Turkish March (Beethoven)
The theme was first used in Beethoven's "6 Variations on an Original Theme", Op. 76, of 1809. In 1811 Beethoven wrote an overture and incidental music to a play by August von Kotzebue called The Ruins of Athens (Op. 113), which premiered in Pest in 1812. The Turkish March appears as item No. 4 of the incidental music. Many music lovers associate the theme with The Ruins of Athens, although that was not its original appearance.
The march is in B flat major, tempo vivace and 2/4 time. Its dynamic scheme is highly suggestive of a procession passing by, starting out pianissimo, poco a poco rising to a fortissimo climax and then receding back to pianissimo by the coda.
Franz Liszt wrote a piano transcription in 1846, "Capriccio alla turca sur des motifs de Beethoven" (S. 388).
- The Ruins of Athens: Marcia alla turca: Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- The Ruins of Athens: Turkish March and Overture, performed by Boston Civic Symphony at YouTube