Hyperion Records

Von der Wiege bis zum Grabe, S107
1881; symphonic tone poem after the drawing entitled Du berceau jusqu'au cercueil by Mihály Zichy, to whom the work is dedicated

'Liszt: Funeral Odes' (CDA67856)
Liszt: Funeral Odes
Buy by post £10.50 CDA67856 
Movement 1: Die Wiege
Movement 2: Der Kampf um's Dasein
Movement 3: Zum Grabe: Die Wiege des zukünftigen Lebens

Von der Wiege bis zum Grabe, S107
During his time at Weimar, Liszt composed twelve symphonic poems which had an incalculable influence over the orchestral music of the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After Liszt left Weimar in 1861 he no longer had an orchestra at his ready command, and that is at least one reason why his orchestral output is much slenderer in his final period. But in 1881 he was working on a thirteenth and final symphonic poem whose subject was From the cradle to the grave—after a drawing by the Hungarian artist Mihály Zichy (1827–1906) depicting three stages of existence: birth; the struggle for being; and death, the cradle of the life to come. Zichy’s original title was Du berceau jusqu’au cercueil [From the cradle to the coffin], which would not have suited Liszt’s philosophical purpose at all. On 27 September 1881, Liszt wrote to the Princess zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, from Bayreuth:

Your correction of the title of my most recent symphonic poem is most judicious—‘du berceau jusqu’à la tombe’, not ‘jusqu’au cercueil’, as Zichy put it. I adopt it with gratitude—actually, the coffin remains just a piece of furniture, while the tomb becomes metaphorical.

The outer sections have much in common with Liszt’s late introspective keyboard works, whilst the strivings of the middle section hark back to the earlier symphonic poems. The first part is very similar to the separately published Wiegenlied for piano solo, and the final part combines themes from the previous two before disappearing in etherium. Unusually, Liszt drafted the whole work for piano, then arranged and amplified it for duet and for orchestra, and transferred later alterations back into the solo version. Liszt dedicated the piece in all its guises to Mihály Zichy.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 2011

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Details for CDA67856 track 1
Die Wiege
Recording date
4 June 2010
Recording venue
City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, Scotland
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Simon Eadon
Hyperion usage
  1. Liszt: Funeral Odes (CDA67856)
    Disc 1 Track 1
    Release date: March 2011
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