Friday, December 10, 2010

12/10 Beethoven's Journey Around the World

(The World in 1800)
Actually it's Urian's Journey Around the World.
One of the interesting songs Beethoven set to music in his early days was "Urians Reise um die Welt (Urian's voyage round the world)", the first song in the 8 Lieder Op.52 (1793?).  Around this time Beethoven had recently left Bonn to visit Vienna for the first time (1792), and soon undertook several concert tours through Prague, Dresden, Leipzig and Berlin (1796).  Perhaps these experiences motivated him to put such a "light" piece to music...or the other way around.

Basically the text is 14 refrains of "Urian" telling the story of his travels to the North Pole, Africa, China, America, Mexico, Tahiti, etc...and how everyone is as foolish as the people back home :).  When I first heard this song I thought it was kind of repetitive - until I read the translated text...a very big help to the enjoyment of this song!

Watch this video I threw together for the full text in German and English and have a sing-along..
..sorry if the text is a bit blurry - too many lyrics to type out!  Watch at 480p if you can.


Finally, everytime I hear about a music "journey around the world" I always flash back to my days as a Stockhausen fan and listening to his avant-garde opera "Licht".  He has a piece called Michael's Journey Around the World.  Is it possible he cribbed from Beethoven? Here's a blog with video..interesting stuff but not for the faint of heart...

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