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Hyperion Records

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Faust and Magaretha. after Ary Scheffer (1795-1858)
Sotheby’s Picture Library
Track(s) taken from CDA67055
Recording details: September 1998
Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Sandhausen, Germany
Produced by Teije van Geest
Engineered by Teije van Geest
Release date: February 1999
Total duration: 14 minutes 8 seconds

'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)

An die ferne Geliebte, Op 98
author of text

Other recordings available for download
Mark Padmore (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano)
Introduction  EnglishDeutsch
An die ferne Geliebte is Beethoven’s only true song cycle, and the first important example of the form. It is based on poems taken from Alois Jeitteles’ 1815 collection entitled Gedichte in Selam, the name of an almanac edited by one Ignaz Castelli. Both Jeitteles and Castelli were members of an artistic group called ‘Lülamshöhle’, whose musical members included Salieri and Weber (Beethoven was an infrequent guest at their meetings).

All six poems concern the feelings of love as translated through nature – or at least the kind of idealized countryside vistas that had already been immortalized in the ‘Pastoral’ Symphony. All are cast in strophic form except the last, but Beethoven constantly varies and develops his accompaniments. Although these musical changes are not entirely for poetic reasons, they nevertheless help create a sense of progressive musical architecture totally denied strict strophic form.

Beethoven’s poetic sensitivity extends to such lengths as Wo die Berge so blau being kept on an uncomplicated harmonic leash until the words ‘Innere Pein’. Similarly, the move to the tonic minor for the last three stanzas of Leichte Segler in den Höhen is a moment of profound musical insight.

The cycle is quite literally brought full circle by the final song, which recalls material from the first. This technique was to prove a profound influence on the song cycles of Robert Schumann, who also concealed a number of other musical references to An die ferne Geliebte in his work, including the Beethovenian Fantasy in C, Op 17.

from notes by Julian Haylock © 1999

Other albums featuring this work
'Schubert: The Complete Songs' (CDS44201/40)
Schubert: The Complete Songs
MP3 £130.00FLAC £130.00ALAC £130.00Buy by post £150.00 CDS44201/40  40CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)  
'Songs by Schubert's contemporaries' (CDJ33051/3)
Songs by Schubert's contemporaries
MP3 £15.00FLAC £15.00ALAC £15.00Buy by post £26.00 CDJ33051/3  3CDs   Download currently discounted
'Beethoven: Songs' (GAW21055)
Beethoven: Songs
MP3 £4.00FLAC £4.00ALAC £4.00Buy by post £10.50 GAW21055  Last few CD copies remaining   Download currently discounted

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