Ludwig van Beethoven – The Ruins of Athens Op. 113
(b. Bonn ,17th December 1770 – d. Vienna, 26th March 1827)
A one-act singspiel consisting of an overture and seven sections
Overtue p. 1
Nr. 1 Chorus p. 27
Nr. 2 Duet p. 32
Nr. 3 Chorus p. 39
Nr. 4 Marcia alla turca p.49
Nr. 5 Music behind the scene p.59
Nr. 6 March and Chorus p.62
Nr. 7 Chorus p.85
Nr. 8 Chorus p.106
On the night of the 9th February 1812, a new German theatre opened in the town of Pest in Hungary. The theatre had been built using funds donated by the Emperor of Austria, Francis I (1768-1835)1. This benevolence was not purely from an altruistic standpoint, but had a very specific political aspect. After Austrian defeats at Ulm and Austerlitz in 1805, the crushing defeat at Wagram in 1809, the occupation of Vienna, and loss of various Austrian territory, the politically astute Prince Metternich (1773-1859) successfully enabled Austria to be seen as ally to Napoleon, via the marriage of Francis I daughter Maria Louise (1791-1847) to Napoleon in 1810, thereby avoiding the total disintegration of the Austria Empire. At the same time however, Metternich was also setting in motion plans to regain territory formally lost to Napoleon by promoting a German national consciousness within Austrian territory that would both unify the nation state and lead Austria to participating in the demise of the Napoleonic Empire in the battle of the nations at Leipzig in 1813.
The concept of German nationalism stemmed from the philosophical writings of Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803), who in 1784 published his book entitled The Philosophy of the History of Mankind, in which he eluded to the notion that Germanic lands should not copy the French model but pursue their own identity and give Germanic speaking peoples a new pride in their own cultural identity.2 This resulted in two separate types of nationalism emerging – conservative nationalism which wanted a return to the status quo that had existed before the French revolution and Napoleonic age, and liberal nationalism that wanted to retain some aspects of the idealism of the French revolution within a society built upon constitutional lines and a government of and for the people. These two types of nationalism however did work together to oppose Napoleon and his desire for a unified French European empire.
French domination of Germanic states during the Napoleonic era resulted in an injection of reactive energy within political and intellectual circles that fuelled ideas of nationalism linked to the beginnings of Romanticism in the arts as a reaction against the prevalence of French rationalism at the time. …
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