The Trois chansons
are transcriptions of vocal pieces, but we do not know the exact sources from which they were made. The MS of Liszt’s three choruses for men’s voices (or quartet of solo men’s voices) and piano is dated 20 July ’45. There, and in the edition immediately issued by Knop in Basel, are two settings of Trost
—the first in E flat, the second in C—and one of Nicht gezagt!
, poems by Dr Theodor Meyer-Merian (1818–1862). A later version of these songs from 1860, for unaccompanied men’s voices, forms numbers 4–6 of Für Männergesang
S90 (republished in the 2001 Liszt Society Journal
). Here the poems are now misattributed to the tenor Karl Götze, and the order of the second and third numbers is reversed. The three are united under the title Geharnischte Lieder
(‘Songs in Armour’), and bear the subtitles: Vor der Schlacht
, Nicht gezagt!
and Es rufet Gott uns mahnend
(‘Before the battle’, ‘No hesitation’ and ‘God exhorts us’). Liszt made straightforward piano transcriptions of these versions (S511, published in 1861, recorded in volume 36 of the Liszt series). The present transcriptions appeared from Kahnt in Leipzig in 1852, and this edition is performed here. They are each marked—although not on the title page—as transcribed by Corno, otherwise August Horn (1825–1893). La consolation
resembles the music of the setting of Nicht gezagt!
, even though its title is a translation of Trost
! Avant la bataille
follows the C major setting of Trost
—curiously, not the one which became Vor der Schlacht
follows the E flat setting, i.e. the pieces are in reverse order to the 1845 choruses. The many deviations of the musical text from the choruses are too far-reaching for there not to be some other missing intermediate source, and they are much too full of Liszt’s obvious contribution as composer and arranger for them to be considered the work of anyone else, unless Horn was actually working under Liszt’s direct instructions. In any case, we have only this text of an otherwise unknown version of this work of Liszt’s so, until further information should be discovered, we are obliged to admit it into the canon. (These pieces are reprinted in the 2008 Liszt Society Journal
from notes by Leslie Howard © 2011