Beethoven's third symphony marked a change in his artistic ideas - his popularity had reached new heights but he is said to have remarked, "I am only moderately pleased with what I have written hitherto. From now on I mean to enter on a new path". Beethoven had intended to title the symphony in honour of Napoleon, who he felt embodied the ideals of the French revolution, however when Napoleon declared himself emperor this title was scrubbed.
The third movement is in the form of a round dance - a sprightly introduction to the fourth movement finale which develops the theme as a set of variations. Taken apart from the preceding funeral march and the following finale, this scherzo is light, fast and full of energy.
An alternative soprano part replacing sopranino is also included.
If you enjoyed this piece, have comments or corrections, we'd love to hear from you.
This music is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence.