Symphony No. 3 in E-Flat Major, by Ludwig van Beethoven
October 31, 2006 5:28 AM   Subscribe

Explore Beethoven's Eroica Symphony [note: flash, sound]
posted by crunchland (25 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Awesome. Brilliant use of Flash.
posted by uncle harold at 5:50 AM on October 31, 2006

Dude...definitely looking forward to more of those. That was far too pretty and fun.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 6:27 AM on October 31, 2006

Wow. Can we get 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 please?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:29 AM on October 31, 2006

Oh, I thought it said "Erotica Symphony." Nevermind.

*slinks away*
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:34 AM on October 31, 2006

fantastic post, the only pity is that you can't follow the entire score, though I realise how much work that would have been.
posted by johnny novak at 6:39 AM on October 31, 2006

Superbly well executed.
posted by gwint at 6:40 AM on October 31, 2006

I'm afraid to proceed to the second movement, as I fear it will screw up my whole day.
posted by popechunk at 6:42 AM on October 31, 2006

This was broadcast by the BBC a couple of years ago and is fantastic, as well (not such a forensic look at the piece, though).
posted by altolinguistic at 7:19 AM on October 31, 2006

Hey ZenMaster, the erotica symphony is on this CD from PDQ Bach.
posted by cosmicbandito at 7:25 AM on October 31, 2006

That is really great. If they did the whole score (and threw in a little mini-documentary about the historical context of the symphony and the history of the piece itself), I'd gladly pay for that kind of treatment of several symphonies. Thanks crunchland.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:26 AM on October 31, 2006

Fantastic! Thanks, crunchland.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:09 AM on October 31, 2006

Beautiful find! I would imagine as Rock Steady said that there's be a huge market for this for classical music fans, and especially those who don't think they're classical music fans ;) The interactivity is really a lovely counterpoint to aggrivating political threads. Also a great promo piece for the SF Symphony. Well done all around!
posted by rmm at 8:10 AM on October 31, 2006

Best of the web. Thanks!
posted by damnthesehumanhands at 8:13 AM on October 31, 2006

Article on the project in today's SF Chronicle.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:49 AM on October 31, 2006

I have wanted exactly this for some time. Kudos, and thanks for the post.
posted by alms at 11:18 AM on October 31, 2006

This is a great link and a superb use of Flash. I love this symphony and I love the interactivity. But...

"The march tune returns, but now with questions. 'Why must we suffer?' Why must we die?'"

This sort of "interpreting" has always stuck me as odd. The tune DIDN'T return with questions. A tune can't ask questions. I get that this is someone's interpretation -- that to HIM the music evokes questions. But that's so personal that it seems strange to just state it as a bare fact. And I fear that stuff like this leads some people to think they'll never "get" classical music. They'll listen over and over, hoping to hear the questions, wondering why they're so stupid that they don't hear them.
posted by grumblebee at 2:00 PM on October 31, 2006

Grumblebee, I think the opposite is true. I think the idea that classical music is totally abstract and untouchable and without any extramusical implications or context is what makes people think they'll never "get" it. Even if the interpretation isn't absolute or objective here, I think that showing that the music can be interpreted -- no wait, it must be interpreted -- can only help give keys to those who feel lost.

Regarding the post itself:

[this is good]
posted by speicus at 2:22 PM on October 31, 2006

Though I rolled my eyes at the one part where they were like "this theme shows Beethoven's despair while struggling with deafness." WhatEVER.
posted by speicus at 2:48 PM on October 31, 2006

I'm all for interpretations and sharing interpretations. But I remember -- when I was young -- being so confused by lit and music crit people when then told me what things stood for. Maybe I was the only one who was confused, but I didn't get that these were subjective calls. I thought there was a secret that these people were tapped into -- a secret that I didn't get and that they didn't feel like sharing with me.
posted by grumblebee at 3:04 PM on October 31, 2006

Huh. That's interesting, grumblebee. Do you think there could have been another way of getting you interested in classical music that would have felt more inclusive?
posted by speicus at 4:18 PM on October 31, 2006

Yes. I think it's fairly simple. Teachers need to encourage students to share their interpretations. Teachers need to share THEIR interpretations. At the same time, teachers need to make it really clear that there isn't a "right"* interpretation.

When someone says, "this tune asks a question," my mind immediately asks, "How do you know? What do you mean by it asks a question? How can a tune ask a question?" But my education led me to believe that if you didn't just get it -- if you couldn't hear the question in the tune -- then you just weren't smart enough.

I also think a teacher can delve into the formal aspects of the music. Generally, people appreciate art more when they learn a little about how it's constructed. I'm a total novice musically (I can't play an instrument or read music), but I've become passionate about some pieces due to someone pointing out various themes and how composers have played with them.

I think the biggest way to help people appreciate classical music is through exposure. Most people learn to love music that they are exposed to regularly. Most people have very little exposure to classical music. Also, they don't have a guide. They need someone to gradually lead them from simpler to more complex pieces.

There was ZERO exposure to classical music (or Jazz) in my schooling. Why? I learned to love it, but that's just because I got lucky enough to have a dad who collected it.

* One fascinating question: are all interpretations of equal merit? Is it valid for me to feel that this symphony is about Hershey's Kisses? That seems silly, but what if I insist on this interpretation. I think this is a tough philosophical issue (are there any artistic absolutes?). This should be brought up in a class. The teacher should share his interpretation and other major interpretations, encourage students to share theres, and get the students started on thinking about why (or if) we value one interpretation over another.
posted by grumblebee at 5:46 PM on October 31, 2006

Seems like they missed one of the most interesting aspects of the story - the defaced title page:
The manuscript copy of Eroica now in the library of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna shows that the work was to be a Sinfonia Grande Intitulata Bonaparte (A Great Symphony on Bonaparte). The title page bears the date "[1]804 im August" -though apparently in a hand other than the composer's. Written lightly in pencil in his own handwriting below his name is the annotation Geschrieben auf Bonapart (written in honor of Bonaparte). The latter annotation was never erased. However, in the main title, the name Bonapart has been scratched out so violently that the erasure has left a hole in the paper.

Did LVB scratch it out himself? Did he come to the conslusion that Napoleon was a tyrant or was it because of the money offered to him by Lobkowitz? More...
posted by imposster at 6:34 PM on October 31, 2006

Nice to see some culture expressed vividly.

Good contribution.
posted by PreacherTom at 8:34 PM on October 31, 2006

speicus: "Though I rolled my eyes at the one part where they were like 'this theme shows Beethoven's despair while struggling with deafness.' WhatEVER."

An apt time to puncture a 'factoid' - Barring his last couple of years, Beethoven was hard of hearing but not deaf.
posted by Gyan at 10:21 PM on October 31, 2006

Sure, Gyan, but check the review of his last concert in the Guardian (I'd link, but the damn site is down). Horribly tragic, and when you can't properly hear an orchestra playing right next to you, and you are the guy who wrote the music, your hearing is way gone in any real sense, even if vestiges remain.
posted by Wolof at 10:49 PM on October 31, 2006

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