As per Kinsky, Breitkopf und Härtel printed only 600 copies of this first edition and indeed, copies are now scarce. The original autograph manuscript is now lost. The Italian texts were translated for this edition by Härtel's associate, the theologian Dr. Christian Schreiber.
Four of these five songs set texts by Metastasio, a librettist whose work Beethoven knew through his occasional teacher, Antonio Salieri. It is possible that Beethoven selected these Italian poems with his friend Therese Malfatti in mind. Malfatti, a fellow Austrian and one-time crush of Beethoven's, may have also been the dedicatee of his Für Elise.MUS-06627$1,750