Final Class Project:
Ode to Joy Re/Mix
(a.k.a. Ain’t No Party Like a Prince Lobkowitz Party)
As you know, Prince Lobkowitz, one of Beethoven’s most important patrons, hosted the first rehearsal of the “Eroica” Symphony in his Vienna palace in 1804.
As one of the city’s most prominent supporters of the arts, he also did things like sponsor a competition for the best Lied setting of Giuseppe Carpani’s poem “In questa tomba oscura” in 1809. Beethoven was just one of 68 composers who participated in that contest.
And . . . Beethoven also wasn’t the only composer to set Schiller’s “Ode to Joy.” In 1800, the German music publisher Jacob Böhme published a collection of 14 settings of the text by various German and Austrian composers (you received a copy of the volume as a handout; you can also view it online and download it at https://oconnellmusic101.com/2019/09/16/ode-to-joy-re-mix/).
For your final project, we will be having a Prince Lobkowitz-style throwdown/competition/battle of the bands, in honor of Beethoven’s 250th birthday.
Maetro Daniel Hege of the Binghamton Philharmonic has suggested Schiller’s “Ode to Joy” as the theme. You can find the text in German and English here: https://oconnellmusic101.com/2019/09/16/ode-to-joy-re-mix/
Your task is to DO SOMETHING with this text/music.
What will you do? The sky’s the limit.
Here are some suggestions/ideas:
- Set it to music. What instruments and/or voice types will you use? What tempo, texture, meter, tonality? Will you use the German text or the English translation? Will you translate it into a completely different language? The possibilities are endless.
- Remix it, using beats, found music, sound, etc.
- Re-imagine it as metal, punk, or low-fi folk, and perform it.
- Rap it. Will you modify the text to reflect 21st-century issues? Will you use samples from Beethoven? Or something else entirely?
- Perform one of the non-Beethoven song settings (voice and piano) in Jacob Böhme’s 1800 collection.
- You can also find Schubert’s setting here: http://ks4.imslp.net/files/imglnks/usimg/a/a6/IMSLP14384-SchubertD189_An_die_Freude.pdf
- Rewrite it and perform it as slam poetry/spoken word.
- Arrange it as a play for two or more voices.
- Write a narrative for a performance at the Lobkowitzes’ palace. Who are your characters? What is the conflict? How is it resolved?
- Make original art inspired by the text and display it.
- Write a narrative to connect your classmates’ projects and present it in-between these various performances.
For more ideas, see this blog post:
NOTE: Collaborate! You will be inspired and energized by your classmates’ ideas.
You will be presenting your work during classtime on Thursday, December 5th, at the Zuccolo Little Theater in the Student Center. Feel free to invite your friends to come. Viennese pastries and coffee will be served!
September 26: Please exchange your contact info with your classmates with whom you will be collaborating.
October 10: Please present your ideas to me.
Beginning October 31: we will be dedicating the final 10 minutes of every class to your preparations for the final project.
December 12: Presentation in class. Note the date and venue change.
Grading Rubric for this project
In order to earn a good grade on this project, you will need to demonstrate your command of the following things:
- For musicians, a level of performance that shows that you have worked on the music and rehearsed more than once.
- For writers/speakers, evidence that you know how your work (or someone else’s if you are writing/speaking about your classmates’ work) takes inspiration and/or builds upon the ideas of Beethoven/Schiller/Romanticism.
- For poets/composers, presenting your ideas in such a way that we, your listeners, can draw a clear line from Beethoven’s ideas to your own, and are able to understand your reasoning about your artistic choices.
- Your strategic use of digital or other media in your presentation (visuals, handouts, etc.) to enhance your listeners’ understanding of your argument, and to add interest to your presentation.
- Your use of context-specific speech, i.e. formal/scholarly English, in your presentation.