Beethoven was famously energised by the principles of the French Revolution, before being disillusioned by Napoleon's betrayal of those principles.
Kent Nagano, with the Orchestre Symphonique De Montreal, focuses on this aspect of the composer's work. The second CD directly reflects the revolutionary influence through performances of the 5th Symphony, and excerpts from Egmont and the Opferlied; but it's the first disc that is more interesting. Fragments of Egmont, König Stephan and Leonore Prohaska accompany a new libretto by Paul Griffiths telling of the UN peacekeeper Romeo Dallaire's attempts to prevent the civil war in Rwanda. I'm not sure what this has to do with the French Revolution, but it's gripping stuff, largely thanks to Maximilian Schell's world-wearied narration of Dallaire's predicament.
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