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Ludwig van Beethoven, Sechs Lieder von Gellert für Singstimme und Klavier op. 48, Nr. 6 "Bußlied", Autograph

Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Sammlung H. C. Bodmer, HCB Mh 30

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Religious odes and songs by Christian Fürchtegott Gellert

Here you can see the autograph score of the Gellert lied op. 48 no. 6, "Bußlied" ("Penitential hymn"). Along with the autograph score of no. 5 (also at the Beethoven-Haus, call number HCB Mh 31), with which the one shown here was once joined, it is the only surviving manuscript of the songs. Beethoven might have revised the Bußlied and therefore kept the autograph score. Unlike in the original edition published by the Viennese publisher Tranquillo Mollo (in August 1803), in which the Bußlied came at the end, that is as no. 6, Beethoven numbered it "No. 5" in the autograph score shown here. Although the Bußlied is certainly suitable as the conclusion and highlight of a collection on account of its two-part structure, Beethoven had obviously not envisaged a cyclic order. This reflects the way the texts were conceived in the 54 "Religious odes and songs", which the poet Christian Fürchtegott Gellert had also not written as a cycle. Gellert's poems enjoyed great popularity in the second half of the eighteenth century and were set to music around 560 times. (J.R.)

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