Franz Liszt: Liebeslied S 566 “Widmung” by Robert Schumann Rare Transcription
Pianist Pablo Cintron performs a rare version of Franz Liszt Transciption Robert Schumann’s “Widmung” (“Dedication”) opens his song-cycle Myrthen (‘Myrtles’), which was appropriately named after the blossoms traditionally associated with marriage festivals, as it was his wedding present to his bride, Clara Wieck. He began composing songs as a means of proving his financial stability as a future husband, and in “Widmung”, as was the case with all his compositions of this genre, he deeply expressed his most heart-felt emotions; passion and devotion, fears and longing, frustration and suffering from their separation, and the hopes and dreams of their life together. He began the cycle in the early part of 1840, finishing it in April, well ahead of his self-established September deadline. When complete, “Widmung” and its accompanying poems were lavishly bound with a red velvet inscription, which affectionately read “To my beloved bride.” The song-cycle also contained the composition “Zum Schluss” (“‘In Conclusion’”), that together with “Widmung” made up the two Lieder der Braut (‘The Bride’s Songs), which form the most passionate outpouring in Myrthen.
“Widmung” was one of five songs in Myrthen with texts from the poems of Friedrich Rückert. When Schumann became captivated by Rückert’s mastery of the rhythmic and technical aspects of poetry, he temporarily turned away from setting Heine’s writings. Schumann was at ease with Rückert’s words as they were slightly easier to set to music than those of the other poet. In “Widmung”, Schumann confessed all of the things Wieck was to him; his peace, angel, repose, rapture, heart, soul, grave for sorrows, better self and his heaven. In this carefully balanced arrangement of text and music, he revealed the depth of his engagement as a poet-musician. This spirited song contains a few devices which reappeared in his later works, including sweeping keyboard passages and the haunting enharmonic progression (A flat major to E flat major) to the central section. He altered the text by repeating the final verse, and these last measures contain a thoughtful instrumental effect, which eclipses the text and introduces a new motif. The work contains the tempo marking “Innig, Lebhaft 3/2,” and is often sung too slowly. The pattern of the accompaniment, rising and falling, reappeared in “Helft mir, ihr Schwestern Op. 42/5″ and the melody was paraphrased in the heroine’s song of “Die Löwenbraut Op. 31/1″. “Widmung” was performed on several occasions throughout Schumann’s life, once with his “Das Paradies und die Peri Op. 50″ and another time with his Symphony in B flat major, at a benefit concert on March 31, 1841. The depth of the song had a widespread acceptance and effect, and in France, in 1849, Franz Liszt paved the way for Schumann’s influence, with a publication of “Widmung”, for solo piano. Only 40 of Schumann’s 150 solo songs are still commonly heard in recital halls; popular among vocalists at all levels, “Widmung” is included in that first number, as one of the