Петер Шрайер (тенор)
Адель Штольте (сопрано)
Вальтер Ольберц (ф-но)
It is generally believed that this song collection, which features German titles in three of the five items but Italian text in all, comes from 1809. Yet it appears there is a strong possibility they may have roots dating back to 1801 or were even finished at that time but set aside. The latter year is a plausible date of composition since that was the period the composer was testing his skills in setting Italian text under the guidance of Antonio Salieri.
Beethoven was writing various exercises in operatic forms then to sharpen his skills in preparation for his own forays into the realm of opera. (The first version of Fidelio, the fruits of this training, would appear in 1805.) Beethoven's initial sketches of Tremate, Empi, Tremate for 3 Voices and Orchestra, an Italian terzetto, date from 1801-02, and there were other "Italian" vocal works coming from this period.
Still, although the style of these five works would seem compatible with his vocal compositions from around the turn of the nineteenth century, they might just as easily be linked to the 1809 period as well. In any event, for all but the first arietta Beethoven used texts from Metastasio, whose real name was Pietro Trapassi (1698-1782), a Roman who was court poet in Vienna (1729-82).
The first arietta, "Hoffnung," is a setting of text from an unknown author. It is written for tenor and has an Italianate air in its lightness and generally optimistic music. The second song, "Liebes-Klage," for soprano, is also light, but features a more intimate mood. The piano accompaniment is mostly soft and the music overall is beautiful and gentle.
The third entry here is "L'amante impatiente," described as an arietta buffa in the score. Its comic character comes across in the vocal part and in the accompaniment as well. Both are light, the latter swift and colorful, the perfect contrast to the tenor's less hurried manner in delivering the text about the impatient lover. The next item bears the same title but carries the description of arietta assai seriosa. Its text from Metastasio is also different from the previous one's. Here the soprano sings a more serious rendering of the "impatient lover" subject. There is some anxiety in the arietta, but the overall treatment is still rather light and Italianate.
The last item of Op. 82 is "Lebens-Genuss." Here the tenor and soprano sing a lovely, light duet about the enjoyment of life. While all five works here are well-crafted and tuneful, they are not major entries in the composer's sizable vocal oeuvre. They are witty and colorful, but lack the more substantive qualities often found in Beethoven's finer vocal works.
This collection was originally published in Leipzig and London in 1811.
Robert Cummings, Rovi