20 ирландских народных песен, WoO 153

Zwanzig Irische Lieder fur eine oder mehrere Singstimmen, Violine, Violoncello und Klavier WoO 153

Время создания: с 1810 по 1813 гг., кроме №№6 и 13: 1814 или 1815 г.

  • №1 When Eve’s last rays in twilight die
  • №2 No riches from his scanty store
  • №3 The British Light Dragoons; or The Plain of Badajos
  • №4 Since greybeards inform us that youth will decay
  • №5 I dreamd I lay where flow’rs were springing
  • №6 Sad and luckless was the season
  • №7 O soothe me, my lyre
  • №8 Farewell mirth and hilarity: Norah of Balamagairy
  • №9 The kiss, dear maid, thy lip has left
  • №10 Oh! Thou hapless soldier
  • №11 When far from the home
  • №12 I’ll praise the saints with early song
  • №13 ’Tis sunshine at last
  • №14 Paddy O’Rafferty
  • №15 ’Tis but in vain, for nothing thrives
  • №16 O might I but my Patrick love!
  • №17 Come, Darby dear! easy be easy
  • №19 Judy, lovely matchless creature
  • №18 No more, my Mary, I sigh for splendour
  • №20 Thy ship must sail, my Henry dear

 

The folk songs in this collection were written to please the growing taste of the middle and upper middle classes for folk-like songs, for music that would be both easy for amateurs to perform and pleasing for their audiences. Text and music were often blended with no sense at all of ethnomusicological authenticity--for example, "The British Light Dragoons" uses an Irish folk melody to celebrate a victory of the English over the French--but the intent was to entertain rather than to educate or preserve the materials. Beethoven, like many other composers, collected, harmonized, and arranged folk music in this way, working after 1810 for the British publisher George Thomson.

This particular collection has no real correspondence any of those Thomson published (the songs were regrouped in the first complete printed edition of Beethoven's music). This doesn't really matter to a listener, though, for the planned collections were designed to include music to suit any mood, and this set fills the bill reasonably well. There is melancholy yearning for an absent love ("No riches from his scanty store"), a declaration of eternal constancy ("The kiss, dear maid, thy lip has left"), merry celebration ("Paddy O'Rafferty"). Given the pictures of manners among the upper middle classes that authors such as Jane Austen have given us, it's hard to avoid imagining that these and similar songs might have played some part in courtships, with a hopeful young lady or gentleman suggesting singing a romantic duet with the object of his or her affections, or focusing a meaningful eye on the beloved while singing a declaration of love.

Some of these songs are slightly more demanding of the performers than those in other collections. "'Tis but in vain," for example, demands some breath-control technique on the part of the singer, and the rhythms of "When far from the home" demand careful attention if all the participants are to keep together.

(Anne Feeney, Rovi)

 

6. Sad and luckless was the season
In late 1809, Beethoven began composing folk song arrangements for the Scottish publisher George Thomson, located in Edinburgh. (Six years earlier Thomson had asked Beethoven to compose six sonatas on Scottish themes, none of which materialized.) Thomson first sent Beethoven a group of forty-three melodies, without texts, which the composer began to set in November and completed by July, 1810. Their professional relationship continued through 1820. After early 1812, Beethoven asked Thomson to send the texts along with the melodies, a request that was not always fulfilled, because Thomson often commissioned new poems at the time he requested arrangements from composers. It seems that the text for "Sad and Luckless was the Season" was not available before Beethoven began to work on his setting of the melody, which he completed in May, 1815.

In William Smyth's "Sad and Luckless was the Season" a woman, Ellen, has left her home town for life at court. When she returns, the narrator, who apparently was in love with Ellen, notices that although her grace and charm have increased, her heart is empty. Still, he finds it difficult not to love her. Beethoven's introduction emphasizes a motive from the last few measures of the melody, returning in the brief, coda-like close to each verse. Throughout the song the cello doubles the voice part, which is intended for either soprano or tenor, while the violin adds graceful accents to the second beat of nearly every measure.

Of the nearly 180 folk song settings Beethoven completed for Thomson, only 125 were printed by the Scottish publisher; the rest were published after Beethoven's death, some existing only in manuscript until the 1920s. Thus, the numbering of the songs tells us little about when they were composed or even printed for the first time. Thomson originally published the first four of the Irish Songs, WoO 153 together with the twenty-five Irish Songs, WoO 152 and a setting by Haydn in 1814, making a total of thirty songs. (Thomson's publication was duplicated in London by Preston.) Nos. 5-20 of WoO 153, along with sixteen other songs, were printed in 1816 in Thomson's second volume of thirty folk songs. The WoO 153 set is really a meaningless grouping, assembled for no particular reason from works written over a period of five years. Beethoven's Irish Songs are numbered today according to the first German edition, by Schlesinger in Berlin in 1822, and maintained in the Complete Edition of Beethoven's Works.

(John Palmer, Rovi)

 

16. O might I but my Patrick love!
In late 1809, Beethoven began composing folk song arrangements for the Scottish publisher George Thomson, located in Edinburgh. (Six years earlier Thomson had asked Beethoven to compose six sonatas on Scottish themes, none of which materialized.) Thomson first sent Beethoven a group of forty-three melodies, without texts, which the composer began to set in November and completed by July, 1810. Their professional relationship continued through 1820. After early 1812, Beethoven asked Thomson to send the texts along with the melodies, a request that was not always fulfilled, because Thomson often commissioned new poems at the time he requested arrangements from composers. It seems, however, that the text for "O Might I but My Patrick Love" was one of the texts Beethoven saw before he began to work on his setting of the melody, which he completed in February 1813.

Although Beethoven composed nearly 180 folk song settings for Thomson, the Scottish publisher printed only 125; the rest were published after Beethoven's death, some existing only in manuscript until the 1920s.

Thomson originally published the first four of the Irish Songs, WoO 153 together with the twenty-five Irish Songs, WoO 152 and a setting by Haydn in 1814, making a total of thirty songs. (Thomson's publication was duplicated in London by Preston.) Nos. 5-20 of WoO 153, along with sixteen others, were printed in 1816 in Thomson's second volume of thirty folk songs. The WoO 153 set is really a meaningless grouping, assembled for no particular reason. Beethoven's Irish Songs are numbered today according to the first German edition, by Schlesinger in Berlin in 1822, and maintained in the Complete Edition of Beethoven's Works.

William Smyth's text for "O Might I but My Patrick Love" tells of a young woman who has found an unfortunate love in a man named Patrick. The woman's mother scolds her and forbids her to become involved with the man because he has no means. Patrick's philosophy is that people treasure love too little and gold too much; with love people can survive anything. In the refrain, the woman asks Patrick to leave for her sake, at the same time asking Fortune to be kind and enable them to stay together.

Beethoven's instrumental introduction to "O Might I but My Patrick Love" is the most impressive aspect of the song. Intermingling fragments from the very beginning of the voice part, the strings and piano take turns "developing" motives, setting the mood for the young woman's lament. The piano and optional violin and cello parts take turns doubling the voice (soprano or tenor) in this setting that remains solidly in E flat major.

(John Palmer, All Music Guide)