2 арии для тенора/сопрано с оркестром к зингшпилю "Die schöne Schusterin" (Прекрасная башмачница), WoO 91

Время создания: начало 1795 года (до 30 мая)
Текст: Gottlieb Stephanie der Jungere

№1. O welch ein Leben!

Nicolai Gedda

№2. Soll ein Schuh nicht drücken

Anneliese Rothenberger

Convivium musicum München


Ignaz Umlauf (1746-96) was the most successful Viennese composer of German singspiel before Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf. For most of his adult life he was in the service of the Court, holding such positions as deputy Kapellmeister to Antonio Salieri (1750-1825) and music teacher to the Emperor's children. Umlauf's singspiel Die schone Schusterin (The Pretty Cobblerette) dates from 1779 and was first performed in Vienna, experiencing a revival in April 1795. It is in two acts, setting a libretto by Gottlieb Stephanie "the younger" (1741-1800), after Ferrieres. The work was written as part of the new National-Singspiel venture sponsored by the Court in Vienna as an alternative to the traditional Italianate operas that dominated Vienna's musical scene.

In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries it was not unusual for new numbers to be added to an existing work when revived for a new run of performances; changing fashion and singers' whims occasionally altered them beyond recognition. It seems Umlauf himself commissioned two new arias from Beethoven for his Die schone Schusterin. Beethoven's contributions were first performed in 1796, although they were not published until 1888, as part of the Complete Edition of Beethoven's Works, printed in Leipzig by Breitkopf & Hartel. The arias are for soprano and tenor soloists accompanied by flute, two each of oboe, horn and bassoon, and strings.

In the tenor aria, "O welch ein Leben" (Oh what a life), the character of the Baron sings of his enjoyment of the world around him. Set in F major, the aria features a folk song-like melody that remains firmly in its home key -- both characteristics appropriate for the nature of the Singspiel (the theme was also used in Beethoven's Maigesang, Op. 52, No. 4). It is a varied strophic song with three strophes separated by a recurring instrumental interlude; the only variation among the strophes is found in the orchestral accompaniment and the latter part of the final verse. The text was not part of the original libretto, but it was most likely written specifically for Die schone Schusterin.

"Soll ein Schuh nicht drucken?" (Should a shoe not squeeze?) is sung by Lene, a soprano. This text appears in the original libretto. In B flat major and a bouncy 6/8 meter, "Soll ein Schuh nicht drucken?" is a more sophisticated aria than "O welch ein Leben" and the frivolity of the situation is accented by numerous trills in the voice part and lengthy melismas. A ternary structure with traits of sonata form, the aria's central section presents new material and spends a lot of time on the dominant. After the return of section A runs its course, fragments of melody over a B flat pedal introduce a coda with motives from the B section transposed to the tonic.

(John Palmer, Rovi, answers.com)