About this Piece
Beethoven did most of the work on his setting of Goethe's Bundeslied in 1823-24, while he was composing the Ninth Symphony, although some of the ideas in the short chorus can be found in sketches going back to 1797. (Schubert set the same text in 1815, although Beethoven would probably not have known that - it wasn't published until 1887.) The occasion of the first performance of Beethoven's setting is not known, but the composer marked the score "To be sung in social circles" and scored it for soprano and alto soloists, three-part chorus, and a wind sextet: pairs of clarinets, horns, and bassoons. The music has the character of a drinking song, the vocal parts marching jauntily along over steady motor rhythms in the winds.
- John Henken is Director of Publications for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association.