[Beethoven, Ludwig van. (1770–1827)] Seyfried, Ignaz von. (1776–1841)
Beethoven's Begräbniss...Marcia funebre sulla morte d'un Eroe
Vienna: Tobias Haslinger. [June, 1827]. First.
A very rare example of memorial sheet music issued following the death of Beethoven. Beethoven's Begräbniss : Nach einer Composition des Verewigten: "Marcia funebre sulla morte d'un Eroe" für 4 Singstimmen mit Begleitung des Pianoforte. Upright folio. Outer wrappers: Title; Ludwig Van Beethoven's Leichenbegängniss; Parts: 1 - 3 pp. (Piano), 2, 2, 2, 2 pp. (4 vocal parts). Engraved throughout. [PN] T.H. 5036. Seyfried's setting of the poem by Alois Jeitteles (1794–1858) for piano and four voices, based on the Marcia funebre from Beethoven's Piano sonata in A-flat Major, op. 26. Some toning, wear to edges, else fine. Very rare. Worldcat records only two copies in the United States (6 copies abroad).
Ignaz von Seyfried, Kapellmeister at the Theater an der Wien at the time, had adapted the first and third movements to the text of the Miserere (Psalm 51, the first and the second verse) especially for the occasion of Beethoven's funeral. "Ten thousand or more (some estimated the throng at double and even triple that number) crowded the streets on March 29 to witness the great procession, which wound through the streets from the courtyard of the Schwarzpanierhaus to the Trinity Church of the Minorites in the Alsergasse and thence to the nearby village of Wahring, where the eloquent funeral oration written by Franz Grillparzer was rendered by the actor Heinrich Anschutz and Beethoven was buried in the parish cemetery. The pallbearers were eight kapellmeisters; the torchbearers included many of Beethoven's closes friends as well as Vienna's leading musicians. A choir sang a solemn Miserere, WoO 130, to the somber accompaniment of trombones." (Maynard Solomon, "Beethoven," p. 383)
While it is often said that the present piece was likewise also performed at Beethoven's funeral, neither the poem nor the musical setting were written until after the fact. There had been a number of published reports of the historic funeral published already by the time of the present publication approximately 3 months later. Here, on the verso of the title page, Seyfried and the publisher Haslinger apparently felt the need to correct some some mistakes made in these earliest accounts and therefore give a detailed description of the funeral, closely following much of the report published in Der Sammler, on the reverse side of the present title page. The same report appears on the title verso of Seyfried's Equale heard at the funeral.
Alois Jeitteles, a doctor, journalist, and writer, is today best known for Beethoven's setting of his poem sequence An die ferne Geliebte.