Recorded on 06/02/2009, uploaded on 02/28/2010
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Inspired by his travels through Switzerland and Italy, Franz Liszt penned the first two suites of his Années de pèlerinage (“Years of Pilgrimage”) between the late 1830s and 1850s. Whereas the first suite, Premiere année: Suisse (“First Year: Switzerland”), was a depiction of the landscapes and scenes Liszt witnessed in the country, the pieces of Deuxième année: Italie (“Second Year: Italy”) was a personal reflection on the art of the Italian peninsula. Forming a triptych within the suite are three works inspired by the sonnets of Petrarch. Based on songs for tenor voice he had composed earlier in 1838-39, Liszt transcribed them for piano solo, preceding them with quotes from their respective sonnet.
The first of the three Petrarch sonnets, Sonetto 47, overflows in expressions of love at first sight. “Blessed is the day, the month, the year, the season, the hour, the moment,” exclaims the poet in recollecting the moment he met his beloved. However, the sonnet is tingled ever so slightly with sadness. The poet confesses his longing and that his love has only found an outlet in his writings which “have spread her frame.” Liszt’s setting of Petrarch’s sonnet begins with a brief introduction, an outburst of emotion, the poet’s first “sweet suffering.” This introduction takes place deceptively in the key of A major, but the song itself sets out in D-flat with a lively accompaniment and a melody full of anticipation and hope. Towards the end, the music loses some of its tunefulness as it becomes more introspective. The fragmentary melody of the closing expresses the poet’s unrequited love and the piece concludes on a gentle cadence in D-flat, though not without a delicate touch of melancholy. Joseph DuBose
from Années de Pèlerinage - deuxième anneè: Italie:
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