Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 33 – The Schubert Transcriptions III
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No 01: Die Stadt
No 02: Das Fischermädchen
No 03: Aufenthalt
No 04: Am Meer
No 05: Abschied
No 06: In der Ferne
No 07: Ständchen 'Leise flehen' (third version)
No 08: Ihr Bild
No 09: Frühlingssehnsucht
No 10: Liebesbotschaft
No 11: Der Atlas
No 12: Der Doppelgänger
No 13: Die Taubenpost
No 14: Kriegers Ahnung
In Die Stadt Liszt writes three kinds of ossia: for reduced keyboard compass, for technical facilitation, and for simply another view of the material, all in all making quite a different piece of it. In Das Fischermädchen he just substitutes two bars of conclusion for the florid extra verse. In Aufenthalt he produces almost a completely new version facilite. The second stanza of Am Meer has its left-hand arpeggios much reduced.
The alternative version of Abschied is identical to the main text until about halfway through, when the added triplets of the concert version are substituted with duplets—much closer to Schubert’s text, in fact. Many of the grander gestures in the transcription of In der Ferne are considerably toned down, especially the arpeggiated decorations; the ossia text of Ständchen virtually creates a third version of the piece, with its new coda, which arrives much sooner (leaving out some of Schubert’s text in the process), no verse in canon on this occasion, and a new, thinner texture throughout.
Ihr Bild remains unchanged except for the omission of an extra ad libitum right-hand accompaniment—a matter of four bars; the second verse of Frühlingssehnsucht is much simplified, and there are several smaller changes elsewhere. Liebesbotschaft changes only for the last stanza where the wide right-hand chords are replaced; but Der Atlas is completely rewritten—where there were triplets, there are now demisemiquaver tremolos, and vice versa, and yet the general effect of the piece is not greatly altered, despite a certain smaller scope.
In Der Doppelgänger the rumbling basses are replaced with stark chords as in the original. In Die Taubenpost the second half of the piece is completely reworked, with triplets replacing semiquavers, and the whole thing being handled more intimately; and in Kriegers Ahnung the frenetic central section is given a completely different and more introspective character. Altogether, the alternative set is a valuable companion to the concert version and serves further to illuminate Liszt’s deep admiration for the original songs and their composer.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1995