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We need a hero: TFO to air Beethoven’s Eroica on WSMR

“What an absolutely wonderful gift to our community. Thank you for brightening our days.” – Gianna

This week’s free live recording on WSMR radio (streaming on is a truly heroic program: Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony and Strauss’ Don Quixote. Just what we need right now.

As you listen to Beethoven’s Third Symphony, get glimpses into the heart of a hero, from the triumph of victory to the grief of the battle’s cost. By the fourth movement, we discover that “true heroism is not about conquering. It’s about giving back. It’s about helping others,” says TFO Music Director Michael Francis, who conducted the live performance last October.

This live recording is the rare Mahler version of the symphony, which beefs up the winds and brass for a bigger sound. In the third movement, listen for the section that depicts pompous generals pontificating – clearly with a drink in their hand. “Instead of three horns, you have six, and it sounds epic,” Francis says. Picture the horn section on their feet, adding to the ceremony and sound, as they did in the live performance.

Beethoven wrote this symphony – part of TFO’s celebration of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth – when he knew he was going deaf. From that comes the true heart of the symphony:
“No matter what afflicts us, that sense of perseverance is so powerful. Out of adversity comes the greatest beauty,” Maestro Francis says.

The first half of the program is Strauss’ Don Quixote, featuring a magnificent performance by cellist Maximilian Hornung (Don Quixote) and TFO Principal Violist Derek Mosloff (Sancho Panza). Strauss’ tone poem tells the adventures of the errant knight, based on the Cervantes novel, and the live performance was enhanced by an original art film featuring paintings by TFO Visual Artist-in-Residence Geff Strik.

TFO has canceled concerts through at least May 10 to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), but live recordings of 13 full concerts will keep the music going through June 11 and beyond. For the first time, broadcasts will be available on-demand at for 45 days after the airdate.

The rest of the broadcasts will be a mix of live recordings from this season and TFO’s archives — a gift of hope and joy to our community in conjunction with WUSF Public Media and Classical WSMR radio. The broadcasts also are made possible by the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and Jay’s Fabric Center. Special thank you to the Florida Orchestra Musicians Association and to the American Federation of Musicians Local 427-721 for making these recordings possible.

As you listen to the music, please remember that in these challenging times The Florida Orchestra needs your support more than ever. If you have already made a gift to TFO, you have our heartfelt gratitude. If you are in a position to help further, please consider the role extraordinary live music plays in your life and support your Florida Orchestra with a gift of any amount today. Thank you.

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