Nuits d'été à Pausilippe – Trois amusements sur des motifs de l'album de Donizetti, S399
The Nuits d’été à Pausilippe
—a collection of twelve songs and notturni from which Liszt selected three—is a further extension to the same literature, and was even reissued with the present extended titles to conform with the earlier ones, and renumbered as a continuing series after the Mercadante set. Depicting summer nights in Posilippo—which these days is not quite the balmy resort of former times and threatens to be engulfed in Neapolitan suburbia—Liszt’s three pieces continue to find more variety in these essentially simple portraits of things Italian: the boatman, the breath of the beloved, and the tower of Biasone (which ends with one of Donizetti’s most disarmingly addictive tunes). And even though we may not quite take Sir Sacheverell Sitwell’s assessment of them as jewels in Liszt’s crown comparable with the Sonata and the Faust Symphony
, they are certainly worth more than their present neglect might suggest.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1992