Tablet - Portrait

Tablet - Landscape


Franz Liszt

The actual date of composition of Vallée d'Obermann given in the headnote might well be expanded to include the period 1835 - 1836 since it is based on the fourth work, also titled Vallée d'Obermann, in Liszt's early collection Album d'un voyageur, which dates to that time. This later version is the sixth piece in Suisse, the first volume of the three that comprise Liszt's Années de pèlerinage. The inspiration for the piece is the 1804 novel Obermann by Etiene Jeane Senancour, which tells of the dispirited title character whose misfortunes drive him to seek consolation in a rural area of Switzerland. This is the longest of the nine pieces in the Suisse set, having a duration of nearly 15 minutes. It is also arguably the deepest and most touching work here, as well. It opens with music whose mostly descending contour and listless manner paint a dire bleakness. The work has three sections and the dispirited manner of the first only marginally improves in the next, which is full of passion and yearning in its beautiful theme. The final section, however, brings on a somewhat brighter mood and sense of triumph. But the triumph is mixed with pain and struggle, in the end largely coming across as philosophical in nature for the Obermann character.