Beethoven's 5th

Discussion in 'Classical Music' started by Pearly, Dec 23, 2003.

  1. Pearly

    Pearly

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London,
    A difficult question.
    I am not sure where to post this thread, so I hope you don't mind if I may enquire here?

    I have read somewhere - I think it was by John Eliot Gardner who said this - that Beethoven used a theme by Rouget de I'Isle, from his work 'Hymne dithyrambique' sur la conjuration de Robesierre, for his Fifth Symphony.

    I have never heard anything about this work and I am interested to find out. Does anyone know more about this?.

    Regards
    Pearly
     
    Pearly, Dec 23, 2003
    #1
    1. Advertisements

  2. Pearly

    tones compulsive cantater

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Messages:
    3,021
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Must confess I've never heard this before - the Hymne Dithyrambique is hardly the best-known work in the world (I confess never to have heard it). The only thing that Rouget de l'Isle ever wrote that lasted was the Chant de l'Armée du Rhin, later known as La Marseillaise, the French national anthem.

    Here are some notes I found:

    Chant du 9 Thermidor
    Program Note by D. Kern Holoman

    On 27 July 1794â€â€by the French Republican calendar "9 Thermidor, an II de la République"â€â€the architect of the Reign of Terror, Maximilien de Robespierre, was declared an outlaw by the National Convention. After an unsuccessful attempt at suicideâ€â€he shot himself in the mouthâ€â€Robespierre was arrested at the Paris HÃ'tel de Ville and next day was guillotined, with twenty-one followers, before a wild crowd in the Place de la Révolution, now the Place de la Concorde. This conjuration ("exorcism") de Robespierre seemed to many a turning point in the long struggle to establish a workable republican government; the Reign of Terror would subside, and France would be rid of a leader who had come to be perceived as a demagogue.

    Among those released from political detention in the wake of 9 Thermidor was Claude-Joseph Rouget de Lisle, and in gratitude for his liberty, he set pen to paper in a Hymne Dithyrambique sur la conjuration de Robespierre et la Révolution du 9 Thermidor. It was presented before the National Convention on the following 18 Thermidor (6 August), just over a week after the events it treats. The published score of that year gives a melody line, a rudimentary bass line, and eight couplets of text.

    It was probably owing to the success of Berlioz's arrangement of the Marseillaise in late summer 1830 that he orchestrated this second hymn of Rouget de Lisle. We know little more of the genesis, except that Berlioz's source was not the 1794 score but rather the piano-vocal version found in Rouget's Cinquante Chants français (Paris, 1825), pp. 105-09, from which the title, tempo marking, introduction, and basic character of the accompaniment clearly come. (There are several reasons to imagine that Berlioz owned a copy of this edition.) The arrangement remained unpublished; I doubt that Berlioz's publisher, Maurice Schlesinger, could heve been interested in a work with such a dated text.

    The autograph manuscript of the Chant du neuf Thermidor is on paper similar (identical, I suspect) to a paper used for portions of the Symphonie fantastique autograph of enrly 1830 and the orchestral fantasy on Shakespeare's Tempest later in the year. Thus we can confidently place the Chant du neuf Thermidor in the last half of 1830, probably in late August. Berlioz has improved on many details of Rouget's original, and of course provided his own orchestral effects, from the modal eruption at "crime" in the refrain to the use of harps to suggest God's benevolent gaze over the fatherland.
     
    tones, Dec 23, 2003
    #2
    1. Advertisements

  3. Pearly

    Pearly

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London,
    Robespierre

    Thankyou for your fascinating and informative reply.
    The more one thinks about the French Revolution, the more one feels it was a mistake that Louis the 16th did not order the swiss gaurds to open fire on the murderous mob that subsequently destroyed the gaurd and later captured him and his family.
    There is a lot of talk by historians about social and political inevitability of the French revolution. But I often think these things turn of relatively isolated incidents, and the point about the reign of terror is that it reflected the balance of power gone mad. Certainly the reform movement would have built up in any event, but it might not have taken its disaterous and murderous course. If there had been a firm display of Royal resolve at the outset, we would have then been spared also, the ridiculous and deadly spectacle of Bonaparte and millions on the battlefield.;)
     
    Pearly, Dec 24, 2003
    #3
  4. Pearly

    tones compulsive cantater

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Messages:
    3,021
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Interesting indeed! I think the mob would have taken the Tuileries Palace regardless of whether the Swiss Guard opened fire or not - it just would have meant more casualties (the memorial to the Guards who died on that day, the Löwendenkmal (lion monument), can be seen in the Gletschergarten in Luzern, by the way). The reign of Terror was another aspect, separate from the Revolution itself and sparked by the assasination of Marat (ironically the maid who did it thought she had killed the Revolution). I think the Revolution was inevitable - middle class discontentment, partially fired by the success of the American revolution and its ideals (which the royalist French ironically had assisted), a country ruled by divine right by a weak king who was a great locksmith and a beautiful wife who detested anyone who mentioned the work "economy" in her hearing, and a perpetual shortage of money - but it could have been less bloody. Trouble was, Louis XVI was always behind the game. When he conceded A the mob wanted B, when he conceded B the mob had moved on to C and so on through the alphabet and up the steps to Dr. Guillotin's famous contraption.

    Funnily enough, I was writing about this in another aspect yesterday in my own field. Although sparked by the Jacobins, predominantly middle-class, the Revolution devoured its own children, as they say. The great French chemist Antoine Lavoisier was guillotined on the trumped-up charge of adulterating soldiers' tobacco. When Lavoisier pointed out his considerable contributions to chemistry, the Tribunal answered with the famous, "La République n'a pas besoin de savants" (the Republic doesn't need scientists).

    Lavoisier's great friend and fellow chemist Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours, together with his son Eluthère Irenée, escaped with heads still attached to shoulders and set up a gunpowder factory in Wilmington, Delaware - and the rest, as they say, is history.
     
    tones, Dec 24, 2003
    #4
  5. Pearly

    Pearly

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    London,
    French Revolution

    Thankyou for your interesting comments.
    My view is that the French revolution was not inevitable for a number of reasons which space alone here does not permit me to go into. It is a bit like the reformers before the Russian Revolution 1917, where extreme elements were always looking to go further and deeper than simply reforms to the structure of things, and in fact wanted to build a new heaven on a new earth.
    The reformist agenda led to a kind of collective softening of the brain cells among the ruling classes which almost amounted to a death wish, so far as the running of government was concerned, but that is a far cry from saying that the revolution was inevitable.
    The mob that opposed Louis XV1 was far more numerous than the swiss gaurd, but they were basically a poorly armed rabble, poorly armed and undisciplined mob of malcontents.
    The swiss gaurds were well armed and superbly trained and could have made short work of them. They was also a small, if effective army, which would have responded I think to a display of Royal resolve. Once the King was dead all of the organs of the State including the army felt easily into the lap of the Revolutioners.
    So far as Russia is concerned, don't forget, that if the Germans had not smuggled Lenin back by trian during the latter stage of the first world war to Russia, there probably wouldn't have been a Bolshevic revolution at all. So far as America is concerned, apart from the influence of French revolutionary ideas, here is a case I think where the colonists would inevitably have gone there own way. I really do not classify the American revolution as a revolution at all. It is so totally different in nature and scope to European revolutions.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 25, 2003
    Pearly, Dec 25, 2003
    #5
  6. Pearly

    tones compulsive cantater

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Messages:
    3,021
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Switzerland
    I'm no student of the period, Pearly, as you clearly are, but it seems to me that the basic structure of the French state at the time of Louis XVI was rotten and would have come crashing down sometime, taking the monarchy with it. The mould was set be Louis XIV "le Roi Soleil", with his famous "L'Etat, c'est moi", and Louis XV and XVI, tried to follow on, with rapidly reducing means to do so, resulting in Louis XVI calling the Estates General for the first time in ages, because he needed money.

    The American Revolution was a revolution, if you consider a revolution as the overturning of the existing order and its replacement with something quite different. Not for nothing did the band play "The world turn'd upside down" at the final surrender of Cornwallis, because it had been. And a group of intellectual, well-intentioned men set out on an uncharted course that was to change the world. I can't help wondering whether, if George Washington had foreseen his present namesake, he would have immediately surrendered to Cornwallis!

    Belated Merry Christmas and allthe best for 2004!
     
    tones, Dec 26, 2003
    #6
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.