`Морская тишь и счастливое плавание`(слова И. В. Гете),
Время создания: 1814-15 г.
1. Meeresstille. Sostenuto
2. Gluckliche Fahrt. Allegro vivace
In the summer of 1814 the crowned heads of Europe made their way to Vienna to participate in a Congress, the intent of which was to restore order to the post-Napoleonic continent. It was in this context that Beethoven composed Meerestille und gluckliche Fahrt, Op. 112 (Calm Sea and Happy Voyage). The cantata was first performed on December 25, 1815, at a benefit concert for the Hospital Fund, along with a revival of Beethoven's oratorio Christus am Olberge, Op. 85 (The Mount of Olives), and the overture in C major, Zur Namensfeier, Op. 115. When it was published in 1822, by Steiner in Vienna, Beethoven dedicated the cantata to Goethe and sent the poet a copy of the score. Goethe, however, never replied to the composer, possibly because he was very ill at the time of Beethoven's communication.
Meerestille und gluckliche Fahrt is most notable for the way Beethoven both weds and contrasts Goethe's two poems, "Tiefe Stille herrscht im Wasser" ("A deep calm reigns over the water") and "Die Nebel zerreissen" ("The fog breaks up"). Also, this brief gem contains some of the composer's most expressive choral writing. In the era of sailing vessels "Meerestille" meant "dead calm" in a menacing or threatening sense. Beethoven conveys this intimidation by incorporating very few chord changes in the first measures of the piece, which move in a plodding, hesitant tempo. Text painting continues as the choir sings breathlessly, "Keine Luft von keiner Seite!" ("No air from any side!"), the words separated by quarter- and half-note rests, while "Furchterlich" (frightful) is set to a sustained, accented outburst. Beethoven conveys the "ungeheuren Weite" ("vast expanse") of the ocean by combining an extremely wide range in both the chorus and orchestra with a triplet rhythmic motion.
Music of the first two lines returns before the shift to "Gluckliche Fahrt," signaled by a rising scale in the strings. The triumphant atmosphere looks forward to passage of the Ninth Symphony. Especially effective is the rapid interplay of voices and instruments on "Geschwinde! Geschwinde!" ("Swiftly! Swiftly!") and the excitement of a sailor sighting land, conveyed through the manifold repetitions of "das Land!"
(All Music Guide)