Egmont (Beethoven)

Egmont, opus 84, by Ludwig van Beethoven, is a set of incidental music pieces for the 1787 play of the same name by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. It consists of an overture and nine separate subsequent pieces for soprano and full orchestra. Beethoven wrote it between October 1809 and June 1810, and it was premiered on 15 June 1810.

The subject of the music is the history and the heroism of the Count of Egmont. In the music Beethoven expressed his own political concerns, particularly the heroic exaltation of the sacrifice of a man condemned to death by having taken a strong stand against oppression.

The music was accompanied by eulogistic praise, in particular by E.T.A. Hoffmann, for its poetry and Goethe himself declared that Beethoven had expressed his intentions with "a remarkable genius".

The overture, powerful and expressive, is one of the last works of his middle period; it has become as famous a composition as the Coriolan Overture, and is in a similar style to the Fifth Symphony which he completed two years earlier.

The incidental music includes the following sections, among which the overture, the lied Die Trommel gerühret and the mort de Klärchen are particularly well-known:

  1. Ouverture: Sostenuto, ma non troppo - Allegro
  2. Lied: "Die Trommel gerühret"
  3. Entracte: Andante
  4. Entracte: Larghetto
  5. Lied: "Freudvoll und Leidvoll"
  6. Entracte: Allegro - Marcia
  7. Entracte: Poco sostenuto e risoluto
  8. Mort de Klärchen
  9. Melodram: "Süßer Schlaf"
  10. Siegessymphonie (symphony of victory): Allegro con brio

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