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Liebes-Klage, or T’intendo, sì, mio cor comes from Metastasio’s cantata, “Amor timido”, set to music by Antonio Vivaldi and a score of other composers. Because the lover addresses this plaint to his heart, saying that he can hear its wild beating, Beethoven devises a stylized figure in the right part that is evocative both of a palpitating heart and sobs or gasps of lamentation. In mid-song, there is a “purple patch” of heightened intensity to harmonies based on the flatted sixth degree of the scale: this is one hallmark of Beethoven’s musical language. The third and fourth songs, Stille Frage and Liebes-Ungeduld, are actually settings of the same text by Metastasio, L’amante impaziente or “Che fa il mio bene?” from act 2, scene 6 of the second version of his dramma per musica, Adriano in Siria. Here, Beethoven engages in a demonstration of how to derive two different emotional contexts from the same words: the first is subtitled “arietta buffa” and the second “arietta assai seriosa.” The German paraphrases (author unknown), however, register the difference in tone: “Will I never be allowed to approach you?”, the comic lover complains, while the second—perhaps having been given his walking papers in the interim—laments, “And so I must renounce the hope I nourished so long?” In the buffa air, we can practically see the impatient lover pacing back and forth, tethered to the spot where he waits, while the more serious version alternates between slower and faster tempi, between duple and compound metres, like a fever chart of fresh rejection. Love’s utterances, Beethoven tells us, must be interpreted. The set ends with the duet, Lebens-Genuss, to Metastasio’s words, Odi l’aura che dolce sospira from the 1738 “azione teatrale” La pace fra la virtù e la bellezza. Here, Beethoven devises exquisitely rustling breezes and streams in the piano; against this backdrop, the singers both announce that Nature sings of love and that each hearer will know from experience whether it brings delight or sorrow.
from notes by Susan Youens © 2008
|Beethoven: Lieder und Gesänge|
The first in a two part set of Beethoven's 'Lieder und Gesänge'. Beethoven himself was not a keen song writer, yet despite this almost half of his total works call for a voice. This album includes some of the best of those compositions and feature ...» More