Recorded on 04/22/1997, uploaded on 08/31/2011
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Having lived in Paris, Weimar and Rome and travelled much of Europe as the day’s leading piano virtuoso, by the 1870s, Franz Liszt longed for his homeland of Hungary. Gyula Andrássy, a Hungarian statesman, helped established some security for the aging composer and the rank of royal counselor. In return, Liszt was called upon to compose nationalistic pieces for state occasions. Alongside his experimental compositions, these pieces he wrote for his homeland were an important part of the compositional output of his later years. A notable example among these nationalistic pieces is his Szózat und Ungarischer Hymnus.
A setting of two melodies by fellow Hungarians, Szózat und Ungarischer Hymnus is a fusion of the bombastic writing for which Liszt known for in his earlier compositions and the chromatic experimentation of his late period. The first of the melodies Liszt used is Szózat (“Appeal”) by Béni Egressy, while the second is the Hungarian National Anthem by Ferenc Erkel. Egressy’s melody begins the work and is treated in a vigorous march fashion full of pomp and majesty. Among the theme is a fanfare motif—a rising fourth—that serves as the connective link between it and the later hymn. Shifting from the opening key of E-flat major to E major, the Hungarian National Anthem appears as a solemn hymn, moving steadying through full-voiced harmonies. Between its phrases, the fanfare motif heard earlier returns and is transformed to match the gravity and reverence of Erkel’s melody. Returning to the original key of E-flat major, the coda sets off in dramatic fashion placing elements of both themes next to each other. Surging upward through the tonic triad, Liszt concludes the piece with majestic and triumphant chords. Joseph DuBose
courtesy of the Liszt-Kodaly Society of Spain
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