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Hyperion Records

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Venus and her Doves by William Etty (1787-1849)
City of Manchester Art Gallery
Track(s) taken from CDA66593
Recording details: October 1991
St Martin's Church, East Woodhay, Berkshire, United Kingdom
Produced by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Engineered by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Release date: November 1992
Total duration: 23 minutes 43 seconds

'Among the most readily and revealingly appealing issues of Howard's stupendous enterprise. Enthusiastically recommended' (Fanfare, USA)

Buch der Lieder für Piano allein – 6 Poésies lyriques pour piano seul – II, S535-540

Gastibelza, S540  [4'43]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
All of the songs chosen for the second songbook are settings of Victor Hugo, and the first four, at least, have always been amongst Liszt’s most performed songs. His setting of the French language came easier to him at first than German setting, and his melodic style was often more expansive as a result. In Oh! quand je dors (‘Oh! when I sleep’) the poet asks for his lover to appear to him as Laura did to Petrarch. Comment, disaient-ils (‘How? say the lads’) is one of Liszt’s few songs at an animated tempo and suits to perfection Hugo’s little dialogue of questions and answers from the lads to the lasses. Enfant, si j’étais roi (‘Child, if I were king’)—a marvellous poem of love, telling first of what the poet would do for the child if he were king, and if he were God—set by Liszt with real majesty. S’il est un charmant gazon (‘If it is a charming green’) is a graceful setting of another love poem whose conceits are that the poet would like to be the path beneath the lover’s foot, or a nest for the lover’s heart (the text of the Liszt transcription presents a few minor problems towards the end: this performance transposes the right hand down by an octave in bars 48-56). La tombe et la rose is an allegorical conversation between a grave and a rose, each pressing its merits upon the other, the grave’s final observation being that out of every soul it receives it makes an angel. Liszt’s intense tremolos and dotted rhythms make it a powerful piece indeed. Gastibelza is the song of an eponymous carabiniero in the form of a bolero-cum-love-song of the man with the rifle who is made mad by ‘le vent qui vient à travers le montagne’ (‘the wind that comes over the mountain’). Here Liszt wisely shortened the number of verses of the original song in order to make a tighter construction for the piano piece and a fitting conclusion to the collection as a whole.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 1992

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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