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Volume 11• Number 2

Fall 2004


 

 

Cyclical Ordering in Beethoven's Gellert Lieder, Op.48: A New Source

by Joanna Cobb Biermann

Lieder number among Beethoven's earliest compositions. The song "Schilderung eines Mädchens," for instance, which appeared in 1783 in Boßler's weekly musical magazine Blumenlese für Klavierliebhaber, and "An einen Säugling," which was published one year later in Boßler's Neue Blumenlese, are two such works by this very young composer. Publishing songs singly was not the rule in Beethoven's time, however. They generally appeared in larger or smaller song collections. Beethoven, too, usually wrote whole "bundles" of songs, which he often revised again before publication. Sometimes this revision also included a reordering of the songs.1 Beethoven is generally credited with being the "inventor" of the song cycle with his An die ferne Geliebte, op.98, published in 1816. What was he doing with song groupings before that time?

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