Myung-Whun Chung / Staatskapelle Dresden

Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphonie Nr. 3 Es-Dur Op. 55 "Eroica"

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Standing monumentally at the beginning of the Romantic era, the Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, "Eroica" of Ludwig van Beethoven initiated his middle period and signaled the direction that symphonies would take for the rest of the 19th century. The heroic tendency of Beethoven's music had a precursor in his bold Symphony No. 2 in D major, though the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte inspired even loftier political and musical ideals. (Despite Ferdinand Ries' testimony that Beethoven furiously removed the dedication of the work to Napoleon when he crowned himself emperor, years later the composer told his publisher that the work was still named Bonaparte Symphony, and he only removed the dedication to avoid offending one of his noble patrons.) More importantly, Beethoven expanded the form of the symphony from its compact Classical structure to an unprecedented length with extended development and made the symphony an open-ended essay in musical thought, the chief form of expression for most later composers of orchestral music. For this live 2004 performance on Profil, Myung-Whun Chung leads the Staatskapelle Dresden in a bracing interpretation that emphasizes the intense activity and daring sonorities of the score, while avoiding the traditional 20th century interpretive style that often resulted in somewhat slower and heavier readings. While this is a live recording, the sound quality is comparable to the best studio recordings, and the enthusiasm of the Dresden audience likely contributed to the orchestra's high energy and bravura playing.

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