Academic journal article The Beethoven Newsletter

The Beethoven-Album: Supplement to the Beethoven Festival at Bonn, August 1845

Academic journal article The Beethoven Newsletter

The Beethoven-Album: Supplement to the Beethoven Festival at Bonn, August 1845

Article excerpt

Beethoven-Album. Ein Gedenkbuch dankbarer liebe und Verehrung für den grossen Todten, gestiftet und bescrieben von einem Vereine von Künstlern und Kunstfreunden aus Frankreich, England, Italien, Deutschland, Holland, Schtueden, Ungarn und Russland. [Beethoven Album: A Commemorative Book of Thankful Love and Reverence for the Great Deceased, Organized and Written by a Society of Artists and Friends of Art from France, England, Italy, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Hungary and Russia.] Stuttgart: Hallberger'sche Verlagshandlung, [1846 or 1847].

THE BEETHOVEN-ALBUM, RECENTLY ACQUIRED BY THE BEETHOVEN CENTER, adds a charming postscript to the celebrations surrounding the unveiling of a monument to Beethoven in Bonn in August 1845. (The event is described in a lively first-hand account by Hector Berlioz, which appeared, in a new annotated translation with commentary, in The Beethoven Newsletter 6(1991): 1-14 and 29-36.) The Album was inspired directly by the Bonn celebrations, and was published a year or two later.

At 312 pages, and beautifully designed and engraved, this is a generous tribute indeed. It consists of prose, poetry, and music offered in homage to Beethoven by an international gallery of notables including Meyerbeer and Liszt, among scores of others. The entries are brief, and range widely: acrostics, aphorisms, poems, prose tributes, canons, fragments of Beethoven's own compositions, and short original works of every kind, from fugues to songs, from piano pieces to choral works.

(Curiously, there is even a sketch for an "Hommage 'a Hector Berlioz'" by Carl Haslinger.) The entries are prepared and presented with care; to each is appended a brief biographical note about the contributor, and there is an index of authors at the end.

Most of the entries consist of general praise for Beethoven, but there are at least a dozen poems and prose pieces that refer directly to the Bonn celebrations: "Beethovens Denkmal," "Beethoven's Standbild in Bonn," "Zum Beethoven-Feste in Bonn," "Festgruss zur feierlichen Inauguration des Beethoven-Denkmals," "Beethoven's Todtenfeier zu Bonn," and others including several with a terse tide that perhaps says it all: "Beethoven! …

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