At last these two highlights of Liszt’s piano output are available in a good value “Urtext”! Every pianist knows the poetic, highly virtuosic legends about Liszt’s famous namesakes, “St. Francis of Assisi preaching to the birds” and “St. Francis of Paola walking upon the waves”. Liszt draws on all the resources of sound-painting to depict these holy events vividly. Both pieces are preceded by detailed explanations for the interested player in which the composer tells how he was inspired to compose this music. We print these texts in their French and Italian originals, and have added a German and an English translation.
- Level of difficulty (Explanation)
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- Two Legends
Franz Liszt always felt a close rapport with his patron saints. From the days of his childhood he revered Francis of Assisi (1181 or 1182–1226) and the Franciscans. His father, Adam Liszt, once seriously considered joining the order of “il Poverello” and later visited the friars on many occasions with his son. The composer continued to cultivate these personal ties. In … 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
Both are approachable pieces, despite the challenges of filigree passagework, tremolandi and colouristic detail, and Henle’s new edition serves the works well.