Au bord d’une source – played by Liszt’s pupil

Here is Eugen d'Albertanother beautiful water piece from the Swiss Year of Pilgrimage, and one which was revised after it first appeared in the Album d’un voyageur. The German literary quote attached is by Schiller, and translates: ‘In murmuring coolness the play of young nature begins.’

The piece is marked Allegretto grazioso; a leaping figure forms the melody, sometimes shared between the crossed hands, sometimes split in different registers in the RH. Murmuring semiquavers accompany throughout, needing independence and lightness. There are some good examples of Lisztian filigree cadenza-like passages which look complicated but lie comfortably under the hand, and the final plagal cadence is enchanting, with its gently rising dissonances and elegant descent, just before the four last chords.

Pictured above is Eugen d’Albert, the Scottish-born pianist who studied with Liszt. Liszt wrote of him: ‘There was also an artist, an extraordinary pianist, by the name of d’Albert. [Hans] Richter introduced me to him in Vienna last April. Since then he has worked at Weimar, without interruption, under my tutelage Among the young virtuosos from the time of Tausig…I know of no more gifted as well as dazzling talent than d’Albert.’

 Rather a colourful character, he studied at first in London, but without pleasure. ‘I scorn the title English pianist. Unfortunately I studied for a considerable period in that land of fogs, but during that time I learnt absolutely nothing; indeed, had I remained there much longer, I should have gone to utter ruin…’

Eugen d’Albert made his home in Germany. On the personal side, he was married six times; professionally he turned to composition, and many later piano recordings lack polish. He suceeded Joachim as director of the Berlin Hochschule fur Musik.

And if you’d like to compare that performance with a  modern recording, here is Berman –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzOb5WvlGvw

For interest, below is the first version of Au bord d’une source. Pianists can all be thankful that Liszt revised it.

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

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