program notes by composition > O > Overture to "Egmont"

Overture to Egmont

Ludwig van Beethoven / trans. Mark Hindsley

Overture to Egmont is a political manifesto in which Egmont's craving for justice and national liberty is opposed to the despotic authority of the duc of Albe. It is also a drama of destiny in which the Flemish nobleman, with fatalism, accepts the dire consequences of his straightness and honesty.

When, in 1809, the Burgtheater of Vienna asked Beethoven, a great admirer of Goethe, to compose incidental music for a revival of the play, he accepted with enthusiasm. It recalled themes close to his own political preoccupations.

Arranger Mark Hindsley (1905 – 1999) was a graduate of and taught at Indiana University then became director of the University of Illinois Bands. His work was interrupted by military service in the United States Air Force between 1942 and 1946 where he supervised more than 150 Air Force bands. In 1948 he succeeded A. A. Harding as Director of Bands at Illinois. He was a president of both the College Band Directors National Association and the American Bandmasters Association. He retired in 1970.

Last updated on May 8, 2022 by Palatine Concert Band