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Track(s) taken from CDA67782

Bist du, S277 Second version

First line:
Mild wie ein Lufthauch im Mai
1879; LW N21
author of text

Matthew Polenzani (tenor), Julius Drake (piano)
Recording details: February 2010
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: November 2010
Total duration: 5 minutes 10 seconds

Cover artwork: Photograph of Matthew Polenzani by Sim Canetty-Clarke


'Polenzani is evidently a tenor of the finest quality: a lyric voice, sweet and ingratiating, with the capacity to ring out excitingly, gloriously easy on high but with a perfectly adequate body to the tone in its middle and lower registers. He is firm and even, pleasingly expressive … he sings with warmth, intelligence and conviction, matching the superb playing of his pianist Julius Drake' (Gramophone)

'Polenzani remains an extraordinarily communicative Lieder singer, possessed of an agile and flexible voice of tremendous versatility. In the most intimate of these settings, as well as in the quasi-operatic ones, Polenzani and Drake create performances that are at once thoughtful, richly atmospheric and never less than compelling … this auspicious inauguration of the series whets the appetite for more' (International Record Review)

'This stupendous disc, issued ahead of the Liszt bicentenary next year, marks the start of Hyperion's survey of his complete songs, still a grey area for many despite past attempts by major artists such as Brigitte Fassbaender and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau to rehabilitate them … as with so much of his music, their difficulty in performance is to be found in their emotional and expressive extremes. The challenges are more than met here, with Polenzani doing things in songs such as Der Fischerknabe or Pace Non Trovo that you never thought were possible for a human voice, while Drake's intensity is total and unswerving' (The Guardian)
Prince Elim Meshchersky, a poet-prince of Tartar descent (reportedly from one of Genghis Khan’s sons), died at the age of thirty-six in Paris in 1844, the year Liszt first set his poem Bist du to music. The song was subsequently revised for publication in 1879, with a piano introduction typical of late Liszt in its unharmonized, skeletal prefiguration of the song’s initial musical gestures. What follow are declarations that the beloved is as lovely as a moonlit night, pure as a pearl, cold as an Alpine glacier, strong as a rock, clear as the heavens, and so forth, a catalogue of love’s analogies in Nature of the sort that Shakespeare had earlier parodied in his Sonnet 130: ‘My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun.’ Liszt’s chordal pulsations for the cosmic realms of light, love, and beauty from which the beloved came are wonderfully rich specimens of this composer’s harmonic language.

from notes by Susan Youens © 2010

Le prince Elim Meshchersky, prince poète d’origine tatare (il serait le descendant d’un fils de Gengis Khan), est mort à l’âge de trente-six ans à Paris, en 1844, l’année où Liszt a mis pour la première fois en musique son poème Bist du. Cette mélodie a ensuite été révisée pour la publication, avec une introduction pianistique typique de la fin de la vie de Liszt dans sa préfiguration squelettique non harmonisée des gestes musicaux initiaux de la mélodie. Viennent ensuite des déclarations selon lesquelles la bien-aimée est aussi belle qu’une nuit de lune, pure comme une perle, froide comme un glacier alpin, forte comme le roc, claire comme les cieux, et ainsi de suite, un catalogue d’analogies de l’amour avec la Nature, à la manière de ce que Shakespeare avait déjà parodié dans son Sonnet 130: «My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun» («Ma maîtresse a des yeux qui n’ont rien du soleil»). Les pulsations harmoniques qui évoquent les royaumes cosmiques de la lumière, de l’amour et de la beauté dont est issue la bien-aimée sont de très riches échantillons du langage harmonique de ce compositeur.

extrait des notes rédigées par Susan Youens © 2010
Français: Marie-Stella Pâris

Der (vorgeblich von einem der Söhne von Dschingis Khan abstammende) Fürst und Dichter Elim Metschersky starb 1844 im Alter von sechsunddreißig Jahren in Paris, als Liszt sein Gedicht Bist du vertonte. Das Lied wurde 1879 für die Veröffentlichung überarbeitet und erhielt ein Klaviervorspiel, das mit seinen harmonielosen, skeletthaften Skizzen der einleitenden musikalischen Gestik typisch für den späten Liszt ist. Dann folgen Erklärungen, dass die Geliebte lieblich ist wie eine Nacht im Mondschein, kalt wie ein Alpengletscher, rein wie eine Perle, stark wie ein Fels, klar wie der Himmel und so weiter: der ganze Katalog naturbezogener Analogien, wie sie von Shakespeare bereits mit seinem Sonnet 130 parodiert worden waren: „Meiner Geliebten Augen sind nicht wie die Sonne.“ Liszts pulsierende Akkorde zur Darstellung der kosmischen Gefilde von Licht, Liebe und Schönheit, aus denen die Geliebte entstand, sind wundervoll reichhaltige Beispiele für Liszts harmonische Sprache.

aus dem Begleittext von Susan Youens © 2010
Deutsch: Henning Weber

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