The Lyre and Sword
transcription is of a special kind: Liszt takes three of Weber’s six unaccompanied choruses and makes a miniature symphonic poem of them. The Heroïde
in this new form becomes grandly heroic in a style that even calls Chopin to mind. The flourish at the end of the introduction is certainly a recollection of that composer’s F sharp minor Polonaise. Liszt extends all of Weber’s ideas and links all the choruses together in a convincing triptych – of Sword-Song
, with Liszt’s extra dotted rhythmic accompaniment, a passionately arpeggiated Prayer
before the battle and a barnstorming Lützow’s Wild Hunt
– which would make a worthy candidate for revival on the recital platform.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1993