Franz Liszt wrote about 75 songs, and they are of a distinctive nature. They do, as might be expected, have intricate piano parts that make the pianist a full partner with the singer, and sometimes almost more. However, they're generally unlike the rest of Liszt's output, and a little survey like this from tenor Cyrille Dubois and pianist Tristan Raës is welcome. Liszt drew on Heinrich Heine and the other German poets that attracted Schubert and Schumann, and some of the songs follow in their footsteps, but often Liszt takes a more dramatic, almost operatic approach, as in his second setting of Die Loreley, heard here. A unique feature of his song output is that he returned to certain texts multiple times, no fewer than four in the case of Die Zelle in Nonnenwerth, included here in its fourth and final version. Liszt could compress his little dramas into very short songs, and Dubois does well in making the minute-and-13-second Was Liebe sei into a sort of charged utterance. The longer songs showcase his partnership with Raës in arcs that unfold naturally from the pair. There are also some French mélodies and the Three Sonnets of Petrarch, in Italian. With this broad sampling, one can forgive the omission of Liszt's single English song, Go not, happy day, and one can readily choose this release as an introduction to his rather neglected song output.
AllMusic Review by James Manheim
|Trois Sonnets de Pétrarque (1re version, LW N14/S270-1)|