Der Arme Componist (The Poor Composer), Biamonti 15 (mp3)
Performer: Willem and Mark S. Zimmer
Author: Willem and Mark S. Zimmer
It seems that even musical geniuses can get writer's block. Beethoven is believed to have written his own words to this amusing throwaway, tucked into the margins of a partially-used sheet of music. The text to this humorous song is:
Herrgott der Musen, steh mir doch bei - Mir faellt grad nichts ein, faellt grad nichts ein. Ach ich armes genie Zwanzig Schweisstropfen kostet mich jede Note Und zu weilen auch begeistert Mich mein Genius langohr.The text in English is:
Lord God of Muses, stand by me now, Oh, naught comes to mind, oh no, naught comes to mind. Oh, poor genius, I! Twenty drops of sweat, every note costs me, And sometimes I am inspired With the thoughts of a donkey!
Note Beethoven's characteristic use of a hee-haw motif on the word "langohr," or "long-ear" (i.e., donkey). One can imagine him chuckling to himself over this private little musical joke, which apparently never saw the light of day during his lifetime.
This song appears in the margins of a manuscript leaf now held in the Bonn Beethoven-Archiv, SBH 705, or HCB BSk 71/65c (in the margins of Biamonti 16, along with some harmonic experiments and drafts of cadenzas).
Beethoven's handwriting was deciphered by Robert Jodoin of Germany and various of his elderly relations who can read German Gothic Script; translation by Robert Jodoin and Mark S. Zimmer.