This is the first in a two part set of Beethoven's Lieder und
Gesänge issued by Signum Classics. Beethoven himself was not a
keen song-writer and did not think he was very good at it, yet
despite this, almost half of his total works call for a voice.
This disc includes some of the best of those compositions. The
ones he thought lesser works he didn’t ascribe an opus number
to, and on several occasions he would have two or more attempts
at the same words; hence the four versions of Sehnsucht, and two
of An die Geliebte. Most of the songs belong to the so called
‘Middle Period’ of Beethoven’s compositions.
first CD is devoted to three collections of songs. The first
is a collection composed at various times but brought together
and revised in 1809. Four of the poems are from Beethoven’s
literary hero Goethe. They are well delivered and the Song
of the Flea from Faust had me chuckling at the accompaniment.
Gellert songs are all variously praises to God and correspondingly
have a solemn theme running through and thus we have Beethoven
at his most serious and earnest. Appropriately, these are sung
exclusively by the baritone.
Italian Arias and Duets Op 82 are all by the poet Pietro Metastasio
and all deal with aspects of love. The third one is sung first
by the man – Arietta buffa; then the woman – Arietta assai seriosa;
and one has the impression that the lovers have arranged a rendezvous
but each is waiting in a different place! In the final duet
the singers are well matched and respond to each other tenderly
in the final ‘o dolore’.
second CD begins with An die Geliebte which is also track 3
– the difference being the accompaniment both very different
from each other.
2, 4, 6, and 8 are settings of the same song, this time Sehnsucht
with words by Goethe, This time the only common thing is the
words as the tune and accompaniment are different. Track 10
is another Sehnsucht this time the words are by Reissig.
Seufzer eines Ungeliebten und Gegenliebe (track
12) starts like a recitative and aria but holds a surprise in
it. Composed in 1794 it is the earliest song on the disc but
halfway through the mood changes and the tune is from the Choral
Fantasy Op 80 of 1808, which itself was the precursor of the
Ninth Symphony – a revelation that this had such a long gestation
In questa tomba oscura is the result of a challenge
issued in 1807-8 when composers were invited to set this poem
by Giuseppe Carpini. Sixty submitted entries but this is the
only memorable setting.
the Op 52 set we are back with the strophic songs. The subject
matter in the first five are variously love and death. The sixth
about a traveller and his marmot (a small animal, heavily built,
having short legs, a short furry tail, and coarse fur). The
seventh about the wonders of flowers. And lastly, a comic song
‘The Travails of a Bore’, where the singer travels far and wide
only to discover that people are the same everywhere!
two singers give some splendid renditions of these songs, and
although Ann Murray is not as sweet toned as she used to be,
this does not detract from the pleasure these disc have given
one would expect from one of the greatest pianists of his time,
Beethoven’s accompaniments are not just background support but
play their full part in telling the story of the song. Indeed
one could take the voice part away and still have a satisfying
piano morsel. These are played with great artistry by Iain
Burnside, adding to the enjoyment of this music.
your experience of Beethoven’s lieder is only ‘An die Ferne
Geliebte’ and ‘Adelaide’, then I can recommend you purchase
this two CD set and enjoy the rich and varied world of one of
the greatest song writers of his time.
Six Lieder Op. 75
Neue Liebe, neues Leben
An den fernen Geliebten
Aus Goethes Faust
Mignon - Kennst du das Land
Six Lieder von Gellert [14 :24]
Gottes Macht und Vorsehung
Die Liebe des Nächsten
Die Ehre Gottes aus der Natur
und ein Duett Op. 82 (Italian) (1809) [12:40]
An die Geliebte/1
An die Geliebte/2
Als die Geliebte sich trennen wollte
Der Kuß Op. 128
Der Mann von Wort Op. 99
Seufzer eines Ungeliebten und Gegenliebe
In questa tomba oscura
Op. 52 (1805) [27:03]
Feuerfarb’ 15. Das Liedchen von der Ruhe
Die Liebe - Ohne Liebe lebe wer da kann
Das Blümchen Wunderhold
Urians Reise um die Welt