Update 2: Here you can listen to the Coriolan Overture.
Update 1: Bingley wrote about Coriolanus on About.com:
- Coriolanus Biography
Bingley's Biography of Coriolanus Who Was Originally Known as Cnaeus Marcius
Plutarch's Biography of Coriolanus and Shakespeare's Coriolanus Play
Last Sunday we went to the opening concert of the 2008/2009 season of the Stamford Symphony Orchestra. After the National Anthem, the first order of business was the Coriolan Overture by Beethoven (followed by Symphony No. 9 in C major (D.944) – The Great for big as opposed to little and better known to me as Symphony No. 7 – by Schubert; and the Emperor Concerto No. 5 for Piano & Orchestra in E flat major by Beethoven, soloist Vladimir Feltsman). The program note for Coriolan says,
No doubt the protagonist’s temperament—iron-willed, passionate, uncompromising and moved to reckless bravery—resonated deeply in Beethoven’s psyche; he saw in Coriolanus a mirror of himself.
The overture got me thinking about Coriolanus in the arts, and I did some googling. But first off, who was Coriolanus? A successful 5th century BCE general who fell out with the Senate, defected to the Volscians and turned on Rome; but when his mother, wife, and children threw themselves at his feet, withdrew his troops and was later killed by the Volscians? Maybe not quite: Jona Lendering discusses Coriolanus and links to Plutarch's The Life of Coriolanus and Appian's Conquest of Italy.
The Coriolan Overture is based on an 1802 play by Heinrich Joseph von Collin.
"I WOULD HE HAD CONTINU'D TO HIS COUNTRY
AS HE BEGAN, AND NOT UNKNIT, HIMSELF,
THE NOBLE KNOT HE MADE."—Coriolanus, Act. IV., Scene 2.
All images courtesy Wikimedia Commons