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Beethoven - Hero or Villain?

Tom Service asks whether posterity's casting of Beethoven as a hero is a good thing and if it means we miss crucial things in the music of others, or even of Beethoven himself.

Presented by Tom Service

Beethoven lived in an age of revolution and his music has long been associated with heroism. But does posterity's casting of Beethoven as a hero mean that we miss crucial things in the music of others, or even of Beethoven himself? Is he a musical hero or a musical villain? And what does Beethoven have to say about heroines?

Rethink music, with The Listening Service.

Available now

29 minutes

Music Played

  • Bonnie Tyler

    Holding Out For A Hero

    • Holding Out For A Hero.
    • CBS.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Egmont - incidental music (Op.84), Overture

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Claudio Abbado.
    • Masterworks Limited Edition.
    • DG.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Coriolan - overture (Op.62)

    Performer: Vienna Philharmonic. Performer: Claudio Abbado.
    • DG.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony no. 5 (Op.67) in C minor, 1st movement; Allegro con brio

    Performer: Vienna Philharmonic. Performer: Karl Böhm.
    • Beethoven Masterworks.
    • DG.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony no. 9 (Op.125) in D minor "Choral", 4th mvt

    Performer: Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Performer: Arnold Schoenberg Chor. Performer: Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    • Beethoven: Complete Symphonies 1-9.
    • Warner Classics.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Quartet for strings (Op.130) in B flat major..., 6th mvt; Gross Fuge

    Performer: Hungarian Quartet.
    • The Collector's Edition.
    • EMI.
  • Johannes Brahms

    Symphony no. 1 (Op.68) in C minor, 4th mvt; Adagio - Piu andante - Allo. non

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Claudio Abbado.
    • Brahms - Symphonies & Overtures.
    • DG.
  • Felix Mendelssohn

    Octet for strings (Op.20) in E flat major, 1st movement; Allegro con fuoco

    Performer: Nash Ensemble.
    • Wigmore Hall Live.
    • WIGMORE HALL LIVE.
  • Frédéric Chopin

    3 Waltzes for piano (Op.64), no.1 in D flat major; "Minute"

    Performer: Maria João Pires.
    • The Chopin Experience.
    • WARNER.
  • Richard Wagner

    Die Walkure [Part 2 of 'Der Ring ...'], Act 3; The Ride of the Valkyries

    Performer: Orchestre de Paris. Performer: Daniel Barenboim.
    • Wagner Complete Operas.
    • DG.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony no. 3 (Op.55) in E flat major "Eroica", 1st movement; Allegro con brio

    Performer: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Performer: Claudio Abbado.
    • Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9.
    • DG.
    • 1.
  • Robert Schumann

    Mit humor (5 Stucke im Volkston, Op 102)

    Performer: Steven Isserlis. Performer: Christoph Eschenbach.
    • Steven Isserlis plays Schumann.
    • RCA.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Sonata for piano no. 24 (Op.78) in F sharp major

    Performer: Claude Frank.
    • Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas by Claude Frank.
    • Music & Arts.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Bagatelle (fur Elise) for piano (WoO.59) in A minor

    Performer: Alfred Brendel.
    • PHILIPS.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Wo die berge so bau from An die ferne Geliebte

    Performer: Dietrich Fischer‐Dieskau. Performer: Jörg Demus.
    • DG.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony no. 6 (Op.68) in F maj "Pastoral", 1st mvt; Erwachen heiterer Gefuhle..

    Performer: Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Performer: Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    • Beethoven - Complete Symphonies.
    • TELDEC.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Symphony no. 6 (Op.68) in F maj "Pastoral", last Mvt

    Performer: Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Performer: Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
    • Beethoven - Complete Symphonies.
    • TELDEC.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Die Trommel geruhret from Complete Incidental Music to Egmont Op.84

    Composer: Pilar Lorengar. Composer: Vienna Philharmonic. Composer: George Szell.
    • Egmont - Ludwig Van Beethoven.
    • DECCA.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    A Fifth of Beethoven

    Performer: Walter Murphy.
    • A Fifth Of Beethoven.
    • Private Stock.

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