By Robert Lewis Marshall
The Description for this booklet, The Compositional strategy of J.S. Bach, should be forthcoming.
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53/II phrases, reﬂects the venerable practice of word-painting motivated in the text by the idea of the ascent of humanity toward illumination. In Fidelio, this Humanitätsmelodie emerges at the moment in the second-act ﬁnale when Leonore releases Florestan from his chains. Beethoven reuses the theme here to symbolize what language cannot convey. ”). And when this hymn-like theme is repeated in the chorus, it is linked to the Deity and to a higher moral au- the bonn years 31 thority: “Gerecht, o Gott!
The bonn years 25 types, with their roots in the conventions of ﬁgurative musical expression of the eighteenth century. Beethoven’s continuing development of these rhetorical models is by no means conﬁned to Fidelio; it touches on a broader dimension of symbolic expression in his music in general. For that reason we shall examine the cantata in some detail. Our concern is not to offer exhaustive description, however, but to indicate the work’s broader importance for the evolution of Beethoven’s musical language.
13 A glance at the score sufﬁces to show why Beethoven never revised or published the cantata, for two of the most memorable passages in his opera Fidelio were adapted from its material! The passages in question represent more than thematic borrowings, and neatly illustrate sharply contrasting aspects of Beethoven’s musical symbolism. They could be described as topoi, or basic rhetorical arche11 Information related to Jeannette von Greth is found in Internet sources related to Timisoara, but inaccuracies abound, with a connection often drawn to Johann van Beethoven instead of Ludwig van Beethoven.