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Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's Mass in C, the concert aria Ah Perfido! and a selection of his songs, with conductor Simone Young and pianist and writer Iain Burnside.

Donald Macleod explores Beethoven's Mass in C, the vocal fireworks of Ah Perfido! and some surprising and contrasting songs with pianist and writer Iain Burnside and conductor Simone Young.

Beethoven was born into a family of singers. His grandfather Ludwig and his father Johann were both remarked on for their voices. Judging by contemporary accounts it seems that Beethoven himself wasn't similarly gifted. The librettist and lepidopterist Georg Friedrich Treitschke claimed that Beethoven would growl when he was composing; Beethoven's biographer Anton Schindler said that he howled, and Beethoven's pupil Ferdinand Ries was of the view that his teacher did both. If those reports are true, then Beethoven's inability to produce a harmonious sound himself certainly didn't act as a deterrent to his compositional focus. A quick tally shows that somewhere in the region of half of his six hundred plus works were written for voice, mining subjects like love, persecution, loneliness, freedom, brotherhood and sacrifice, themes that Beethoven held very close to his heart.

Across the week Donald Macleod and his guests will be discussing some personal favourites from Beethoven's vocal music, taking in the giants of choral repertory like Missa Solemnis and the ninth symphony, his opera Fidelio and orchestral vocal music, as well as relishing the astonishing variety of his songwriting, from the song cycle An die Ferne Geliebte and the most profoundly moving vocal masterpieces, to a comic song most likely dashed off to amuse friends in a bar.

Beethoven's first Mass was written in 1807, a commission for Prince Nikolaus Esterhazy. When he first heard it, the Prince described it as "detestable". Donald discovers why Beethoven's innovations excited such a strong reaction from his backward looking patron.

Der Wachtelschlag, WoO129
Peter Schreier, tenor
Andreas Schiff, piano

L'amante impaziente (a pair of settings)
Roderick Wiliams, baritone
Ann Murray, mezzo soprano
Iain Burnside, piano

Ah Perfido!, op 65
Christine Karg, soprano
Arcangelo
Jonathan Cohen, director

Mass in C, op 86 (excerpts)
Gloria
Sanctus & Benedictus
Rebecca Evans, soprano
Pamela Helen Stephen, mezzo soprano
Mark Padmore, tenor
Stephen Varcoe, baritone
Collegium Musicum 90
Richard Hickox, conductor

Klage
Neue Liebe, neues Leben
Stephan Genz, baritone
Roger Vignoles, piano

Fantasia for Piano, Choir and Orchestra in C minor op 80 (excerpt)
Chorus of Duetsche Oper, Berlin
Berlin Phlharmonic
Daniel Barenboim, piano and conductor

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Der Wachtelschlag WoO 129 for voice and piano

    Performer: Sir András Schiff. Singer: Peter Schreier.
    • DECCA : 444-817-2.
    • DECCA.
    • 19.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    4 Ariettas and a Duet Op 82, Nos 3 & 4

    Performer: Iain Burnside. Singer: Ann Murray. Singer: Roderick Williams.
    • SIGNUM : SIGCD-139.
    • SIGNUM.
    • 15.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Ah! Perfido Op 65

    Singer: Christiane Karg. Ensemble: Arcangelo. Director: Jonathan Cohen.
    • Berlin Classics 0300646BC.
    • Berlin Classics.
    • 1.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Mass in C major Op 86, Gloria

    Singer: Rebecca Evans. Singer: Pamela Helen Stephen. Singer: Mark Padmore. Singer: Stephen Varcoe. Orchestra: Collegium Musicum 90. Conductor: Richard Hickox.
    • Chaconne : CHAN-0703.
    • Chaconne.
    • 2.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Mass in C major Op 86, Sanctus & Benedictus

    Singer: Rebecca Evans. Singer: Pamela Helen Stephen. Singer: Mark Padmore. Singer: Stephen Varcoe. Orchestra: Collegium Musicum 90. Conductor: Richard Hickox.
    • Chaconne : CHAN-0703.
    • Chaconne.
    • 9.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Klage WoO 113 for voice and piano

    Performer: Roger Vignoles. Singer: Stephan Genz.
    • HYPERION : CDA-67055.
    • HYPERION.
    • 5.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Neue Liebe, Neues Leben WoO 127 for voice and piano

    Performer: Roger Vignoles. Singer: Stephan Genz.
    • HYPERION : CDA-67055.
    • HYPERION.
    • 6.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven

    Fantasia Op 80 for Piano, Chorus And Orchestra in C minor (Choral Fantasy) Op 80

    Performer: Daniel Barenboim. Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Conductor: Daniel Barenboim. Choir: Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin.
    • EMI : CDC-5 55516-2.
    • EMI.
    • 9.

Broadcast

  • Tue 5 May 2020 12:00

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