Lied der zwei geharnischten Männer aus Mozarts Oper Die Zauberflöte 'Song of the Two Armed Men – Der, welcher wandelt diese Straße', S634a
Liszt’s only work based upon Mozart’s Magic Flute
, the Song of the Two Armed Men
, comes from his later years, although his manuscript, at present in the Library of Congress, bears no title or date. We do not know the occasion for the transcription—it may have been intended more for private study than public performance, seizing as it does upon the most serious and learned passage in Mozart’s opera, where the two armed men sing what amounts to an operatic choral prelude in homage to Bach (on the choral Ach Gott, vom Himmel sieh’ darein
—‘O God, look down from Heaven’) as they lead Tamino to his initiation into Sarastro’s order. In order not to miss any of Mozart’s marvellous counterpoint, Liszt made his arrangement for piano duet. It is his only operatic duet which does not stem from a solo piece, and therefore it would be a pity not to include it in the present series.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1996