Hyperion Records

Glanes de Woronince, S249
composer
1847/8

Recordings
'Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 27 – Fantasies, paraphrases and transcriptions of National Songs' (CDA66787)
Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 27 – Fantasies, paraphrases and transcriptions of National Songs
Buy by post £5.25 CDA66787  Please, someone, buy me …   Download currently discounted
'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)  
Details
No 1: Ballade ukraine: Dumka
Track 9 on CDA66787 [9'14] Please, someone, buy me …
Track 9 on CDS44501/98 CD30 [9'14] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 2: Mélodies polonaises
Track 10 on CDA66787 [4'47] Please, someone, buy me …
Track 10 on CDS44501/98 CD30 [4'47] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 3: Complainte: Dumka
Track 11 on CDA66787 [6'52] Please, someone, buy me …
Track 11 on CDS44501/98 CD30 [6'52] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

Glanes de Woronince, S249
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The jury is still out on the question of whether the influence of the Princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein upon Liszt was, as Sellars and Yeatman would put it, a ‘Good or a Bad Thing’. She was, at any rate, the dominant woman in the last forty years of Liszt’s life, and, whilst being responsible for almost all his social and domestic difficulties over that time, was also the one who won him to permanent and serious composition from the life of the travelling virtuoso who composed as best and as often as he was able. Liszt met Carolyne in Kiev in February 1847, and in the October of that year stayed with her at her estate in the Ukraine, Woronince. His Glanes de Woronince (‘Gleanings from Woronince’) is frequently described as some kind of preservation of local folk melodies which Liszt heard on this estate for the first time. Since we know that the second piece is supposedly Polish and that there is a good chance that the melodies in it were not new to Liszt, and since we know that Liszt heard the melody of the third piece sung by a blind girl busking with her grandfather in Kiev, much of this argument falls away. It seems much more likely that it was the very piano pieces which were gleaned from the stay at Woronince, in the case of the third the recollection of a public improvisation already given in Kiev, and the second piece is surely a specific homage to the Polish nationality of the princess.

The original Ukrainian song behind the first piece is a complicated tale of jealousy and revenge. Paraphrasing Roman Sawycky’s 1984 article on the song in the second volume of his Liszt biography, Alan Walker gives its title as ‘Hyrts, do not go to the party tonight’ and describes the warning of a woman who refuses to share her lover with another, and the four days entailed in her preparations to murder him with poisoned herbs, gathered on Sunday, prepared on Monday, administered on Tuesday, with the desired effect on the Wednesday. Liszt’s beautiful setting of the tune distances itself from any sense of violence or outrage—probably because he was not conversant with the text. The second piece contains two melodies, one familiar from Chopin’s song Z.yczenie—usually known as Mädchens Wünsch (‘The Maiden's Wish’)—well known in Liszt’s piano transcription (recorded in Vol 5 of the present series), and the other present in a separate unpublished Liszt piano piece and in the Liszt Duo-Sonata for violin and piano. It simply cannot be established that Liszt first heard either of these tunes at Woronince—and it seems unlikely that the local Ukrainian peasants would be singing foreign folksongs. (Alan Walker’s claim that the early violin and piano sonata must post-date the Glanes because Liszt could not have known one of its melodies before 1847 is a bit thin.) With the variations which comprise the third piece (which is no more a dumka than the first is) it seems again that Liszt did not know the actual text of the song, which transpires to have been a composed and published work (by one Ivan Kotliarevsky (1769–1838), according to Walker) rather than a folksong. Whatever their ethnic origins, the melodies are woven into one of Liszt’s most charming and unaccountably neglected collections.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 1994

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