Thematic Studies- Translated by Ernest Bernhardt-Kabisch
III. The Subject of Salvatore Viganò’s Heroic Ballet "The Creatures of Prometheus"
21 III. The Subject of Salvatore Viganò’s Heroic Ballet The Creatures of Prometheus Here sit I, forming men In my own image. A new race in my likeness, To suffer, to weep, To enjoy and to know happiness, And pay you no heed, Zeus, Like me. Goethe, Prometheus (1774) Of the music to the ballet Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus (Gli Uomini di Pro- meteo) it may be said that it is not generally reckoned among Beethoven’s greatest works. That may be the reason why to date it has not nearly gained the attention it deserves: since Hugo Riemann’s study of 19101 it has not been thor- oughly analyzed. Yet there are numerous indications that this ballet music is of great signifi- cance for a proper understanding of Beethoven’s work. It appears in more than one respect to occupy the place of a key work for the compositions of Beetho- ven’s middle period. For one thing, it offers crucial clues to an understanding of the Eroica. For another, it very likely represents Beethoven’s earliest contribu- tion to the genre of program music. Thirdly, the hitherto unutilized sketches to this work permit highly instructive insights into Beethoven’s creative process and his way of thinking. It is thus imperative to include the subject and the mu- sic of this unjustly ignored ballet in our investigation. Let us, to begin with, consider the subject of this “heroic-allegorical” bal- let. Salvatore Viganò’s Italian-German libretto is thought to be lost. Luckily there are...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.