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About this performance

Beethoven Violin Concerto
Beethoven Symphony No. 3 Eroica

Benjamin Northey conductor
James Ehnes violin

The concert
Heroic by name and by nature.

One of the most loved symphonies in the world, the Eroica comes to life in this superb Beethoven double bill.

Known widely as the Eroica (heroic) symphony, Beethoven’s third suffered a notorious controversy over its dedication. Beethoven originally dedicated it to Napoleon, but during composition when the latter crowned himself Emperor, Beethoven was greatly disappointed. In disgust, he allegedly tore Napoleon’s name off the manuscript. The composer’s notion of heroism didn’t sit well with the Frenchman’s notion of tyranny. When it came time to publish the E-flat major symphony, Beethoven suggested, “Sinfonia eroica, composed to celebrate the memory of a great man” – without mentioning the Emperor.

Heroism itself is a concept that flows through the music in numerous ways; sometimes solemn, other times joyful and ultimately triumphant. It is telling that the symphony was played at the funerals of such diverse figures as Felix Mendelssohn, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Completing the double bill is Beethoven’s only violin concerto, played by Grammy Award-winning Canadian violinist James Ehnes. A work not well received in Beethoven’s lifetime, it was revived by Mendelssohn to great acclaim and has since become one of the most important violin concertos ever written.

Running time
1 hour and 49 minutes, including a 20-minute interval.

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