Ludwig van Beethoven – Welsh Song WoO no. 25. The Parting Kiss
Another, beautiful, haunting song from Beethoven.
The National Library of Wales sheds doubt that this song is actually of Welsh origin:
But the remaining melody, set by Beethoven in 1815 and published as 'The Parting Kiss', seems highly doubtful. In the manuscript that Beethoven sent, Thomson has inserted the heading 'Anna' above this setting. This name seems more characteristic of Scotland or Ireland than Wales, and indeed there was in Thomson's day a popular Irish song with that name, although its melody is unrelated to 'The Parting Kiss' (it had the text 'Shepherds, I have lost my love', and was even published by Thomson in a setting by Pleyel). There may, however, have been another non-Welsh melody with the same name. Another suspicious feature of 'The Parting Kiss' is that the melody was sent to Beethoven as the second in a batch of six tunes, the other five of which are all Scottish; Thomson actually referred to them as 'Six Airs Ecossois' in his covering letter of 17 August 1814. 16It is easy to imagine Thomson assembling his third volume of Welsh airs in 1817 and, finding himself one short of the desired thirty, slipping in an extraneous song, such as 'The Parting Kiss', that was not too obvi- ously non-Welsh. The suggestion that the melody is Scottish is corroborated by the fact that, in 1841, Thomson inserted it in a volume entitled The Melodies of Scotland, as if to correct his earlier error.17 None of the other Haydn or Beethoven settings of 'Welsh' airs was included in this 1841 volume.