Date: December 2006
Creator: Lee, Hee Seung
Description: Beethoven's folksong arrangements and variations have been coldly received in recent scholarship. Their melodic and harmonic simplicity, fusion of highbrow and lowbrow styles, seemingly diminished emphasis on originality, and the assorted nationalities of the tunes have caused them to be viewed as musical rubble within the heritage of Western art music. The canonic composer's relationship with the Scottish amateur folksong collector and publisher George Thomson, as well as with his audience, amateur music lovers, has been largely downplayed in the reception of Beethoven. I define Beethoven's engagement with folksongs and their audience as the "Beethoven Folksong Project," evaluating it in the history of Beethoven reception as well as within the cultural and ideological contexts of the British Isles and German-speaking lands at the turn of the nineteenth century. I broaden the image of Beethoven during his lifetime by demonstrating that he served as an ideal not only for highly educated listeners and performers but also for amateur music lovers in search of cultivation through music. I explore the repertory under consideration in relation to the idea of Bildung ("formation" or "education" of the self or of selves as a nation) that pervaded contemporary culture, manifesting itself in music as the ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries