Es muss ein Wunderbares sein
is one of Liszt’s most popular songs, given its merger of sophisticated harmonies and its spare texture, devoid of pyrotechnics. The Bavarian poet Oscar von Redwitz-Schmölz became famous in his twenties for his sentimental epic Amaranth
from which the Princess Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (later Queen of Prussia and German Empress) extracted two stanzas in July 1852 for Liszt to set to music. Fifteen years later, in 1867, Liszt met Redwitz-Schmölz and wrote to Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein (1819–1887, the most important woman in Liszt’s life from the time of their meeting in 1847 to his death) to say: ‘His person pleases me more than I would have expected. One generally imagines him wholly steeped in piety—with lowered eyes and a timid manner of speaking, intermingled with sighs! Not he!’ The penultimate harmony on ‘sagen’ is a final touch of chromatic expressivity in this small gem.
from notes by Susan Youens © 2012