Liebesträume

Liebesträume (German for Dreams of Love) is a set of three solo piano works (S/G541) by Franz Liszt, published in 1850. Liszt called each of the three pieces Liebesträume; but, often they are referred to incorrectly in the singular as Liebestraum (especially No. 3, the most famous of the three). Originally the three Liebesträume (Notturni) were conceived as songs after poems by Ludwig Uhland and Ferdinand Freiligrath. In 1850, two versions appeared simultaneously as a set of songs for high voice and piano, and as transcriptions for piano two-hands.

The two poems by Uhland and the one by Freiligrath depict three different forms of love. Uhland's Hohe Liebe (Exalted Love) is saintly, or religious, love: the "martyr" renounces worldly love and "heaven has opened its gates". The second song Seliger Tod (Holy Death) is often known by its first line ("Gestorben war ich") ("I was dead"), and evokes erotic love; "dead" could be a metaphor here referring to what is known as "la petite mort" in French ("I was dead from love's bliss; I lay buried in her arms; I was wakened by her kisses; I saw heaven in her eyes"). Freiligrath's poem for the famous third Notturno is about unconditional mature love, and warning that love lost is miserable: "Love as long as you can! The hour will come when you will stand at graves and mourn" ("O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst").

Read more about Liebesträume:  Liebestraum No. 3

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