THE "EROICA" & THE "GHOST" TRIO
An historical link...
Beethoven's situation around 1803 is critical and he seems determined to abandon Vienna. Cultural institutions boycotted him and he admits numerous debts (letter to Zmeskall, Autumn 1803). He contemplates moving to Napoleonic Paris where he hopes to get more audience and support from state institutions. In this sense, he may has composed that Third Symphony dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte which could have act as a visiting card and as a necessary homage to be accepted in the "new world". Ferdinand Ries wrote to the publisher Nikolaus Simrock of Bonn: "Beethoven absolutely does not want to sell the new symphony, which he plans to keep for his trip" (letter, December 5, 1803). The Third Symphony, composed between 1802 and 1804, is inspired by the exploits of Napoleon as a Masonic hero who exports to Europe the freedoms acquired in France after 1789. In that moment Bonaparte represented the "liberator". The naming of the symphony after Napoleon was later denied with a surge of disappointed indignation after Napoleon had himself crowned emperor (December 2, 1804), destroying the hope of the Enlightenment ideals dreamers...
The symphony will then be definitively entitled (in Italian) "Sinfonia Eroica dedicata al sovvenire di un grand’uomo"... The “great man” is the Prince Joseph Franz Maximilian von Lobkowitz - a Bohemian aristocrat. It didn't have exactly the same value, but keeping the Napoleon dedication, for a man of strong convictions as Beethoven, would have meant betraying himself.
The departure of Beethoven from Vienna was eventually avoided thanks to an annuity (which at the end didn’t last very long...) donated to him from members of the Austrian high nobility in order for him to stay in Vienna, making him the first "free" musician in history. Among them was the countess Marie von Erdödy to whom Beethoven dedicates the two piano trios op.70 (published in 1809).
Composed in 1808, in a productive exceptional year, the op.70 n.1 received later on the title "Ghost" - Geistertrio - which could be explained by the presence of some sketches of the second movement in a notebook, always in D minor, of planned work on Shakespeare's Macbeth.
PHOTO: The title page of the “Eroica” autograph with the canceled dedication
THE VIOLIN CONCERTO
Searching the sense of life
VIOLIN CONCERTO IN D MAJOR OP.61
Manuscript available online on IMSLP
Ludwig van Beethoven, Epistolario 1783 - 1807, Volume 1, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Skira, 2007
Ludwig van Beethoven, Epistolario 1808 - 1813, Volume 2, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Skira, 2007
Ludwig van Beethoven, Epistolario 1814 - 1816, Volume 3, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Skira, 2007
Ludwig van Beethoven, Epistolario 1817 - 1822, Volume 4, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Skira, 2007
Ludwig van Beethoven, Epistolario 1823 - 1824, Volume 5, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Skira, 2007
Ludwig van Beethoven, Epistolario 1825 - 1827, Volume 6, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Skira, 2007
Robin Stowell, Beethoven Violin concerto, Cambridge University Press, 1998, ISBN: 0521451590