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Beethoven: The Eroica Symphony

Ivan Hewett examines a chord from Beethoven's Eroica Symphony to test the idea that harmony is a reflection of history. He is joined by experts John Suchet and Andrew Roberts.

Ivan Hewett examines a chord from Beethoven's Eroica Symphony to test the idea that harmony is a reflection of history. He's joined by Beethoven expert John Suchet and writer and historian Professor Andrew Roberts who has special interest in Napoleon.

Music is never created in isolation - it's conceived in relation to what's going on around a composer in terms of personal and historical events, new technologies, new ideas and artistic endeavours in other fields. In this series, Ivan Hewett is looking at five very different chords which amply demonstrate the concept that harmony is a reflection of history.

Each programme is a bite size portion of rich musical and historical investigation - and each chord has had far reaching influence on other music and is emblematic of its era.

Beethoven's Eroica Chord of 1804 is the climax of the composer's attempt to capture the fervour of revolution. Strident trumpets scream out above the orchestra, forming a clash of harmony that no-one could mistake as anything but a great musical rallying cry for freedom.

Ivan Hewett is a writer on music for the Daily Telegraph, broadcaster on BBC Radio 3, and teacher at the Royal College of Music.

Producer: Rosie Boulton
A Monty Funk production for BBC Radio 4.

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Five chords that changed classical music for ever

Five chords that changed classical music for ever

Ivan Hewett reveals five groups of notes which continue to resonate down the centuries.