Au lac de Wallenstadt – Liszt

‘The shores of the lake of Wallenstadt  kept us for a long time. Franz wrote there for me a melancholy harmony, imitative of the sigh of the waves and the cadence of oars, which I have never been able to hear without weeping…’

Marie d’Agoult wrote this of Liszt’s Au lac de Wallenstadt, a good place to begin exploring the Suisse  pieces. It is in the warm key of A flat major; in each bar, the recurrent LH triplet gives the sensation of the pull of the oars, then four semiquavers glide over the water; a spacious melody floats aboveLe Lac Wallenstadt - Roffiaen 1865, echoing from afar as the piece closes.

Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage – translated into French in 1825 and 1827 as Le Pèlerinage de Childe Harold – provides the literary inspiration:

‘…Thy contrasted Lake, with the wild world I dwell in, is a thing which warns me, with its stillness, to forsake earth’s troubled waters for a purer spring.’

Some modern editions contain the literary quotes, but the first edition also had illustrations by Kretschmer of Swiss scenes; visual stimuli for the pianists of 1855. The painting above dates from 1865: Le Lac Wallenstadt, by Roffiaen. The performance on the video is by Lazar Berman…

.. and my recording on iTunes is here!

Not a difficult piece -about Grade 8 standard; a reasonable LH span helps to negotiate the spacing needed between the fourth and fifth fingers, along with a relaxed lateral movement. I’ll stop there before I kill it with too much description of the ‘how’…

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This entry was posted in Composers, Liszt - Years of Pilgrimage, Three Volumes, Music, Places and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Au lac de Wallenstadt – Liszt

  1. Pingback: Birthday Blog | notesfromapianist

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