Monday, February 20, 2012

Precedents and Presidents

Today is Presidents' Day, marking the births of Washington and Lincoln, and naturally there is a Beethoven connection.  True, history fails to note any opinions about LvB expressed by Washington (who died before Beethoven reached full fame) or Lincoln, but there's this:  When Lincoln was killed, the slow movement of the Eroica symphony was played at stops his train made from Washington to Springfield.   The Eroica "funeral march" was also featured at the recently founded New York Philharmonic's first concert after the assassination, and has been played to mark many major passings since (it was part of a memorial service for FDR and as a memorable part of  the D.C. funeral procession for JFK, for example).   So besides changing music forever, the revolutionary Eroica has had an additional, pardon the expression, afterlife.   

UPDATE:  Reader @Sharoney sends this link via Twitter re: the Boston Symphony halting its regular program on learning of JFK's assassination in 1963--and switching to the Eroica.

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