Liszt’s Cantatas

Franz Liszt composed his “Cantata for the inauguration of the Beethoven Monument at Bonn”, on May 12th 1845. The words were written by Bernhardt Wolff.
I. What draws the multitude together? What business summons you here? To judge by the throng, today is a day of celebration. You who come from hill and dale, tell me what brings you here? You who rest on the steps, say, who summoned you here? Come and give of your best, come, whether high-born or lowly, with the richest, most beautiful songs, today is truly a day of celebration. It is the day devoted to genius.
II. Like the waves of the sea, all nations rush past on the river of time. Above them, eternally unchanging, is heaven’s dome alone! But beneath them in unceasingly circling motion the incessantly changing earth. Today there comes what is gone tomorrow, today there labours what dies tomorrow, destined to perish, never acquiring permanence. Rapidly vanishing even as it happens, scarcely appeared, already escaping, always fleeing, never staying: only in death is there permanence. III. The nations who passed by sank into the night of nights: only their rulers’ names tell a later generation of their actions. In the book of world history and at the Last Judgement, as though spellbound, the prince speaks up for his country. But shall humankind’s aspirations flood away with us when we die? Will nothing that they achieved be preserved till the end of time? If a prince represents his people in the annals of history, who then will tell of their torments and proclaim what they have suffered? Who will stand up for them in the book of world history? Who will make their name shine through the ages? Poor humankind, a heavy fate! Who will be sent out by you at the end of time? The genius! In his actions eternally true and great.
IV. He whom no night enshrouded, he who is not led astray by everyday scorn; he who unites humankind with God; he whose brow is crowned by God has boldly placated fate. He lends to the brief span of time the reflection of brightest eternity. As he reveals his work, so what he offered is divine; never is he bowed down by the weight of years, but like a hero he overcomes death. Holy! Holy! Holy is the genius’s sway on earth. He lent us a foretaste of heaven, immortality’s surest pledge. This celebration has united us! Set foot within the circle; let us devote these varied hours to his memory, to him who gazes down, transfigured. And even unto the end of time his image shall tell posterity that his contemporaries all revered him. Hail! Hail! Beethoven, hail!
In 1845, Franz Liszt wrote a first cantata for the unveiling of the Beethoven Monument at Bonn. The work was lost after being played, and so we owe its reconstitution to Günther Massenkeil. As far as I know, this work has never before been recorded. It’s therefore a new dedication to Beethoven to which you can now listen.
In 1870, Liszt created another cantata in honour of Beethoven. Liszt’s 2nd Beethoven Cantata is titled “Zur Säkularfeier Beethovens” for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass choir and orchestra. It was composed about 1869-1870. Text is by Stern – Catalogued in Searle’s list of Liszt’s works as nr. 68. The slow introduction of the cantata, as in other cantatas by Liszt, is an orchestration of the slow movement of “Archduke” trio opus 97. It was probably never recorded.