jane's blog

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Peter Cornelius

In my upcoming publication, due in May, one of the several composers represented is the Romantic Era's German composer, Peter Cornelius, famous for his opera "Barber of Baghdad," and famous in song, particularly, for his "Christmas Songs" (Weihnachtslieder).
What many may not know is that Peter Cornelius was really a very prolific song composer, and thought of himself as a “poet-composer.” He wrote half of the poems for his own songs, not just those for his "Christmas Songs," as is widely thought. He was respected among his colleagues, many of whom set many of Cornelius' poems to their own music. I find this sort of information enlightening.
It was thought, and quite correctly, that Cornelius had a feel for rhyme. He exemplified this, to the extreme, by often constructing his German poetry with sentences of rhyme within rhyme, so English "singing translations," for his material, mean creating rhyme within rhyme, as well. This is an extra hurdle for the translator, considering that the "singing translations" need fit the "double-whammy" rhyme of the Cornelius German and the designed rhythm of the Cornelius composition.

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