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Egmont, Op. 84, is the overture for the incidental music for the 1787 play of the same name by J.W. von Goethe. The subject of narrative is the life of the 16th-century Count of Egmont. It was composed during the Napoleonic Wars, when the French had extended their domination over most of Europe. Beethoven had famously expressed his outrage over Bonaparte's decision to crown himself Emperor in 1804, scratching out his name in the dedication of the Eroica Symphony. In the music for Egmont, Beethoven expressed his own political concerns through the exaltation of the heroic sacrifice of a man condemned to death for having taken a valiant stand against oppression. The Overture later became an unofficial anthem of the 1956 Hungarian revolution. The music was greeted with eulogistic praise, in particular by E.T.A. Hoffmann for its poetry, and Goethe himself declared that Beethoven had expressed his intentions with "a remarkable genius". The overture, powerful and expressive, is one of the last works of his middle period; it has become as famous a composition as the Coriolan Overture, and is in a similar style to the Fifth Symphony, which he had completed two years earlier.
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