Beethoven: Sparks of Joy — Out of ruins; bring forth a renaissance.
“The Ruins of Athens” is the third of three plays written by August von Kotzebue for the opening of the lavish new theater in Pest (the first was “King Stephen”, and the second didn’t survive the censor’s knife). In the play, Athena wakes from a thousand-year sleep to find her city in ruins and under foreign occupation. She’s then whisked to Hungary, where a new center of learning and culture is being created.
For the play, Beethoven composed an overture and eight musical pieces, the best-known of which is the famous Turkish March (which is also the subject of his Opus 76 variations). [Notes by Margaret Scialdone.]