Irish Songs, WoO 152, 1-3

🎼🎶 Sunday, April 11, 2021

By far the majority of Beethoven’s 179  folk song compositions were settings of Irish tunes. The Edinburgh-based publisher George Thomson worked with many famous poets and composers to rescue and immortalize folk culture, but his work with Robert Burns to upgrade the texts of Irish ditties was cut short by Burns’ untimely death in 1796, and the great Irish poet Thomas Moore elected to work independently of Thomson. As a result, Beethoven received only tunes but no texts from Thomson, and song texts, many by less well-known poets, were attached to the finished settings upon publication.

 

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26 Welsh Songs, WoO 155

🎼🎶 Saturday, April 10, 2021

George Thomson was the Edinburgh publisher who commissioned Beethoven and other composers for settings of folk songs from the British Isles. In his preface to “Select Collection of Welsh Airs” he describes how he collected them: he read diaries and descriptions of travels, asked harpists from Wales to provide unpublished tunes, and traveled to Wales himself to conduct research. He also recruited both Robert Burns and Walter Scott to write new texts for some of the songs. “Songs from Wales”, published in 1817, included the 26 arrangements by Beethoven and four by Haydn.

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12 Scottish Songs, WoO 156

🎼🎶 Friday, April 9, 2021
Between 1809 and 1820 Beethoven collaborated with the Edinburgh publisher George Thomson in the latter’s project to preserve and dignify the folk songs of Scotland, later expanded to include Ireland and Wales, all of whose cultures were in danger of being wiped out by the rapidly expanding British Empire. Beethoven composed an astonishing 179 of these folk songs, far more than any other genre, and his commitment to the project can be seen from the fact that the first package of manuscripts had to be smuggled across the English Channel and took two years to reach Edinburgh!
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Mignon Comparison of 4 composers

🎼🎶 Thursday, April 8, 2021
The “Lied" or German classical art-song in which voice and piano are equal players in polyphony, is a genre which flourished during the 19th century heyday of German poetry and literature. Mozart composed the first Lied in 1785 to a poem by Goethe, “Das Veilchen” (The Violet), which tells the mock-tragic story of a flower who falls in love with a shepherdess, only to be accidentally crushed by her.
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Lied der Mignon, WoO 134, 1-4

🎼🎶 Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Few songs have been set to music more often and by more different composers than Lied der Mignon, “Mignon’s Song” from Goethe’s novel, “Wilhelm Meisters Lehrejahre” (Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship). Beethoven published four settings, Schubert six, and settings by Schumann, Hugo Wolf, and Tschaikowsky are also frequently performed.

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Comparison of Lieder settings

🎼🎶 Tuesday, April 6, 2021
Lyndon LaRouche insisted that German “Lieder” (songs) functioned as a Rosetta Stone for understanding classical musical composition and encouraged the study of how different composers set the same poem- for example, looking at the similarities to get at the principle of vocalization.
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Kennst Du das Land

🎼🎶 Monday, April 5, 2021
“Mignon” is the name of a fictional character in Goethe’s novel, “Wilhelm Meisters Lehrerjahre” (Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship). She is a waif who is traveling with a troupe of circus performers until she is rescued by the title character. An enigmatic figure who sings of unbearable loneliness and longing, her songs were set to music by many composers, including Beethoven.
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Mass in C, Opus 86

🎼🎶 Easter, April 4, 2021

Prince Nikolaus Esterházy II, the long-time patron of Franz Josef Haydn, commissioned a new mass setting each year for his wife’s name-day. In 1807, the commission fell to Beethoven, who, in his own words, “treated the text in a manner in which it has rarely been treated”.

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Leonore Prohaska, WoO 96

🎼🎶 Saturday, April 3, 2021
Eleonore Prochaska was the daughter of a Prussian soldier, raised in a military orphanage after the death of her mother. She was one of many German women who fought in the Napoleonic Wars, though most were ejected from the army when it was found out that they were women. 
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Opus 133 "Große Fuge" (The Great Fugue)

🎼🎶 Friday, April 2, 2021

The Opus 133 "Große Fuge" (Great Fugue) is the summit of Beethoven’s string quartets. With a duration of about sixteen minutes, it’s easily the longest fugue ever written for string quartet, although the finale of the Opus 106 Hammerklavier piano sonata has the same length and formal structure.

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