Beethoven Unleashed - Beethoven And The Voice

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
01Finding A Voice20200504Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's early vocal music with Simone Young and Iain Burnside.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

01Finding a Voice20200504Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's early vocal music, including Adelaide and his only oratorio, Christ on the Mount of Olives, with conductor Simone Young and pianist and writer Iain Burnside.

Beethoven was born into a family of singers. His grandfather Ludwig and his father Johann were both remarked on for their voices. Judging by contemporary accounts it seems that Beethoven himself wasn't similarly gifted. The librettist and lepidopterist Georg Friedrich Treitschke claimed that Beethoven would growl when he was composing; Beethoven's biographer Anton Schindler said that he howled, and Beethoven's pupil Ferdinand Ries was of the view that his teacher did both. If those reports are true, then Beethoven's inability to produce a harmonious sound himself certainly didn't act as a deterrent to his compositional focus. A quick tally shows that somewhere in the region of half of his six hundred plus works were written for voice, mining subjects like love, persecution, loneliness, freedom, brotherhood and sacrifice, themes that Beethoven held very close to his heart.

Across the week Donald Macleod and his guests will be discussing some personal favourites from Beethoven's vocal music, taking in the giants of choral repertory like Missa Solemnis and the ninth symphony, his opera Fidelio and orchestral vocal music, as well as relishing the astonishing variety of his songwriting, from the song cycle An die Ferne Geliebte and the most profoundly moving vocal masterpieces, to a comic song most likely dashed off to amuse friends in a bar.

Today they consider whether Beethoven found writing for the voice more difficult than writing instrumental music.

Christus am Ölberge (excerpt)
Final chorus
Chorus and National Orchestra of Lyon
Serge Baudo, director

Ein Selbstgespräch
John Mark Ainsley, tenor
Iain Burnside, piano

Adelaide
John Mark Ainsley, tenor
Iain Burnside, piano

Funeral Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II (excerpt)
Tot! Tot, stöhnt es durch die öde nacht
Chorus and Orchestra of Deutsche Oper, Berlin
Christian Thielemann, conductor

Christus am Olberge (excerpt)
James Anderson, tenor, Jesus
Monica Pick-Hieronimi, soprano, Seraph
Chorus & Orchestre National de Lyon
Serge Baudo, director

Aus Goethes Faust
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
Jörg Demus, piano

Produced by Johannah Smith

Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's early vocal music with Simone Young and Iain Burnside.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02New Directions20200505Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's Mass in C with Simone Young and Iain Burnside.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

02New Directions20200505Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's Mass in C, the vocal fireworks of Ah Perfido! and some surprising and contrasting songs with pianist and writer Iain Burnside and conductor Simone Young.

Beethoven was born into a family of singers. His grandfather Ludwig and his father Johann were both remarked on for their voices. Judging by contemporary accounts it seems that Beethoven himself wasn't similarly gifted. The librettist and lepidopterist Georg Friedrich Treitschke claimed that Beethoven would growl when he was composing; Beethoven's biographer Anton Schindler said that he howled, and Beethoven's pupil Ferdinand Ries was of the view that his teacher did both. If those reports are true, then Beethoven's inability to produce a harmonious sound himself certainly didn't act as a deterrent to his compositional focus. A quick tally shows that somewhere in the region of half of his six hundred plus works were written for voice, mining subjects like love, persecution, loneliness, freedom, brotherhood and sacrifice, themes that Beethoven held very close to his heart.

Across the week Donald Macleod and his guests will be discussing some personal favourites from Beethoven's vocal music, taking in the giants of choral repertory like Missa Solemnis and the ninth symphony, his opera Fidelio and orchestral vocal music, as well as relishing the astonishing variety of his songwriting, from the song cycle An die Ferne Geliebte and the most profoundly moving vocal masterpieces, to a comic song most likely dashed off to amuse friends in a bar.

Beethoven's first Mass was written in 1807, a commission for Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy. When he first heard it, the Prince described it as "detestable". Donald discovers why Beethoven's innovations excited such a strong reaction from his backward looking patron.

Der Wachtelschlag, WoO129
Peter Schreier, tenor
Andreas Schiff, piano

L'amante impaziente (a pair of settings)
Roderick Wiliams, baritone
Ann Murray, mezzo soprano
Iain Burnside, piano

Ah Perfido!, op 65
Christine Karg, soprano
Arcangelo
Jonathan Cohen, director

Mass in C, op 86 (excerpts)
Gloria
Sanctus & Benedictus
Rebecca Evans, soprano
Pamela Helen Stephen, mezzo soprano
Mark Padmore, tenor
Stephen Varcoe, baritone
Collegium Musicum 90
Richard Hickox, conductor

Klage
Neue Liebe, neues Leben
Stephan Genz, baritone
Roger Vignoles, piano

Fantasia for Piano, Choir and Orchestra in C minor op 80 (excerpt)
Chorus of Duetsche Oper, Berlin
Berlin Phlharmonic
Daniel Barenboim, piano and conductor

Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's Mass in C with Simone Young and Iain Burnside.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

03Fulfilling a Dream20200506Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's only opera Fidelio and songs including An die Hoffnung op 94 with conductor Simone Young and pianist Iain Burnside.

Beethoven was born into a family of singers. His grandfather Ludwig and his father Johann were both remarked on for their voices. Judging by contemporary accounts it seems that Beethoven himself wasn't similarly gifted. The librettist and lepidopterist Georg Friedrich Treitschke claimed that Beethoven would growl when he was composing; Beethoven's biographer Anton Schindler said that he howled, and Beethoven's pupil Ferdinand Ries was of the view that his teacher did both. If those reports are true, then Beethoven's inability to produce a harmonious sound himself certainly didn't act as a deterrent to his compositional focus. A quick tally shows that somewhere in the region of half of his six hundred plus works were written for voice, mining subjects like love, persecution, loneliness, freedom, brotherhood and sacrifice, themes that Beethoven held very close to his heart.

Across the week Donald Macleod and his guests will be discussing some personal favourites from Beethoven's vocal music, taking in the giants of choral repertory like Missa Solemnis and the ninth symphony, his opera Fidelio and orchestral vocal music, as well as relishing the astonishing variety of his song-writing, from the song cycle An die Ferne Geliebte and the most profoundly moving vocal masterpieces, to a comic song most likely dashed off to amuse friends in a bar.

Fidelio was an immense struggle for Beethoven and when the premiere finally arrived in 1805, it was under the dark cloud of occupation of Vienna by Napoleon and his army. The scale and vision of the opera found its way into some of Beethoven's most ambitious song-writing to date.

Music, Love and Wine
Catrin Wyn Davies, soprano
John Mark Ainsley, tenor
Thomas Allen, baritone

La Tiranna WoO 125
Pamela Coburn, soprano
Leonard Hokanson, piano

Fidelio (Act 1)
O welche Lust, in freier Luft (Prisoner’s Chorus)
Arnold Schoenberg Choir
Berlin Philharmonic
Simon Rattle, director

Fidelio (Act 1) - [NB - error in presentation]
Abscheulicher! Wo eilst du hin? ……
Nina Stemme, soprano
Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Lucerne Festival Orchestra
Claudio Abbado, conductor

Fidelio (Act 2)
Introduction and Aria Gott! Welch’ Dunkel hier!
In des Lebens Frühlingstagen
Jonas Kaufmann, tenor, Florestan
Mahler Chamber Orchestra/Lucerne Festival Orchestra
Claudio Abbado, conductor

An die Hoffnung op 94
John Mark Ainsley, tenor
Iain Burnside, piano

Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's vocal music with Simone Young and Iain Burnside.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

03Fulfilling A Dream20200506Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's vocal music with Simone Young and Iain Burnside.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04Belief and Disbelief20200507Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's only song cycle An die Ferne Geliebte and his cantatas, written to mark special events, with conductor Simone Young and pianist writer and broadcaster, Iain Burnside.

Beethoven was born into a family of singers. His grandfather Ludwig and his father Johann were both remarked on for their voices. Judging by contemporary accounts it seems that Beethoven himself wasn't similarly gifted. The librettist and lepidopterist Georg Friedrich Treitschke claimed that Beethoven would growl when he was composing; Beethoven's biographer Anton Schindler said that he howled, and Beethoven's pupil Ferdinand Ries was of the view that his teacher did both. If those reports are true, then Beethoven's inability to produce a harmonious sound himself certainly didn't act as a deterrent to his compositional focus. A quick tally shows that somewhere in the region of half of his six hundred plus works were written for voice, mining subjects like love, persecution, loneliness, freedom, brotherhood and sacrifice, themes that Beethoven held very close to his heart.

Across the week Donald Macleod and his guests will be highlighting some personal favourites from Beethoven's vocal music, taking in the giants of choral repertory like Missa Solemnis and the ninth symphony, his opera Fidelio and orchestral vocal music, as well as relishing the astonishing variety of his songwriting, from the song cycle An die Ferne Geliebte and the most profoundly moving vocal masterpieces, to a comic song most likely dashed off to amuse friends in a bar.

The years surrounding the Congress of Vienna were difficult for Beethoven. He was still recovering from the wounds of an unhappy love affair, his brother was seriously ill, and he was short of money. All these aspects of his life can be found in the music he wrote during this period.

Maigesang (Mailied) op 52, no 4
Stephan Genz, baritone
Roger Vignoles, piano

Three Lieder to poems by Goethe op 83
Wonne der Wehmut
Sehnsucht
Mit einem gemalten Band
Peter Schreier, tenor
Walter Olbertz, piano

Der glorreiche Augenblick op 136 (excerpt)
Final chorus: Es treten hervor die Scharen der Frauen
Coro di voci bianche dell’Arcum
Coro e Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia
Myung-Whun Chung, conductor

Cantata on the Accession of Leopold II
Fliesse, Wonnezähre, fliesse!
Christine Schäfer, soprano
Orchestra of Deutsche Oper Berlin
Christian Thielemann, director

An die ferne geliebte
Christian Gerharher (baritone)
Gerold Huber (piano)

Meerestille und glückliche Fahrt, op 112
Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
John Eliot Gardiner, conductor

Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's only song cycle with Simone Young and Iain Burnside.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

04Belief And Disbelief20200507Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's only song cycle with Simone Young and Iain Burnside.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

05From The Heart20200508Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's late vocal music with Simone Young and Iain Burnside.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.

Donald Macleod explores the spiritual and the comedic in Beethoven's vocal music with conductor Simone Young and pianist Iain Burnside.

Beethoven was born into a family of singers. His grandfather Ludwig and his father Johann were both remarked on for their voices. Judging by contemporary accounts it seems that Beethoven himself wasn't similarly gifted. The librettist and lepidopterist Georg Friedrich Treitschke claimed that Beethoven would growl when he was composing; Beethoven's biographer Anton Schindler said that he howled, and Beethoven's pupil Ferdinand Ries was of the view that his teacher did both. If those reports are true, then Beethoven's inability to produce a harmonious sound himself certainly didn't act as a deterrent to his compositional focus. A quick tally shows that somewhere in the region of half of his six hundred plus works were written for voice, mining subjects like love, persecution, loneliness, freedom, brotherhood and sacrifice, themes that Beethoven held very close to his heart.

Across the week Donald Macleod and his guests will be highlighting some personal favourites from Beethoven's vocal music, taking in the giants of choral repertory like Missa Solemnis and the ninth symphony, his opera Fidelio and orchestral vocal music, as well as relishing the astonishing variety of his songwriting, from the song cycle An die Ferne Geliebte and the most profoundly moving vocal masterpieces, to a comic song most likely dashed off to amuse friends in a bar.

Missa Solemnis and the smaller scale but the equally profound Abendlied unter dem gestirnten Himmel express many of Beethoven's beliefs. Perhaps he was in need of some light relief from the enormity of his musical preoccupations and his domestic problems when he found time to set some rather saucy lyrics too.

Der Kuss
Anne sofie von Otter, mezzo soprano
Melvyn Tan, fortepiano

Abendlied unter dem gestirnten Himmel
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
Jörg Demus, piano

Missa Solemnis in D major op 123
Credo
Robert Tear, tenor
Heather Harper, soprano
Janet Baker, mezzo soprano
Hans Sotin, bass
London Philharmonic Orchestra
New Philharmonia Chorus
Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor

Urians Reise um die Welt, op 52
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, baritone
Jörg Demus, piano

Symphony no 9
Fourth movement (excerpt)
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
Mariss Jansons, director

Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's late vocal music with Simone Young and Iain Burnside.

Donald Macleod offers a weekly guide to composers and their music.