As the entire musical world is looking in the direction of Puccini and the new CD of a Munich tenor, another tenor hailing from the same city has quietly released a little gem dedicated to Beethoven. With its intelligent construction that underlines the different periods of the composer’s work, and leaving its fair share also to the solo piano, this CD is a real entity of its own. It begins and ends with two different versions of the same text “An die Hoffnung” by Christoph August Tiedge, the first one is from 1804 or 1805, the second one from 1815. Around “An die ferne Geliebte”, and “Adelaide”, these mainstays of Beethoven’s lied production, the artists present a dramaturgical approach that goes from youthful optimism through all kinds of emotions of love through the joys of melancholy and resignation to hope without hope, a little light in the night of despair. Werner Güra, with his warm and sweet voice, and its timbre that sounds so natural that it’s easy to forget his perfect mastership of technique, as usual enters into the very core of every lied, making it his own. Thus, we hear every piece as if it were for the first time. Be it “An die Hoffnung”, op 32, or “Lied aus der Ferne”, full of youthful optimism, the jubilating “Adelaide” and the tender “Zärtliche Liebe” – that has all the hallmarks of an earworm – or “Der Kuss”, which is a bit on the light or even ironic side, each lied is an event in its own right. In between, Christoph Berner plays the Bagatelles op. 126, in a different order, thus underlining certain songs, n° 1 becoming a postlude to “Zärtliche Liebe” and introduces at the same time “An die ferne Geliebte.” The two artists have chosen the instrument for their composer with their usual care. Christoph Berner plays a pianoforte from 1847 whose sound goes wonderfully with the works. Played with sobriety and joy, the Bagatelles give an extra dimension to this recording. It’s a perfect circle: the last ”Oh Hoffnung… “, incredibly touching and calling to mind another lied about hope by Hugo Wolf, but also an episode in Thomas Mann’s “Dr Faustus”, entices back to the first composition of the same text, and, since we are here, the whole CD. And there’s no getting tired of it.