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Symphony No. 3 ‘Eroica’: Heroism & shock tactics

Fri 29 May, 5.00pm

Symphony No. 3 'Eroica' : Heroism & shock tactics, Beethoven Symphony films, Online

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After hearing Beethoven play through his 3rd Symphony at the piano, the composer’s pupil Ferdinand Ries wrote that “heaven and earth will tremble when it is performed”. This prediction metaphorically came true: the Eroica’s unprecedented ambition in terms of expression and architecture lifted the symphony into a new realm and has shaken composers, performers and listeners ever since. In the third film of our Beethoven Symphonies series, John Eliot Gardiner shares his insights on the Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major ‘Eroica’, with exclusive footage of the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique in rehearsals for our Beethoven Symphony Cycle.

Directed and edited by Richard Wilson. Produced by Bill Lloyd & Richard Wilson. Director of Photography, Benjamin Ealovega.

About the series

In May, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique and John Eliot Gardiner should have been performing Beethoven’s complete symphonies at the Barbican Hall in London. This cycle was part of an international tour celebrating both Beethoven’s 250th anniversary and the 30th birthday of the ORR. We were lucky enough to be able to complete three cycles – in Barcelona, New York and Chicago – before the pandemic put a stop to all concerts. To give you a flavour of this monumental project, we will be releasing a nine-part series of films where John Eliot Gardiner will give his thoughts on Beethoven’s musical mind, and the orchestra will be seen rehearsing the symphonies.

Beethoven’s process of composition meant wrestling not just with beauty and emotion but also with political and humanitarian themes. During these uncertain times, perhaps more than any other composer, he gives us a feeling of triumph over adversity. The symphonies express Beethoven’s own bravery in the face of personal problems and these documentaries capture John Eliot Gardiner and the ORR tackling the music with a mixture of scholarship, energy, imagination and a complete devotion to Beethoven’s miraculous vision.