Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major (Eroica
Ludwig van Beethoven
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 8 Tracks 52-66
I remember the LPs of Beethoven's nine symphonies recorded by the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra under the direction of George Szell that rest in my father's now infrequently used recorded collection. His collection stands silently in an old, tall, black, poorly built, homemade record shelf upstaged by the CDs scattered over the piano, fireplace, and corners of his living room. We lived in West Virginia when he bought those records and I was in second grade. Surrounded by the lush Appalachian mountains I was jostled up and down on my father's knee and we listened to those symphonies repeatedly.
So it is awkward for me to hear that, as the scholars have it, the development section is too long or that the French horn arrives at the recapitulation a few bars early or that there are other faults in Beethoven's symphonies. Though Beethoven may have stormed out of his teacher's classroom and, somewhat recklessly, forged new concepts in music, by the time his tunes reached the Appalachians in the late twentieth century he provided many listeners, such as my father and myself, not an iconoclast's vision but an understanding of the rhythmic immediacy imperative to good music.
Though his relationship with his father and the possibility of attaining fatherhood himself were weakened by the force of his musical talent, Ludwig, in the broad scope of things, thus participates in the activity of fatherhood.