Goethe arrived in Weimar in November Weimar was to be the poet's home for the rest of his life. It was not a rich state, nor a big one, but thanks to the Duke's mother, Duchess Anna Amalia who was, among other things, a composer , foundations had been laid for a remarkably cultural court of which Goethe himself was to be the star attraction.
Within six months of coming to Weimar Goethe was a privy councillor. Although he wrote poetry continually, he published nothing for the next ten years; his energies were given over to a list of administrative tasks which no ivory-tower artist could ever have contemplated and which led to his well-deserved reputation as both artist and scientist.
Goethe's work on behalf of the state's mining industry, for example, was to lead to his passionate interest in geological and mineralogical studies.
Maigesang, song for voice & piano, Op. 52/4
Charlotte von Stein, wife of the Duke's Master of Horse, was among the few at the court who almost immediately perceived Goethe's greatness. She was half Scottish by birth and was already a mature, married woman by the time she met the young poet. She was a serious woman of great decorum who deplored the rowdy side of his nature. She taught him how to dance, and equipped him with the social graces needed for a life of mixing with princes. In return he put her on a pedestal; he courted her as a knight might have wooed a paragon of medieval virtue.
Goethe wrote over letters to Charlotte which were as likely to be accompanied by the latest produce from his garden as by an immortal lyric written for her alone. Protected and guided by her love the fiery young poet grew up and found, for a number of years at least, a core of inner tranquillity.
He became much occupied with the court theatre a number of lyrics we know as songs are actually taken from small plays and began work on his novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre which was also to be a rich mine of song lyrics for Schubert and others. After more than a decade in Weimar Goethe experienced what would now be termed a mid-life crisis.
He had been ennobled in and was famous and respected, but he felt that his life in Germany was stultifying.
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Once again he needed to escape. The idealism and refinement of Charlotte von Stein had to be replaced by something more vital and earthy.
Like his character Mignon he looked to the south, and there he sought rejuvenation and artistic rebirth. On 3 September he slipped away from Karlsbad where he had visited Charlotte; without telling her he left with only a knapsack and an assumed name. This turning point in Goethe's creative and emotional life was rich in poetry inspired by classical metre, and largely unsuitable for musical setting. He was particularly busy as a playwright during this period. Egmont — from which the text 'Freudvoll und leidvoll' Die Liebe is taken — was completed in Italy, also the final version of his 'Schauspiel mit Gesang', Claudine von Villa Bella which Schubert and a number of other composers were to turn into opera.
The return to Weimar in very much on the poet's terms with a much lightened work load at court marked the end of Goethe's relationship with Charlotte who was not unnaturally mortified that the Italian adventure was planned without her knowledge. This intellectual relationship was replaced by something utterly different: the poet set up house with a year-old girl he was nearly sixteen years older named Christiane Vulpius. She was scarcely literate, but her simple joyful earthiness provided Goethe with the background he needed to work calmly and productively.
Indeed most of this phase of his life was given over to it.
He took particular issue with Newton's laws and had his own very different and misguided theories about the nature of light. At more or less the same time he met the poet Schiller who had moved to Jena some time before. What might have been a relationship of deadly rivalry turned into the most fruitful collaborative friendship in Goethe's life; it was just what he needed to return his energies to poetry.
Schiller galvanised Goethe into finishing such works as Wilhelm Meister , and it was also thanks to Schiller that work on Faust was resumed. They soon saw each other as ideal colleagues, fighting for the same lofty ideals of classicism in art. BBC Radio 3. More episodes Previous You are at the first episode. Amaryllis Quartet — Queen's Hall Series. Music Played.
Ludwig van Beethoven Mailied Maigesang Op. Performer: Kristian Bezuidenhout. Ludwig van Beethoven An die ferne Geliebte Op. Orchestra: Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Related Content You may also like. Home Schedule Podcasts Composers.
Maigesang, song for voice & piano, Op. 52/4
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Beethoven - 8 Songs Op. 52 No4 Mailied
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Related Mailied, No. 4 from Eight Songs, Op. 52
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