Recorded on 11/12/2011, uploaded on 11/12/2011
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Franz Liszt was active promoter of the music of other composers, particularly during his days as a travelling virtuoso. He accomplished this by transcribing many works for the piano and often performed them on his own concerts. One of the composers Liszt held in the highest regard was Franz Schubert and he showed his respect for the past composer by transcribing more than sixty of his lieder. Many of these transcriptions were done as large sets, such as the 12 Lieder, Winterreise and Schwanengesang. It is from this last collection that comes one of Schubert’s most popular songs and Liszt’s powerful interpretation of it: Ständchen.
Seventh in the cycle of twelve songs, Ständchen: Leise flehen meine Lieder (Serenade: My Songs Beckon Softly) is based on a poem by Ludwig Rellstab. The poet, here, sings passionately to his beloved, imploring her to join him and hoping that the “betrayer” has not turned her heart from him. Schubert’s setting of the song is relatively simple with a broken chord accompaniment befitting of the serenade with only faint, momentary echoes of the vocal melody. Liszt, for the most part, remains true to Schubert’s original design. The melody is at first presented in the treble, but on its second repetition is placed an octave lower and given the special indication “quasi Violoncello.” On the third and final appearance of the melody, Liszt gives an ingenious variation of it. It is returned to its original pitch in the treble, but appears in canon an octave higher. Yet, this is not for the mere technical effect. The result is one of Liszt’s remarkable coloristic effects—that of an eerie and distant echo. After this imaginative take on Schubert’s melody, Liszt returns to the provided coda and only in the final bars does he return to embellishing the original music, though still concludes in the same detached uneasiness. Joseph DuBose
Istituto Europeo di Musica. Servizio di filodiffusione del sabato e della domenica
Ständchen-Leise flehen meine Lieder, from Franz Schubert’s Schwanengesang Davide Polovineo-piano
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