Around the turn of the nineteenth century, Ludwig van Beethoven was becoming more and more interested in distinguishing himself as a unique compositional voice.
He may have been inspired in this by the mythological figure of Prometheus, who was punished for gifting humanity with the fire of the Gods.
Beethoven’s first ballet was about Prometheus. The Promethean myth is often seen as a metaphor for wisdom, enlightenment, and creativity.
Today, rather un-Promethean qualities of this work have not made it Beethoven’s most popular, and only the Overture is regularly performed.
Still, something about this work apparently stuck with Beethoven. A theme from the finale was reused in several later pieces, including the last movement of the Eroica Symphony.