Beethoven's Folksong Settings: Chronology, Sources, Style

Overview

Beethoven composed far more folksong settings than any other type of composition. Yet Beethoven's settings, commissioned by George Thomson of Edinburgh, have been neglected by performers and scholars alike, and nearly all accounts of them are both superficial and startlingly inaccurate. This book is based on a very elaborate study of a wide range of sources, and dispels the many myths that have been circulating about this music. Every one of the 179 settings is dated to within a few weeks and an account is given ...

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Overview

Beethoven composed far more folksong settings than any other type of composition. Yet Beethoven's settings, commissioned by George Thomson of Edinburgh, have been neglected by performers and scholars alike, and nearly all accounts of them are both superficial and startlingly inaccurate. This book is based on a very elaborate study of a wide range of sources, and dispels the many myths that have been circulating about this music. Every one of the 179 settings is dated to within a few weeks and an account is given of the souces of the melodies and texts, the difficulties of sending the music across Europe during the Napoleonic Wars (smugglers were even called upon to assist!), the fees Beethoven received, and when and how the texts were added. By comparing Beethoven's settings with those of his predecessors Pleyel, Haydn and Kozeluch, the author demonstrates that Beethoven comprehensively transcended the bounds of convention, producing settings of extraordinary quality and originality.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198162834
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 12/28/1994
  • Series: Oxford Monographs on Music Series
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables
Abbreviations
Note on the Musical Examples
Introduction 1
1 Enumerating the Settings 5
2 Compositional Chronology 11
Groups I-II (1809-10) 11
Groups III-V (1811-13) 14
Groups VI-VII (1814-15) 22
Groups VIII-XII (1816-17) 25
Groups XIII-XVIII (1818-20) 29
Chronological Relationship to Other Output 35
3 Publication History 39
Thomson's Editions 39
Unknown Flute Parts 43
Early Attempts at Continental Editions 47
The Schlesinger Edition of Op. 108 51
4 Origin of the Melodies 58
Nationality 58
Thomson's Sources 64
5 Origin and Incorporation of the Poetic Texts 69
The Authors and their Contributions 69
Early Settings (Groups I-V) 73
Later Settings 77
Relationship between the Poems and Beethoven's Settings 85
6 Economics and Logistics 93
Beethoven's Earnings 93
Communications 101
Transmission of Melodies 103
7 Aspects of performance: Ad libitum Parts and Sequence of Songs 108
Optional Use of Strings 108
Sequence of Songs 111
8 The Accompaniments: General Approach and Treatment of Voices 119
Beethoven and his Immediate Predecessors 119
Simplicity 126
The Vocal Line 129
Lower Voices 135
9 The Accompaniments: Instrumental Parts 143
The Role of the Right Hand 143
The Role of the String Parts 145
Harmonic Style and Modality 149
Motivic Use 162
10 The Ritornellos 169
General Strategy of Beethoven's Predecessors 169
Beethoven's Strategy: Motivic Development 171
Continuity and Phrase-Structure 179
Integration of Ritornellos and Accompaniments 186
Integration in O Sanctissima 188
11 A Reassessment 196
Barriers to Appreciation 196
Thomson's Role 201
Quality and Innovation 203
Stylistic Relationship to Other Output 205
Beethoven's Aims and Achievement 208
App. 1. Chronological List 211
App. 2. Principal Music Manuscripts 221
App. 3. Numerical Index of Opus, WoO, and Hess Numbers 225
App. 4. Alphabetical Index of Titles and First Lines 230
App. 5. Authors of Texts 238
App. 6. Summary of Correspondence 240
App. 7. Unpublished Versions of Two Settings 244
Bibliography 255
Index of Works 259
General Index 265
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