Egmont Overture
Ludwig van Beethoven

142

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Beethoven is the second most popular composer in the Ultimate Hall of Fame with 17 entries. This is his sixth entry and the first to appear in every Hall of Fame since it began in 1996.

During 1809 and 1810, Beethoven composed both the overture and the incidental music to Goethe's play Egmont, depicting the life of the count of Egmont, a Flemish nobleman who was executed as part of a conspiracy in 1567.

In a letter to Goethe, Beethoven's friend Bettina von Brentano explained the composer's fascination with Egmont, writing that he had told her, 'Goethe's poems exert a great power over me not only by virtue of their content but also their rhythm; I am put in the right mood and stimulated to compose by this language, which builds itself into a higher order as if through spiritual agencies, and bears within itself the secret of harmony.'