In Search of Klopstock
This chapter examines Beethoven's engagement with poetry. Never a willing co-conspirator in matters of genre, Beethoven plants himself against its shifting currents. Further, his engagement with the poem is often an encounter with the poet, enmeshed in those webs of culture and psyche that we are continually disentangling in his other music. As a young composer, Beethoven seemed to have kept his distance from Klopstock. However, in the midst of nearly 200 pages of drafts for the immense expanses of the first movement of the Eroica Symphony, for the Waldstein Sonata, and among extensive plottings for the opening scene of Vestas Feuer, there is a modest turn inward, to Klopstock's Das Rosenband, its syntactical inflections and enjambments appropriate more to ode than to lied.
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