26 валлийских народных песен, WoO 155

Sechsundzwanzig Walisische Lieder für ein bis zwei Singstimmen, Violine, Violoncello und Klavier WoO 155

Время создания:
№15: февраль 1813 г.
№ 25: между сентябрем 1814 и маем 1815 г.
остальные: 1810 г.

Тексты: Anne Grant, Walter Scott, William Smyth, Richardson, Anne Hunter, Robert Burns, Reverend Roberts, William Jones, Amelia Opie, Richard Llwyd, W. R. Spencer

  • №1 Sion, The Son of Evan
  • №2 The Monks of Bangor’s March
  • №3 The Cottage Maid
  • №4 Love without hope
  • №5 The Golden Robe
  • №6 The Fair Maid of Mona
  • №7 O let the night my blushes hide
  • №8 Farewell, thou noisy town
  • №9 To the Aeolian Harp
  • №10 Ned Pugh’s Farewell
  • №11 Merch Megan; or, Peggy’s Daughter
  • №12 Waken, lords and ladies gay
  • №13 Helpless Woman
  • №14 The Dream
  • №15 When mortals all to rest retire
  • №16 The Damsels of Cardigan
  • №17 The Dairy House
  • №18 Sweet Richard
  • №19 The Vale of Clwyd
  • №20 To the Blackbird
  • №21 Cupid’s kindness
  • №22 Constancy
  • №23 The Old Strain
  • №24 Three Hundred Pounds
  • №25 The Parting Kiss
  • №26 Good Night

These twenty-six songs were produced under an agreement between Beethoven and the Edinburgh-based publisher George Thomson. Beginning around 1809 the composer began setting folk songs, mainly from the British Isles, for Thomson who published them and paid substantial fees. It should be mentioned that at least one account has it that Thomson's remuneration was not as generous as many had previously thought. Whatever the amounts were, they were apparently sufficient to interest Beethoven to write around one hundred-fifty arrangements for Thomson, including these twenty-six. Thomson did not publish all of Beethoven's efforts in the genre, issuing a total of one hundred twenty-five. The composer also probably wrote some arrangements (there were one hundred seventy-nine in all) on his own initiative, most likely those of Continental origin.

Beethoven wrote twenty-three of these twenty-six Welsh songs for soprano soloist. Two of the remainder, "Sion, Son of Evan" (No. 1) and "The Monks of Bangor's March" (No. 2) are duets for soprano and alto, and "The Dream" (No. 14) for two sopranos. Many of the songs texts are by well-known writers: Scott in Nos. 2 and 12 ("Waken Lords and Ladies"), and Burns in Nos. 13 ("Helpless Woman") and 22 ("Constancy"). Twenty-three of the twenty-six here were composed in 1810, with No. 15 ("When Mortals all to Rest Retire") and No. 20 ("To the Blackbird") both coming in 1813, and No. 25 ("The Parting Kiss") in 1815.

Beethoven's arrangements are all deftly imagined here and will surely offer rewards to those with an interest in folk music from the British Isles of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries. They will have limited appeal to others, however, despite their fine craftsmanship. Thomson published these twenty-six arrangements in 1817 in a collection that also included four song settings of Haydn.

(Robert Cummings, Rovi)

Borrowed and not returned

A corrected copy of 43 folk-song arrangements for voice, violin, cello and piano, which was made for George Thomson. Thomson, a Scottish publisher and collector of folk-songs, first approached Beethoven in 1803 to ask him to write chamber music using Scottish songs. The project did not materialize, but in 1806 they entered negotiations on arrangements of Scottish folk-songs. Having reached an agreement, Thomson sent Beethoven 43 melodies to be arranged in 1809. It took a further year before the 53 songs were finished; in July 1810 Beethoven announced in a letter that he had despatched the finished compositions. Thomson waited for them in vain; the three copies never arrived in England. A year later, in 1811, Beethoven complained to Thomson that he would have to re-compose his first ideas, the ones he could still remember, on account of the missing autograph copy. The corrected copy shown here now appears on the scene: it was not one of those intended for Thomson but probably a present from Beethoven to his pupil the Archduke Rudolph. Beethoven did not really intend to do all the work again and so wrote to Ignaz von Baumeister, the Archduke's music librarian in the summer of 1811 (presumably before 20 July 1811): "I would ask you to lend me for a while the Scottish songs, which I gave to his Imperial Highness, as 2 manuscripts, including one in my own hand, have gone lost and they now have to be copied again, to be sent on."
The borrowed copy is in all probability the one shown here, which Beethoven never actually returned. The Archduke's music collection, which he left to the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna on his death, does not contain any such copy.