A Volume of Beethoven’s Lieder in the Childhood of Alexandra Feodorovna (1872–1918), the Last Empress of Russia
Keywords:Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine, Beethoven Lieder, Trophies of war, Kronberg castle
In 2007 a volume of selected songs by Beethoven was offered at a public auction in Adelaide, South Australia. This publication from C.
F. Peters (Leipzig) would be quite unremarkable except the writing on both the cover and fly leaf is in the hand of the young Grand Ducal
Highness Princess Alix Viktoria Helene Luise Beatrix of Hesse and by Rhine (1872–1918), the German-born granddaughter of Queen
Victoria, who married the heir to the Russian throne in 1894. Markings in this copy of Beethoven’s songs indicate those she had studied in
her childhood, either for performance or for the poetry of Goethe. Although the means by which this volume came to Adelaide is unknown,
the provenance of this volume is almost certainly related to the illegal looting by occupying Allied forces at the end of World War II of
Kronberg castle near Frankfurt, Germany, where the Hesse family belongings were taken in 1944.
A list of names in Princess Alix’s hand at the opening of this volume is titled ‘My best friends’. It suggests the solitude she experienced
following the deaths from diphtheria in 1878 of her younger sister Marie and her musically talented mother Alice, the third child of Queen
Victoria and Albert.