Beethoven, Irish and Scottish Songs, In questa tomba oscura, Adelaide
Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven, Irish and Scottish Songs, In questa tomba oscura, Adelaide

Andrè Schuen & Boulanger Trio

Label: CAvi
Format: CD
Barcode: 4260085533770
Catalog number: AVI 8553377
Releasedate: 04-08-17

- Andrè Schuen is the raising star on the voice heaven 

-Boulanger Trio one of the most distinguished Trio since more than 10 years 

-Beethoven’s famous solo songs and Irish & Scottish Songs in a perfect performance 

Art song had blossomed into a multifaceted genre by 1800, and the debate whether to favour recurrent stanza structures or through-composed form was well underway. Lieder, as the lyrical genre per se, marked out the territory in which musicians could express the most profound emotions. The best composers therefore increasingly chose to through-compose their songs – a logical step, thanks to which they were able to closely follow the content and the speech of the poems they were setting to music. Beethoven already took that very step in his earliest Lieder. The emotional value of a song such as Adelaide op. 46 (1795/96) even managed to convince a late-19th-century Vienna music critic otherwise well known for his harshness – Eduard Hanslick, who wrote in 1886: “No depiction of a youth’s enthusiastic love could be more faithful and exemplary than this Adelaide by Beethoven. What sweet, secret bliss shivers in every note of this golden melody! Perhaps the young man is not even ‘blushingly following her footsteps’ like Schiller’s suitor [in The Song of the Bell ]. Instead, this lover seems to be content to inebriate himself with his beloved’s mere name, to which he renders such profuse homage.”

Beethoven originally called his setting of Matthisson’s poem a “cantata”, and Adelaide introduced a theme that would play a major role in the composer’s subsequent Lieder output: his yearning for the unattainable. No other work conveys that same subject more impressively than the one Beethoven wrote in 1816: To the Distant Beloved, op. 98, a setting of a “romantic-pastoral text” (Maynard Solomon, 1977) by Alois Jeitteles, and the first truly through-composed song cycle in music history. The songs in this cycle cannot be singled out for individual performance, since they are connected by transitions in the piano accompaniment. Schubert never took up the same idea, but it served all the more so as a model for Robert Schumann and for subsequent generations of Lied composers. Beethoven would later apply the same cyclic concept, displayed in such exemplary fashion in To the Distant Beloved, in several of his late chamber music works...

His contribution can be described as new arrangements and harmonizations of pre-existing melodies. These were true “songs without words”, since considerations of language could not be taken into account. Beethoven’s correspondence with Thomson shows, however, that he was quite pleased with this modus operandi (although the Irish Songs WoO 152-154, conversely, did allow for a closer association between text and music).

(Booklet Notes: Reinhard Palmer)