Lost Beethoven hymn – Pange lingua

                 Lost Beethoven hymn – Pange lingua.


Professor Barry Cooper- one of the world’s leading experts on the composer found the work which Beethoven composed in about 1820, written alongside some original sketches of the famous Mass in D, known as the Missa Solemnis, in a sketchbook now in Berlin.

History is made as premiere of Beethoven’s sublime lost hymn shows him in a new light.

26th October, 2012.

The premiere Ludwig van Beethoven had in mind should have taken place in the Gothic splendour of Olmütz Cathedral. But the first known performance of his newly uncovered setting of a piece of plainchant took place in a modern, pine-clad lecture theatre in Manchester yesterday.

The great composer is thought to have written the work for his patron, Archduke Rudolf of Austria, on the occasion of the Hapsburg prince’s enthronement in 1820 as Archbishop of Olmütz in Moravia, in what is now the Czech Republic.

The piece – believed to be a setting of the “Tantum Ergo” by the mediaeval saint and scholar Thomas Aquinas – was unearthed recently by Professor Barry Cooper, of Manchester University’s music department. One of the world’s leading experts on Beethoven, he was looking through a handmade sketchbook belonging to the composer which is lodged in the Berlin State Library. Yesterday’s performance revealed a stately, reverential, almost funereal setting of the fifth verse of the Gregorian plainchant “Pange Lingua”.

The choir of 10 students, accompanied on a portable organ, unveiled a work of simple yet sublime chordal nobility quite unlike what the audience might have expected. “I was very surprised when I found this,” Professor Cooper said. “I didn’t think he’d written anything like this. If I hadn’t seen it in his own handwriting I wouldn’t have believed it was by him.” The harmonisation of the ancient tune is simple, though Beethoven has added chromatic ornamentation to the plainchant line.

“Beethoven did not scorn simplicity,” Professor Cooper said. “Not many people realise he set 179 folk tunes – more than anything else he ever did.”

Read on:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s