Mozart, Beethoven: A musical dialogue
Notes by Margaret Scialdone, In 1798, Beethoven turned again to Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute”, this time composing twelve variations on Papageno’s aria, “Ein Madchen oder Weibchen” in which the ridiculous bird-catcher expresses his desperation for a mate. The translation of the words to the Ein Madchen oder Weibchen are:
A maiden or a little wife Is what Papageno wants! Oh, such a sweet dove Would be bliss for me.
Then I’d eat and drink with relish, Then I’d feel like a prince, Enjoy life in my wisdom, And be as if in Elysium.
Ah, can I find no-one among the lovely girls who likes me? Let just one come to my aid, Or I’ll truly die of grief.
If none will offer me love, Then the fire must consume me! But just one kiss, And I’ll be better again.
Mozart’s “Ein Madchen” (performer unidentified)
Beethoven’s’ 12 variations, performed by Mstislav Rostropovich, Vasso Devetzi.