View Full Version : Song enquiry

05-07-2001, 03:53 PM
I have received an email enquiring about this Beethoven song - can anyone help?

"Can you tell us anything about the gentlemen that was
the inspiration for Beethoven's Abschiedsgesang an Wiens Burger
(Bu:rger (flying accent used)), also known as, WoO.121.
This work was written in 1796 circa the Napoleonic Wars.

It appears that this work was dedicated to a Col. von Kovesdy

Do you have any information as to what this man's first
name was ?

Do you know what rank of nobility he was ( for example :
a baron, count etc. ) ?

Is there a translation from the German into English ?

This particular work is found at the site : http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/f/friedelberg/beeth.woO.121.html

In respect to our research, the more the information the
better; so, feel free to send what ever you have on this subject and
to suggest further references."

'Man know thyself'

05-09-2001, 12:53 AM
There is only one mention of this work in Thayer-Forbes (1970) and the dedicatee is described as Major v. Kovesdy. The title of the work in English is "Farewell to Vienna's Citizens" and the words are by Josef Friedelberg.
I have been unable to dig up anything else, but I can give a translation from the Beethoven Edition Lieder booklet:

"No cry of lamentation shall ring forth
when the flag departs from here,
no tears shall fall from the eyes
that watch as it leaves.
It is proud of this honour
and of the sense of civic dignity
that glows on every cheek.

Defiant, even the villain can stand
before the mouths of thundering cannons,
but he cannot associate gentleness with courage,
cannot honour humanity.
Never to tarnish the joy of virtue,
to love one's countryman as one's brother,
that is the duty of German heroes!

Better humans, better citizens
than those of us who now go hence,
no immoral murderers
shall you see in us on our return.
Our Vienna will welcome us back
crowned with fame, strong and upright.
Come! Let the flag flutter on high!"


05-09-2001, 01:23 AM
Thanks Michael - I've not been able to find anything out about Kovesdy or why Beethoven dedicated this song to him. In 1796, the Austrian army was involved against the French at Mantua,Italy - so perhaps he was in that campaign.

'Man know thyself'