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Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

Songs

Stephan Genz (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano)
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Recording details: September 1998
Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Sandhausen, Germany
Produced by Teije van Geest
Engineered by Teije van Geest
Release date: September 2003
Total duration: 69 minutes 10 seconds

Cover artwork: Faust and Magaretha. after Ary Scheffer (1795-1858)
Sotheby’s Picture Library
 
1
An die Hoffnung Op 94  Ob ein Gott sei? Ob er einst erfülle  [7'37]
2
Maigesang Op 52 No 4  Wie herrlich leuchtet mir die Natur!  [2'02]
3
Adelaide Op 46  Einsam wandelt dein Freund im Frühlingsgarten  [5'34]
4
Der Liebende WoO139  Welch ein wunderbares Leben  [2'26]
5
Klage WoO113  Dein Silber schien  [3'06]
6
Sechs Lieder von Gellert Op 48  [18'51]
7
Bitten  Gott, deine Güte reicht so weit  [2'58]
8
Die Liebe des Nächsten  So jemand spricht: Ich liebe Gott!  [2'40]
9
Vom Tode  Meine Lebenszeit verstreicht  [3'41]
10
Die Ehre Gottes aus der Natur  Die Himmel rühmen des Ewigen Ehre  [3'38]
11
Gottes Macht und Vorsehung  Gott ist mein Lied!  [0'57]
12
Busslied  An dir allein, an dir hab ich gesündigt  [4'57]
13
Aus Goethes Faust Op 75 No 3  Es war einmal ein König  [2'01]
14
Wonne der Wehmut Op 83 No 1  Trocknet nicht, trocknet nicht  [2'32]
15
Sehnsucht Op 83 No 2  Was zieht mir das Herz so?  [2'15]
16
17
An die Geliebte WoO140  O, dass ich dir vom stillen Auge  [0'56]
18
An die ferne Geliebte Op 98  Auf dem Hügel sitz’ ich, spähend  [14'08]

While Beethoven remains the single most influential figure in the history of Western music, his songs have always been somewhat sidelined. He saw music as a world of infinite possibilities, largely unencumbered by textual concerns, but when issues about which he felt strongly enough to express them through a sung text did occur the results were remarkable. At the large end of the scale we have the Ninth Symphony finale, Fidelio, and the Missa Solemnis. And then there are some eighty fascinating Lieder.

This charming recital of many rarely-performed songs includes the monumental An die ferne Geliebte cycle, and the six Gellert settings.

Although many of Beethoven's own settings are essentially strophic in nature, his songs mark the first moves towards the 'through-composed' form later perfected by Schubert—the inherent simplicity of the strophic model was far too limited in scope for someone of Beethoven's profound musical intelligence. The supreme effort of producing these songs seems to have come from an elemental desire to express his innermost feelings—there is little surviving evidence of any formal performances of Beethoven's songs during his own lifetime.

Awards

GRAMOPHONE AWARD WINNER
PREIS DER DEUTSCHEN SCHALLPLATTENKRITIK

Reviews

'Stephan Genz has one of the most beautiful voices around today, used with such authority and imagination that I have found myself playing his Beethoven recital over and over again. I have never heard these songs sung more beautifully. An instant classic' (Gramophone)

'This disc, immaculately recorded, should win many new friends for Beethoven's songs' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Perfectly sung' (The Independent)

'A voice of warm, velvety beauty. A disc to have one reassessing Beethoven as song-writer' (The Guardian)

'As good as any anthology of Beethoven songs on CD' (Classic CD)

'Strongly recommended' (Hi-Fi News)

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