Hyperion Records

Weihnachtsbaum, S186
composer
first sketched 1866; completed 1876; published 1882

Recordings
'Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 8 – Weihnachtsbaum & Via Crucis' (CDA66388)
Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 8 – Weihnachtsbaum & Via Crucis
Buy by post £10.50 CDA66388 
'Liszt: Complete Piano Music' (CDS44501/98)
Liszt: Complete Piano Music
Buy by post £200.00 CDS44501/98  99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)  
'Liszt: Piano Music' (LISZT1)
Liszt: Piano Music
LISZT1  2CDs Super-budget price sampler — Deleted  
Details
No 01: Psallite – Altes Weihnachtslied
Track 1 on CDA66388 [1'55]
Track 1 on CDS44501/98 CD18 [1'55] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 02: O heilige Nacht! – Weihnachtslied nach einer alten Weise
Track 2 on CDA66388 [3'37]
Track 2 on CDS44501/98 CD18 [3'37] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 03: Die Hirten an der Krippe – In dulci iubilo
Track 3 on CDA66388 [2'30]
Track 3 on CDS44501/98 CD18 [2'30] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 04: Adeste fideles – Gleichsam als Marsch der heiligen drei Könige
Track 4 on CDA66388 [2'57]
Track 4 on CDS44501/98 CD18 [2'57] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 05: Scherzoso – Man zundet die Kerzen des Baumes an
Track 5 on CDA66388 [2'05]
Track 5 on CDS44501/98 CD18 [2'05] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 06: Carillon
Track 6 on CDA66388 [1'42]
Track 6 on CDS44501/98 CD18 [1'42] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 07: Schlummerlied
Track 7 on CDA66388 [2'42]
Track 7 on CDS44501/98 CD18 [2'42] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 08: Altes provenzalisches Weihnachtslied
Track 8 on CDA66388 [1'28]
Track 8 on CDS44501/98 CD18 [1'28] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 09: Abendglocken
Track 9 on CDA66388 [3'29]
Track 9 on CDS44501/98 CD18 [3'29] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 10: Ehemals!
Track 10 on CDA66388 [2'55]
Track 10 on CDS44501/98 CD18 [2'55] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Track 11 on LISZT1 CD2 [2'55] 2CDs Super-budget price sampler — Deleted
No 11: Ungarisch
Track 11 on CDA66388 [1'44]
Track 11 on CDS44501/98 CD18 [1'44] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 12: Polnisch
Track 12 on CDA66388 [5'42]
Track 12 on CDS44501/98 CD18 [5'42] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

Weihnachtsbaum, S186
EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Christmas Tree suite occupied Liszt for quite some time—he was determined to make an especially good job of it to present to his granddaughter Daniela (daughter of Hans von Bülow and Cosima) to whom the set is dedicated—and he also made a charming arrangement of it for piano duet. The bulk of the work was carried out between 1874 and 1876, although Liszt kept touching the pieces up until the time of publication. The first four numbers are marked ‘piano ossia armonium’, and are nowadays additionally included with Liszt’s organ music. The whole work is arranged in three groups of four pieces which, broadly, present traditional carol melodies, a child’s view of Christmas, and a maturer person’s recollections.

Michael Praetorius (1571–1621) composed the choral work which provides the theme for Psallite, or, at least, the central section—Liszt provides a formal march-like introduction and coda, setting a processional air. O Heilige Nacht! is based on an old carol, and Liszt also produced a version of the piece for choir and organ. The melody of Die Hirten … is known to practically everyone, but Liszt’s delicate left-hand pastoral dactyls are one of his happiest inspirations. His treatment of what all English-speaking people will immediately recognize as O come, all ye faithful as a march for the three kings (which has no connection with the eponymous march in Liszt’s oratorio Christus) allows him to introduce some rather dramatic extensions to the well-known tune.

The fifth piece is one of very few scherzi that Liszt wrote—full of humour, and treacherously difficult as children’s pieces go! The double notes of Carillon—the first of two bell-pieces—are similarly unnerving, as is the unresolved ending. The seventh piece is worlds away from Liszt’s independent Berceuse. Here, a very simple melodic fragment with a rippling accompaniment makes several dreamlike excursions into strange harmonic territory before it drifts off into sleep. No 8 actually includes two old French carols, and makes another rather sophisticated little scherzo which leads us to the adult world of the last pieces.

The bells of the ninth piece invoke quiet recollection and, according to Humphrey Searle, the tenth piece—at once wistful and impassioned—is a nostalgic remembrance of the first meeting between Liszt and the Princess zu Sayn-Wittgenstein; the eleventh—a stirring march—a self-portrait, and the twelfth—an exuberant mazurka—a portrait of the Polish Princess. This may be so, although the present writer can find no primary source for Searle’s idea. It should be observed, though, that the Hungarian piece bears an extra dedication to Liszt’s friend, the composer Kornél Ábrányi, and that the extrovert gaiety of the final number belies everything that one has otherwise been lead to believe of the character of the Princess, who smoked cigars, wrote interminable tomes on obscure church problems, and probably never danced a step!

from notes by Leslie Howard © 1990

Track-specific metadata
Click track numbers opposite to select

Details for CDS44501/98 disc 18 track 5
No 5: Scherzoso – Man zundet die Kerzen des Baumes an
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-90-38805
Duration
2'05
Recording date
6 October 1989
Recording venue
St Peter's Church, Petersham, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Tryggvi Tryggvason
Hyperion usage
  1. Liszt: Complete Piano Music (CDS44501/98)
    Disc 18 Track 5
    Release date: February 2011
    99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
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