Liszt altered the order and some of the tonalities of Beethoven’s Gellert Songs, especially to allow the most popular of them to conclude the set. Uniquely among his Beethoven transcriptions, Liszt allows himself considerable liberties in embellishing the originals and adding extra verses, but all in a spirit which combines his love of Beethoven with his love of God, echoing Gellert’s texts. In Liszt’s order, the poems speak of: (i) God’s Might and Providence
—‘God is my song!’; (ii) Supplication
—‘God’s goodness ranges as far as the clouds move’; (iii) Song of Penitence
—‘Although I have sinned against Thee alone, grant, patient God, that I see your face’; (iv) Of Death
—‘My life’s term expires’; (v) The Love of thy neighbour
—‘A man cannot love God and hate his own brother’; (vi) God’s Glory in Nature
—‘The heavens declare the glory of God’.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1991