Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth
first saw life as a mournful lament in which the singer, shutting himself off from the world in the cloister at Nonnenwerth, bewails his abandonment. The song evidently held strong personal resonances for Liszt—not only because he was tempted by the monastic life, but also because the island of Nonnenwerth was a favourite holiday destination where he spent some summers with his young children before the family split up for ever. The fact that over a period of some forty years he made several vocal adaptations of this piece, as well as four versions for solo piano, one for piano duet, and this arrangement for violin or cello and piano, attests to his fondness for the work.
from notes by Steven Isserlis © 2012