Légendes, S175

composer
circa 1860/3; No 2bis: circa 1863; simplified version

 
The St Francis Legends are two of Liszt’s finest examples of conjuring up natural imagery at the keyboard, the first with its very delicate imitation of birdsong—of which we are given quite a feast before the sermon begins—and the second with its opportunity to describe a storm at sea. The first is inspired by the well-known story, as related in The Little Flowers of St Francis of Assisi, when St Francis, marvelling at a multitude of birds in the trees by his path, breaks off his travels in order to preach to them. Liszt’s ‘other’ patron saint, St Francis of Paola, is not so famous, but his story provokes a stupendous musical response from Liszt, who kept a painting of the legend in his study for many years: a ferryman refused to carry the saint across the Straits of Messina, saying that saints ought to be able to walk on water. Improvising both raft and sail from his cloak and staff, St Francis crossed safely. Each of these legends quotes one of Liszt’s own choral pieces inspired by each saint: the first uses a theme from Cantico del Sol, S4; the second a passage from An den heiligen Franziskus von Paula, S28. The narrative background to the pieces in no way hampers Liszt from devising a very satisfying musical structure.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 1988

Recordings

Liszt: Nikolai Demidenko plays Liszt
CDH55184Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Liszt: Complete Piano Music
CDS44501/9899CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 2 – Ballades, Legends & Polonaises
CDA66301
Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 55 – Grande Fantaisie
CDA67408/103CDs Last few CD copies remainingDownload currently discounted
Liszt: Piano Music
LISZT12CDs Super-budget price sampler — Deleted

Details

No 1: St François d'Assise – La prédication aux oiseaux
Track 3 on CDA66301 [8'46]
Track 3 on CDS44501/98 CD12 [8'46] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 1a: St François d'Assise – La prédication aux oiseaux: Allegretto
Track 17 on CDH55184 [2'51] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
No 1b: St François d'Assise – La prédication aux oiseaux: Recitativo
Track 18 on CDH55184 [1'46] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
No 1c: St François d'Assise – La prédication aux oiseaux: Solennemente
Track 19 on CDH55184 [0'55] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
No 1d: St François d'Assise – La prédication aux oiseaux: Dolcissimo
Track 20 on CDH55184 [2'26] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
No 1e: St François d'Assise – La prédication aux oiseaux: Dolce
Track 21 on CDH55184 [2'44] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
No 2: St François de Paule marchant sur les flots
Track 4 on CDA66301 [7'31]
Track 4 on CDS44501/98 CD12 [7'31] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Track 1 on LISZT1 CD2 [7'31] 2CDs Super-budget price sampler — Deleted
No 2a: St François de Paule marchant sur les flots: Andante maestoso
Track 22 on CDH55184 [4'42] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
No 2b: St François de Paule marchant sur les flots: Allegro maestoso ed animato
Track 23 on CDH55184 [1'43] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
No 2bis: St François de Paule marchant sur les flots
Track 6 on CDA67408/10 CD1 [7'14] 3CDs Last few CD copies remaining
Track 6 on CDS44501/98 CD82 [7'14] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 2c: St François de Paule marchant sur les flots: Lento
Track 24 on CDH55184 [2'49] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)

Track-specific metadata for CDH55184 track 20

No 1d: St François d'Assise – La prédication aux oiseaux: Dolcissimo
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-92-61620
Duration
2'26
Recording date
6 February 1992
Recording venue
Snape Maltings, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ates Orga
Recording engineer
Tony Faulkner
Hyperion usage
  1. Liszt: Nikolai Demidenko plays Liszt (CDA66616)
    Disc 1 Track 20
    Release date: October 1992
    Deletion date: June 2004
    Superseded by CDH55184
  2. Liszt: Nikolai Demidenko plays Liszt (CDH55184)
    Disc 1 Track 20
    Release date: June 2004
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)