The substantial cycle, published in 1853, unites splendid concert pieces (Bénédiction and Funérailles) and simple, short compositions, which partly make use of Gregorian modes. The volume was composed over a long period of time. As early as 1835 No. 4 was published in a compositionally revolutionary first version entitled Harmonies poétiques et religieuses after the volume of poetry with the same title by Lamartine. In 1853 Liszt distanced himself from the important early piece, presenting it in a slightly smoother form as Pensées des morts, although it still had considerable impact. Henle has reproduced the bold early work in the appendix to this volume (Bénédiction and Funérailles are available as separate editions HN 984 and 748).
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Liszt’s piano cycle Harmonies poétiques et religieuses consists of ten pieces of highly contrasting form and musical expression. Alongside works of such spaciousness and grandeur as Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude (no. 3) and Funérailles (no. 7) we find short, unpretentious pieces based on Gregorian chant and written in the style of classical vocal counterpoint: Ave … more
About the composer
The most famous piano virtuoso of the nineteenth century is regarded as the most influential artist and composer (with Berlioz, Wagner) of the so-called New German School. His immense musical oeuvre comprises, above all else, works for solo piano, including numerous transcriptions; he also devised the symphonic poem. Important, too, are his sacred and secular choral works and songs.
|1811||Born in Doborján/Raiding (Sopron) on October 22, son of an official in the service of Prince Esterházy. First piano lessons from his father, early first attempts at composition, first public performance at age nine.|
|1822||Relocation of the family to Vienna, studies with Carl Czerny and Antonio Salieri.|
|1823||Relocation of the family to Paris. Composition studies with Ferdinando Paër and Antonín Reicha (1826). Performances in salons, concerts.|
|1824–27||Concert tours through France, to England and Switzerland. Composition of opera paraphrases for piano.|
|1830||Acquaintance with Berlioz, self-study by reading. He becomes Parisian society’sfavourite pianist and piano teacher.|
|1835||He moves to Switzerland with Countess Marie d’Agoult: their first child together, Blandine-Rachel, is born here. He continues concertizing in Paris.|
|from 1839||Continuous concert tours throughout Europe.|
|from 1847||Symphonic poems, including No. 2, “Tasso: lamento e trionfo”; No. 1, “Ce qu‘on entend sur la montagne” (‘Bergsymphonie,’ ‘Mountain Symphony’); “A Faust Symphony in Three Character Pictures”; “A Symphony to Dante’s Divine Comedy” (‘Dante Symphony’); as well as [No. 11], “Hunnenschlacht” (“Battle of the Huns”).|
|1848–61||Kapellmeister in Weimar; he advocates for progressive music (Wagner, Schumann, Berlioz).|
|1857–62||Oratorio, “The Legend of St. Elisabeth.”|
|1861–68||Resident in Rome.|
|1865||Takes minor holy orders.|
|1871||Appointed Hungarian court councilor; he lives in Rome, Weimar, and Budapest.|
|1886||Death in Bayreuth on July 31.|
About the authors
Das 1835 erschienene, äußerst revolutionäre Stück zählt zu den bemerkenswertesten Kompositionen Liszts überhaupt...
... hervorragende Ausgabe. Zum ersten Mal wird hier dem interessierten Spieler Einblick in das Liszt'sche Kompositionslabor gewährt.