“Western composers-Mendelssohn and Schumann, for example-wrote works using national color characteristics of various countries. In so doing they came to fabricate some imaginary national atmosphere, as in the making-believe Hungarian and Spanish music of Liszt, Brahms, Bizet. But above all, new national styles of their own developed in the various countries of East as well as West Europe”. The Years of Pilgrimage is a collection of Liszt’s trip. During the years of travelling performances in various countries, Liszt composed a set of large divertimento which depicts the artist’s lifestyle travelling. Among these tunes many are derived from the years Liszt spent with his lover Marie d'Agoult in Switzerland and Italy. These poetic tunes are based on the composer’s impression and perception of natural landscape. Years of Pilgrimage (Années de pèlerinage) includes three suites in total. Liszt started the composition in 1835 and finished its final revision in 1877, and the composition of this work was under construction throughout most of his career as a pianist and a composer. The first two suites are “First Year: Switzerland” and “Second Year: Italy”, which are bundles of the piano pieces Liszt composed during his travelling performances in Europe. During the composition, the composer kept getting rid of everything that is not in accordance with the theme of the music, and kept internalizing the objective external world into personal emotions. The third suite was finished in Rome and therefore it is usually called “Rome”. This paper introduces the second suite “Italy” with a table: Second suite “Italy”|
Title| Time| Tempo| Measure| Material|
1. Marriage| 1837 - 1839| Andante| 133| A painting by Raphael| 2. The Thinker| 1837 - 1839| Lento| 48| A statue by Michelangelo| 3. Salvator Rosa’s Song| 1849| Andante marziale| 75| Transcription of a song traditionally attributed to the painter Rosa| 4. Petrarch’s Sonnet 47| 1846 (Published)| Preludio con moto| 95| Three Petrarch’s Sonnets| 5. Petrarch’s Sonnet 104| | Agitato assai| 79| |
6. Petrarch’s Sonnet 123| | Lento placido| 84| |
7. Fantasia quasi sonata| 1837| Andante maestoso| 373| After reading Dante: Fantasia quasi sonata| Venice and Naples [ Supplement to the Second Year]|
1. Gondolier’s Song| Published 1861; composed 1859, partially as a revision of and earlier set with the same name composed ca. 1840| Quasi allegretto| 119| Based on the song “La biondina in gondoletta” by Giovanni Battista Peruchini| 2. Song| | Lento doloroso| 59| Based on the gondolier’s song “Nessunmaggior dolore” in Rossini’s Otello| 3. Tarantella| | Presto| 479| Using themes by Guillaume-Louis Cottrau|
From the table it is explicitly that in the second suite Liszt mainly focuses on the depictions of Italian arts and literatures. Compared to “Switzerland”, “Italy” pays more attention to the music. During his stay in Milan in 1837, Liszt got his inspiration from the artistic works of the Renaissance, especially from poetries, paintings, sculptures and literatures. As a result the composition emphasizes particularly on the retrospect of arts and history. “Petrarch Sonnet 104” is a classical combination of poetries and music. This work differs a lot from people’s common perception of Liszt’s works since this work creates an atmosphere mixed of peace, meditation, roar, despair and tenderness. Piano pieces such as this one reveal many aspects of Liszt’s multiple layers of his personality and show the world his colorful, philosophical and poetic way of thinking. II. Sonnet
Sonnet is one of the forms of European poetry, and it is usually written in three traditional formats. These formats include Italian, Spenserian and English. “Italy” is composed in the format of an Italian sonnet. “The sonnet has a good claim to be one of the oldest and most useful verse forms...