In this year of celebrations of Beethoven’s 250th birthday, a large number of works by the German composer are being released. What Beethoven Songs offers in particular, however, is a privileged access to a slightly less frequented part of the Beethoven repertoire: his melodies. While much is said about his abundant contribution to the symphonic repertoire, the great composer also produced an impressive number of melodies and melody cycles during the course of his career. The album contains two complete cycles, An die ferne Geliebte and six pieces based on poems by Christian Fürchtegott Gellert (an 18th century poet), as well as just over a dozen other songs. This varied grouping of titles is an excellent way to discover this part of Beethoven’s work.
Just by seeing the names of the two performers on the album, one suspects right away that the quality of the interpretation will be breathtaking, and the impression isn’t mistaken – a single listen is enough to prove it. The vocal experience of renowned baritone Matthias Goerne, supported by the impressive piano technique and musicality of young (but prolific) Canadian pianist Jan Lisiecki, ensures a divine interpretation of these melodies of a beauty that borders on the ineffable. Lisiecki performs his role as accompanist perfectly, playing in an expressive yet sober manner, leaving room for the main melody carried by the baritone. Beethoven Songs is a must-have in his corner of your music library, revealing a new facet of Beethoven’s personality, a sensitivity that momentarily detours from the fiery character generally attributed to this hero of the classical period.