Dimmi, ben mio, che m'ami, later version of op. 82 nr. 1, Hess 140 (mp3)
Performer: Mark S. Zimmer
This is a later version of the song published as op.82 no.1, and dates from after July, 1811.
Arnold Schoenberg, the patriarch of 20th century atonality, once said: "Man hat ja Zeit zu modulieren" ("one has time to modulate"), thus expressing his dislike for short, sharp modulations, which he thought to be intellectually inferior. Schoenberg's early music, which is still tonal, is in a state of perpetual, slow modulation, from which it was only a small step to atonality.
Of course Schoenberg was wrong in disliking quick modulations, because they are capable of expressing specific feelings which atonality clearly can't. We find a fine example here in Beethoven's song, Dimmi, ben mio. After eleven and a half bars firmly in the tonic key of A major (except for a short excursion to the dominant) we are without any preparation plunged in the somewhat remote key of C major (at the 23 second mark of the midi). This occurs on the words "tu m'apri il paradiso" ("you open paradise to me"), and since this is a love song, the erotic subtext of these words would not be lost on anyone living in the 19th century. The sudden modulation to C gives the music an explosive charge and urgency, which is so typical of male sexuality.
Luckily for this site, the people who worry about pornography on Internet are stonedeaf to its musical equivalent.
Dimmi, ben mio, che m'ami, dimmi che mia tu sei e non invidio ai Dei la lor divinita. Con un tuo sguardo solo, cara, con un sorriso tu m'apri il paradiso di mia felicita. Poet unknown.