Beethoven: Sparks of Joy – Beethoven’s contribution to a Dialogue of Cultures: his “Spanish Songs”
George Thomson was an Edinburgh-based publisher and collector of folk music, who commissioned classical arrangements of traditional folk melodies from composers such as Pleyel, Kozeluch, Weber, and Haydn. Beethoven, a passionate believer in the brotherhood of man, wholeheartedly took up the project, and between 1809 and 1820 contributed 179 compositions, the majority based on folk songs from the British Isles. Tucked among these, however, is a small collection, “23 songs of various nationalities” (WoO 158a), with melodies from all over Europe – from Ukraine to Italy to the Iberian Peninsula.
The Catalan soprano Monserrat Alavedra sings Beethoven’s “Spanish Songs” from this collection in both Spanish and German. (Unfortunately, no English translations are available.) [Notes by Margaret Scialdone.]