This is the month when Ludwig van Beethoven turns 250 years old…fifteen days from now, to be precise. In honor of this, I’ll be stepping up the frequency of Beethoven-related posts–not quite daily, I expect, but there will be a lot of Beethoven this month, with a special post on the 16th, Beethoven’s actual anniversary. Let’s kick things off with an overture to one of Beethoven’s signature works, his only opera, Fidelio. Among Beethoven’s passions–in fact, after music, maybe his greatest passion–were the ideas of freedom and liberty. Beethoven lived in a deeply revolutionary era (I am reading a book about this aspect of his personality right now, but more on that later in the month), and he believed deeply in the liberal ideals that France would express as Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. These values inform his opera, in which a woman goes undercover as a man to rescue her husband, who has been unjustly accused. The opera itself is a great work, and its overture (which was the last of four that Beethoven composed for it, being ever the perfectionist) is representative of many of Beethoven’s finest aspects as a composer.
Let there be Beethoven!