La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra – Alain Altinoglu conductor – Jan Smets trombone
Symphony no. 1, op. 21 Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony no. 3, op. 55, "Eroica" Ludwig van Beethoven
Tombeau de Napoléon, op. 81 (World Première - commission La Monnaie) Richard Dubugnon
Beethoven radically changed music, more than any other composer in history. In performing all nine of his symphonies, Alain Altinoglu has a superb opportunity to illustrate this. Schumann (through his alter ego Florestan) pointed out that Beethoven’s status as a genius does not depend on his final symphony, but is already evident in the First. When Beethoven presented his First Symphony in Vienna, Europe had undergone major change as a result of the French Revolution. This symphony still reflected the Classical ideal of Mozart and Haydn, but a certain detachment from the symphonic genre also showed through, for example, in its opening chord. This cleared Beethoven’s way to the ‘Eroica’, which in tone and scale is an unrivalled, pivotal work. The Third Symphony’s heroism and its funeral march find an echo in the use of the trombone as a solo instrument in Richard Dubugnon’s commissioned work, whose title refers to the historical figure to whom Beethoven initially dedicated his ‘Eroica’.