“OB EIN GOTT SEI?”: FIRST EDITION OF BEETHOVEN’S AN DIE HOFFNUNG
BEETHOVEN, Ludwig van. An die Hoffnung aus Tiedge’s Urania… 94tes Werk. Wien: S. A. Steiner, . Oblong folio, disbound; pp. 10, (2). $4700.
First edition of Beethoven’s second setting of this poem by Tiedge, fully engraved.
Beethoven twice set Tiege’s “An die Hoffnung” to music-once in 1805 (op. 32) in a much shorter version without the opening strophes, and again in 1813-14. “Obtaining the right rhythm for the words was always a matter of major concern for him; his preliminary sketches for songs often show him experimenting with many different rhythms for the first phase, while his latest alterations to the final version sometimes include minor improvements to the rhythm of the voice part. His concern for verbal accentuation sometimes led to unusual results, a remarkable example being the beginning of his second setting of An die Hoffnung (op. 94), where the music borders on declamatory recitative as well as being very chromatic and forward-looking harmonically” (Cooper, 263). “At certain periods of his life, Beethoven’s religious impulses were rather in the background, and there is more than a hint of agnosticism in his 1813-14 setting of An die Hoffnung (op. 94), which begins ‘Ob ein Gott sei?’ (‘Is there a God?’)-a passage omitted in his 1805 setting of the song” (Cooper, Beethoven Companion, 147). With integral blank at end. Kinsky-Hahn, 265-66.
Faint foxing to title, text exceptionally clean. A wonderful copy.