Années de Pèlerinage
  • Comprised of a set of three suites
    • 1er Année: Suisse
    • 2ème Année: Italie
    • 3ème Année
  • The title is from Goethe: Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre

Prémier Année: Suisse

  • Made up of three books
    • Book 1: Impressions et poésies (dedicated to Lamennais)
    • Book 2: Fleurs mélodiques des Alpes (dedicated to Mme Adolphe Pictet)
    • Book 3: Paraphrases (first published as Trois airs Suisses in 1836)
  • Initially published in 1840 by Richault (Paris) as the set 1er Année de Pèlerinage, Suisse
  • At the first printing Book 1 was comprised of “La Chapelle de Guillaume Tell,” “Au lac de Wallenstadt,” “Au bord d’une source,” “Vallée d'Obermann,” and "Les Cloches de Genève"
      • Also in the book, but removed in later versions: “Lyon” and “Psaume”
  • The same set was later republished in 1842 by Haslinger (Vienna) and by Schlesinger under the title Album d’un voyageur, 1er Année, Suisse
  • In the 1850s (1853) Liszt went back and revised his music so as to make it less showy (“Vallée d’Obermann” was especially reworked)
    • The 1855 published version is also called Années de Pélerinage, and Book 1 includes the pieces “Orage” and “Eglogue”
  • Liszt interspersed many poems, letters, and quotes from Byron, Goethe, and Sénancour's Obermann throughout the score


La Chapelle de Guillaume Tell

Les Cloches de Genève

  • Dedicated to Blandine Liszt
  • The original accompanying caption is from Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: “I live not in myself, but I become / Portion of that around me”
  • Liszt also included some French text: "… Minuit dormait; le lac / était tranquille, les cieux étoilés … / nous voguissons loin du bord."
  • Like the rest of the set, Liszt employs an idiosyncratic assortment of expressive symbols for "Les Cloches"

1850s version

  • An interpretation by François-René Tranchefort, Guide de la musique de Piano et de Clavecin (p. 860)
    • "La première partie de cette pièce est un chant à la façon d'une berceuse, où les notes s'égrènent faisant penser à un lointain carillon.
    • La deuxième partie, Cantabile con moto, est une sorte d'hymne à la vie avec une amplification progressive par l'utilisation d'octaves, la mélodie rappelant le balancement régulier de la cloche par sa construction binaire (2/4) et les notes accentuées toutes les deux mesures.
    • Elle atteint son paroxysme dans un passage Animato FF, puis retrouve un un calme progressif en retrouvant les accords de trois sons égrenés comme au début de la pièce."
  • In general "Les Cloches" features the combinations of three note arpeggios (representing the carillon) and soaring melodic lines
  • Primary motives include the arpeggio in m.1 and the bass in m.36-40 (in an augmented form)/m.62 in shorter form
  • Primary themes can be found at the beginnings of the Quasi Allegretto and Cantabile con moto sections in the soprano voice (the Cantabile theme returns doubled at the Animato)
  • Harmonically, the most interesting elements are the persistent use of ii chords and some intense chromaticism beginning in measures 80 and 136
  • Structurally the piece might be considered as a quasi-rounded binary form
  • Score

1840s version

  • (Yes, yes I know this version came first, but I analyzed it second)
  • Main differences:
    • This version is significantly longer than the revised one
    • The "bells," in the form either chords or single notes, are much more prominent
    • Liszt explores more (and more distantly related) keys, and spends additional time in the minor mode
    • The primary theme introduced in m.6 is much more highly developed in this version
  • Main similarities:
    • Both share many of the same structural features
      • In particular the first 50 measures or so are almost exactly the same, and both end with a brief restatement of the opening motive
    • Both versions play with the relationship of the viio chord to the I chord
    • The idea of bells echoing in the distance is present in both (though clearer in the 1840s version)
  • Primary motives include a falling 3 note carillon (m.1), as well as a 4 note tolling (first seen in m.19, later presented in m.75)
  • Primary themes can be found starting in measures 6 and 105 (this second theme from m.105 is totally different from the second theme in the 1855 version)
  • Structurally, the piece might be considered a quasi-rondo form
    • Also can be heard as a nocturne, berceuse, and later on a barcarole

Paul Merrick – The Role of Tonality in the Swiss Book of Années de Pèlerinage

  • Merrick is building upon György Kroó’s arguments from 1986, as well as his book from 1987
  • Thesis: Liszt uses certain keys to represent certain ideas: Ab for “love,” E for “religion,” B for “paradise”
    • Pieces analyzed in order to come to this conclusion include Don Sanche and religious and program works
  • Corollary to the thesis: Années de Pèlerinage is arranged in a way that the keys tell a story
    • This assumes Années uses the same key relationships
    • Sequence of keys: 1.C 2.Ab 3.E 4.Ab 5.c 6.e/E 7.Ab 8.e 9.B
  • Liszt’s many changes between 1842 and 1855 were in line with his two narratives
  • For instance, Merrick discusses Le Mal du Pays (369-71), and how the piece ends in the “wrong” key according to the key signature
    • This might be because Liszt was trying to relate it to the key of the following piece in the series, Cloches
    • The resolution is appropriate, as the longing for home in Le Mal is finally resolved in the paradise of Les Cloches
  • Merrick also discusses the location of the key Ab in three movements (Wallenstadt, Au bord, and Eglogue) (372-76)
    • Wallenstadt is obviously related to Marie d’Agoult, as can be seen by their letters
    • Liszt often equates water, in the guise of the sacrament of baptism, with love
    • Eglogue’s main theme is the so-called “Cross motive;” the movement as a whole is a musical representation of Easter
  • In revising his set, Liszt gives extra prominence to Le Mal, which has its main theme stated in G# (enharmonically Ab), B, and E (376-77)
    • The omission of the Ab section of Cloches makes sense when Liszt rearranges the suite so Le Mal gains prominence
    • Key transformation and movement by mediant are also significant elements in Années
  • “In Liszt's mind, therefore, the compositional (tonal) dramaturgy of Années I derived backwards from Le mal du pays following on from the content of the quoted song. Thus "homesickness" is preceded by (i.e. produced by) the Cross motive. The Cross motive is preceded (produced) by the despair of Vallée d Obermann. The despair of Obermann is preceded (produced) by the storm of Orage. The storm is preceded (produced) by the active water of Au bord d’une source. The active water is preceded (produced) by the (peasant) animation of Pastorale. The peasant animation is preceded (produced) by the still water of Au lac de Wallenstadt and the still water is preceded (produced) by Chapelle de Guillaume Tell. We are now at the beginning of the cycle.” (377)
  • Merrick proceeds to give a narrative of the keys of each movement in the suite; the short version is on p.383
    • C – man, hero, ideals, church
    • Ab – love, still water
    • E – peasant, religious festival
    • Ab – love, water, movement (spirit)
    • c – storm (in man’s breast)
    • e/E – despair
    • Ab – love, Cross motive (redemption)
    • e – longing for “home”
    • B – heaven
  • The “tonal drama” of the suite is a movement away from Ab and towards a goal (ultimately B)
  • In revising his work Liszt turned Album d’un voyageur, a description of a physical journey, into Années de Pèlerinage, a spiritual journey

Deuxième Année: Italie


-inspired by Raphael's painting Lo sposalizio della vergine, which Liszt saw while traveling in Italy with D'agoult.
-here is the picture
-here is the painting by perugino that Raphael most likely based his work on
-and the same thing, but made of legos
-and heres an article about the music's close connection with the painting titled "Liszt's Sposalizio: A Study in Musical Perspective" By Joan Backus

from Backus' article
-Liszt insisted that a copy of the painting be included with the published music
-a quote from Liszt in 1839, writing to Berlioz on his response to Italian art
"Teh beautiful, in this privileged country, appeared to me in the purest and most sublime forms. The art showed itself to me in all its splendor; it revealed itself to me in its universality and in its unity. The feeling and the thought penetrated me more each day concerning the hidden relationship which unites works of genius. Raphael and Michelangelo helped me to better understand Mozart and Beethoven." (Backus p 173)

Backus argues that:
-the piece mirrors the perspective in the painting by Raphael
-she says the "bell-like" melody represents the church in the background
-processional arpeggiation, which begins at m. 9 supposedly represents Mary's entrance
-backs this up by writing that in Liszt's later arrangement of this piece for women's chorus, the words "ave maria" are sung with the entrance of the "processional" section at 9.
-I am inclined to agree. Backus is very clever.

My Breakdown of Sposalizio
-the form is sonata-ISH in that it begins in the tonic E major, goes to another key, and returns with sort of introductory material. Not clear cut at all, however

"Exposition" m 1-38
-key of E major
-theme 1 introduced
-this theme can be split into a V and vi chord
-uneven/free sounding rhythm for theme1
-theme 2 introduce m 3

-arpeggiated 8th note motive enters at m 9
-key is ambiguous here, but hints at G#
-m19, running arpeggiation against theme 1 in bass
-alternating V7 and IV chords feel a little more secure, but withholds tonic
-m28, E tonic FIRST feeling of tonic stability

-m30, little fantasie based on theme 2, in E, listener's perspective is stable
-cadences on V
-m32, new motive introduced, will come up later

-New, theme 3 introduced (Backus says that this theme is a variation of 2, and I disagree because this theme is sometimes heard simultaneously with 2. She may be right, though, because she probably spent more time with this piece than I have)
-key of G
-theme 1 enters at 58
-at 60, where rallentando begins, key starts to become ambiguous again

-m68, B pedal point (dominant of E, which starts leading to recapitulation)
-climaxes with melody similar to inverted theme 1 at m74

-settles in the tonic key of E major
-right hand - theme 3
-left hand - arpeggiated 8ths based on on theme 1
-m84 starts to sound like a development of theme 1

-theme 2 rhythm introduced at m 99
-thmes 1, 2 and 3 seem to be going here - kind of a collage of motives
-climaxes at m 106 on C# major chord
-ambiguous key again, hinting at C# - the iii of E

-new section 113
-key still sort of C#
-theme 2
-m 32 motive is seen at 115 with the tail of theme 3
-hits E resolution at 120
-theme 1
-left hand, tail of theme 3
-theme 1 and 2 united in 129 - 30
-resolves happily in E major

Three Sonnets of Petrarch

Pace non trovo
Benedetto sia'l giorno
I' vidi in terra angelici costumi

  • Composed between 1838-42; first published in Vienna by Haslinger in 1846
    • Liszt actually transcribed a solo piano version and published it before the vocal one
    • A revised piano transcription was published in 1858 as a part of Années II
    • Transposed (for baritone) and simplified in 1861, this version was later published in 1883
      • The 1883 version has oft been singled out as an example of how Liszt's rewriting could decrease, rather than increase, the quality of the piece
  • Based on the sonnets 47, 104 and 123 of Petrarch (1304-1374)… see below for translations
  • For more details, visit the Sonnets page under "Vocal Works"