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I've seen your albums in the store and always thought you were beautiful, but then I heard you on St. Paul Sunday this week. You were amazing! Scott

  Liner Notes for:
Ferenc Liszt Works for Violin and Piano, Vol. 1

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Ferenc Liszt Works for Violin and Piano, Vol. 1DORIAN RECORDINGS: DOR-90251
FERENC LISZT (1811-1886)
WORKS FOR VIOIN AND PIANO, VOLUME 1

RACHEL BARTON PINE, VIOLIN
THOMAS LABE, PIANO

Dates Recorded: February 28-March 2, 1997 at the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall in Troy, NY
Session Producer: Debbie Reynolds
Engineers: Craig D. Dory, Douglas Brown, David H. Walters
Violin: "ex-Lobkowicz" A & H Amati, Cremona, 1617
Piano Technician: Robert Lee
Post-Session Producer & Editor: Debbie Reynolds
Booklet Preparation & Editing: Katherine A. Dory
Graphic Design: Kimberly Smith Company
Executive Producer: Brian M. Levine
Cover Photo: "Rocky Landscape in the Elbsandsteingebirge" by Caspar David Friedric, Oeterreichische Galerie, Vienna, Austria
Courtesy of Erich Lessing/ Art Resource, NY (S0113171)

Special Thanks: Paul Phillips, Don Draganski, Andy Mao, Lee Newcomer, Blair Milton, Ruben Gonzalez, Sarah Barton, Greg Pine, and Marcia and Findlay Cockrell

Personal Note

Collecting the complete original violin works of Franz Liszt was one of the most challenging research projects I have ever undertaken. Compiling the list of compositions was fairly straightforward, but I could not locate the music in any of my usual sheet music stores, libraries, or internet databases. Finally, I was referred to the Liszt Society of London. They were tremendously helpful, providing me with out-of-print music and copies of manuscripts of works that had never been published.

The extra effort to gather these pieces was worthwhile. They are as interesting to interpret as they are satisfying to hear and to perform. Ranging from youthful works of Liszt's fiery virtuosic period to more introspective later compositions, they showcase his inventiveness and originality as a composer of chamber music. At all times, the violin and piano are equal partners.

Some of these works were composed originally for different instrumentation. The violin versions are reworkings, not the straightforward transcriptions that another composer might have done. Liszt removes sections, adds new ones, and changes the figurations, giving us his "further thoughts upon the subject."

This CD contains half of Liszt's output for the violin. I hope to share the rest of this marvelous collection with you in the future.

Essay

"FERENC LISZT (1811-1886): WORKS FOR VIOLIN AND PIANO"
By Leslie Howard

This recording is the first of a projected pair which will contain all of the music- virtually unknown to modern audiences- which Liszt composed for violin and piano (barring untraced manuscripts).....

Even if all the vast catalogue of his piano music were not included, Liszt's output in all other fields would still rank him amongst the most prolific of nineteenth-century composers. As one might expect from such an unconventional and avant garde figure, his chamber music is a body of work which defies easy classification. Because Liszt very seldom used standard formal structures and titles, and because he participated in very few performances, his quite considerable achievements in the realm of chamber music have either remained overlooked or discounted without examination. With the exception of some of the works for violin and piano, Liszt's chamber music consists either of alternative versions or transcriptions of works which exist for other forces. (Liszt made quite a number of instrumental versions of works originally conceived for solo piano, and he authorized, amended and collaborated with several arrangements by his students and disciples.)

But this does not mean that the medium is mishandled in any way; Liszt's skill and originality as an orchestrator shows many a passage of the most delicate writing for just a few instruments (consider, for example, just the slow movement Gretchen from the Faust Symphony with its extended passages for, in one instance, oboe and solo viola, and in another, four solo violins), and Liszt's unparalleled ability as a transcriber between a great variety of media is universally acclaimed. Nonetheless, Liszt was the last composer who could have been expected to turn out a body of chamber music in the established classical forms- that was a task which was gladly turned to by most of his more conservative contemporaries.

Of course, the relative obscurity of the chamber music is also due to Liszt's reticence in his later years to do much to propagate his own works, and to the sheer difficulty nowadays of locating some of those unpublished pieces mentioned in passing by his students and colleagues. At the time of writing, there are more than thirty chamber works of Liszt to hand, of which only one or two are at all widely known.

Because the published catalogues of Liszt's works are generally so poorly laid out and fraught with error, it is uncommon to see exactly what his endeavors in the field of chamber music actually are. Where the titles of the works are identical to piano pieces it must not be assumed that no significant musical changes have been made; Liszt was an inveterate reviser, and couldn't help setting down new ideas even when his original intention might have been to make a literal transcription. So this list (which neglects missing or incomplete manuscripts) is interposed here in the hope that interested parties might take up the works (which are all published, or else available through the Liszt Society, at 9, Burnside Close, Twickenham, Middlesex, England, TW1 1ET).

STRING QUARTET
Angelus! (with optinal double bass)
Am Grabe Richard Wagners (with optional harp)

PIANO TRIO
Rapsodie hongroise No. 9- Le Carnaval de Pest
Tristia- La Vallee d'Obermann (in 3 versions)
Orphee (arr. by Saint-Saens with some contributions from Liszt)

VIOLIN AND PIANO
Duo
Grand Duo concertant
Epithalam
La Notte
Premiere Elegie (with optional organ/ harmonium)
Zweite Elegie
La lugubre gondola
Romance oubliee
Offertorium
Benedictus
Rapsodie hongroise (with Joachim's collaboration)
Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth
Die drei Zigeuner

VIOLIN AND ORGAN
Offertorium
Benedictus

VIOLA AND PIANO
Romance oubliee
Harold en Italie (Berlioz)

CELLO AND PIANO
Premiere Elegie (with optional harp and organ/ harmonium)
Zweite Elegie
Romance Oubliee
La lugubre gondola
Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth
Enchainement (between Consolations nos. 1 & 4 arr. by Jules de Swert)

TROMBONE AND ORGAN
Cantico del sol di San Francesco d'Assisi (also with piano)
Hosannah!
Cujus animam (Rossini)

VOICE, VIOLIN AND PIANO
Walther von der Vogelweide

The size of this list reflects a serious if intermittent concern with chamber music, which begins with the violin and piano Duo and ends some fifty years later with Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth, and a very fair percentage of the music is scored for violin and piano.

BENEDICTUS UND OFFERTORIUM AUS DER UNGARISCHER KRONUNGSMESSE, S381 (1869)
The Abbe Liszt has always been a familiar figure. Even though Liszt took only the four minor orders in 1865, and thus never became a priest (although he was later made Canon of Albano), his preoccupation with religious thought actually goes right back to his teenage years. The Missa coronationalis (usually called Hungarian Coronation Mass) is the last of Liszt's four masses, and like his other orchestral mass, the Missa solemnis (for the consecration of the basilica at Esztergom (Gran)), was very popular for a time. The Benedictus and Offertorium (an orchestral movement added after the first performance) were especially successful, and Liszt made arrangements of them for piano, for organ, for violin and organ, as well as for violin and piano. As in Beethoven's Missa solemnis, Liszt's original scoring of the Benedictus calls for a solo violin, and the fiddle writing is particularly grateful, and the bold Hungarian cadences of the Offertorium are equally well-suited.

GRAND DUO CONCERTANT SUR LA ROMANCE DE M. LAFONT LE MARIN, S128 (MID 1830S, REV. C1849, PUBLISHED 1852)
Unlike the earlier Duo, which appeared posthumously, in a much bowdlerised edition, Liszt certainly saw the Grand Duo concertant through the press. He had composed the work during his Paris years, but during his early months in Weimar he put the work into shape for publication by Schott in Mainz. It is based on a song (The Sailor) by the violinist and composer Philippe Lafont (1781-1839), and Lafont perhaps collaborated in some way in the original work. The deft handling of the virtuoso violin writing and the thoroughly light-hearted and agreeable nature of the whole conception make the piece a strong contender for much more frequent airings than it actually receives. Simply constructed- a fantasy introduction, the theme, four variations and a finale- the distinguishing feature is the ease with which delicate virtuosity is passed between the players, and even the grandest gestures are carefully shared. Not for Liszt the grisly habit of the nineteenth-century violin-virtuoso composers who confined so much of the musical interest to the violin part that the piano was left emasculatedly strumming along but interjecting some ghastly ritornello after each variation.

ROMANCE OUBLIEE, S132 (1880)
Liszt composed a song-like Romance for piano in 1848 (S169), based on his earlier song O pourquoi donc of 1843 (S301a). The piano piece was not reprinted in Liszt's lifetime, but in 1880 Liszt was sent a copy by the Hanover publisher Arnold Simon, who requested permission to reprint it. Liszt responded instead with a re-working which constitutes almost a wholly new work- in versions for viola and piano, then cello/piano, violin/piano and piano solo. One does not need to know the earlier work to appreciate the wistful quality of the writing- a distracted look at the past, similar in ethos to the four Valses oubliees for piano from the 1880s. And the beautiful coda is a deliberate reference to the end of the second movement of Berlioz's symphony for viola and orchestra Harold en Italie, a reminder that the viola version of the Romance oubliee came first!

DIE DREI ZIGEUNER, S383 (C1864-71)
Liszt's well-known song of the three gypsies was composed in 1860 to a poem by Nicholas Lenau. Almost a Hungarian Rhapsody for voice and piano, the song describes the three: the first fiddling carefree, the second lazily watching the smoke from his pipe, and the third listening to the strings of his cimbalom rustling in the wind. Liszt made the present version for violin and piano, probably for Remenyi, but it was not until Hubay took it up (and later extended it) that it enjoyed any real popularity. The arrangement remained unpublished until 1896.

EPITHALAM ZU EDUARD REMENYIS VERMAHLUNGSFEIER, S129 (1872)
Epithalam, as the title suggests, is a wedding-song, composed for the great Hungarian violinist Eduard Remenyi (1830-1898) (for whom Liszt's unfinished violin concerto was intended) upon the occasion of his marriage with Gizella Fay. Liszt also made versions of the piece for solo piano and for piano duet. This strangely solemn epithalamium is distinguished by some noble and restrained musical Hungarianisms which are a far cry from the flamboyant gestures of the famous Hungarian Rhapsodies.

ELEGIE, S130 (PREMIERE ELEGIE) (1874)
The Elegie- usually called Premiere Elegie in order to distinguish it from the second elegy- was composed in memory of Marie Moukhanoff-Kalergis, a patroness of both Liszt and Wagner. According to the original manuscript and several of Liszt's letters in mid-1874, the original title for the piece was Schlummerlied im Grabe (Lullaby in the Grave), but by the publication date 1875, the title had been altered to Elegie. From the correspondence, it seems that the piano solo version came first, but was shortly followed by the version for cello, piano, harp and harmonium which was given in Weimar on 22nd May, 1875, at a concert in memory of Mme. Moukhanoff. The version for cello and piano was arrived at simply by dispensing with the harp and harmonium parts, and the version for violin and piano, with optional harmonium, was prepared at the same time. There is also a version for piano duet. All five versions were published by Kahnt in 1875.

Track Listings
  Benedictus und Offertorium aus der ungarischer Krönungsmesse, S381 [1869]*  
1 Benedictus 6:38
2 Offertorium 4:35
     
3
 
 
Grand Duo concertant sur la romance
de M. Lafont Le Marin,
S128 [mid 1830s, rev. c1849, pub. 1852]
14:22
 
 
4 Romance oubliee , S132 [1880]* 3:54
6 Die drei Zigeuner , S383 [c1864-71] * 9:08
7 Epithalam zu Eduard Remenyis Vermählungsfeier, S129 [1872] 4:26
8 Elegie, S130 [Premiere elegie] [1874]* 5:31

*First Recording on CD

Total Time: 49:57