Recitative for Don Fernando, Dresden version of Fidelio (1814) Hess 114 (mp3)
Performer: Mark S. Zimmer
Author: Mark S. Zimmer
Hess 114 is an additional recitative for Don Fernando which appears in the score for the 1823 revival of Fidelio in Dresden. The score copied at that time has contains this nine-bar addition which does not appear in the "final" version of Fidelio as it occurs in the Gesamtausgabe. Assuming that it is by Beethoven (and musically, it seems likely to be his), then it is not clear whether this is part of the 1814 revision of Fidelio which was cut (or mistakenly omitted from the score), or whether it is a later addition to the score. There was a shorter and less interesting recitative given to Don Fernando in the 1806 version of Leonore (Hess 110); this may be a transitional phase between the 1806 version and the elimination of the recitative altogether (if such was intended) in the 1814 version published by Artaria. The 1823 revival was conducted by Carl Maria von Weber; according to Thayer, Weber received the score from Beethoven, who had borrowed it from the Kaernthnerthor Theatre. So, was it wrongly omitted from the GA text? or was it wrongly included in the theatre's score? or did Beethoven add these measures in 1823 before forwarding the score to Weber?
This recitative belongs to the Finale of the second act, and goes after "O Gott, o welch' ein Augenblick," and before the Chorus "Wer ein holdes Weib." The recitative serves the dramatic purpose of giving Don Fernando a little more to do than simply act as the Deus ex Machina of the opera. Note that the recitative includes a drop of a fifth on the word "Freunde," which foreshadows a similar drop of a sixth on the word "Freunde" in the Bass recitative that opens the choral portion of the Ode to Joy in the Ninth Symphony. Another interesting point (which might indicate that it was an 1823 addition) is that the opening of the Finale of the Ninth also has cascading strings which are echoed in the second half of this recitative.
Hinweg mit diesem Boesewicht! Uns, Freunde, winket suesse Pflicht. Auf, lasset laut in diesen Hallen der Wonne Jubel hoch erschallen! Away with this villain! We, friends, are left with a sweet duty. Let us in these lofty halls resound the jubilant bliss!