More views of – or before – Cambridge Film Festival 2015 (3 to 13 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)
Part IVA was a preview of Beethoven, with his familiar Symphony No. 3 in E Flat Major, Op. 55, which is being brought to us (at 7.30 p.m. on Saturday 11 April 2015) at The Corn Exchange, Cambridge (@CambridgeCornEx), by celebrated conductor Christoph Koenig (coupled with Elgar’s less-performed concerto, for violin and orchestra, played by Pinchas Zukerman, a truly legendary soloist) – this is a resting-place for a gratuitous Epilogue to that preview...
One will notice that the preview itself steered quite clear of the question of the (rescinded) dedication to Napoleon Buonaparte – for several reasons. One is that [the nature / meaning of] commissions or dedications, such as that which gives us the name of The Razumovsky Quartets (for the three that his Opus 59 comprises) – or, with Bach, BWV 988 and BWV 1046 to 1051 (respectively, the so-called Goldberg Variations and Brandenburg Concertos) – are sometimes pretty questionable.
Another is that it is arguably more interesting to realize of the poet whom William Wordsworth became that, from 1792 (and not for a little while afterwards), he did far more to support The French Revolution and [notions of] La République française than Beethoven probably did in, say, flirting with offering his work in progress to Napoleon (what does this actually tell us about the 3rd ?)*.
The last, and most persuasive, conjoins these points, i.e. that the music – as any music worth its name – transcends such temporal considerations : the Op. 59 quartets may have been dedicated to Razumovsky (and have sought to please / flatter him), but what does that really tell us other than about the patronage that supported Beethoven as a composer (and what scholars choose to try to read into the works on the basis of having this knowledge) ?
I should like to suggest that we might get as much understanding of this ‘Eroica’ symphony (completed in early 1804) by turning to the heroism of Leonora in Fidelio (whose character gave us no fewer than three overtures [link to, and data from, All About Ludwig van Beethoven]: No. 1, Op. 138 (1805), No. 2, Op. 72a (1805), No. 3, Op. 72b (1814).
Or by asking what impulse in Beethoven (in 1807) gave us, with another heroic (but also tragic) figure, his overture Coriolan** (Ouvertüre zu Coriolan), Op. 62 ?
* Or, maybe, that Byron wrote an 'Ode To Napoleon Buonaparte', which Schoenberg set as his Opus 41 (initially in 1942, in versions (with narrator and piano) for string quartet, and string orchestra, the latter of which was first performed in November 1944).
** Also mentioned here, earlier in the season.
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Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)