Sposalizio and the Golden Legend

Raphael’s oil painting Lo Sposalizio della Vergine was completed in 1504, and hangs in the Brera  Gallery in Milan. It depicts the marriage of Mary and Joseph, and illustrates a legend in which Mary’s suitors each placed a branch on an altar; Joseph’s branch blossomed, and  thus he won her hand in marriage. At the right of the picture are the unsucessful suitors, one of whom  is snapping a  branch across his knee.

Liszt’s Sposalizio opens the second volume of his Années de Pèlerinage -Italie. The sound of bells in different registers permeates the piece, which is based on a beautifully shaped, falling phrase heard at the opening, and its more rhythmic response. A new, slower theme is used to build an impressive climax above a powerful accompaniment in octaves, derived from the opening figure. The intensity subsides gradually in a coda which resembles Debussy’s first Arabesque, written fifty years later in the same key of E Major, and with similar RH figuration.

Here is the incomparable Brendal –

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

2 Responses to Sposalizio and the Golden Legend

  1. Pingback: Abandon hope , all ye who enter here – unless your octaves are up to speed… | notesfromapianist

  2. Pingback: Pictures – Background and Perspective | notesfromapianist

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