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Liebeslied 'Widmung, von Robert Schumann', S566

composer
No 1 of Myrthen, Op 25
arranger
1848; concert version

 
One of the greatest piano transcriptions of all time is Franz Liszt’s arrangement of Robert Schumann’s love song Widmung (‘Dedication’). On the eve of their marriage, in September 1840, Robert presented a collection of songs to his beloved Clara as a wedding present—something he had kept completely secret from her for months. ‘Widmung’ is the first song in the cycle (Myrthen, Op 25). The text is by Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866), and it captures perfectly what Schumann must have felt, finally having been able to marry his beloved after years of fierce opposition from her father.

The song is given the full treatment by Liszt, done with such panache that it totally carries you away. The text, as in all these song transcriptions, should be sung (silently!) by the pianist while playing in order to get the right inflection. (This is why, for many of the works recorded here, we have included the original texts and translations for you to follow.) Not content with stating the opening rapturous melody only once, Liszt repeats it, but gives the tune to the tenor voice the second time round. After some florid gestures (which are pure Liszt), we change key and mood, from A flat major to E major, for the beautiful middle section (‘You are repose, you are peace’). When the opening theme returns, it is now in full flight with, at first, brilliant arpeggios, and then, one final time, accompanied by triumphant chords (‘con somma passione’—‘with great passion’). Schumann ends his song softly, but Liszt gives it one final outburst. I first played this as an encore decades ago, but to this day it never fails to thrill me time and time again.

from notes by Angela Hewitt © 2021

Recordings

Love songs
CDA68341RECORD OF THE MONTH Available Friday 2 July 2021
Jimmy Rhodes Live in Brighton
Studio Master: SIGCD308Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Liszt: Complete Piano Music
CDS44501/9899CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 15 - Song Transcriptions
CDA66481/22CDs
Tchaikovsky: Piano Concerto No 1
Studio Master: MAR0530Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
Liszt: Piano Music
LISZT12CDs Super-budget price sampler — Deleted

Details

Track 1 on CDA68341 [3'53] RECORD OF THE MONTH Available Friday 2 July 2021
Track 31 on CDA66481/2 CD2 [3'18] 2CDs
Track 31 on CDS44501/98 CD59 [3'18] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Track 7 on SIGCD308 CD2 [4'30] Download only
Track 11 on MAR0530 [3'31] Download only
Track 7 on LISZT1 CD2 [3'18] 2CDs Super-budget price sampler — Deleted

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