Liebesträum (German for Dreams of Love) is a set of three solo piano works by Franz Liszt, published in 1850. This is the hauntingly beautiful theme for the third of these piano solos. The poems on which the songs are based depict three different forms of love; exalted love (saintly or religious love), erotic love, and unconditional mature love (the subject of the current theme.) Liebestraum No. 3 is the last of the three that Liszt wrote, and the most popular.
What’s really interesting and somewhat unusual about this section of the piano piece is that the melody frequently changes between the hands. See if you can follow my fingers as the melody alternates between my right and left hands. Particularly starting at around the 1 minute mark, I am constantly amazed at how the melody seems to be kind of drifting up between my hands even as I’m playing it!
To quote Gary Myers (a great artist from the NY state finger lake region who has graciously allowed me to use his beautiful painting of the same name to match the mood of the piece) talking about his painting (but his impressions also apply to the music) : “ Liebestraum translates as dream of love and there is a dreamlike quality to this piece, in the way the two trees intertwine to become almost one beneath a warm dusky sky and in the way the thin white ribbon of a path winds rhythmically through the landscape in a way that seems to mimic the graceful weaving of the musical composition’s melody. Looking just now, I notice that the two fields in the center, one orange and the other yellow, seem to form a divided heart shape, like one of those pairs of lovers’ pendants where each contains a half of a heart.
Also according to Gary: The Hungarian-born Franz Liszt is an interesting character. He was a phenomenon of his time, a womanizing piano virtuoso whose playing caused an incredibly frenzied response from his adoring female fans. There was such a hysteria over his performances that a term, Lisztomania, was coined by the physicians who studied the effects at the time.” Well, being able to write and play and that stuff and looking pretty studly, I’m not surprised to hear that ol’ Franz was the first rock star!!
Dedicated to patient DM.