BEETHOVEN, L. van: Die Geschopfe des Prometheus (excerpts) (Bernstein)

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- (Disc 1)

Die Geschopfe des Prometheus (The Creatures of Prometheus), Op. 43

Venue: Grosser Musikvereinssaal, Vienna
Date of Concert: 1978
Playing Time: 00:24:37
Television Director: Burton, Humphrey
Catalogue Number: A05500656
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The Creatures of Prometheus, a ballet produced in Vienna in 1801, was not well received at its first performance. Today, aside from the overture, the ballet music is rarely heard. This work was composed during a time of intense personal crisis for Beethoven. In 1801 he wrote a friend, "I am leading a miserable life; for almost two years now I have been avoiding all social functions simply because I feel incapable of telling people that I am deaf." The ballet is based on the myth of the god Prometheus, who stole the fire from the heavens and gave it to mankind, along with the knowledge of arts and sciences. In writing the Prometheus score, Beethoven had to adhere to the conventions of ballet music, which required a chain of relatively short pieces.

This recording is part of Leonard Bernstein’s Beethoven cycle, recorded primarily with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in the early 1980s. Writing in The New York Times, critic John J. O'Connor stated: "As Mr. Bernstein says, there is 'no single body of work in the universe of orchestral music that is in any way comparable to this one.' Conducted with intense dedication and soaring spirits by Mr. Bernstein, these recordings are superb, both visually and aurally."

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