Fate, I Defy You: The Robert Silverman Liszt CD Igor Kipnis on the music part 3

Profound melancholy continues with Liszt's quote from Letter 53: "What do I want? what am I? what to ask of Nature?...For cause cannot be seen, and conclusions but mislead; all forms change and are reshaped, and the illusion of permanence soon exhausts itself...I feel, I exist only to be diminished by indomitable desires, to imbibe the allure of a fanciful World, and to be awestruck at her seductive imperfections (footnote 3)."

The Vallée d'Obermann is a prime example of one of Liszt's favorite compositional techniques, that of thematic metamorphosis; this entire piece is based on a single theme that effectively is altered throughout the work's four continuous sections, a device that may also be noted in the B-Minor Sonata as well as in such equally popular examples as Les Préludes and the second Piano Concerto. In 1854, Liszt revised the Album d'un Voyageur as Années de Pèlerinage, First Year: Switzerland, omitting a few of the original pieces and providing some new ones. One of those added for the new publication (1855) was the virtuosic Orage, which had been composed sometime after 1848 and which depicts a raging mountain storm. Again a quotation heads the score, this time from Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: "But where of ye, oh tempests, is the goal? / Are you like those within the human breast? / Or do ye find, at length, like eagles, some high nest?"

Liebestraum (S.541): Around 1849, when he was in Weimar, Liszt wrote a group of three songs for tenor or soprano and piano. Piano solo versions of these appeared in 1850 as 3 Notturnos, or night pieces. The third, "O lieb, so lang du lieben kansst," now known as Liebestraum No.3 ("Dream of Love") and understandably the most popular of the set, originally was sung to the following opening text by the poet Friedrich Freiligrath: "O love so long as you are able to love! O love so long as you can enjoy loving! The hour will come, when you will stand at grave sites and mourn."



Footnote 3: English translation of Letter 53 from Obermann, by Karen Kushner.
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