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Cat. No. CHAN 9793 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 9793 - Beethoven/ Schumann/Liszt: To the Distant Beloved
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Available From: 20 January 2000
An die ferne Geliebte, completed in 1816, was the first song cycle written by any composer. There are six songs perfectly moulded into a whole, the songs following each other without a break, which makes them more suitable for piano transcription as a cycle. There is a gradual increase in tempo throughout the first five songs, the fifth being folk-like and a welcome to springtime. The mood changes for the last song, a sad farewell, but there is an exciting coda after the return of the theme of the opening song. Included here is Liszt’s transcription of Beethoven’s Mignon, on a Goethe poem of which he later made his own setting. During the years from Op. 1 to Op. 23 Schumann wrote piano music exclusively. The Fantasie is arguably his greatest masterpiece, and is dedicated to Liszt. It was written in a time of great turmoil when he had fallen deeply in love with Clara Weick, who was later to become his wife. Schumann later wrote to Clara that the opening movement was the most impassioned that he had ever written. Most accompanists must have been jealous that Schumann’s song Widmung was not theirs alone, as here in Liszt’s transcription we have this passionate outpouring with the melody in the best register of the piano. In his transcription of Schumann’s song Frühlingsnacht, Liszt extends the song well beyond its original length, making the most of the throbbing triplets and other romantic devices.

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