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In the piano, he compresses the melodic outline from the beginning of the song, with its upbeat from F leading to repeated Ds and then the dominant seventh supporting E♭.
Beethoven was quite late in presenting Matthisson with a copy of his song, fearing the poet would not like it (see letter above).
There is a triplet accompaniment in the piano, with many modulations through the flat keys, creating a dreamy atmosphere.
As Cooper remarks, "the lover sees his beloved wherever he wanders, and the music correspondingly wanders through a great range of keys and rhythms." The second part of Beethoven's song sets the extravagant death fantasy of the final stanza, in which flowers sprout from poet's grave to express his undying love.
You know yourself what changes the lapse of some years brings forth in an artist who continues to make progress; the greater the advances we make in art, the less are we satisfied with our works of an earlier date.
My most ardent wish will be fulfilled if you are not dissatisfied with the manner in which I have set your heavenly "Adelaide" to music, and are incited by it soon to compose a similar poem; and if you do not consider my request too indiscreet, I would ask you to send it to me forthwith, that I may exert all my energies to approach your lovely poetry in merit.
During the period he created Adelaide, Beethoven was in his mid twenties; he had come to Vienna in 1792 to pursue a career and was in the early stages of making a name for himself as pianist and composer.
You will receive with this one of my compositions published some years since, and yet, to my shame, you probably have never heard of it.
Strikingly, Beethoven sets this stanza in tones not of despair but of ecstasy; the tempo marking is allegro molto.
In an essay on this song, Carla Ramsey offers an almost lurid account of the final section: "A culmination of the yearnings expressed in the earlier part of the song, the Allegro molto might be viewed as a kind of triumphal march in which the young lover exults in a death and a transfiguration whereby he is symbolically united with his beloved...
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