As you know, I am doing the Les Miserables readalong with a fellow book blogger named Kate at http://kateslibrary.blogspot.com/2011/11/chunkster-readalong-les-miserables-2012.html (I am still having trouble putting hot links into my posts. If anyone know how and they have time to comment, PLEASE do. It is easier to get to her site if you click the Les Mis button to the right.)
I am about 30 or so pages in and I have another Literature and Music Pairing (see my previous postings on this). I like to listen to classical music that "goes with" whatever I am reading so that I can really immerse myself in the experience. I call these literature/music combinations "pairings," like food/wine pairings.
So, I figure that Les Miserables and Beethoven's 3rd Symphony "go together." They are from the same time and place. Beethoven's Third is a great, great piece of music. It is often credited with kicking off the "Romantic Period" in classical music - between 1825 and the First World War.
Les Miserables and Beethoven's Third are both masterpieces from the early 1800's. Both are loosely related to and impacted by the French Revolution and Napoleon (though Les Mis is not directly about these subjects).
Here is what Wiki says about the connection between Beethoven's Third and Napoleon:
According to Beethoven's pupil and assistant, Ferdinand Ries, when Napoleon proclaimed himself Emperor of the French in May 1804, Beethoven became disgusted and went to the table where the completed score lay. He took hold of the title-page and tore it up in rage. This is the account of the scene as told by Ries:
“ In writing this symphony Beethoven had been thinking of Buonaparte, but Buonaparte while he was First Consul. At that time Beethoven had the highest esteem for him and compared him to the greatest consuls of ancient Rome. Not only I, but many of Beethoven's closer friends, saw this symphony on his table, beautifully copied in manuscript, with the word "Buonaparte" inscribed at the very top of the title-page and "Ludwig van Beethoven" at the very bottom. …I was the first to tell him the news that Buonaparte had declared himself Emperor, whereupon he broke into a rage and exclaimed, "So he is no more than a common mortal! Now, too, he will tread under foot all the rights of man, indulge only his ambition; now he will think himself superior to all men, become a tyrant!" Beethoven went to the table, seized the top of the title-page, tore it in half and threw it on the floor. The page had to be re-copied and it was only now that the symphony received the title "Sinfonia eroica."