Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 33 – The Schubert Transcriptions III
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No 1: Litanei, auf das Fest aller Seelen
No 2: Himmelsfunken
No 3: Die Gestirne
No 3bis: Die Gestirne
No 4: Hymne 'Geisterchor aus Rosamunde'
Die Gestirne (‘The Firmament’, D444) is a setting of Klopstock’s paraphrase of Psalm 19 (Vulgate 18), ‘The heavens declare the glory of God’, and Liszt’s response to Schubert and Klopstock is full of thunderous orchestral grandeur. Hymne is actually the Geisterchor (‘Chorus of Spirits’)—one of a group of vocal numbers from the ill-fated incidental music to Rosamunde, D797, which Schubert arranged with piano accompaniment (the original is for chorus with brass) which appeared in 1824 as Opus 25, with this particular piece as No 3. (The title of Schubert’s version with piano is confusing, because ‘Hymne’ applies legitimately to quite a number of Schubert songs and choruses.) The text, a likely candidate for the worst piece of German poetry, is by Wilhelmine von Chézy, and deals with Light living in the Depths and Shining (‘In der Tiefe wohnt das Licht. Licht daß leuchtet …’). Both Schubert and Liszt manage to make something quite beautiful from this tripe.
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1995