Thursday, June 23, 2011

NY Philharmonic: Beethoven's Egmont Overture

The New York Philharmonic, conducted by Lorin Maazal, performs Beethoven's Egmont Overture, Op 84, at the Seoul Arts Center in Seoul, Korea, on Feb, 28, 2008.  Two days, earlier, Maazel  had conducted the New York Philharmonic on their landmark visit to Pyongyang, North Korea, on February 26, 2008.

Egmont was composed by Ludwig van Beethoven, a set of incidental music pieces based on the 1787 play of the same name by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and premiered on June 15, 1810. The overture is followed by nine additional pieces for soprano, male narrator and full symphony orchestra. Here are some background notes to the Egmont, from Wikipedia:
The subject of the music and dramatic narrative is the life and heroism of a 16th-century Dutch nobleman, the Count of Egmont. It was composed during the period of the Napoleonic Wars, at a time when the French Empire had extended its domination over most of Europe. Beethoven had famously expressed his great outrage over Napoleon Bonaparte's decision to crown himself Emperor in 1804, furiously scratching out his name in the dedication of the Eroica Symphony. 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 Ouverture would later become an unofficial anthem of the 1956 Hungarian revolution.
Lorin Maazal was musical director of the New York Philharmonic from 2002 to 2009. In March 2010, Maazel, who is now 81, was named the next chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, which will take effect in the 2012-13 season.


  1. In 1989, during Beijing Spring, the students at Hebei University took over the school's loudspeakers and played Beethoven all day. Among the pieces I heard in my apartment at Hebei University was the Egmont Overture. It brought tears to my eyes then, and it still does today.
    The July 2011 issue of HARVARD MEN'S HEALTH WATCH has a long article entitled "Music and Health," in which we read that "music can enhance the function of neural networks, slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure, reduce levels of stress hormones and inflammatory cytokines, and provide some relief to patients undergoing surgery, as well as heart attack and stroke victims."

  2. Prof Jochnowitz:

    Thank you for that noteworthy information regrading the students' actions and their choice of music during Beijing Spring The Egmont Overture is a beautiful piece, and I am not surprised it brings tears to one's eyes. I am equally not surprised that music has a healing and beneficial effect on our health.


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