Retracing Beethoven's steps through Vienna's aristocratic ballrooms and Austria's rustic villages, MTT explores how Beethoven channeled his fears of deafness, his admiration for Napoleon, and his obsession to prove himself the greatest composer of his time and to write a piece that forever changed what a symphony would be.
Keeping Score began two years ago with a detailed examination of Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, using that as a sort of archetypal masterpiece through which all the basic elements of music -- form, harmony, rhythm, melody and so on -- could be explored.
This time around, though, Thomas is focusing on musical revolutions -- the exceptions, not the rules. And if the logo that's been sprouting up all over town (clenched fist, fiddle, Bolshevik black-on-red color scheme) seems a little corny, the range of music under discussion is aptly chosen and beautifully explicated.
Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony, the hugest and most dramatically challenging symphony of its day, is the first stop, followed next week by Stravinsky's equally incendiary "Rite of Spring."
- Joshua Kosman, SF Gate
Not all revolutions are political. Some overturn artistic conventions. Beethoven’s Eroica challenged accepted artistic notions of music as a kind of decorative background and brought the listener along on a gripping voyage into the unconscious.
Beethoven spent three years writing the Eroica, which was an intimate and unflinching journal of his personal crises. The piece marked his emergence as an original master. In this DVD Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony invite you to discover the music of the Eroica and the circumstances surrounding its creation.
– Live performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3, “Eroica” by the San Francisco Symphony and MTT shot in high definition, presented in 16:9 widescreen and 5.1 surround sound
– Documentary includes optional closed-caption English subtitles
– Subtitles in German, French, Spanish, and Chinese