London, April 25, 2015

Liszt Années de pèlerinage. Première année: Suisse

Berlioz, arr. Liszt Harold en Italie

 

Iakov Zats viola

Vsevolod Dvorkin piano

 

Illustrated talk by Stephen Johnson

 

The Romantic Age was a good time to be a sensitive, lonely misfit. After the success of Goethe and Byron’s writings, young men – and occasionally young women – dreamed of cutting their ties with cosy bourgeois security and wandering freely, searching for some kind of spiritual truth that might give purpose to their being. Not all of them found it: for some, the truth lying in wait was only painful disillusionment. Others, however, realised that, as Marianne Moore put it, ‘the cure for loneliness is solitude’. Franz Liszt’s first set of Années de pèlerinage (Years of Pilgrimage) records what he found on his travels in Switzerland, the ‘images’ that ‘stirred deep emotions in my soul’. Berlioz’s symphony Harold in Italy (arranged for solo piano by Liszt) shows Berlioz following in Harold’s footsteps, to the point where he could say, with Byron, ‘I live not in myself, but I become portion of that around me’.

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