Ludwig van Beethoven

Der Kuss (The Kiss), arietta for voice & piano, Op. 128

    Description by John Palmer

    "Der Kuss" was the last of Beethoven's songs to be published. However, although the autograph manuscript is dated December, 1822, the song was sketched in nearly its published form in 1798--well before many of his other songs were written. Sketches for the slight alterations were made while Beethoven was at work on the overture Weihe des Hauses and the Ninth Symphony. In early 1823 he offered the completed "Der Kuss" to the publisher Peters, but Peters returned it because he found it too brief. The song was finally published in 1825 by Schott and Cappi in Mainz, and was given the opus number 121--changed to Op. 128 in 1828.

    Christian Felix Weisse's poem is a humorous tale of man's pursuit of female "companionship." After the fact, an unnamed man relates his experience with a woman named Chloe: The man is alone with Chloe, and wishes to kiss her. She tells him that if he does, she will scream. He kisses her anyway, "despite her resistance." The man then asks, "And did she not scream?" He answers, "Yes, she screamed, but not until much later" ("Ja, sie schrie, / doch lange hinterher").

    Beethoven's setting cleverly evokes the man's story as it unfolds. As he overcomes Chloe's resistance, the music moves to the dominant, increasing tension. When the protagonist asks the listener, "And did she not scream?" Beethoven reduces the formerly lively tempo to an Adagio, and repeats the tune of the question in the piano part, setting up the punch line. At "Yes, she screamed," the original tempo resumes, and at "but not until much later," the singer is instructed to smile.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4796018
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4795448
    2015 Harmonia Mundi HMC 902217
    2015 DG Deutsche Grammophon 002894795229
    2014 Music & Arts MACD 1279
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94630
    2013 DG Deutsche Grammophon 002894791780
    2012 Capriccio Records C 5140
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94052
    2011 Membran 232763
    2010 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 5099945543
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon / DG Deutsche Grammophon 4778167
    2009 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 Haenssler 93701
    2009 Phoenix Edition 154
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946394318
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946397307
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93525
    2007 Cascade Records 2200
    2007 Brilliant Classics 93200
    2007 Signum UK SIGCD 139
    2007 Classic Mania 93320
    2007 Bridge 9233
    2006 Amon Ra 15
    2006 Wigmore Hall 2
    2005 VAI Audio 1247
    2005 DG Deutsche Grammophon 002894775305
    2003 DG Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Distribution 9806790
    2002 Great Opera Baritones 704932
    2002 Hyperion 67315
    2001 DG Archiv 469074
    2000 DG Deutsche Grammophon 463 507-2GFD
    2000 DG Deutsche Grammophon 463500
    1999 Vocal Archives 1146
    1997 DG Deutsche Grammophon 453 782-2GCB3
    1997 DG Deutsche Grammophon 449 747-2GOR
    1996 DG Deutsche Grammophon 447 921-2GBM
    1996 Orfeo 432961
    1995 Testament 1057
    1995 Orfeo 399951
    1995 Bella Voce / BellaVoce 7003
    1995 Myto Records 89011
    1994 Myto Records 93278
    1993 EMI Music Distribution 54879
    1993 Berlin Classics 0020822
    1992 DG Deutsche Grammophon 435145
    1991 DG Deutsche Grammophon / Universal Music Classics and Jazz
    1988 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4270172
    Minerva Records 69
    Cascade Records 2266
    Teldec 844061
    Discover 920276
    Amerimusic 1201
    Brilliant 93525/75
    Testament 90
    Pilz 43529
    Waterside 103
    EMI Classics 676842A
    Library of Congress 1
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 429933
    Documents 223080-303