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Beeping Beethoven, the man who freed music. Commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig von Beethoven in 1770, one of the series of programs produced by the University of Michigan Broadcasting Service, reviewing the musical, social, and political climate of Europe during the lifetime of the man who freed music. It is probably unrealistic to expect any composer to be able to achieve great creative heights in all media of composition.
In the field of the symphony, piano, sonata, and chamber music, Beethoven does rank with the very greatest. But some critics contend his efforts in the medium of the art song were not crowned with equal success. Even so, it is fitting that during this Beethoven bicentennial year, we do perform some of his songs. Ralph Herbert, Professor of Voice and Director of Opera, and Paul Boylan, pianist and assistant professor of music, both of the University of Michigan School of Music, are to be heard devoting this entire bicentennial program to the songs of Beethoven. Mr. Herbert and Mr. Boylan will be your co-hosts, and will be heard introducing each group of songs with a brief discussion. Here now are your hosts, Mr. Ralph Herbert and Mr. Paul Boylan, discussing and performing some of the songs of Beethoven. Well, Paul, here we are, supposed to be talking about Beethoven as a vocal composer. That's quite a monumental task, I would say, and I don't quite feel up to it.
I suppose that when you begin a discussion of Beethoven as a song composer, you must be concerned with his place, and the general lexicon of lead composers of the 19th century. I think the historians have been somewhat harsh with Beethoven as a writer of a leader. Yes, they certainly have. I think particularly some of the songs are such that they may convince many people that Beethoven was indeed a most significant writer. Well, we have to leave that to the judgment of our audience. I always hear almost 100% of the time that Beethoven couldn't write for the voice, and I really object to the term couldn't very much, because it shows terrible. I wouldn't even say disrespect, but I would say, you don't have to have respect, you like it or you don't.
But a denying of the fact that Beethoven really was one of the greatest geniuses up to this time. I think perhaps the problem is that Beethoven wrote such difficult vocal lines, so difficult for the singer to control. Well, granted, granted, but I think the failing is not in Beethoven. The failing is in the voice box of the human being or in the technique of the individual singer. And it's certainly two of his instrumental music, too. Certainly, but I don't want to, of course, imply that I am the answer by no means. Let's say attempt to sing Beethoven's music, and I have sung quite a lot of his music, and I grant that it is rather difficult to sing things like Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. It is too low for a baritone, and it is too high for a bass.
Fine. You have to have the utmost range. You have to make do with what you have. You have to have a perfect breath control. You have to be able to shape the words in a marvelous manner. I repeat again, I haven't always done this. I am just striving to do this. But I believe that the theory that he couldn't write for the voice is entirely wrong. I think he quite knowingly wrote what he wrote. I think in a song like Adelaide, which we will be doing presently, is an example of a very lovely song that is enormously difficult to perform. The vocal line, the very lengthy phrases of it that have to be sustained, and the piano part, of course, is very challenging, and for its time, was very significant. Don't you think he seems to be sort of the forerunner of a romanticist like Schumann in leader writing?
Of course, Schubert didn't write as many leaders as Schubert, but who did? Well, without further ado, why don't we just put Beethoven to the test and try and sing Adelaide? Adelaide!
Something's gone, God, you are still alive. Is all that I know In the stinking and thawed as congeverter In the field of the earth Oh, and I'm built this, Oh, and I'm built this, Oh, and I'm built this, Oh, and I'm built this,
Oh, and I'm built this, Oh, and I'm built this, Oh, and I'm built this, Oh, and I'm built this, Oh, and I'm built this, Oh, and I'm built this, Oh, and I'm built this, Oh, and I'm built this, Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!
Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia, alleluia!
Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia. Now, you know, I always have to also take exceptions to the fact that so many people who
wrote about Beethoven, you know, construed all kinds of things out of the Adelaide and out of the cycle, undefaningly, leap that he had some woman he was in love with far away and she was never seen and was Beethoven actually a man, the way we talk about men, nor did he have latent homosexual tendencies. I think it is really horrible to say these things after you hear a song like Adelaide. It is purely romantic and most beautiful music in the purest classical sense, don't you think, so? It will stand forever, idle speculation about Beethoven's motivations, and it's so unimportant.
It really is unimportant because I don't think I have any latent tendencies for anything and I'm inspired by this song very much. I think the thing is that I'm most impressed with about Beethoven as a composer of a leader is the enormous contrast between a song like Adelaide and the Geller leader. Right, right. I mean, a man who didn't have scandalous affairs, obviously, you know, that were written up in all kinds of books and papers, didn't count. And Beethoven was obviously too absorbed with other things and these things were not on the surface. With the Geller leader, I think, excuse me, I didn't want to interrupt you. I was going to say that the contrast in the Geller leader is in the writing for the voice.
I think the same long, sustained lines that are in the Adelaide are still in the Geller leader, but the difference in the piano accompaniment, there seems to be a good deal more word painting going on. Right, well, also what we call geistliche poems, sacred poems directed to God, and I wouldn't say there are church songs, but they're certainly vastly different from worldly. They are not really worldly, they're sort of sacred, and stand quite apart from all these other lead compositions, wouldn't you say? Yes, I've always felt that Vam Tota is very, very close to Schubert in some of the earlier songs. Marriage, still, for instance, you know, by Schubert, very similar. And I want to, some, I don't know, I haven't read it anywhere and I haven't heard anybody talk about it, but we did, when we rehearsed, you remember, the last song, Bruce Lee, which means song of penitence, has a second section, the Allegro Manon Tropo, that was at least,
I wouldn't say copied, but paralleled, Barichad Wagner. Paraphrased, maybe. Paraphrased, much better expression, in the second act of Wagner's Tunnhoizer, and again, Wagner speaks of penitence, in this particular portion, the Lant Graf sends Tunnhoizer, who was a sinner, and who came back from a long, sojourn in the Venusburg, in the mountain of Venus, he sends him to Rome, to a town for his sins, and sends him with almost the same of very similar musical lines. And don't you think so? Yes, I think the similarity of the vocal line, the rhythm and the figure bass, and then the accompaniment too, sort of a pulsating, but he writes it in four, and Beethoven wrote
it in three, and Wagner writes, maybe I should write a book on it. Interesting to speculate, whether Wagner was aware of the Beethoven, it's quite likely. I'm sure. I don't think Wagner was unaware of anything. Why don't we listen to these, and then just pay attention to the last part of the third song, please. We will now hear the Gellat poems from Thode, Gottes macht und Vorzehung, and Booslead. Please pronounce it that way and don't say Booslead. I'd like to love you
Time ends
What's my need? Will he force to keep his name for all of his sins? I no longer use his sayings of my wanting He should give me a flower, for him he missed.
He should give me a flower, for him he missed. He should give me a flower, for him he missed. God, my God, how long should I wait? How long should I wait for me?
He should give me a flower, for him he missed. He should give me a flower, for him he missed. He should give me a flower, for him he missed. He should give me a flower, for him he missed.
He should give me a flower, for him he missed. He should give me a flower, for him he missed. He should give me a flower, for him he missed. He should give me a flower, for him he missed.
He should give me a flower, for him he missed. What do you think Paul about this religious line, you know, that suddenly appears in Beethoven's compositions here with the skeleton songs? And then was abruptly discontinued, he didn't write anything on that line anymore. Except when the great choral works came along like the great master of the Mrs. Olympus.
And it's more related with the Adelaide, wouldn't you say? And it's a direct foreign of things like the Dichtaliebe. It has almost everything that a romantic song composer needs, only it has a great advantage composed by Beethoven. And I think it's definitely the most difficult of all of Beethoven's songs, the piano part, for instance. Because of the rubas. Yes, in the delicacy. It's very similar to, for instance, the pianistic writing is very similar to a sonata opus 101, the same problems exist in that word. It's possible to do in other words. It's a very adventurous work, I think, in terms of the tonal regions that he exploits in the beginning and C major. And then up to F major.
And the one portion where the voice accompanies the piano is very sensitive writing. Why don't we let the song talk for itself? I mean, the six songs, forgive me, on the piano. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
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And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major. And then up to F major.
And then up to F major.
Series
Beethoven: The Man Who Freed Music
Episode Number
6
Producing Organization
University of Michigan Broadcasting Service
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip/500-gm81q02s
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Description
Series Description
Beethoven: The Man Who Freed Music is a program from the University of Michigan Broadcasting Service and the National Educational Radio Network. The series focuses on Beethovens life and works through musical selections and lectures from faculty members at the University of Michigan. The program was originally produced in 1970 in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Beethovens birth, and was later distributed by National Public Radio.
Topics
Music
Biography
Education
Recorded Music
Media type
Sound
Duration
01:00:31
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Credits
Producing Organization: University of Michigan Broadcasting Service
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 70-15-6 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 01:00:00?
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Citations
Chicago: “Beethoven: The Man Who Freed Music; 6,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 16, 2024, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-gm81q02s.
MLA: “Beethoven: The Man Who Freed Music; 6.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 16, 2024. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-gm81q02s>.
APA: Beethoven: The Man Who Freed Music; 6. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-gm81q02s