomuk Hummel
Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat Major, Op. 55 “Eroica” – Ludwig van Beethoven
The French Revolution had lasting and monumental effects on society, politics, and music. The toppling of centuries-old institutions such as absolute monarchy and the feudal system brought about great change in France and throughout Europe. Music during this period was used as a tool to promote revolutionary ideals. Large choral works and ceremonial pieces were composed for public celebrations and the rise of popular songs, such as La Marseillaise, became an outcry for the people. Most notably, the French Revolution gave way to a spirit of grandiosity in music, which Beethoven made his own by creating works unprecedented in their individuality, dramatic power, and appeal.
This program features three works composed in 1803 in response to this revolutionary spirit: Anton Eberl’s Symphony in E-flat Major, Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto in E-flat Major, performed by George Goad, and Beethoven’s Eroica symphony.
Beethoven’s Eroica symphony burst the boundaries of music. It is longer, more intense in expression then any previous symphony, and represents a revolution in music. Beethoven initially named the symphony “Bonaparte,” but when he received news that Napoleon had declared himself emperor, he violently crossed out the name and dedicated the symphony to an anonymous hero of the revolution, “Erioca.” Anton Eberl’s third symphony followed in the same spirit of Beethoven’s and was lauded at its premiere as being “quite extraordinary, successful, and full of bold new deas.” Hummel’s Trumpet Concerto highlights the technical advancement of musical instruments during the Industrial Revolution, which ran concurrent to the French Revolution.