Beethoven Wellingtons Sieg, Op. 91

Wellington's Victory, or, the Battle of Vitoria, Op. 91 (Wellingtons Sieg oder die Schlacht bei Vittoria) is a minor 15-minute long orchestral work composed by Ludwig van Beethoven to commemorate the Duke of Wellington's victory overJoseph Bonaparte at the Battle of Vitoria in Spain on 21 June 1813. It is known sometimes as "The Battle Symphony" or "The Battle of Vitoria", and was dedicated to the Prince Regent, later King George IV. Composition stretched through August and September and was completed in the first week of October 1813, and it proved to be a substantial moneymaker for Beethoven. A common misconception among commentators is that it commemorates Wellington's defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte at theBattle of Waterloo. After the Battle of Vitoria, Beethoven’s friend Johann Nepomuk Maelzel talked him into writ­ing a com­po­si­tion com­mem­o­rat­ing this bat­tle that he could notate on his 'mechan­i­cal orches­tra', the panharmonicon, a contraption that was able to play many of the military band instruments of the day. How­ever, Beethoven wrote a com­po­si­tion for large band, so large that Maelzel could not build a machine large enough to per­form the music. As an alter­na­tive, Beethoven rewrote the Siegess­in­fonie for orches­tra, added a first part and renamed the work Wellington’s Vic­tory. The piece was first performed in Vienna on 8 December 1813 at a concert to benefit Austrian and Bavarian soldiers wounded at the Battle of Hanau, with Beethoven conducting. It was an immediate crowd-pleaser and met with much enthusiasm from early concertgoers. Also on the programme were the premiere of his Symphony No. 7 and a work per­formed by Maelzel' mechan­i­cal trumpeter. "Wellington's Victory" is something of a musical novelty. The full orchestration calls for two flutes, a piccolo, two oboes, twoclarinets, two bassoons, a contrabassoon, four horns, six trumpets, three trombones, timpani, a large percussion battery (including muskets and other artillery sound effects), and a usual string section of violins I and II, violas, cellos, and double basses. It is interesting to note the greater number of trumpets than horns, and the expansion of brass and percussion. In the orchestral percussion section one player plays the timpani, the other three play the cymbals, bass drum and triangle. On stage there are two 'sides', British and French, both playing the same instruments: two side drums (englisches/französisches Trommeln in the score), two bass drums (Kanone in the score), two (four) rattles, played by eight to ten instrumentalists. The music simulates approaching opposing armies and contains extended passages depicting scenes of battle. It uses "Rule Britannia" and "God Save the King" for the British, and "Marlbrough s'en va-t-en guerre" ("Marlborough has left for the War") for the French – the latter tune also now known as "The Bear Went Over the Mountain" or "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow." Beethoven might have been expected to use the tune to "La Marsaillese" to represent the French side, asTchaikovsky later did in his "1812 Overture". But in Vienna at the time, the song was considered subversive. Source: Wikipedia
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