With his Third Symphony, Ludwig van Beethoven broke new compositional ground. Not only is the piece considerably longer than the longest symphonies of Haydn and Mozart, but its inner conflicts are also far more profound than anything that has gone before - more precisely: beyond the boundaries of the movements. The massive orchestral outbursts that conclude the dramatic first movement are more a breath of fresh air than an ending. The underlying conflicts remain unresolved, the development continues with the funeral march (second movement), the momentum of the Scherzo upswing to the dancing intoxication of the Finale. Only then has the goal been reached. The Symphony in E-flat major is thus more than just a sequence of four different movements. It is based on a superordinate idea, a programme, which is yet another Beethovenian innovation. Circumstances of the time and hope for a better future – in the air since the French Revolution – are what drive this programme. The "Eroica" translates this hope into music. Beethoven thought he had found in Napoleon Bonaparte a suitable bearer of hope. It turned out, however, that the latter was as corruptible as others, which is why the composer withdrew the dedication he had planned. May such a masterpiece be modified? Gustav Mahler did, taking into account the significant progress in playing technique and instrument making that had been made in the meantime. His interventions in the musical text were primarily limited to instrumentation. Mahler's intention was, therefore, not to improve Beethoven, but to help him meet his intentions.