This is the third and final volume in the set of pieces Franz Liszt called his `years of pilgrimage' based on the many years in which he toured Europe as a concert pianist. The earlier pieces were composed between the 1830s and 1850s. In the 1860s Liszt effectively retired from being an itinerant performer to lead a more monastic life. He took minor orders in 1865, after which he was entitled to be called Abbé Liszt. He underwent theological studies for a few months in 1868 and moved, first, into the Villa d'Este near Rome and then to Weimar where he befriended Richard Wagner.
This set of seven pieces is the shortest of the sets of Années de Pèlerinage lasting barely three-quarters of an hour. Three of the pieces are inspired by the beauty of the Villa d'Este. The remaining four pieces have a religious theme reflecting Liszt's new-found world view. The opening piece is a `Prayer to the Guardian Angels'; the 5th piece is a wistful piece dedicated to the conductor Hans von Bülow entitled, `There are tears for things' - a lamentation on human life! The 6th piece in the set is a funeral march in memory of an assassinated Habsburg prince and the finale is the Sursum corda that opens the Mass. The set is played on these CDs by the Hungarian pianist Jeno Jando for Naxos in 1991. Jando as usual does a fine job with judicious pedalling, and the pieces are well recorded, clearly and sensitively but without too much resonance.
on 5 July 2014
Whilst I have no criticism of the music this disc contains, there was considerable dissatisfaction with obtaining a purchase that did not come with a fault with the case - even a sealed, brand new disc came with a cracked case (I eventually simply replaced the case with a new one in my possession). This is not acceptable in an age of sophisticated postage systems. The music itself, that of Liszt's third year of pilgrimage, is very much up to the standard of Jando's previous two offerings of Liszt's musical travels. The music itself, in contrast to the Liszt's second year of pilgrimage - also to Italy, is a little on the meditative and heavy side, though still a satisfactory conclusion to this repertoire.