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Beethoven’s Engedi: facsimile of Novello’s edition c. 1860

October 12, 2014

FOREWORD

The oratorio Engedi is an adaptation of Beethoven’s oratorio Christus am Ölberge, Op. 85. The adaptation affects the libretto only with no changes made to Beethoven’s music. Franz Xaber Huber’s original libretto for Christus am Ölberge is replaced with a completely different text by the Irish musicologist and medical doctor Henry Hudson (1798-1889). The resultant work is known as “Beethoven’s Engedi”. Hudson created Engedi c. 1840 (or perhaps earlier) and the motivation, though not specifically mentioned by Hudson in his Preface, was twofold: disapproval of the appearance of Jesus as a character in a drama coupled with an admiration for Beethoven’s music. Engedi enabled audiences who shared Hudson’s scruples about the representation of Jesus to enjoy Beethoven’s music with a clear conscience. However, not all nineteenth-century audiences shared Hudson’s view and Engedi was performed alongside Christus am Ölberge throughout the nineteenth century.

This edition of Engedi is a facsimile of the Novello edition published c. 1860. Because of the poor condition of the original a few pages have been inserted from a reprint published c. 1890. The verbal text consists of Huber’s Christus am Ölberge libretto with the text of Hudson’s Engedi underneath. The c. 1860 edition used to create the facsimile contains some handwritten notes which have been included. A couple of these notes indicate the score was used in a performance when the role of David was performed by Sims Reeves (1821-1900), one of Victorian Britain’s most celebrated tenors. Reeves took part in many performances of both Engedi and Christus am Ölberge.

All the advertising copy of the c. 1860 edition has been reproduced, contributing to the fascinating glimpse of the lost world of nineteenth-century music-making that is afforded by a study of Beethoven’s Engedi.

Barry Mitchell
Twickenham
March 2014

The pdf file  of this facsimile edition can be downloaded from:  Engedi-CatBeet01-F – Copy The file is 94.24MB and may take a couple of minutes to download.  The front and back covers of the hard copy edition are not included but can be seen below.  This edition can be used for any non-commercial purpose so please feel free to reproduce it.

Facsimile edition of Beethoven’s Engedi, published by Theory of Music, front and back covers.

Beethoven's Engedi, facsimile of Novello edition, front cover.  Published by Theory of Music, 2014.

Beethoven’s Engedi, facsimile of Novello edition, front cover. Published by Theory of Music, 2014.

Beethoven's Engedi, facsimile of Novello edition, back cover.  Published by Theory of Music, 2014.

Beethoven’s Engedi, facsimile of Novello edition, back cover. Published by Theory of Music, 2014.

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