Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) left an indelible mark on music in the 35 short years of his life. No classical genre would go untouched by his composing genius. His melodies which seem to unfold effortlessly mask an underlying complexity of musical development. It is in his operas that we see the best reflection of his style and times. The Marriage of Figaro was a true opera buffa in the Italian style which utilized Beaumarchais' revolutionary play to satirize the Old Regime. An opera light with humor and playful arias it never overshadows the harsh reality of the central theme of the story - How long would the world tolerate the aristocracy of a past age?
The Marriage of Figaro
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) was a true revolutionary - both musically and politically. Taking the musical norms of his day, Beethoven stretches them to the limit musical taste would allow. When he wrote, "Freedom above all," one never knows whether to limit its application to politics. In the same manner that old social policy and laws of the Old Regime were being tossed aside, Beethoven no longer felt bound by past musical traditions. The Beethoven concert rung with the sounds of battle and heroism of patriotic martyrs. The 3rd Symphony, called Eroica (Heroic), was inspired by the revolutions which were sweeping the West. As for tyrants like Napoleon, Beethoven had harsh words - and in the second movement, a funeral march.
Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major - Movement I