“I wrote the music for this sad event seventeen years ago,” Beethoven reportedly said upon learning of the death of Napoleon in 1821. This movement, the second section of his Symphony No. 3, is known as the Funeral March. The entire symphony was originally written in 1804 to celebrate Bonaparte’s rise to First Consul in the new French Republic. However, upon learning of Napoleon’s coronation (of himself, btw) as Holy Roman Emperor, Beethoven, enraged, tore the title page of his Eroica, as it was known thereafter, to shreds.
No, this doesn’t have anything explicitly to do with War and Peace. I just randomly remembered this episode, Beethoven dedicating his 3rd to Napoleon, from Immortal Beloved, a film that had nearly as much influence on me as a young man as Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.