Sometimes music transcends pure sound and reminds us of our humanity and our special role in society. Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony is such a work. On November 22, 1963, conductor Erich Leinsdorf interrupted a live performance of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and announced the assassination of President Kennedy.
The stunned audience watched as the orchestra librarians quickly placed new parts on the musicians stands. The orchestra performed the Funeral March from the Eroica Symphony. Remarked the orchestra’s librarian, “Some people left, rushing out in grief. But most, he says, stayed as the orchestra played. Many cried. I was brought to tears by the movement of the Beethoven. It’s such beautiful music anyway.” Indeed.
Finlandia (Jean Sibelius)
The Moldau (Bedrich Smetana)
The Gadfly Suite, op. 97a (Dmitri Shostakovich)
Folk Feast (National Holiday)
Symphony No. 3 “Eroica” (Ludwig van Beethoven)