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Work

Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven Composer

Zärtliche Liebe ('Ich liebe dich'), WoO123   

Performances: 16
Tracks: 16
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Musicology:
  • Zärtliche Liebe ('Ich liebe dich'), WoO123
    Year: 1795
    Genre: Solo Song / Lied / Chanson
    Pr. Instrument: Voice
"Zärtliche Liebe" ("Tender Love")was first published in 1803 by Johann Traeg in Vienna along with "La partenza," WoO 124. Although Thayer puts the composition of "Zärtliche Liebe" in 1797-98, more recent research suggests it was written in 1795. The poem, by Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Herrosee, is occasionally referred to by its first line, "Ich liebe dich, so wie du mich" ("I love you as you love me"). The narrator describes the love he shares with another, a love that enables them to share all of their sorrows and provide each other with comfort and understanding. The year 1795 was an important turning point in Beethoven's career. He had lived in Vienna for over two years, studied with Haydn and others, and, most importantly, had insinuated himself into the homes and hearts of the nobility. He had become something of a "hot commodity" among Viennese aristocrats, and his music was becoming popular, as evinced in the publication of his Trios, op. 1 in 1795. Set in ABA' form, "Zärtliche Liebe" contains subtle nuances that point toward the mature Beethoven. The voice and piano parts are independent, but the piano part is not completely subservient to the voice. Although there is no piano introduction, Beethoven gives the responsibility of introducing the new melodic material for the second strophe to the piano. Just as the voice opens the song, it begins the third verse, which returns, hesitantly, to the music of the first. A move to the dominant at the end of the final line initiates the coda, which consists of the repetition of the last two lines of text. The arching, stepwise lines and quiet interplay between the voice and piano demonstrate Beethoven's assimilation of the Classical style as embodied in the work of Haydn and Mozart.



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