Franz Liszt

Tasso: Lamento e Trionfo, symphonic poem for orchestra (4 versions), S. 96 (LW G2)

    Description by Margaret Godfrey

    Tasso: Lamento e trionfo (1849) is the second of twelve symphonic poems Liszt wrote during his tenure as Grand Ducal Director of Music Extraordinary at Weimar. Liszt very much admired the work of sixteenth-century Italian poet Torquato Tasso and used Tasso's writings as the basis of a number of his own works. Tasso: Lamento e trionfo was originally conceived as an overture for Goethe's play Tasso, presented on the centenary of the poet's birth at a performance in Weimar in August 1849. Goethe's portrayal of Tasso concerns itself primarily with his position as court poet within the politically charged court life of the d'Esty family in Ferrara. Liszt, however, was more drawn to the poet's inner conflicts and the seven years he spent in an asylum (Tasso later received compensation for his suffering when he was brought to the Capitol and symbolically crowned). It was this figure -- the suffering and eventually triumphant Tasso -- that inspired Liszt's imagination.

    Following a conventional overture form, the original Tasso was divided into a slow section ("Lament") and a fast one ("Triumph"). Despite this division, the entire work consisted of variations on a single melody, based on a folk hymn sung to Liszt by a gondolier in Venice in the late 1830s. Liszt had intended the incorporate the variations on this melody into his great piano cycle Années de pèlerinage (1837 - 77), but instead reserved them for use in the present work.

    Liszt made several revisions to Tasso in the years following its premiere, the most significant of which was the addition of a middle section in the vein of a minuet; it is calmer than either of the outer sections, intended to depict Tasso's more stable years in the employment of the d'Esty family in Ferrara. More than a decade after the addition of the minuet in 1854, Liszt added an epilogue entitled "Le triomphe funebre du Tasso." The epilogue reflects the composer's conviction that Tasso's true triumph was that of his immortality as a poet, through which his works prevailed long after his own life of suffering had ended. The addition of these additional sections rendered the "Tasso Overture" an overture no longer -- far too long and developed; thus its designation as a symphonic poem.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2013 Toccata Classics TOCC 0092
    2013 NCA 60260
    2012 Melodiya MELCD 1001911
    2012 NCA 60254
    2011 Capriccio Records C7090
    2011 MDG 93716786
    2011 ZYX / ZYX Classical / ZYX Music CLA 101142
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon / DG Deutsche Grammophon 002894779525
    2011 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 Decca 4782309
    2010 Decca 478 2309
    2010 Decca
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Bella Musica / Zebralution
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2008 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 501321
    2008 Onyx Classix 66202
    2008 Decca 4780235
    2007 Amado Classics 4000
    2007 Berlin Classics 0186022
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 76927
    2005 Real Sound (RS) 117
    2005 EMI Classics
    2005 Chandos 10341
    2004 Berlin Classics 0013412BC
    2004 Angelok 1 7752
    2004 Onyx Classix 6600
    2003 Telarc Distribution 80613
    2003 Telarc Distribution 60613
    2003 EMI Music Distribution 85573
    2003 Brilliant 99938
    2002 EMI Classics 75623
    2002 Berlin Classics 0094702
    2002 Disky 70743
    2001 Capriccio Records 51039
    2001 BIS 1117
    2001 Audiophile Records 533
    2000 Onyx Classix 1915
    2000 Brilliant 99938/1
    2000 Budapest Music Center 009
    1999 London 417513
    1999 Testament 1129
    1998 Corona Classic Collection 0001992CCC
    1998 DG Deutsche Grammophon 453130
    1997 Point Classics 265073
    1997 Arte Nova 27787
    1997 Madacy 3715
    1996 Koch Schwann 1768
    1996 Gemini Collection 610
    1995 Berlin Classics 0091422
    1994 Harmonia Mundi 3903049
    1994 Philips / Philips Classics 438751
    1994 Naxos 550487
    1994 Berlin Classics 0010932
    1993 Philips Classics 4387512
    1993 EMI Music Distribution 64850
    1993 Hungaroton 12677
    1991 Naxos 8550487
    1983 Hungaroton 12446
    D Classics 707532
    Time/Life Music 25
    Forum Records 462099100
    DA Music 72218
    EMI Music Distribution 69022
    Masters of the Millennium 2018
    Aurophon Records 31449
    Amado Classics 04019
    Pro-Arte Records 943
    Supraphonet 111112