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Hyperion Records

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Park Terrace on the Villa d'Este by Carl Blechen (1798-1840)
Track(s) taken from CDA66661/2
Recording details: August 1992
St Peter's Church, Petersham, United Kingdom
Produced by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Engineered by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Release date: February 1993
Total duration: 51 minutes 9 seconds

'The charm of Donizetti's 'Nuits d'été à Pausilippe' makes one grateful for their rescue by Liszt and by Howard' (Classic CD)

Soirées musicales de Rossini, S424
composer
published 1835
arranger
1837

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Rossini’s Soirées musicales are a collection of vocal solos and duets with piano accompaniment to texts of Metastasio and Pepoli. From their publication in 1835 they immediately became concert favourites, and Liszt’s transcriptions are only some of the many that circulated widely throughout the nineteenth century. And their influence lingered into the twentieth century and the works of such composers as Britten and Respighi. For some reason, Liszt completely re-ordered the collection when he made his transcriptions, retaining only the first and last pieces in their original places. (Rossini’s original running order is 1, 5, 7, 11, 3, 6, 4, 9, 2, 8, 10 and 12.) Liszt’s method in his transcriptions is akin to that which he employed in his Lieder transcriptions: the original piano part is wedded to the vocal part(s) and further elaborated from time to time, but the shape of the original determines the form of the transcription. But many repeated passages are subject to a fecund variety of treatment—yet more examples of Liszt’s personal approach to variation technique. Strangely, these works are at present very difficult to acquire in score, and the most recent publications are full of errors: the Ricordi edition of ‘La Danza’ only retains misprints from their first edition over 150 years ago, and Schott’s edition was bowdlerised by Karl Klindworth who, apart from making suggestions for study, advised many alterations to Liszt’s text. The present recording was made from a collation of the original editions of Troupenas, Ricordi and Schott, with reference to the first edition of Rossini’s original.

Whilst the subtitles go a good way to explain the content and style of the numbers in the collection, it should be noted that ‘Notturno’ bears no relationship to ‘Nocturne’ as used by Field or Chopin, but rather refers to a piece of music for evening use or with a nocturnal subject—there is nothing contemplative about ‘La regata veneziana’. Points of interest include: in No 1 a lovely bit of rhythmic complication where the left hand plays 7 against the 6/8 metre while the right hand plays six semiquavers and two duplet crotchets; in No 2 the wickedly brisk arpeggio ornaments; in No 3 the technical audacity of the second verse; in No 4 the delicacy of the emroidered accompaniment; in No 5 the crossed-hands effects; in Nos 6 and 7 the reticence to embroider at all; in No 8 the richness of the texture; in No 9, the sheer bravado; the magical cadenza in No 10; the roistering of No 11; and the expansive scope of No 12, which is practically a miniature symphonic poem in its depiction of the watching hours at sea through a storm.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 1992

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