As the best pianist in Vienna, Ludwig van Beethoven had everything: talent, money, fame. But he also had a terrible secret. He was slowly going deaf. Though his hearing deserted him, the maestro never lost his music. Seeking inspiration for his compositions, Beethoven hit upon Napoleon Bonaparte, then considered a liberator and a folk hero. Soon after Beethoven completed the work, Napoleon declared himself Emperor of France; betrayed and enraged, Beethoven tore his copy of the score to pieces. But his friend Ferdinand rescued a copy, and in time, Beethoven renamed it Eroica: the Heroic Symphony, dedicated to hero in each and every one of us.
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In a glimmering salon, Ludwig van Beethoven played the piano. The audience sat mesmerized. Never had they heard music performed with such emotion and strength. As Ludwig glanced at them, he felt extremely proud. He was the best pianist in Vienna, perhaps the best in all of Europe. Ludwig wrote music that showcased his talent, and when he played, women swooned and men cheered. The wealthy paid him large sums of money to perform in their homes.
Excerpted from "Beethoven's Heroic Symphony"
Copyright © 2016 Anna Harwell Celenza.
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