In the Romantic era, thousands of songs and poems emerged from the wellspring of unre- quited love. At first glance, the tracklist on this album might seem like a simple collection of my favourite songs on that subject. Actually I’ve been fine-honing this compilation for quite some time, and so intensely that now I almost feel as if the result was something I composed myself. In planning my first solo lied album, I found this extremely important. I wanted to ex- press so much more than the narrow confines of a great Romantic cycle such as Die schöne Mül- lerin or Dichterliebe could have permitted.
While studying in Freiburg, one day I came across a miniature score of Beethoven’s “Dis- tant Beloved”. I immediately went out and also bought his “Letters to the Immortal Beloved”, where the Titan opens up his very soul. In my opinion, those letters are probably the key el- ement in helping us grasp what the “Distant Beloved” song cycle is about. Until then I had imagined Beethoven as a harsh, bitter man. Now, in his letters, I was flabbergasted to find him expressing himself in such impatient, en- thusiastic, love-besotted terms. The “Distant Beloved” cycle was published in early 1816. It is special for two reasons: it is the only song cycle Beethoven ever wrote, and it represents the first through-composed song cycle in music history. With this in mind, it almost made me nervous to discover a series of songs by Weber that hardly anyone knew, written practically in parallel with Beethoven’s song cycle. I thought it would be fascinating to place the two works side by side. Weber’s tongue-in-cheek title The Four Tempera- ments On the Loss of the Beloved is not the only element suggesting that the cycle should be included in a programme such as this one; I also find it great fun to slip again and again into the different roles these songs contain.