Hyperion Records

Trois Morceaux suisses, S156a
1876; second versions

'Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 39 – Première année de pèlerinage' (CDA67026)
Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 39 – Première année de pèlerinage
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'Liszt: Complete Piano Music' (CDS44501/98)
Liszt: Complete Piano Music
Buy by post £200.00 CDS44501/98  99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)  
No 1: Ranz de vaches – Mélodie de Ferdinand Huber, avec variations
Track 10 on CDA67026 [9'52]
Track 10 on CDS44501/98 CD9 [9'52] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 2: Un soir dans la montagne – Mélodie d’Ernest Knop – Nocturne
Track 11 on CDA67026 [8'41]
Track 11 on CDS44501/98 CD9 [8'41] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 3: Ranz de chèvres – Mélodie de Ferdinand Huber – Rondeau
Track 12 on CDA67026 [7'27]
Track 12 on CDS44501/98 CD9 [7'27] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

Trois Morceaux suisses, S156a
When Liszt assembled the second of the Années, he prepared soon afterwards a supplementary volume of lighter works—Venezia e Napoli. In both of these volumes he again included revisions of much earlier pieces. Although he did not specifically indicate it, it seems only just to include in the apposite place to the first Année the Trois Morceaux suisses (‘Three Swiss Pieces’)—the revisions of the three Paraphrases which formed the third book of the original Album d’un voyageur. Like Venezia e Napoli, these three pieces are based on themes by other composers, in this case Swiss art songs by Ferdinand Huber (1791–1863) and Ernest Knop (d1850), and, although they are somewhat larger than the supplement to the Italian collection, they make a pleasing valediction to their greater companion volume in much the same way. In the Swiss case, Liszt waited just on forty years before issuing the revised versions of the three early paraphrases, whose titles, meanwhile had also changed somewhat.

The Ranz de vaches (there is simply no cognate for ‘ranz’ in English: it is the generic title of the melodies improvised by Swiss herdsmen—whether of cows, as in this piece, or of goats, as in the third—played on the alpenhorn or sung) is a slightly reworked version of the first Paraphrase in the Album, with a much shortened finale. The youthful exuberance remains but some exaggeration is tempered.

As in the earlier set, the second piece, Un soir dans la montagne (‘An evening in the mountains’), emerges as musically the finest. The outer sections have been subtly rewritten in this second version. As before, the central section depicts a violent storm, but in the revision there is more subtlety in the arrangement of the material, the storm is shorter, and the transition at the recapitulation is new.

The final piece must have pleased Liszt from the beginning, for, even forty years on, he did not feel the need to make more than a few tiny alterations to his original conception, except at the very last bars, where a more unified coda replaces the original brief outburst.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 1996

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