Liszt Vol. 6
Works Nos 7, 8 and 9 of this first book of the Années de pèlerinage, subtitled Suisse (Switzerland), are possibly the most naturally harp-like pieces in the Liszt canon, but that does not make them easy to play!
Églogue is an enchanting Pastorale, a celebration of eternal youth set in an impressionistic style that we thought was still two generations away, at the time of its composition.
Le mal du pays gathers many melodic strands and moods to get to the essence of this unspeakable sense of longing that defines Romanticism, set here in the mountains where both the cow-bells and the high peaks reign.
Les cloches de Genève, The Bells of Geneva, is the piece where Liszt notedly requested L’accompagnamento dolce quasi arpa. For a while, he nails his imitation of the harp, inspired by the visionary “virtual harp” within, but as the musical phrases build and gather storms in the hands, the arms must move from the extremities of the instrument to its middle in ways that are naturally symmetric for the pianist, but demand a rethinking of gestures from the harpist. An interesting experiment, indeed!