Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 52 – Ungarischer Romanzero
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No 01: F minor
No 02: A minor
No 03: A minor
No 04: A minor
No 05: D minor
No 06: A major
No 07: A major
No 08: D minor
No 09: A major
No 10: G minor
No 11: F major
No 12: C major
No 13: F sharp minor
No 14: D major
No 15: D major
No 16: C major
No 17: A major
No 18: A major
No 4 is based on a Csermák arrangement of a traditional tune. Although at first glance the Liszt version seems unfinished, it is full of instructions to himself about how to vary the reprises of each passage: after the first eight-bar statement he only gives one bar of its reprise with the indication da capo con 8ttavi e ornamenti—easily done. There follows a two-bar sketch of the second section—in F major, marked ‘etc.’—but then the same theme fully worked out in D minor. A note at the end of the page à changer nach E Pedale Dominante refers to a further variation of the opening material sketched on the left facing page, and also marked ‘etc.’—again easily extended to eight bars, which is followed by the trio in D major. Another self-suggestion—all 8ttava (?)—is taken up in the reprise of the trio.
No 5, based on a theme by Gábor Mátray, is a brisk little tune, and, so long as one interprets the shorthand indication in the lower margin on the first page in order to make a repeat, the piece is complete. So is No 6, where Liszt gives the name of the melody: Primatialis nota (‘Melody for the installation of the Prince-Primate’) as well as that of its original composer, Bihari. No 7 begins with the Butsuzó Lassú Magyar (‘Slow Hungarian Farewell-Melody’) of Csermák, but continues with unidentified material. Apart from a shorthand indication of a tranposed reprise of four bars, the piece is fully written out. Serious Liszt-sleuths may recognize in the Bihari melody—Hatvágás-Werbetanz (‘Hatvágás Recruiting Dance’)—of No 8 one of the pair of dances he had previously arranged as a boy (sometimes known as Zum Andenken; see Volume 26 of the present series). Here it is extended in rather a rhapsodic way and, although the manuscript is untidy and one or two left-hand chords are missing, the piece is complete. No 9 is also complete, even though Liszt does not use the trio section of this melody by Csermák.
No 10 is a miniature rhapsody with typical slow and fast sections, the first based on Beni Egressy’s Kornéliához (‘For Kornelia’), the second—marked Allegro guerriero—on an unidentified theme. Although much shorthand is employed, the piece is finished, and it ends with a very jolly coda which (pace Mr Papp, who sees no connection) is derived from the Allegro. No 11 is the largest piece in the set, and is similarly cast as a two-part rhapsody. The first part is based on the Makó Csárdás in a published arrangement by János Travnyik. The fast section is based on several themes, most of whose origins are unknown. The first of these themes will be instantly recognized as the same melody which Brahms employed in his Hungarian Dance No 9; the second is a dance-tune from Kálló.
The Friska which constitutes No 12 is so attractive a medley of dance tunes (of unknown origin) that one must be forgiven the minor surgery necessary to render the piece complete and playable: Liszt’s note—etc. Durchführung—occurs at a point where he is repeating a theme in transposition, so the eight-bar statement can be completed. A little eight-bar theme written separately at the end of the piece is then incorporated, and repeated an octave higher, and the coda has been supplied by a brief repetition of previously heard material with the addition of three closing chords.
The remaining pieces, with the exception of the sixteenth number, are in rather a sketchy state, even though most of them are written out complete as far as the sequence of melodies and variations are concerned. But the accompaniment is most often left blank or only hinted at in shorthand. No 13 is only fully worked in the opening eight bars, marked Bevezetés (‘Introduction’); the succeeding eight bars require elaboration over a sketched series of harmonies. The fast section contains only seven bars where any accompaniment is suggested, but the right-hand is more or less completely indicated. The themes are unidentified.
No 14 is based on Vágy Pannónia felé (‘Longing for Pannonia’) by Janós Lavotta. Only from time to time does Liszt give a fully worked-out accompaniment—none at all in the closing section. No 15 is marked Bihari by Liszt, but Géza Papp has shown that the theme is in fact by Márk Rózsavölgyi. The trio is a melody by Csermák. Liszt only indicates a few bass notes in the first section, but quite a bit of figuration in the second. No 16 is ascribed to József Zomb, although its source has not come to light. Liszt has written a note to himself—(oder 6?)—suggesting a possible change in the opening rhythmic pattern, given as four semiquavers and two quavers in each bar, but suggesting six semiquavers and two quavers. The sextolets are adopted throughout the present performance. Curiously, at the end of this number Liszt writes the opening of number four of this collection again, finishing with ‘etc.’, so perhaps he was thinking of linking these numbers together (a possibility easily explored on a CD player).
No 17 begins with a theme by Bihari and continues with a theme by Jancsi Polturás Lóczi. Liszt supplies a lot of the accompaniment and gives further instructions to add sixths and play with the hands in unison. Otherwise, the accompaniment requires filling out. The tiny romance No 18 has a strangely valedictory quality about it. The melody is ascribed to Bihari, but may be by Ignác Ruzitska, and it might not even be originally Hungarian—its lilting 68 melody against 24 accompaniment is quite uncharacteristic. Some very minor completion of the accompaniment is required.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1998