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Peter
09-22-2000, 11:12 AM
I read recently about a film coming out which uses the folk song arrangements Beethoven made with piano trio - does anyone know the name of the film and when it's due out ?

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'Man know thyself'

Michael
09-22-2000, 11:16 PM
Originally posted by Peter:

I read recently about a film coming out which uses the folk song arrangements Beethoven made with piano trio - does anyone know the name of the film and when it's due out ?



Believe it or not, it's a film version of the humerous novel "Puckoon" by Spike Milligan (of Goon Show fame)! An article in the Sunday Times, a few weeks ago, said filming would start in September. One of the joint producers said that he opted for Beethoven's music because more familiar Irish folk songs sounded "too repetitive and we needed something more dramatic."
It is nice to see some attention being paid to B.'s arrangements of songs, especially as they form so large a part of his output - over 170 songs or 7 CD's worth! But what is alarming about the project is this paragraph from the article: "Beethoven's manuscripts will be adapted for the screen by Richard Hartley, who wrote the score of the Rocky Horor Picture Show ...."
I have nothing against the Rocky Horror Show, but "adapting the manuscripts"? Does this mean we get an arrangement of an arrangement?
The article also gives the misleading impression that Beethoven actually wrote the tunes as it starts off: "A collection of Irish jigs, written by Ludwig van Beethoven as he descended into deafness, will be performed in public after more than 170 years of negelect."
They are correct about the neglect but I am sure many Irish readers were flabbergasted to be told (incorrectly) that the song popularly known as "St. Patrick's Day in the Morning" was written by Beethoven.
Michael

Peter
09-23-2000, 12:13 AM
The Sunday Times article is the one I read also, though being very busy at the time, I only glanced at it, intending to come back to it later, only to find it had been thrown away ! I also got the impression that they were going to use orchestral arrangements of Beethoven's arrangements !! I'm not familiar with these folk song arrangements, so do you have any suggestions as to recordings ?

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'Man know thyself'

Michael
09-23-2000, 05:17 AM
The "complete" folksong arrangements are available on a seven CD set from D.G.G. although I believe of ten alternative settings of some of the songs, only two are used in this collection. (Maybe there were no performable scores extant). Still, it is probably the most comprehensive set available on disc, containing about 150 songs. I have the set for a few years now and have listened to it a great deal. There are other shorter selections on C.D., but I can't praise this one too highly!
There is great variety in it, not only because of the different countries represented - mostly England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales -as well as other various nationalities, but almost a dozen different singers are used, including Dame Felicity Lott and Ann Murray.
Barry Cooper says of these arrangements:
"The tremendous energy of the quick settings, the expressiveness of the slow ones, the richness of the textures, the innovative approach to the problem of continuity, the delightful dialogues between the two string instruments, the motivic ingenuity of the preludes and postludes, the originality of the harmonies, and above all the incredible variety and range found here, all contribute to the extraordinarily high quality of these wonderful miniatures."

Michael

Peter
09-23-2000, 10:23 AM
Thanks Michael - I was always put off from these arrangements because I never thought of them as true 'Beethoven' - most biographers tend to be fairly dissmisive as well - You're comments have certainly fuelled my interest and I shall investigate further ! I've read that George Thomson complained to Beethoven that they should be easier , much to Beethoven's annoyance ! Apparently Beethoven took his work very seriously on these arrangements - insisting on the text. I look forward to hearing them !

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'Man know thyself'

Rod
09-25-2000, 12:02 PM
Originally posted by Peter:

I'm not familiar with these folk song arrangements, so do you have any suggestions as to recordings ?



I've heard quite a few of them, any they are really first class. Some are deeply profound, such as Op108/8 'The lovely lass of inverness.' He often adds quite novel instrumental passages of his own in the intros and closing bars. I can recommend to ultra first rate recordings on period instruments:

'L. van Beethoven - Songs'
Channel Classics, CCS 1491

'Volkslieder, Weltliche Vokalwerke'
Arts, 47519-2

Rod