The Infinite Sounds of Nature: Franz Liszt's Musical Landscapes

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Friday / November 8, 2013 / 4:00 p.m.
Oliver Colvin Recital Hall
1140 Boylston Street

In 1855, Franz Liszt published a score containing several piano pieces, the Années de Pèlerinage (Years of Pilgrimage), written during a stay in Switzerland in the 1830s. This set of compositions is striking, in that each piece is inspired either by a work of poetry, or by a natural setting or landscape that Liszt encountered during his journey.

For this concert, Department of Liberal Arts and Berklee Global Jazz Institute faculty member Anthony Scibilia will perform Liszt's “Vallee d’Obermann,” in which the composer responds to an emotionally charged and poignant fragment of poetic verse written by Lord Byron, to the existential questions and deep yearnings expressed by a young traveler in Étienne de Sénancour's quasi-autobiographical novel "Obermann," and to the to the dramatic alpine landscape that he and Countess Marie d’Agoult explored together during their pilgrimage in Switzerland. 

In these pieces, we witness Liszt's uncanny ability to bring music, poetry, landscape, and evocative states of nature into dynamic conversation with each other, as well as his specific and wide-ranging approach to the formal construction of musical composition rooted in extra-musical subject matter—a concern as relevant to musicians today as it was when Liszt composed this marvelous set of pieces. In the spirit of Liszt's multidimensional approach to musical composition, this performance and discussion will include projected imagery relevant to the pieces being performed.