Consolations: Liszt Six Consolations and other reflective pieces for Violin & Piano
As a musician looking for consolation myself, I was reminded of the set of six Consolations for solo piano by Liszt, and the transcription of Consolation No. 3 by the great violinist Nathan Milstein. I was curious to know how the other five Consolations would sound for violin and piano, and very excited by the potential I could immediately hear as I listened to them with that in mind. This was the beginning of my adventures with these fabulous pieces. After they had all come together, my greatest reward was hearing them as a complete set. After the Liszt Consolations, the rest of the programme came organically.
So what are the consolations offered by all these works? They are many and varied: some are put into words through their song lyrics or the composer’s own description; others are more elusive. They contain many forms of nostalgia: nostalgia for love (Liebesleid, Sicilienne); nostalgia for nature (Xerxes, On Wings of Song); nostalgia for one’s homeland (Chant Hindu); nostalgia at the end of the day (Träumerei). Then there is religion (Ave Maria, Liszt’s Consolations), friendship (Liszt’s Consolations), meditation on life’s meaning and purpose (Thaïs)… And of course… music itself.
Maya Magub, 2022