Ludwig van Beethoven
Modern edition by David Whitwell
Following a minor victory, the first of allied troops over Napoleon, the Battle of Vitoria in Spain on 21 June 1813, Beethoven’s friend Johann Mälzel saw an opportunity for a quick box-office success and talked the composer into writing a composition commemorating this battle which he could notate on his ‘mechanical orchestra’: the panharmonicon. Beethoven, however, wrote a composition for large band–an instrumentation so large that Mälzel could not build a machine large enough to perform the music. As an alternative plan, Beethoven rewrote the Siegessinfonie for orchestra, added a first part and renamed the work, Wellington’s Victory. In this form it was premiered in Vienna, together with the premiere of the Symphony No. 7 and a work performed by Mälzel’s mechanical trumpeter.
The original band composition survives in a presentation copy by Beethoven’s copyist, with the composer’s corrections and a title page entirely in his hand.
This live performance was given on 16 March 2000 by the California State University, Northridge Wind Ensemble, David Whitwell, Conductor.
The score and parts are available exclusively from Maxime’s Music.