No 1: Das Wandern
No 2: Der Müller und der Bach
No 3: Der Jäger
No 4: Die böse Farbe
No 5: Wohin?
No 6: Ungeduld. Second transcription
Die schöne Müllerin (‘The Fair Mill-maid’, D795) is far too familiar to require much explanation. Liszt chooses numbers 1, 19, 14, 17, 2 and 7 from the original twenty settings of Wilhelm Müller: Das Wandern (‘Wandering’) is two verses shorter than the song expressing the poet’s joy in tramping about, but is delightfully varied. The conversation about the misery and the happy mystery of love, Der Müller und der Bach (‘The Miller and the Stream’) is extended by an extra variation to the last verse and is one of the finest of all Liszt’s transcriptions, so close does it get to letter and spirit of the song whilst writing inventively and originally at the same time. The two verses of Der Jäger (‘The Huntsman’)—in which the poet asks the hunter to keep away from the stream and shoot only that which frightens his loved one—are given a very sprightly decoration, and are set either side of the transcription of Die böse Farbe (‘The Evil Colour’). This is shorn of its short introduction and coda, but handled very ebulliently, with some treacherous double notes in the right hand to stress the pride and boldness of the lover’s preferred and mocking green.
Wohin? (‘Whither?’) solves the problem of adding the voice to the accompaniment by dividing the babbling brook which has attracted the poet’s attention between the inner fingers of the two hands, and occasionally by letting it wash the melody from above; and Ungeduld (‘Impatience’)—the poet is desperate to proclaim his love to the whole world—is set, like the first song, with one fewer verse than Schubert, in a theme and two variations. (For the later versions of these transcriptions, entitled Müllerlieder, see Volume 33.)
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1995