Music of the Week: September 3, 2021: The Overture to Egmont, opus 84 – Beethoven

Click here to watch the video.

The Egmont Overture is a great example of using music to express political ideas.

In this piece, Beethoven celebrates Count Egmont (1522-1568), a famous Flemish nobleman and warrior from the Low Countries (The Netherlands), who had been fighting for human freedom against the Spanish oppression represented by the despotic Duke of Albe. Egmont was composed between 1809 and 1810 during the Napoleonic Wars when the first French Empire was dominating vast areas of Europe. It is based on Goethe’s drama Egmont written in 1787.

Beethoven communicates his political concerns through the exaltation of the heroic sacrifice of a man condemned to death for having taken a stand against oppression. Kurt Masur’s interpretation of the Egmont Overture is particularly powerful and beautiful.

The Egmont Overture became an unofficial anthem of the 1956 Hungarian revolution.

More on Egmont on Wikipedia.