‘Provençal Lovesong’ (Schumann’s title is actually Provençalisches Lied
) is a curious late work of Liszt’s which somehow disembodies the original setting of Uhland’s poem in praise of courtly love. The transcription of ‘To the Sunshine’ —Reinick’s poem in folk style about the sunlight’s effect upon nature and thence love—is embellished by a central section which is a transcription of Schumann’s setting of a translation of Robert Burns’s ‘Oh, my luve’s like a red, red rose’. As in the combined Robert Franz transcription, no violence is done in any way to either of the original songs. The feverish joy of the discovery that ‘she is yours’ informs the whole of Schumann’s setting of Eichendorff’s ‘Spring Night’ —the concluding song of the opus 39 Liederkreis
, with its constantly repeated chordal accompaniment. Liszt translates this joy in an exquisite piece of piano writing. ‘Dedication’ —the first song from Schumann’s Myrthen
, opus 24, to a poem by Rückert—was, as the world knows, a gift from Schumann to Clara, but we cannot blame Liszt for wanting this great song to be much more widely distributed, and, since Schumann’s song is very easily come by nowadays, there is absolutely no need for any offence to be taken at the glorious expansion of the original in Liszt’s ever-popular transcription.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1991