The words for Liszt’s first song, Angiolin dal biondo crin
, were written by a friend of his, the Marchese Césare Boccella from Lucca, Tuscany. A light-pink damask rose introduced in 1842 was named ‘Marquise Boccella’ in honour of the poet’s wife, and this tender song, originally composed for Liszt’s and Marie d’Agoult’s three-year-old daughter Blandine-Rachel gives off something of the same flowery scent. The first version was published in 1843 by Schlesinger, but we hear the third version, published in 1860. (The novelist Anthony Trollope’s mother, Frances Trollope, visited Boccella on her Italian tour and praises a poem in which the Marquis scolds his friend George Sand for failing to meet properly elevated standards of womanhood.) Sadly, Blandine, who married a French statesman named Émile Ollivier, would die in 1862 at the age of twenty-six of septicaemia from an infected breast shortly after giving birth.
from notes by Susan Youens © 2010