Masterclass: Beethoven’s Symphony no.3 in E flat major ‘Eroica’: viola part

Roger Benedict

Roger Benedict provides practical tips for playing this cornerstone of the orchestral repertoire

Beethoven’s nine symphonies are the bread and butter of the orchestral musician’s repertoire, and players will perform these works countless times in their careers, in a range of interpretative styles. I’ve played the symphonies under such conductors as Georg Solti, Lorin Maazel, Roger Norrington and Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and each one had vastly different ideas on articulation, sound, phrasing and tempo. In spite of this, there are some general points about performing Beethoven that are worth bearing in mind, and there is no better place to start than with the Third Symphony, which also happens to contain a couple of familiar viola orchestral excerpts asked for in auditions…

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