6/27/2019

How Beethoven went from Napoleon’s biggest fan to his worst critic



"Then, in spring 1804, as he was finishing the symphony, news came to Vienna that Napoleon had declared himself emperor of France. Beethoven’s response, according to his protégé Ferdinand Ries, was a furious diatribe against his former hero: “Now he, too, will tread underfoot all the rights of man [to] indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men [and] become a tyrant!” A page in the preserved score shows where the word Bonaparte has been heavily struck through with a pen."