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Egmont's Story Inspires Overture
Our April concert starts off with one of Beethoven’s final “Heroic” works, the Overture to his incidental music for a production of Goethe’s play Egmont.
Egmont was composed during the period of the Napoleonic Wars, at a time when the French Empire had extended its domination over most of Europe. In the music for Egmont, Beethoven expressed his own political concerns through the exaltation of the heroic sacrifice of a man condemned to death for having taken a valiant stand against oppression. The Overture later became an unofficial anthem of the 1956 Hungarian revolution.
The story of Egmont is one about both freedom and national liberation but also of a hero who dies for his cause, a theme that inspired Beethoven throughout his life. In the 16th century, the Count of Egmont was a Dutch nobleman who led the Flemish resistance against the Spanish rule of the Netherlands. He was beheaded in the Brussels marketplace in 1568.
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