Fresh Look: Class 3—Preview the Music

Class 3: “You mean there’s more to classical…?”

Now that you’ve made it through the first two sessions of Fresh Look, we treat you to Beethoven. Here are samples of what you’ll hear in Class 3: “You mean there’s more to classical…?”


The second movement of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 is a largo or slower movement. In class, you’ll hear about Beethoven’s legacy of developing civic symphony orchestras and how Beethoven transformed orchestral music. Here is a sampling of the piano concerto, starring soloist Vladimir Ashkenazy.


Here is Beethoven’s Prometheus Overture, as conducted by Leonard Bernstein. This overture is for the ballet The Creatures of Prometheus, the only full-length ballet composed by Beethoven. The full ballet portrays the myth of Prometheus, a Greek Titan, who crafted clay statues that later became the human race. He later stole fire for them against Zeus’ orders, causing him to be tortured for eternity.


Symphony No.3, also called the Eroica symphony, opens very similarly to the Prometheus Overture. It has a recognizable melody, particularly in the first movement, and is one of Beethoven’s most celebrated works. See the Vienna Philharmonic perform it below.


Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 is even more infamous than his third symphony. It has been incorporated as backing music for countless films and media, notably the Disney movie Fantasia 2000. The movie shows a visual representation of what the symphony sounds like. If you want to listen to the rest of the symphony, the next video is a performance by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, or you can hear it live at the ICONIC BEETHOVEN concert in September.


Last but not least, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, while over an hour of music, is mainly known for just one small section of the piece. If you’ve ever heard “Ode to Joy,” you’ll find its origins here. Beethoven himself was fully deaf when he composed and conducted this symphony, so at the end of the first performance one of the musicians needed to turn him around so he could see the uproarious applause. Skip to 55:24 if you want to hear the “Ode to Joy” melody.

The California Symphony presents FRESH LOOK: THE SYMPHONY EXPOSED at the Walnut Creek Library in Walnut Creek starting on Tuesday, July 9 at 6:30pm. Tickets are $25 for the full 4 classes, which is later redeemable for any first purchase of an adult-priced concert ticket in the 19/20 season.


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