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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