Classical Music | Tenor

Franz Liszt

Die Lorelei  Play

Alessandro Maffucci Tenor
Roberto Russo Piano

Recorded on 09/15/2005, uploaded on 03/27/2011

Musician's or Publisher's Notes

Franz Liszt persistently revised many of his own works, producing two, three or even more versions of the same composition. In 1841, he composed a setting of Heinrich Heine’s poem Die Lorelei, and a couple of years later transformed this setting into a piano solo piece. Perhaps unsatisfied with this original setting, Liszt returned to it roughly a decade later in 1856 and produced a second setting of Heine’s text, along with an accompanying piano solo transcription. A third version appeared a few years later, this time with orchestral accompaniment, which then led to the fourth and final version: a piano reduction of the orchestral arrangement. Regardless of the version, however, Liszt offers beautiful music to compliment Heine’s verse.

The tragic tone of Heine’s poem, in which an unwitting boatman is carried away perilously into rocky waters by the enchanted singing of the Lorelei, is established in the opening measures with two descents through diminished seventh harmonies followed by an introduction which shifts uneasily between various keys. The bucolic scene of the text is portrayed in the flowing 9/8 meter and initial E major tonality beginning with the second stanza. With the penultimate stanza, the tragic end of the boatman is foreshadowed and the music turns restless. Reiterated tones caught between agitated chords lead to a dramatic setting of the final stanza’s first two lines. The dramatic chromatic scales and tremolandi of this last section subside into the last lines of Heine’s text. As the poet muses that the boatman’s end was the Lorelei intention, the text returns to the gentle music from before. The Lorelei’s singing continues and fades softly into the distance.       Joseph DuBose


The Song "Die Lorelei" by Franz Liszt, intepreted by Alessandro Maffucci (tenor) and Roberto Russo (piano) is part of a CD recorded and edited by "Istituto Liszt" of Bologna (Italy) in 2005.
The piece has been recorded on a Steinway piano of 1860.
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