Hyperion Records

Lenore, S346
Lenore was a very popular poem in its day, and inspired at least one monumental piece of music in Raff’s Fifth Symphony (excellently recorded some years ago by Bernard Herrmann). Liszt, whose work’s full title reads ‘Lenore – Ballade von Gottfried August Bürger mit melodramatischer Pianoforte-Begleitung zur Deklamation von F. L.’, does not approach such a scale, but he contributes quite a lot of music, sometimes in the briefest gestures, otherwise in longer through-composed sections. Some verses are spoken without music at all. Occasionally the music imitates the precise rhythm of a short poetic phrase, and from time to time one spoken phrase is exactly matched by one musical one. The musical language here is typical of the end of Liszt’s Weimar period, containing many characteristics which would not be out of place in one of the symphonic poems. The poetry of Bürger is perhaps not currently in favour, but the influence of Lenore upon succeeding German Romantics was prodigious.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 1996

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