Hyperion Records

Die drei Zigeuner, S320 First version
First line:
Drei Zigeuner fand ich einmal
completed on 17 June 1860; LW N62
author of text

'Liszt: The Complete Songs, Vol. 2 – Angelika Kirchschlager' (CDA67934)
Liszt: The Complete Songs, Vol. 2 – Angelika Kirchschlager
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Die drei Zigeuner, S320 First version
The eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Hungarian style known as verbunkos, born of military recruiting music and closely associated with the virtuosity of Hungarian gypsy bands, is on display in Die drei Zigeuner, complete with bokázó figures (clicking of heels), hallgató (free melodies without words), garlands of triplet rhythms, the so-called ‘gypsy scale’, and alternating slow and lively tempi. No wonder Liszt was drawn to this poem: its poet, Nikolaus Lenau (born Nikolaus Franz Niembsch Edler von Strehlenau in what was then Hungary and is now part of Romania) created three musician-personæ whose instruments—fiddle, pipes and cimbalom—Liszt mimics brilliantly in the piano. In a letter to Carolyne on 27 May 1860, Liszt wrote: ‘In addition, the whim suddenly took me, without rhyme or reason, to set Lenau’s Zigeuner—and at the piano I quickly found the whole outline’; he finished it on 17 June.

from notes by Susan Youens 2012

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