Beethoven and Friedrich Von Matthisson’s “Adelaide”

Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven

Printed out this image of Beethoven from a woodblock I cut this past week. I decided to branch out and also do woodblock prints of classical composers since poetry and music share a close relationship as exemplified by Beethoven’s cantata, “Adelaide” (written in his mid-twenties)  using as the lyrics the poem by the German poet, Friedrich Von Matthisson.  Matthisson, who was admired and praised by Goethe, was known for his lyrical descriptions of nature as seen in this poem:


ADELAIDE
Your friend wanders alone in the garden of spring,
Gently bathed in lovely magical light,
Which shimmers through the swaying branches of flowers:
Adelaide!

In the reflection of the river, in the snows of the Alps,
In the golden clouds of sinking day,
In the fields of stars thy face beams forth,
Adelaide!

Evening breezes whisper through the tender leaves
The silver bells at Maytime rustle in the grass,
Waves roar and nightingales sing,
Adelaide!

Some day, o miracle! a flower will blossom,
Upon my grave from the ashes of my heart;
And clearly on every violet petal will shine:
Adelaide!
(This particular English translation from the German is from Wikipedia.)

You can watch the YouTube video of tenor, Kurt Spanier, performing “Adelaide” ( in German, no subtitles) here
You can order a set of five Beethoven postcards here.

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