Features of the piano texture in the works of F. Liszt (from the experience of accompanist)
List’s first experiments in the field of vocal music (three sonnets of Petrarch) relate to a stay in Italy, i.e. by 1938-39 years. During the years of wandering, cycles of original songs were created with such pearls of vocal lyrics as “Lorelei”, “Minion”, “When I Sleep”. The first book of songs was published in 1843, the second in 1844, the Canzona (of three nocturnes) in 1850. Liszt entered the music as an innovator, he discovered new forms, paved a new path, different from the path of his predecessors.
The penetration of Liszt into poetry and how the unity of the poetic and musical arises as a result of this penetration is admirable; in sensitive and flexible melodic lines, in full deep expressive harmonies, Liszt masterfully conveys the subtlest psychological shades, individual properties of the lyrics of various poets – Goethe, Schiller, Heine, Hugo, Uland and others. Liszt comes in many respects from Schubert’s songs, which he fell in love with in his early youth. He attaches great importance to the instrumental plan of the song; the functions of piano accompaniment are greatly expanded, enriched.
The sheet also enriches the recitative means of the genre, revealing both in the field of harmonic style and especially in the field of melody a truly inexhaustible ingenuity. He strives for free “verbal expressiveness”, for increased “condensed” psychological imagery.
Liszt’s connections with folk song were less deep and less organic; sometimes they are even barely perceptible.
Liszt’s synthesis — the voice and the piano — is often disrupted, and the piano part, by itself, is invariably vibrant; colorfully and expertly stated, in some cases falls out of a common connection; only as a result of numerous revisions of songs, Liszt achieves in the latest editions a harmonious merger of the two plans. The sheet follows the path of destruction of the stanza form, the traditional couplet is decisively eliminated by him, above all, he put “romantic freedom of expression.” The melody in Liszt’s romances and songs does not play a large independent role. More and more often, the separate components of the musical whole act in equal succession in a successive shift: harmony, rhythm, intonation, colors of voice and piano accompaniment, caesura, stress.
His songs are an example of a free merger of a poetic plot and musical embodiment; they are both emotional and psychological (“Lorelei”) and pictorial (“Silence and Peace Everywhere”), they organically and naturally convey a verbal text with all its semantic nuances.
Hence the widespread use of vocal abilities; Liszt’s human voice is the most flexible instrument, the registers of which he uses with no less skill than the piano registers, in all volume, with all timbre, dynamic and emotional shades.
His dynamic finds are especially interesting – from the ups and downs within large melodic constructions (“Lorelei”) to a peculiar game with the same sound (“Like morning, you are beautiful”). The sheet discards as outdated, narrow and hardened, all conditional expressiveness, forte, piano, regular srescendo, diminuendo, in known, provided cases. Previously, each transition from low to higher sound was usually performed by crescendo, and from high to low diminuendo, then, starting from Liszt, in all cases, poetic-figurative considerations come to the fore. Liszt believes that each dynamic shade should find its justification in the internal content of the work.
To accurately denote all dynamic gradations, Liszt subtly differentiates commonly used terms: we meet mf, f, ff, fff and even ffff, rrrr, rrr, rr, p, mp, crescendo and diminuendo with all possible additions (piu, ancore piu, sperm piu, poco, subito, pochissimo). It distinguishes between sf and fp. Rinforzando expresses in him a very weak degree of amplification of sonority within the piano.
Instead of abstract diminuendo, he often uses more subtle and figurative raddolcente (softening, weakening), smorzando (attenuation, fading of the sound to the limit), estiuto (extinguished, asleep, as if fading sound), perdendosi (transition from quiet to even weaker sounds), calando (gradually decreasing the strength of the sound), morendo (dying).
The sheet reinforces or replaces with more lively and psychological tempestoso (violently), strepitoso (noisy); to piano adds placido (calmly, quietly, softly), soave (nice, soft, gentle), carazzando (affectionately).
All this contributes to the implementation of romantic trepidation, emotional languor, some special exciting dynamic pulsation, reaching in minutes of the highest tension to passionate vibrato (trembling, resonant sonority). The latter term is unusually characteristic for Liszt and is found not only on ff, but also on mf and even piano; it means a special way of resonating sound, now almost completely lost and expresses a certain direction of emotional experience.