Canon, 'Fettluemerl und Bankert haben triumphirt', WoO 226, Hess 260 (mp3)
Performer: Mark S. Zimmer
'Alle Menschen werden Brueder' ('All men will be brethren') is the high ideal expressed in the Ninth Symphony, and we have no reason to doubt Beethoven's sincerity on this point. However, to live up to high ideals in daily life is perhaps even more difficult than expressing them in a work of art.
For reasons not entirely clear to us, Therese Obermeyer, later to become Johann van Beethoven's wife, was the butt of Ludwig's anger. Of course, there is evidence to suggest that in sexual matters Therese followed ideals somewhat different from our Master's. However, it is doubtful whether it is technically correct to call her a whore, as Ludwig did.
The attempt by Ludwig to keep his brother out of the arms of Therese (lovingly refered to as 'Fettluemerl', 'fat-lout') and her daughter ('Bankert' - 'bastard') came to a crisis in the summer of 1823. When Ludwig had to admit defeat in this matter, he jotted down a rhythmical sketch on his calendar for the year 1823, to the words 'Fettluemerl, Fettluemerl, Fettluemerle, Bankert haben triumphirt' ('Fat-lout, bastard have triumphed'). Then there follow some musical notes, written on a hand-drawn staff, to the same rhythm. According to Georg Schuenemann this sketch was already badly faded in 1937. Nevertheless he provides us with a transcription of the notes.
Schuenemann claims this to be a draft for a three part canon, although he does not make clear why he thinks so. Since a canon on the notes of the transcription itself seems impossible, it has been worked out here as a three part round.