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Beethoven: Creatures Of Prometheus

Can you guess this piece? Here’s a hint: A ballet of mythological proportions!

Only two ballet scores from the Classical period have survived: Gluck’s Don Juan and this piece, Beethoven’s The Creatures of Prometheus. Beethoven composed this work in March of 1801 and described it as a “heroic-allegorical” work. The story of the ballet is taken from the myth of Prometheus, who in this ballet steals fire from the gods to create two human figures out of clay. Finding them devoid of emotion, he takes the humans to Parnassus, where Apollo, Bacchus and the Muses teach them the arts and the passions of human life. Although the work is a wonderful portrait of a young Beethoven in the early stages of his career, The Creatures of Prometheus is relatively unknown apart from the overture and a catchy little tune in the finale. That particular tune was later made famous as the theme in Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, the “Eroica” Symphony.

Music Heard On This Episode

Ludwig van Beethoven: The Creatures of Prometheus: Allegro con brio
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra — Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus, Op. 43: Complete ballet (Deutsche Grammophon, 1990)
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album cover
Ludwig van Beethoven: The Creatures of Prometheus: Allegro con brio
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra — Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus, Op. 43: Complete ballet (Deutsche Grammophon, 1990)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover

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