Recorded on 06/05/2007, uploaded on 01/20/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Inspired by his travels to Switzerland and Italy in the company of his lover Marie d’Agoult, Franz Liszt composed many of the pieces that make up in his Années de pèlerinage (“Years of Pilgrimage”) suites for piano between the 1830s and early 1850s—the exception being the third installment which followed much later. After the publication of the first two suites in 1855 and 1858, respectively, Liszt expanded the second suite, Dieuxème année (“Second Year”), by means of a supplement published in 1861 titled Venezia e Napoli containing an additional three pieces depicting his time on the Italian peninsula.
Like many of Liszt’s compositions, the three pieces of Venezia e Napoli borrow melodic material from the works of other composers. Last in the set, and the longest, Tarantella is based on a melody by Guillaume-Louis Cottrau. However, Liszt treats this melody in a wholly Romantic fashion, expanding its proportions far beyond that of the dance to those of a fantasia. Taking off at a breathtaking speed, Tarantella begins ominously in G minor with ferocious rumblings in the low register of the piano and ombined with phrases that freely alternate between duple and triple divisions of the beat, a nervous energy is created from the outset. However, the threatening mood of the opening is thwarted with the arrival of a good-humored melody concluding in the relative major. The fantasia continues in the middle section as Cottrau’s tune is transformed into a “Canzona napoletana.” Over a rippling, arpeggiated accompaniment, the cantando melody is heard with brilliant and florid ornamentations. Returning to the vigor of the opening but maintaining the major mode, a spirited Prestissimo restatement of the tarantella closes the piece. Joseph DuBose
Franz Liszt placed the role of the pianist in a new perspective. The solo recital was his innovation in 1840. The word recital, as applied to a solo piano concert played from memory, was coined during his perfomance in London. His virtuosity resulted in a new world of possibility, and his weaving of nationalism, religion, philosophy, literature, art, and nature into his piano music was an unprecedented extension of 19th century romanticism.
Liszt's Tarantella is a dazzling fantasy from a set of three pieces, "Venezia e Napoli." It is based on a form of dance originating near Taranto, Italy in the Medieval period when the bite of tarantula spiders was said to cause hallucinations, and dancing said to help eliminate the effects of the poison in the victim. Scientists now know the venom of these spiders is not strong enough to cause severe effects, and it is thought by some that the alleged poisoning was an excuse for dancing, which was forbidden by the Church. Elena Ulyanova
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
this music is very good
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