Bernard Haitink, London Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 ‘Erocia’ (US Version)

Gavin Borchert

By Gavin Borchert

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 'Erocia' (US Version)

Bernard Haitink, London Symphony Orchestra
A theme song for Bonaparte.

Beethoven took the standard forms of his time and made them bigger in every way: epic length, torrential energy, mightiness of spirit, emotional profundity, riveting drama. No one had heard anything like his 40-minute Third Symphony when it was first performed in 1805. Inspired by Napoleon, Beethoven's original title was "Bonaparte," crossed out on the manuscript title page in a fit of anger (legend has it) when he heard the war hero had proclaimed himself Emperor, and changed to the more general "Eroica" in the first published edition. There's quite a bit of the angry, brusque Beethoven here in Bernard Haitink's performance with the London Symphony.