F. LISZT ─ LYRICAL AND GENTLE Essay and piano interpretation by Asya Ardova to the 200th anniversary of Liszt’s birthday
Essay and piano interpretation by Asya Ardova to the 200th anniversary of Liszt’s birthday.
Listen to the soundtrack LISZT. “CYPRESSES OF VILLA D’ESTE” performed by Asya Ardova on the page ardSOUND of ardisonata.net
Starting this essay about “Cypresses of Villa d’Este” , I intended to describe Liszt’s impressions in 1868, when already ordained priest, he traveled all over Italian towns, such as Tivoli.
It could be fine to add appreciations to everything wonderful usually said about the manor with the parkland belonging to the d’Este family from the 15th century and embodying the universe itself, but of miniature size…
However, comparing my recollections with Liszt’s sounding canvas, I revealed the other soul of this most blissful corner.
Here I’d like to give some information about the court of d’Este family resorting to Pavel Muratov’s (1881─ 1950) “Images of Italy” (1912) and trying to preserve his most refined style in English. Muratov describes Ferrara, main residence of d’Este:
“…The court of d’Este in Ferrara was a true paradise for poets. Severe Marquises Azzo and Obizzo enjoyed listening minstrels. Already in the end of the 15th century Duke Ercole admired Boiardo, while his son Alfonso supported Ariosto and Alfonso the Second is famous only due to his friendship with Torquato Tasso, the last poet of Renaissance. The d’Este dynasty was the only one over Italy to have the right for the traditions of knighthood. Maybe this privilege attracted troubadours, cherishing the legends about King Arthur and Roland…”
Of course, the country palaces were twins of the main Ferrara castle, moreover, the power of d’Este spread on vast area and through the epochs.
Liszt seemed to have been the descendant of those medieval minstrels, when he accepted the invitation of Cardinal d’Este to spend the hours of idleness in Tivoli, also belonging to the great family.
Thus every stone, every fountain, every grotto in this park, laid out during the age of early Renaissance, stirred his mind, moreover, Liszt was inclined to rank himself among the strolling musicians, hence calling his piano collection “The Years of Pilgrimage”.
Liszt’s “Cypresses” is not a mere picturesque piece. This is a true romantic piano ballad, growing to utterly dramatic symphony, or opera overture, something that requires continuation, though complete by its construction. These are the passions and circumstances witnessed by majestic cypresses through ages and cultural strata, sighs of Ugo and Parisina, imprisoned for their liaison by deceived husband Niccolo the Third, or Cardinals Ippolito and Giulio struggling for Angela Borgia.
This lady from Alfonso the First’s suite was captivated by Giulio’s handsome eyes,
having caused unwillingly (or on purpose?) his tragic destiny…
Liszt extracts these passions from out the grottos and chambers, from the ponds full of fish
and out of the branches letting them flee away to space, to meadows and olive groves surrounding Villa d’Este…