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Hyperion Records

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Gondolier at Sea by Night (1843) by Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (1817-1900)
State Tartar Museum, Kazan, Russia / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67346
Recording details: December 2001
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Engineered by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Release date: November 2002
Total duration: 44 minutes 10 seconds

'Lost treasures unearthed … This invaluable disc crowns Leslie Howard's Herculean Liszt cycle recorded on 95 CDs … [His] performances … are exemplary with all the commitment you would expect from a Lisztian of such tireless industry' (Gramophone)

'Howard’s interpretation … displays irreproachable technical and digital mastery' (American Record Guide)

'Liszt at his most unpretentious, fresh and direct … Howard is here at his warmest, bringing out how Liszt's genius developed' (The Guardian)

'excellently played and recorded … unmissable' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Comme toujours, Leslie Howard montre sa passion dans un texte de présentation enthousiaste et précis' (Diapason, France)

Zigeuner-Epos, S695b
composer
circa 1848

C minor: Lento  [2'41]
G minor: Lento  [7'27]
F major: Lento  [3'56]
A minor: Lento  [9'44]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The manuscript of Zigeuner-Epos, which forms pages 36 to 62 (as numbered by archivist Felix Raabe) of the sketchbook N7 in the Weimar archive, has been neglected as an apparently incomplete set of sketches, and is not mentioned in the catalogues (save that of Michael Short and the present writer, the worklist from which is published by Rugginenti). It is demonstrable, however, that Liszt wrote in a kind of musical shorthand (with many bars simply containing numbers) for which it is necessary to read the published score of the Magyar Dalok and Magyar Rapszódiák in tandem with the manuscript to derive the full texts of the new collection. In this way, eleven pieces can be retrieved. (There is no surviving manuscript source for the printed Magyar Dalok and Magyar Rapszódiák, so we have referred to the original editions by Haslinger (1840, 1843 and 1847) for the passages retained in the Zigeuner-Epos.) We do not know why Liszt abandoned this intermediate set; the manuscript breaks off at bar 109 of number 11, although the rest of the piece can be surmised from the work on which it is based. Liszt returned to the manuscript on at least one occasion to sketch a plan for an orchestral version of number 6. Of course, all of these later markings in red crayon were not taken into account in the preparation of the score of the original piano piece.

The manuscript bears a title, a signature and a subtitle in Liszt’s hand, but no date. (We may presume that the earliest likely date is 1847, when the first series of pieces was completed; and the latest possible date is probably 1851, when the second series was already begun.) It reads: ‘Zigeuner-Epos / FLiszt / populäre Ausgabe / in erleichterten Spielart [this last word is a conjecture from an illegible scrawl] / den / Ungarische Melodien und Rapsodien’ (‘Epic story of the gypsies / FLiszt / popular edition / in a simplified performing manner / of the / Hungarian Songs and Rhapsodies’). Thus it is clear that, at the outset at any rate, Liszt intended to publish this set.

The manuscript continues: ‘Nn 1 und 2 bleiben’ (‘Nos 1 and 2 remain’). Therefore we have retained the short numbers 1 and 2 from the Magyar Dalok and Magyar Rapszódiák unchanged. Then we find: ‘Nr 3 – Seite 6 – Variant’ (‘No 3 – page 6 – variant’). This refers to the following bars of music, which are to be substituted from bar 17 to the end of number 3. In keeping with the stated intention, Liszt’s simpler alternative text of the first eight bars is preferred. The next item in the MS is numbered 6, so it may be assumed that the short numbers 4 and 5 are likewise to be retained (again, Liszt’s simpler alternative text for two short passages in the left hand of number 4 has been preferred).

Number 6 is a conflation by Liszt of material from numbers 6 and 12 of the Magyar Dalok and Magyar Rapszódiák. The whole piece is written out in full. The MS then reads: ‘Rákóczi Nr 7’ and a space is left. Here Liszt clearly requires the insertion of the easier of the two versions of the Rákóczi-Marsch which appear in the Magyar Dalok and Magyar Rapszódiák (number 13a), and so we perform it here.

The rest of the manuscript contains numbers 8, 9, 10 and 11, which correspond to Numbers 10, 7, 8 and 9 respectively of the Magyar Dalok and Magyar Rapszódiák. Liszt only writes the (many) passages that are to be altered, and the remaining bars are marked to be taken over from the published versions.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 2002

Other albums featuring this work
'Liszt: Complete Piano Music' (CDS44501/98)
Liszt: Complete Piano Music
MP3 £160.00FLAC £160.00ALAC £160.00Buy by post £200.00 CDS44501/98  99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)  
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