the sinews of the soul - Liszt's second Beethoven cantata
The large-scale festive cantata "Zur Säcularfeier Beethovens" by Franz Liszt, first performed at the Tonkünstler Versammlung in Weimar in 1870, is the focus of the concert by the Figuralchor Troisdorf and the Capella Vocale an St. Hippolytus under the direction of Michael Veltman. In this confessional work by the mature Liszt for choir, soloists and large orchestra, Beethoven appears as the timeless visionary, the prophet of a "music of the future".
Liszt quotes the "Andante cantabile" from Beethoven's so-called "Archduke Trio" op. 97 in a large introduction. In the main section, he sets to music in his own, then avant-garde tonal language, a poem by Adolf Stern that interprets Beethoven's music as a celestial phenomenon standing outside of time.
Like responses to Liszt's grand design of the Beethoven cantata, this is juxtaposed with two works smaller in scale.
"Nänie" op. 82 for choir and orchestra was written by Johannes Brahms in 1880 on the death of the painter, his friend Anselm Feuerbach. This gentle dirge sets to music a text by Friedrich Schiller, the last verses of which read: "Behold! There weep the gods, there weep the goddesses all, that the beautiful passes away, that the perfect dies. To be also a lament in the mouth of the beloved is glorious; for the common goes soundlessly down to the Orcus."
A world premiere entitled Today is life is written by Michel Veltman for Capella Vocale, which he directs. This refers to the tragic death, the suicide of Otto Weininger, which he deliberately committed in Beethoven's death house on 3.10.1903.
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