Beethoven's Life and Music After Napoleon

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Beethoven was a political composer. He stubbornly dedicated his art to the problems of human freedom, justice, progress, and community. The Third Symphony, probably Beethoven's most influential work, centers around a funeral march provoking patriotic ceremonies from the French Revolution. Beethoven was a long time admirer of Napoleon Bonaparte. So he dedicated the symphony to Napoleon, but when Napoleon was proclaimed the Emperor of France, he scratched the dedication to Napoleon. This Symphony is cited as the marking end of Beethoven's classical era and the beginning of musical Romanticism. But what of Beethoven after Napoleon? Beethoven's life and music became worse after the Third Symphony was composed because of his reaction to Napoleon becoming Emperor, his deafness, and through his personal and family difficulties. Not only did Beethoven scratch out the dedication to Napoleon in the Third Symphony. He became disgusted and went to the table where the completed score lay. He took hold of the title-page and scratched the name Bonaparte so violently with a knife that he cr...

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