Thursday, 25 October 2012

The News: Unheard Beethoven Broadcasted

A previously unheard Ludwig Van Beethoven composition titled "Pange Lingua", has been performed and broadcasted for the first time at the University of Manchester. The discovery was made by University of Manchester Professor Barry Cooper, when studying a copy of a 192-year-old Beethoven sketchbook. 

This discovery is particularly interesting because it marks a rare experiment into religious music for Beethoven. He didn’t write simple liturgical music such as Pange Lingua, this is the first piece in this genre by Beethoven. 

Pange Lingua is a two minute organ harmony, set to the 1,000-year old Gregorian hymn non-coincidently titled "Pange Lingua". It's a beautiful composition that shows the religious side to Beethoven’s infamous symphony work. The piece was performed by music students at the University of Manchester today (Thursday the 25th of October) for BBC Radio 4's PM program with Eddie Mair.

This discovery of a classical composition has made me think about the amount of popular music recordings and lyrics that have been shelved / undiscovered / forgotten. One example that comes instantly to mind is Godspeed You! Black Emperor's All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling. The cassette only release was limited to 33 copies and has yet to find its way to public domain, with GY!BE having no intention on releasing the now sought after album any time soon.

Unreleased music is precious; and for many artists sitting on unreleased material it's a gold mine, especially if fans are aware of the unreleased music's existence. One famous example of this is The Beach Boys' SMiLE, which was shelved in 1967. It was finally released by Brian Wilson as a solo album in 2004, and then by The Beach Boys in 2011. It's important for fans and collectors alike to hear the music of their favourite artists. Jimi Hendrix recorded an album titled Black Gold in 1970, featuring Jimi and an acoustic guitar. A few of these recordings have been released, but the full album is yet to be released.

We have Dr. Dre's Detox, Brian Eno's My Squelchy Life, and Pink Floyd's Household Objects all out of the listeners reach. Only a handful of people get to hear shelved material and I think it's about time artists began advertising and publishing these unreleased albums / tracks, if not for their own sake, then the listeners sake. Music is an important part in ones life, and with unreleased material, artists have a card in which to play when the chips are down. There’s a growing market for unreleased material and recent examples like The Beach Boys SMiLE and Jimi Hendrix's Valleys of Neptune.

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