"Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow."*
"Good night Sweet Queen: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"***
Music: Seven Variations on "God Save the King - Queen" WoO 78 - Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 -1827)
Maximianno Cobra, Piano
Recorded by - TEMPUS Collection and licensed to Shakespeare Network.
* Romeo and Juliet: Act 2 Scene 2 - Juliet;
** Hamlet: Act 5 scene 2 - Horatio NB: Original text: (...) sweet prince (...)
Great Britain and Beethoven
"I must show the English a little what a blessing they have in their “God Save the King.”
(Beethoven's diary 1803 - Fischhoff autograph.)
Why would a composer in Austria write sets of variations on the English anthems ‘God save the King’ and ‘Rule Britannia’ in 1803?
‘God save the King’ was highly popular on the Continent. Many composers chose the melody as a theme for variations, one being the renowned Bach biographer Johann Nicolaus Forkel in 1791. Beethoven thus followed a tradition when he used both melodies to represent the English side in Wellington's Victory (1813). Such a motif, however, can only work if there is a clear connection between the country represented and the music. The music must therefore be well known. Moreover, Beethoven revered Britain and the British and harboured strong feelings for the island. There he found glory, honour and praise, not to mention generous publishers and philharmonic societies willing to perform his music. ‘The English’, which for Beethoven meant all British citizens, were an open-hearted nation that he deeply loved.