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Topic: Liszt - Un Sospiro  (Read 5463 times)

Offline thejeev

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Liszt - Un Sospiro
on: January 30, 2016, 10:41:25 PM
Composer: Franz Liszt
Title: Concert Etude No.3 in Db Major
Composed: 1845-1849

Points of Interest:
i. Intended for developing technique (in this case, crossing of hands)
ii. Also intended for concert performance
iii. Title "Un Sospiro" did not originate with Liszt and was not in the early editions - Liszt himself always referred to the pieces by key


i. Allegro Affetuoso: Fast, with affect (tenderly, emotive etc.)
ii. Armonioso: Harmoniously
iii. Legatissimo: As smoothly as possible
iv. Poco Agitato: Slightly Agitated

i. It's important to play this piece with a lively pace, provided you do not compromise the smoothness and richness in voicing. Typical allegro is 120bpm, 100 should be fine here, but any slower and you run the risk of completely changing the tone (intent) of the piece. I find most performances on the slow side, but not to any fault of the performer, Liszt was just that good.
ii. The voice needs to sing and work in unison with the agitated arpeggios.
iii. Requires your hands and fingers to be completely in a relaxed state (no tension anywhere). I play with the idea of letting your hands fall into the piano naturally, never ever striking the keys and forcing the notes out, just fall into the piano, come out, and fall again (slightly agitated).
iv. Poco Agitato is the most important marking in the piece. Liszt wants the arpeggios agitated, which causes more notes to be played near beats 2 and 4 of each measure as compared to beats one and three. The result should be a slow start to each arpeggio, it happily dances up and returns, repeating. This goes on throughout the entire piece until measure 56 (piu moso).

Final notes:
i. Liszt was very particular in his marking, it should be a safe assumption that not only does he have a specific idea in mind, but the inspiration for the piece was also quite specific. Is it possible to figure out what Liszt had in mind when writing this piece? Not only do I think this possible for this piece especially, but for many other romantic type works, those of Liszt, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff etc.
ii. The musical voicing and phrasing seem to suggest either a poem or small story, or perhaps both (I will make the case for both).
iii. Romantic type music is so moving because rather than based on form alone, it's based on real-world thoughts, ideas, emotions etc. The genius in writing romantic music is capturing this tone, and while the idea can never really be spelled out for us, the tone is what pulls us in.
iv. Liszt is noted for his uncanny "Lisztomania" trait: he had the ability to raise the mood of the audience to such a high level of "mystical ecstasy". Women would try to get locks of his hair. To be terse, Liszt was an individual with a truly profound ability to bring music alive and really capture the audience (particularly women, which is important as we will see). How did Liszt accomplish this? The subject matter of his music, combined with his clarity in performance, as I will try to demonstrate, is the key.



From here on out I will be using a number of objective and subjective arguments. As such I am completely accepting of the fact that any conclusions I am putting forward are indeed a matter of interpretation (the beauty of music), but I will also do my best to substantiate my claims based on the real notation choices Liszt made, as well as citing performances from acclaimed pianists where I think they nailed the interpretation, but not necessarily the performance of that interpretation (Lang Lang, or as most of us know him, Bang Bang, and my example will be a perfect scenario of why I think Lang Lang is both a genius, but at the same time struggles with subtlety). Of course it's difficult to hold back when you (believe yourself to have) excitedly found something real in the music and want to scream it to the world, but that doesn't mean this is what you should do in a real performance.

Now before I go bar by bar, I need to throw a few things out there, some of which I must ask that a reader temporarily grant as "plausible" in order to make my case. I feel that as we move further into the analysis these plausible ideas should slowly start to move into the likely territory, though I can not, nor can anyone, claim an interpretation to be absolutely certain. Here is what I would like to throw out there to start:

i. Liszt's "Lisztomania", particularly his effect on women, is a result of his ability to play with such virtuosic precision (not to mention the many accounts which claim him to be able to play in perfect timing), that he had the ability to tell real "stories" through music - a lot of which seem to be intimate love stories. If we are to imagine a poem or song that moves us so much as to make us weep, Liszt had the ability to provoke these same feelings within individuals but without using words at all - he was able to capture the "tone" of a poem or story, transcribe this perfectly into music, and the listener is none the wiser that he/she has just been subject to a variety of emotions closely associated with that story. I believe this is why Liszt enjoyed transcribing other works.
ii. Un Sospiro (and many of Liszt's works) are essentially highly emotive love stories. This would explain Liszts' profound affect on women through his playing. In fact, one could quite convincingly even deconstruct the music back into it's general story (which I will attempt to do here). This only works for composers/works which have such a high degree of clarity and genius when writing their works. As an aside, I truly believe we the common folk (as compared to these genius composers) have yet to come close to comprehending the genius of these individuals and their works.
iii. "Poco Agitato" changes the shape of the arpeggios. As such, the voice needs to follow suit and fall within these arpeggios correctly. If played in a static manner, the voice and rolling arpeggios will sound disconnected, but they should be intimately related. I feel most pianists miss this. Lang Lang actually accomplishes this best I believe.
iii. Based on the above, and when looking at the piece as a whole, I must posit the following:

Premise: A love-sick individual plans to surprise his significant other with a gift, but upon discovering that she is nowhere to be found, he throws a tantrum, going through a variety of emotions until the exciting yet EXTREMELY subtle climax (I personally feel nobody has been able to really unerstand Liszt's original ending to Un Sospiro, which is why he might have changed it to something more cogent and leaving less to the imagination. Realistically, it would take incredible insight and intuitiveness to play the original ending properly).

Items of Significance:

Apreggios: The agitated arpeggios presist throughout almost the entire piece. We know this is not the main voice, but could it be conveying a real idea? Perhaps a name constantly being repeated in the voice's subconscious? I not only believe this to be true, but the name itself can almost be determined (though not exactly). The agitated arpeggio creates 3 syllables (a non-agitated arpeggio would create 2), starting on the top dominant and ending on the tonic. With a keen ear, one can hear a 3-syllable "name" (later on in the piece, Liszt re-writes the voice in triplets!). Though the name itself can be debated, I personally hear the last syllable as "Do" because it ends on the tonic. The upward arpeggio leading into the top note creates a "Law" type sound, while falling back down mimicks a "T" or "D" sound. When put together, one could imagine such cutsie names as "Lottie-Do". I believe this name to be the most accurate, for reasons I will discuss more in depth later. What's important here is playing with the possibility that the arpeggios are intended to convey a name which is completely consuming the subject (it's all he can think about). This may seem completely subjective, if not a bizarre deduction, but I will outline the reasoning for this idea more shortly. For the purposes of this, I'll stick to Lottie-Do, but it can be any similar name, again it's not what's important here.

Lyrical Voicing and Dynamics: Liszt does not employ simple melodies here - while it starts simple, before long we start getting very specific "diction", using grace notes that would otherwise seem strangely placed (measure 11 contains 16th, 32nd, grace notes in the voice). This (to me) just screams that something specific is being said here. When you combine the musical diction with the dynamics, I can't help but feel completly awestruck at the level of genius. Of course, this presumes that the dynamics are played as written. When someone like Liszt writes eleven cresc/decresc within the first eleven bars, he is trying to create a very profound and dynamic mood, highly highly expressive.

Lastly, the bar-by-bar will make some connections which seem unfounded upon reading, but these conclusions are not listed in the order that I determined them to be. In fact, the process of attaching a story to a romantic work resembles that of a crossword puzzle. Ultimately there is only one solution, which we come to know by filling in the puzzle piece by piece. Everything has to fit. If we gave an answer somewhere that doesn't allow the puzzle to progress, we need to rethink that answer, find a different one, and see if that allows the puzzle to further progress. Similarly in music, we have to apply our interpretations and see if they hold throughout the rest of the piece. If I believe a certain phrase to mean something, and see the phrase reappear later but in a context that doesn't fit at the time, then it must be wrong. Again, everything has to fit just right.


-Crescendo starts not at the first note, but at the top note of the first arpeggio. This helps in determining what section of the arpeggios are most important. By starting the crescendo at the Ab instead of the base note, we are effectly accenting the falling portion of the arpeggio, not the rising portion. This is what suggests to me that this is the first syllable of the name, the "La" name/sound. Returning to the base note produces 3 syllables I talked about above.
-Crescendo, then decrescendo, conveying immense excitement, then backing off, to make room for the voice in measure 3. Why so excited I wonder?

-"dolce con grazia" indicated, sweetly with grace
-Simple voice with a simple message, but the message is actually one message, repeated, grouped in two 4-syllable iterations. However, Liszt cuts off the last syllable from the phrase and makes it a distinct non-stacatto note which ends the idea and ties it to the upcoming crescendo.
-This phrase seems to suggest a very subtle a form of introspective excitement, the voice's mind is completely consumed by the thoughts of his lover.
-"Oh Lottie-Do, Oh Lottie...Do..." is being uttered, introspectively. The voice is excited about something and is preparing to reveal what that is.

-Crescendo and decrescendo within the same bar
-This is obviously immense excitement, almost to the point of child-like giggling or laughter. The voice recollects himself in the decrescendo. If one were to temporarily drop the idea of Un Sospiro being a serious piece, and more a funny love story, the over-use of dynamics at the beginning of the piece and crazy cadenza's fit much better with that kind of narrative).

-The first sentiment that introduced the voice is repeated, but with some slight changes.
-The phrasing is changed, and it is a result of the immense excitement and anticipation of the voice.
-The first three notes are self-contained on their own phrase, followed by a crescendo. Essentially, the phrase is being "interrupted" by the crescendo. Again, this is the immense excitement that the voice can hardly contain.
-What's next? Another crescendo! This voice must really be excited. The (same but second part of) the phrase is completed with a decrescendo, and the voice becomes quiet again (not for long).

-This is the first highly telling bar that almost explicitly outlines the subject matter of the piece.
-There is a small 3-syllable phrase (the first syllable is accented, for an interesting reason below), with a big decrescendo, immediately followed by another excited crescendoing phrase.
-The accent that starts the 3-syllable phrase indicates the voice is referencing itself "I" or "I've"
-The two bars, given their dynamics and markings, might indicate something like:
-[(quietly)I've got a...][(getting louder)big surprise for you!]

-These two bars complete the previous two bars' thoughts.
-The "you" from above actually starts measure 11 in a new phrase, because:
-[you! (louder)Oh, yes I do!... (very very quiet (pp))Lottie.......Do...)
-This diction explains the rather obscure 16th note, followed by a grace note (lack of precise time gives room for appropriate diction), then followed by the double-dotted 8th and 32nd
-It's much easier to make this connection when viewing the notation, it seems strange to read here, but if you take the lines "I've got a big SURPRISE FOR YOU-OH-YES-I-DO, Lottie-Do", and apply it to the notation, one would find it fitting (not necessarily irrefutably) but convincingly nonetheless.
-After the above phrase, we get a very rapid crescendo and decrescendo within the same bar over two arpeggios. We now know this to be general excitement.

-"sempre dolce grazioso" indicated, always sweetly and gracefully
-Voice's introductory statement is repeated, this time in triplets. Notes only occupy the first two parts of each triplet, followed by a rest. They are slurred, so should be triplet should be treated as a single entity and not two seperate notes.
-This just adds more body to the original thought from bar 3 "Oh Lottie-Do, Oh Lottie-Do"
-May be another way of adding excitement to the voice. Instead of single note and dynamics, the voice is getting more "vocal", and almost takes on a more jovial tone.
-Crescendo tactics from previous bars are applied here as well, all the same excitement, but now the heavier voice elevates the piece to a much more robust sound.

-Another telling bar
-The last time we were at the end of this phrase, there was a decrescendo. This time, there is a crescendo, so the voice is not saying it under his breath this time, but more prepares to not hold back this time and just shout it. Another example of the genius of Liszt managing to continuously find ways to keep building and building and building, no doubt capturing the audience. If anyone can play this piece, really over-exaggerate the dynamics to see what I'm talking about.

-This should be started relatively loud due to crescendo from previous bar. Voice is super excited.
-Yet another crescendo in bar 20, Liszt gets even louder.
-"appassionato" indicated in bar 21
-Bar 21: Another big tell, and so much to talk about. I'll try to be terse. Listz takes the same phrase from bar 11, and restates it in a genius way using slurred triplets but removing the rests to make it more immediate and flowing, tenutos for added diction, a rit and fermata, and a smorz! Tons going on here, what's it all mean?
-Bars 19-21 begins a more excited restatement of bar 11's idea of "I've got a big surprise for..."
but changes slightly in bar 21. Instead of "you, oh-yes-I-do", the tenuto-tied eighth notes indicate a more excited and immediate "you-yes-I-do". Again, this passage is marked appassionata, and the" yes-I-do" part is bolstered with additional 32nd notes supporting it.
-The fermata following above is necessary because the next statement is completely different in tone. Liszt had to kill the excitement for a moment.
-Smorz. really quietly: "Because I... miss you." to end the bar and idea. "Miss you" actually begins bar 22

-"in Tempo" indicated due to smorz. from prior bar.
-The first two notes of bar 22 are to be held for their full length, up until now all voice notes were staccato. This is necessary to capture the essence of "miss you" more clearly, to say it in a yearning way. The notes are slurred as well, adding to the intimacy of the sentiment.
-"dolce" indicated, sweetly (about to say something of a sweet nature?)
-Similar to voice's introductory "Oh Lottie-Do", but this maintains upward direction, suggesting decisiveness in what is being said. The grace note falling before the last note of the phrase adds a different syllable, which suggests something a little different is being said. If we treat the last three notes (including the grace note) as "Lottie-Do", with the grace note giving room for the performer to make a more accuration diction of something, in this case the name, one could come up with the phrase "Where are you my Lottie-Do?"
-Above phrase is repeated, with a crescendo leading to a forte passage. Voice is getting anxious, perhaps he is closing in on her expected whereabouts? Maybe he lives with this person and is about to come home? This interpretation also allows for "I'm almost home, Lottie-Do!" and would fit equally with above. This level of analysis is irrelevant to the more poignant importance of conveying a sense of longing, anticipation, building up to the moment he spots her (if she's even there, wherever there is).

-No crescendo! (most people play one here, it's not called for however)
-Simple arpeggios still echoing the name, one note changes in the second arpeggio , subtlely suggesting that something is happening but not being said. I take this to mean that the voice is simply getting closer to his lover, as if he were in a brisk walk, the name Lottie-Do still on his mind.

-"agitato con passionato" indicated, agitated with passion
-Sudden change in volume (marked forte with no crescendo leading in)
-May indicate the voice is active here, actually speaking
-Agitated with Passion puts expression at the forefront
-Single E-octave struck several times, in combination with being careful with where the voice falls in the agitated arpeggios, suggests a further build-up "Oh Lottie-Do!". Repeated twice, with the last having an accent.

-"piu crescendo" indicated, despite already being forte, leads into fortissimo "impetuoso"
-First 3 E-octave notes of bar 29 is the 3rd of "Oh Lottie-DO!" with last syllable accented.
-With crescendo, passage descends rapidly in same triplets as "Oh Lottie-DO!", preparing something big. Ends on Db octave (accented) and one final apreggio.
-"con forza" and crescendo marked with the C-natural and B-natural octave 16th notes
-"con forza" seems to suggest "I really really really really reallyyyMISS (accented) YOU!"

Up until this point, what we have is:

Oh Lottie-Do, Oh Lottie-Do
Oh Lottie Do, Ohhh Lottie-Do!
I've got a... Big SURPRISE for you!
Oh yes I do! Lottie-Do...

Oh Lottie-Do, Oh Lottie-Do
Oh Lottie-Do, Ohhh Lottie-Do!
Yes I do, Lottie-Do
...because I, miss you.

I'm almost home Lottie-Do (either/or:)
Where are you my Lottie-DO?

Oh Lottie-Do! x 7 (agitated/anxious)

(impetuoso section)

To be continued...

Note: I want to give an example of Lang Lang correctly interpreting bar 20 which reads: "I'VE GOT A BIG SURPRISE FOR YOU!" However, while his interpretation is technically correct, how this manifests itself in his music is another matter. Liszt wanted as smooth as possible. Lang Lang chose to, I don't even know, employ the musical equivalence of lighting a bunch of fireworks while proclaiming he has a gift for you (I'd hate to be his significant other if that's the case).

Here is the link to his rendition. The passage above occurs at 0:57, with the fireworks going off at 1:01.

Please feel free to comment or critique. This is by no means a claim to a precise interpretation, but I find this line of reasoning at the very least compelling. I will continue on with the impetuoso section shortly. I'll also provide a recording of my own in the near future (currently not near a piano).

Offline pencilart3

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Re: Liszt - Un Sospiro
Reply #1 on: January 30, 2016, 10:57:15 PM
whoa there dawg
You might have seen one of my videos without knowing it was that nut from the forum

Offline thejeev

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Re: Liszt - Un Sospiro
Reply #2 on: January 31, 2016, 01:17:18 AM
-"impetuoso" indicated, quickly and without thought
-Only a true "impetuoso" captures the intent of this passage. At this point our voice is at the peak of his excitement, not holding back in any way.
-Similar to bars 23-27, whatever is being said is decisive, only this time, really fast and loud
-The right hand rolling arpeggios are a very clever "mirror" of the real voice - the left hand. Two distinct ways of saying the same thing, one a deep and cogent voice, the top one an eccentric and over-the-top demonstration. The only time this deviates is at the beginning of the impetuoso, the right hand is sort of saying "Lottie, Dottie, Do"
-Phrase contains 6 syllables, 5 are accented, last one is not accented. Is repeated.
-Phrase seems to suggest "Oh Lottie-Do I'm here!" or "Oh Lottie-Do I'm home!" in either case, the voice has reached their intended destination it seems.
-In this phrase, two of the accented octaves receive a bolstering slurred chord immediately beforehand, adding to the weight of the phrase.

-"marcato" indicated, well-marked
-Last beat of bar 35 begins phrase (though phrase not indicated because of impetuoso)
-Two statements are made, first one is 7 syllables, second is 4
-First phrase, all marcato, indicating sudden onset of frustration or anger.
-First phrase seems to indicate "Oh Lottie-Do, Where are you?!.."
-Second phrase seems to lead into the "presto" cadenza, is 4 syllables, first is accented, and seems to begin to ask "WHERE is my/are you La...."
-Voice repeats first syllable of the name four times before his sudden outburst of, well not really anger, but more a tantrum. Liszt cleverly marked staccatissimo where the "L" sound should fall, indicating the voice is about to go nuts.

-"presto" indicated, really fast
-Here we have our voice just throwing a tantrum, perhaps looking for his lover, all he is doing is repeating her name.
-Whenever there is a crescendo in the run, that gives us "Lottie", Liszt cleverly accents the first note of the descending portions of the run, indicating the "Do", or in this case, more a "Doooo!" because of the rapid descending. The short ascending and longer descending portions of the passage almost audibly reproduces a name similar to "Lottie-Do!"
-The important thing to note in this bar is the voice is having a tantrum of sorts, he expected to find his lover, but she's not there, hence the tantrum.

-The tantrum continues into this bar, but the voice begins to collect himself.
-"dimin" e rallent." indicated
-Properly applying the above, and timing it correctly produces a dialogue something along the lines of "I have a surprise for you, because I..."
-The "Because I..." is actually a seperate distinct phrase within the passage if you look closely at how it's slurred.

-"sotto voice" and "languendo" indicated, softly and lyrically as though spoken words
-First quarter note accented to highlight "MISS you"
-"Miss you" begins bar 41, again notes held for full length for same reasons earlier.
-Phrase repeates itself "I miss my Lottie-Do". The first iteration of this phrase has a crescendo. This passage adds a lot of credence to the title "Un Sospiro - A Sigh" which has been attached to this piece. This "sigh" appears elsewhere in the piece, much more profoundly.

-Crescendo starting at bar 46
-Voice is simply in turmoil over his lost love, and is just about ready to build into another more severe tantrum.
-Here it's important to play close attention to which right-hand chords are arpeggiated and which are not. The bars containing only one chord are not, while the bars containing two chords are.
-Playing the proper chords arpeggiated produces something along the lines of:
-"Where are you? (crescendo) WHERE ARE YOU?"

-Tantrum #2, we go from mini-tantrum, to longing and sadness, to growing frustration, to more tantrum, within the space of a minute. Because the mood changes so quickly and dramatically, this is how I believe Liszt captivated the audience so much.
-There is much less in the way of specifics here, because all Liszt is doing is taking the voice's agitated state, and taking the name, and doing highly technical and virtuoso-type playing. It's these types of virtuoso passages that Liszt was the king of, but really all the audience is hearing is a voice saying a name in different agitated states, moving up and down the piano. I almost think that Liszt wrote these passages in or himself as a sort of show-off, but then again the crossing over of the hands is featured prominently in these passages, so it must also be intended for students, though I doubt any one to date could play as fast and precisely as Liszt could.
-This tantrum ends with a fermata, completely severing the audience from the agitated state in order to once again shift the mood entirely (as we saw in an earlier passage).

-"Un poco piu mosso", "non legato", "egualmente", "dolce" indicated, a little bit of motion, not smooth like before, everything equal/evenly (no agitation), sweetly
-Again a lot of markings, Liszt wants something specific here.
-Gone is the smooth legatissimo, gone is the armonioso, this passage should not be played as such in my opinion.
-This passage is all triplets. Very broken and sad-sounding.
-The main phrase is shared between both hands, each triplet in the base has its first beat accented (alternating hands), and beats two and four of the first iterations of the phrase has the triplets staccato, or "bouncing"
-This "bounce", combined with everything now equal timing, produces a very haunting, almost hysterical "Oh Lottie-Do... Oh Lottie-Do"
-Passage is repeated, this time without the accents, which in turn "accents" the voice's feeling let down, broken, empty etc.
-Passage from bar 62 reads similar to:
-"I had a big surprise for you..." (2nd syllable of "surprise' is accented, voice is upset he can't give his surprise to his lover etc.)
-Passage ends in a sentimental line that gets cut off and makes room for the climax:
-"Where are you (with crescendo)... (fermata)... Lottie..."
-It's importat to note here that after the fermata, and even before it, there is no rit, yet almost every recording I hear plays one. I think this completely kills the intent of this passage, if a rit. is played after the fermata, it creates an unnecessary break in the passage and sort of severs the audience from the turmoil the voice is going through.
-Instead, the small phrase leading into bar 65 needs to be played in time, start loud(ish) because there is a decrescendo over only two notes (we will see this small decrescendo again soon).

-Let's not forget that this is still marked egualmente and non-legato, Liszt even removed the phrasing over the apreggios. These are real arpeggios now, which means only 2 syllables instead of 3. This really brings out the loss of "excitement" the voice had at the beginning of the piece, because he now has nothing to be excited about. She's nowhere to be found.
-The familiar phrase, similar to bars 41-45, is a more desperate and desolate sounding iteration, because of the lack of the legatissimo and armonioso. In fact Liszt indicates nothing here, so simply playing the notes will give the best rendition.
-The passage, and its lack of agitato, reads like "I, miss, my, Lottie, -Do". This repeats with a crescendo which takes us into the climax.

-First part of climax
-"armonioso" is brought back, starting on 2nd beat of measure 69.
-"poco a poco ralentando" indicated  starting measure 72.
-Editions vary on which right-hand chords are arpeggiated, I have two infront of me, they have different markings, so it's hard to say exactly what Liszt was going for here, but for all practical purposes all he is doing is lamenting the absence of his lover. We can see this from the same tenuto bass notes as in bars 45-47, the same longing for his lover, but this time without the excitement. Almost in a depressed state now.
-This slows right down and takes us into piu lento section.

-Main climax
-"piu lento" indicated, a little slower. "quasi arpa" indicated in one of my editions, harp-like, but I don't think this is Liszt's marking, it just sounds nice when played that way.
-Here Liszt is giving the student one last practice of cross-over, only this time, the student must cross over several times in the same arpeggio, starting in the far bass and ending in very high treble.
-More lamenting is what's going on, "Lottie-Do..." repeated four times, a little slower than rest of piece. Voice is completely faded and broken at this point.
-Suddenly the arpeggios stop and we get three very powerful, distinct, and held for their full length notes. What's the voice saying? More like crying, at this point? What was it saying before when we had these full value notes?
-Distinct "I...miss...you..." after the last arpeggio.

76-81 (end)
-This is the original ending, not the one played by Hamelin on Youtube.
-With a decrescendo, single notes and chords end the piece.
-Nothing here is phrased.
-Passage might indicate "Where are you, my Lottie, Dottie, Do?" with the last "Do" receiving a crescendo. I wonder why?
-Crescendo into second last bar. This seems inappropriate here, everything was so sad, why get loud on a major chord?
-The reason is our voice has spotted his lover. The quarter note leading into second last bar's F-major chord, is our voice proclaiming "You're here!" However, one has to be almost meticulous with the dynamics to portray this, and again I think this is why Liszt changed it later on.
-The last two quarter notes before the final chord seem to suggest "I missed you..."

In the end, the notes, dynamics, markings etc. seem to suggest a sort of emotive story based on the narrative:

Oh Lottie-Do, Oh Lottie-Do
Oh Lottie Do, Ohhh Lottie-Do!
I've got a... Big SURPRISE for you!
Oh yes I do! Lottie-Do...

Oh Lottie-Do, Oh Lottie-Do
Oh Lottie-Do, Ohhh Lottie-Do!
Yes I do, Lottie-Do
...because I, miss you.

I'm almost home Lottie-Do (either/or:)
Where are you my Lottie-DO?

Oh Lottie-Do! x 7 (agitated/anxious)

Oh Lottie-Do, I'm here! (either/or:)
Oh Lottie-Do, I'm home!
Oh Lottie-Do! Where are you?!


I have a suprise for you...
Because I...

Miss you.
I miss you Lottie-Do
I miss you Lottie...
Lottie-Do x 6 (grows agitated again)

(tantrum #2)

Oh Lottie-Do, Oh Lottie-Do!
Oh Lottie-Do, Oh Lottie-Do...
Where are you...

I miss you Lottie...
Lottie-Do... x4

Oh Lottie-Do... x4
Where are you?
My Lottie-Dottie ... Do?!

You're here!


I want to stress one more time that the name and some of the words can be swapped for other similar words. There is certainly more than one way to tell a story and capture it's tone, but what is important is that you capture the essence of the narrative. I believe the above does this, and while likely not 100% accurate, it seems close to what Liszt might have intended. Please also note that I would be here for days outlining all of the nuanced markings but I wanted to atleast put out the gist of what I was seeing.

Of course this is only my interpretation, and if you've made it this far, thanks for considering it. If anyone is interested in my own rendition of this piece, let me know and I'll record one.


EDIT: I'm always open to refutation and changing my views, if there is something I've overlooked that might negate anything that I have presented, please feel free to comment, as I always want to strive for accurate readings, though for older pieces I also see no harm in bringing your own twist to them, provided it doesn't go against explicit direction of the composer. I also understand that it's probably better to let your interpretations speak for themselves, but actually breaking down and making a case for certain interpretations fascinates me and I enjoy the endeavour, despite its accuracy.

What do you hear or think of when playing or listening to this piece?

Online perfect_pitch

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Re: Liszt - Un Sospiro
Reply #3 on: January 31, 2016, 01:57:50 AM
Certainly not... What you wrote.

I listen with my ears. You can't put that into words...

Offline snowzart

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Re: Liszt - Un Sospiro
Reply #4 on: November 19, 2022, 07:47:27 PM
Hello, I made a pianostreet acc just to compliment this post. Your interpretation has portrayed this piece in a different light for me, and I really admire your enthusiasm and confidence. Thank you. :D

Online perfect_pitch

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Re: Liszt - Un Sospiro
Reply #5 on: November 28, 2022, 12:45:17 PM
You do realise the guy buggered off 6 1/2 years ago and hasn't been on since. He ain't around to take your compliment.

Offline snowzart

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Re: Liszt - Un Sospiro
Reply #6 on: January 30, 2023, 05:27:49 AM
You do realise the guy buggered off 6 1/2 years ago and hasn't been on since. He ain't around to take your compliment.

Fair enough, hahahah! I will say though that Rachmaninoff is also not around anymore yet I simp over him anyway.

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