French Revolution

Classical Music - Beethoven

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What marked his artistic development was the impact of the Enlightenment revolution in ideas, particularly of freedom, equality and fraternity, that found material expression in the French Revolution.

This is the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the greatest composers, whose enduring power stems from the close relationship between his creativity and the social turmoil that engulfed the world he grew up in.

Beethoven came from a family of court musicians. In 1792 he settled in Vienna, the great social and cultural centre of the Habsburg Empire.

Interview: Hilary Mantel

Archive article

Hilary Mantel’s new novel is set at the time of the great French Revolution which began with the storming of the Bastille prison on 14 July 1789. The novel centres on three of the revolution’s leading figures. She talked to Paul McGarr and John Rees about why she wrote the book and the revolution’s relevance today.

You’ve said that when you started thinking about the book 18 years ago you felt you couldn’t understand anything about society unless you understood revolutions. What gave you that feeling?

In my mid-teens I developed an obsessional interest in revolutions. I thought of this as a political stance, although when I look back on it now I realise that the idea of “the world turned upside down” was attractive to me because I was miserable and I wanted the world to be different and I wanted to be in charge of myself.

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