The Creatures of Prometheus

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The Creatures of Prometheus (German: Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus), Op. 43, is a ballet composed in 1801 by Ludwig van Beethoven following the libretto of Salvatore Viganò. The ballet premiered on 28 March 1801 at the Burgtheater in Vienna and was given 28 performances. It is the only full length ballet by Beethoven.

NBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Arturo Toscanini, recorded in 1944

Performed by Leila Storch (oboe), William McColl (basset horn), and Anita Cummings (piano)

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For Act I of this ballet, Beethoven wrote an Overture and an Introduction, followed by these three numbers:[1]

  • No. 1 Poco Adagio
  • No. 2 Adagio - allegro con brio
  • No. 3 Minuetto

For Act II, he wrote another 13 numbers:

  • No. 4 Maestoso
  • No. 5 Adagio
  • No. 6 Un poco Adagio
  • No. 7 Grave
  • No. 8 Allegro con brio
  • No. 9 Adagio
  • No. 10 Pastorale
  • No. 11 Andante
  • No. 12 Maestoso
  • No. 13 Allegro
  • No. 14 Andante
  • No. 15 Andantino
  • No. 16 Finale

According to musicologist Lewis Lockwood, Beethoven’s music for this ballet is "easier and lighter than music for the concert hall…[I]t shows Beethoven exploiting instruments and coloristic orchestral effects that would never appear in his symphonies or serious dramatic overtures."[2] Beethoven later based the fourth movement of his Eroica symphony and his Eroica Variations (piano) on the main theme of the last movement (Finale) of this ballet.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ “Ludwig Van Beethoven (1770-1827), The Creatures of Prometheus, Ballet Op. 43, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Michael Halasz”, back cover (1995).
  2. ^ a b Lockwood, Lewis. Beethoven: The Music and the Life, pp. 149-150 (W. W. Norton & Company, 2005).

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