CDE84554 Songs arr Liszt

Songs arr Liszt

Songs arr Liszt

Product Description

transcribed for piano solo by
Antony Peebles - piano

Sound Sample
Antony Peebles was educated at Westminster School and as a musical exhibitioner at Trinity College Cambridge. After gaining his Mus.B he studied piano with Peter Katin, Yvonne Lefèbure and Jeremy Siepmann.

In 1971 he won the BBC Piano Competition, with a unanimous vote from the jury. Vlado Perlmutter said he had never heard Ravel’s “Gaspard de la Nuit” played better. The following year he won the Debussy Competition in France.

Mr Peebles has - astonishingly - played in 131 different countries. Every year the number increases, the new additions in 2006 being Rwanda, Libya and Armenia. In the UK he has been concerto soloist with the London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Hallé, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and BBC Philharmonic Orchestras, and the City of London Sinfonia. He broadcasts regularly on BBC Radio 3 and plays for music clubs around the country.

His recordings on Meridian consist of a CD of Ravel piano music, a CD of Liszt transcriptions mostly based on operas, and four CDs comprising all the songs by Schubert, Mendelssohn and Schumann that Liszt transcribed for piano solo. This CD is the fourth, and it contains the four Schubert Spiritual songs (thereby completing the 55 Schubert songs Liszt transcribed), the nine Mendelssohn songs and the twelve Schumann songs.

(NB: Liszt wrote two or more versions of some of these songs; but in this series only one version of each song is used)


Franz Schubert Vier Geistliche Lieder, W539; S562; published 1841

Felix Mendelssohn Sieben Lieder, W524; S547; published 1841

Wasserfahrt, Der Jäger Abschied, W525; S548; published 1849

Robert Schumann Widmung, W525; S548; published 1848

From “Zehn Lieder von Robert und Clara Schumann”, W546A; S569; published 1872

Provenzalisches Minnelied, W547; S570; published 1882

An den Sonnenschein und Rotes Röslein, W544; S567; published 1861

Frühlingsnacht, W545; S568; published 1872

(‘W’ Alan Walker catalogue; ‘S’ Humphrey Searle catalogue)


1) Litaney (“Litany”)

“All who have departed this world may their souls rest in peace”.

2) Himmelsfunken (“Divine Sparks”)

“God’s breath is felt....How the heart soars to the azure heights”.

3) Die Gestirne (“The Heavenly Bodies”)

“His praise is sounded by field and forest, by valley and mountain....”. Liszt turns this into a mighty hymn of praise, with each verse having more massive piano writing than the one before. He even takes the exceptional step of prefacing the actual hymn with a 24-bar introduction of his own creation. Deep thunderous rumblings and crunching harmonies swell in a formidable wave to a bold climax, the whole thing being rather suggestive of a gathering crowd scene in a Cecil B. DeMille film. The only other occasion in these Schubert song transcriptions where Liszt similarly bursts out of his role as obedient transcriber is the quizzical 5-bar postlude to ‘Ungeduld’. But that is a much more modest contribution.

4) Hymne (“Hymn”)

“In the depths dwells the light, light that gleams and flames....” This is not based on a Schubert solo song but a choral extract from ‘Rosamunde’.


5) Auf Flügeln des Gesanges (“On Wings of Song”)

“On wings of song, my beloved, I bear you away; away to the fields by the Ganges where I know the most beautiful spot”.

6) Sonntagslied (“Sunday Song”)

Distant bells are heard through the fields and the wood, the sound of the choir and organ move stirringly through the valley. The blessed bride is led cheerfully to the church; and I, ah I am so alone.

7) Reiselied (“Journey Song”)

The rider rushes through the night with eager thoughts of reaching his beloved. But as the wind blows through the leaves the oak tree asks “What good to you, foolish rider, is your foolish dream?”

8) Neue Liebe (“New Love”)

The same theme of riding through the night, but this time it is elves on little white horses with tinkling bells. Smiling, the queen nodded to me as she rode past; was that for my new love? or does it mean death?

9) Frühlingslied (“Spring Song”)

An exuberant celebration of spring, providing Liszt with a welcome excuse for glittering virtuosity.

10) Winterlied (“Winter Song”)

“Go not out to the wood, my son. Outside is bleak, harsh and the wind blows violently. Stay here, my son, with me.”

11) Suleika

“Ah, West wind, how I envy you your moist wings; for you can bring him word of what I suffer separated from him”.

12) Wasserfahrt (“Water Journey”)

This song sets the same Heine poem used by Schubert in ‘Die Stadt’. “As I am rowed down the river the town comes into view with its turrets piercing the mist. The sun emerges and lights up the very place where I lost my beloved.” Liszt connects this song to the next, shifting from B major to E flat major in a way reminiscent of the join between the 2nd and 3rd movements of Beethoven’s ‘Emperor’ concerto.

13) Der Jäger Abschied (“The Hunter’s Farewell”)

The hunter bids farewell to the wood that has been dear to him, with its memories, spirits and traditions.


14) Widmung (“Devotion”)

A passionate song of total commitment and adoration. Schumann, of course, knew a thing or two about love, his affair with Clara Wieck (which eventually led to marriage) being one of the great love-stories of the 19th century. “You are my heart and my soul; you are my world in which I live; you are my Heaven to which I soar; and you are my grave into which I forever pour my grief”.

15) Weihnachtslied (“Song for Christmas Eve”)

A marvelling contemplation of how the Christ child, born amidst straw and hay and with the ox close by, should transform the world’s suffering. Each of the two verses ends with the refrain “Halleluyah, Christ child!”.

16) Die wandelnde Glocke (“The Walking Bell”)

A droll story about a boy who refuses to go to church. His mother warns him “The bell is ringing to tell you to come to church, and if you do not obey it will come and fetch you”. Next time the bell rings the boy as usual wanders off into the fields. The bell stops ringing, and the horrified boy sees that the bell is coming after him wobbling along at speed. Like in a bad dream the boy fears the bell will come and cover him up. He runs and runs eventually crossing the village green and into the church. Every Sunday and Feastday thereafter at the first stroke of the bell he is off - he doesn’t wait for anyone to fetch him!

17) Frühlings Ankunft (“Spring’s Arrival”)

Tattered clouds carry the world’s sorrows away, and many flowers quietly bloom upward towards Heaven.

18) Des Sennen Abschied (“The Herdsman’s Farewell”)

Summer is gone and the herdsman bids farewell to the high mountain pastures. He promises that he, like the flowers, will return in the spring.

19) Er ist’s (“It Is Here”)

Quiet excitement that spring is here. “Spring, yes it is you”.

20) Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt

(“Only He Who Knows Longing”)

“Only he who knows longing knows what I suffer.....Ah, he who loves and knows me is far away. My head reels, my body blazes.....”

21) An die Türen will ich schleichen

(“From Door to Door Will I Steal”)

“From door to door will I steal, quiet and humble will I stand. A pious hand will pass food and I shall go on my way. Each will think himself happy.....” (from Goethe’s ’Wilhelm Meister’)

22) Provenzalisches Minnelied

(“Provencal Minnelied”)

The German Minnesinger movement flourished from the mid 12th to the mid 13th century. It developed out of, and was inspired by, the French troubadour movement. Indeed the initializing catalyst was the marriage of Frederick Barbarossa to Beatrix of Burgundy in 1156, and the arrival with Beatrix in Germany of Guiot of Provence, a leading troubadour. Their songs were of chivalrous love and would have been accompanied by some sort of plucked instrument.

23) An den Sonnenschein / Rotes Röslein

(“To the Sunshine / Little Red Rose”)

Liszt joins these two songs in ABA form: An den Sonnenschein - Rotes Röslein - An den Sonnenschein (just as he did with the two Winterreise songs ’Der stürmische Morgen’ and ’Im Dorfe’).

’An den Sonnenschein’: “Ah sunshine, ah sunshine! How you shine into my heart.....You kiss all the pretty flowers so that they open themselves up only for you”.

’Rotes Röslein’ is Robert Burns’s famous poem “My love is like a red, red rose that’s newly sprung in June; My love is like a melody that’s sweetly played in tune; As fair art thou, my bonny lass, so deep in love am I, That I will love thee still, my dear, till all the seas gang dry”.

24) Frühlingsnacht (“Spring Night”)

Spring night - and there is the promise of romance in the air.Songs arr Liszt