Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827) Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage Op. 112
Urtext based on the new Complete Edition (G. Henle Verlag) edited by Armin Raab [mix ch,orch] duration: 10' Text: Johann W. von Goethe
choir: SATB – 188.8.131.52. – 184.108.40.206. – timp – str
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In his op. 112 Beethoven sets the two poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Meeresstille (“Calm Sea”) and Glückliche Fahrt (“Prosperous Voyage”). Several sketches reveal that Beethoven had already begun to take an interest in the poems by the end of 1814. The composer conducted the première at a benefit concert for the Viennese Citizens’ Hospital Fund in 1815. As the publication of this work was long in coming, the dedicatee Goethe received a copy of the score only in May 1822. A few months later Beethoven inquired of him: “[…] how lovely would it be to know, if I appropriately united my harmonies with yours. Also enlightenment on what is to be seen as truth, would be dearly appreciated, as I love the latter above all, and never shall be said: Veritas odium parit.”
The old but commendable Breitkopf material has now been definitively replaced by the new edition based on the Complete Beethoven-Edition, save for the tried and true piano reduction by Carl Reinecke, which boasts more than simply historical merits. Its existence is assured by the revised and simplified form in which it appears in the new piano reduction. It will no doubt long continue being a much appreciated aid at choral rehearsals. In the piano vocal score the articulation and dynamics were adapted to the music text of the Complete Edition.
“The sun recently began shining from a cloudless sky on Beethoven's “Meeres Stille und Glückliche Fahrt” (Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage) after the publication of the piano reduction and choral score which signalize the completion of the performance material based on the new Beethoven Complete Edition.” (Singende Kirche)
In his op. 112 Beethoven sets the two poems by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Meeres Stille [calm sea] and Glückliche Fahrt [prosperous voyage]. Both texts appeared side by side when they were first published in the Musen-Almanach für das Jahr 1796; Goethe retained this association in the various editions of his works which he later edited himself. Several sketches reveal that Beethoven had already begun to take an interest in the poems by the end of 1814. His main work on the chorus fell in the summer of 1815; on 25 December of the same year the composer conducted the première at a benefit concert for the Viennese Citizens’ Hospital Fund. The publication of op. 112 was delayed for several years as the publisher, S. A. Steiner, procrastinated over the manuscript placed at his disposal. He did not issue the work until 1822, when it appeared simultaneously in score, parts, and piano-vocal score. The original publication bore a dedication to Goethe; a later edition contained, at Beethoven’s request, a quotation from Homer’s Odyssey appended as a motto.
The principal source for the music text of the Beethoven Complete Edition (Beethoven. Werke, series X, volume 2, G. Henle Verlag, Munich, 1998) is a copy of the score containing many additions and corrections made by the composer. This copy also served as the Stichvorlage for the original edition. The original edition of the score as well as the copy of a piano reduction which Beethoven did not write, but which he examined and corrected – the engraver’s master for the original edition of the piano reduction – were consulted as secondary sources. Further information on the form of the text, the state of the sources and the genesis of the work can be found in the Preface and the “Kritischer Bericht” of the aforementioned volume of the Beethoven Complete Edition.
In the present piano reduction by Carl Reinecke (1824–1910), the articulation and dynamics were adapted to the music text of the Beethoven Complete Edition and occasionally simplified for performance-technical reasons.
Cologne, Fall 2009