August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben, the poet of Wie singt die Lerche schön
, was a close friend of Liszt and Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein in Weimar (Marie d’Agoult and the composer came to a bitter parting of ways in 1844). When Liszt founded the Neu-Weimar-Verein (the New Weimar Society) in 1854 for the purpose of defending new music from the Philistines who decried it, Hoffmann von Fallersleben wrote the society’s Twelve Commandments, including No 11: ‘Enough of the old; we hope for something new in Weimar’. The poet’s image of the ‘lark ascending’ clearly gave Liszt the idea for the impressionistic sonorities from which this small, lovely song is made.
from notes by Susan Youens © 2010