Beethoven and Strauss explore the heroic. Beethoven’s titanic spirit is at the core of the “Emperor” Concerto, a grand work where master symphonist and piano virtuoso are joined. Strauss tells the story of a “great man” in his lavishly scored Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life). He never called his piece autobiographical, but there are passages alluding to his earlier music. There is also some of the finest battle music ever written—a show-stopping sequence where the hero clashes with his critics that raised the bar for film composers into the next century and beyond.