Hyperion Records

An die Hoffnung, Op 94
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'Beethoven: Songs' (CDA67055)
Beethoven: Songs
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'Beethoven: Songs' (GAW21055)
Beethoven: Songs
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Track 1 on CDA67055 [7'37]
Track 1 on GAW21055 [7'37] Last few CD copies remaining

An die Hoffnung, Op 94
Beethoven had already set this text ten years earlier as a relatively straightforward strophic setting (Op 32). In comparison, Op 94 is vastly more sophisticated, with a structure reminiscent of an operatic recitative and aria. Almost as if to compensate for the generalized nature of the earlier version, here Beethoven might be accused of over-milking the pudding.

Unusually, Beethoven strives throughout to translate directly in musical terms what is actually being sung. He adopts an uncharacteristically flexible approach to tempo, especially in the opening section when the questioning of the first four lines finds resolve first in an Allegro affirmation (‘Hoffen soll der Mensch!’) and then in the gently flowing triplets of a dreamy Larghetto (‘Die du so gern in heil’gen’).

Beethoven also subtly colours the vocal line to heighten the meaning of the text (the second stanza’s ‘Den Dulder ahnen’, for example), and uses changes of tonality to enhance contrasting moods, as at the unexpected move down a major third at the start of the third stanza. He even makes abrupt changes of figuration to emphasize the poetic content, as at the third stanza’s mention of ‘Mitternacht’, where the accompaniment suddenly changes to gently agitated semiquaver triplets.

from notes by Julian Haylock © 1999

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Details for CDA67055 track 1
Recording date
9 September 1998
Recording venue
Tonstudio Teije van Geest, Sandhausen, Germany
Recording producer
Teije van Geest
Recording engineer
Teije van Geest
Hyperion usage
  1. Beethoven: Songs (CDA67055)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: February 1999
  2. Beethoven: Songs (GAW21055)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: September 2003
    Last few CD copies remaining
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