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Années de pèlerinage

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Années de pèlerinage (French for Years of Pilgrimage) (S.160, S.161, S.162, S.163) is a set of three suites for solo piano by Franz Liszt. Much of it derives from his earlier work, Album d'un voyageur, his first major published piano cycle, which was composed between 1835 and 1838 and published in 1842.[1] Années de pèlerinage is widely considered as the masterwork and summation of Liszt's musical style. The third volume is notable as an example of his later style. Composed well after the first two volumes, it displays less virtuosity and more harmonic experimentation.

The title Années de pèlerinage refers to Goethe's famous novel of self-realization, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship, and especially its sequel Wilhelm Meister's Journeyman Years (whose original title Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre meant Years of Wandering or Years of Pilgrimage, the latter being used for its first French translation). Liszt clearly places these compositions in line with the Romantic literature of his time, prefacing most pieces with a literary passage from writers such as Schiller, Byron or Senancour, and, in an introduction to the entire work, writing:

Having recently travelled to many new countries, through different settings and places consecrated by history and poetry; having felt that the phenomena of nature and their attendant sights did not pass before my eyes as pointless images but stirred deep emotions in my soul, and that between us a vague but immediate relationship had established itself, an undefined but real rapport, an inexplicable but undeniable communication, I have tried to portray in music a few of my strongest sensations and most lively impressions.[2]

The suites[edit]

Première année: Suisse[edit]

"Première année: Suisse" ("First Year: Switzerland"), S.160, was published in 1855. Composed between 1848 and 1854, most of the pieces (Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9) are revisions of Album d'un voyageur: Part 1: Impressions et Poesies. "Au lac de Wallenstadt" (No. 2) and "Au bord d'une source" (No. 4) received only minor revisions, while "La Chapelle de Guillaume Tell" (No. 1), "Vallée d'Obermann" (No. 6), and especially "Les cloches de Genève" (No. 9) were more extensively rewritten.[3] "Églogue" (No. 7) was published separately, and "Orage" (No. 5) was included as part of the definitive version of the cycle.[4]

  1. Chapelle de Guillaume Tell (William Tell's Chapel) in C major – For this depiction of the Swiss struggle for liberation Liszt chooses a motto from Schiller as caption, "All for one – one for all." A noble passage marked lento opens the piece, followed by the main melody of the freedom fighters. A horn call rouses the troops, echoes down the valleys, and mixes with the sound of the heroic struggle.[5]
  2. Au lac de Wallenstadt (At Lake Wallenstadt) in A major – Liszt's caption is from Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (Canto III, stanza 85): "Thy contrasted lake / With the wild world I dwell in is a thing / Which warns me, with its stillness, to forsake / Earth's troubled waters for a purer spring." In her Mémoires, Liszt's mistress and traveling companion of the time, Marie d'Agoult, recalls their time by Lake Wallenstadt, writing, "Franz wrote for me there a melancholy harmony, imitative of the sigh of the waves and the cadence of oars, which I have never been able to hear without weeping."[6]
  3. Pastorale in E major –
  4. Au bord d'une source (Beside a Spring) in A major – Liszt's caption is from Schiller: “In the whispering coolness begins young nature’s play.”
  5. Orage (Storm) in C minor – Liszt's caption is again from Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage (Canto III, canto 96): "But where of ye, O tempests! is the goal? / Are ye like those within the human breast? / Or do ye find, at length, like eagles, some high nest?"
  6. Vallée d'Obermann (Obermann's Valley) in E minor – Inspired by Étienne Pivert de Senancour's novel of the same title, set in Switzerland, with a hero overwhelmed and confused by nature, suffering from ennui and longing,[7] finally concluding that only our feelings are true.[8] The captions include one from Byron's succeeding canto 97, ("Could I embody and unbosom now / That which is most within me,--could I wreak / My thoughts upon expression, and thus throw / Soul--heart--mind--passions--feelings--strong or weak-- / All that I would have sought, and all I seek, / Bear, know, feel--and yet breathe--into one word, / And that one word were Lightning, I would speak; / But as it is, I live and die unheard, / With a most voiceless thought, sheathing it as a sword") and two from Senancour's Obermann, which include the crucial questions, “What do I want? Who am I? What do I ask of nature?"
  7. Eglogue (Eclogue) in A major – Liszt's caption is from the next canto of the Pilgrimage: "The morn is up again, the dewy morn, / With breath all incense, and with cheek all bloom, / Laughing the clouds away with playful scorn, / And living as if earth contained no tomb!"
  8. Le mal du pays (Homesickness) in E minor –
  9. Les cloches de Genève: Nocturne (The Bells of Geneva: Nocturne) in B major – Liszt's caption is from stanza 72, earlier in the Byron's Pilgrimage: “I live not in myself, but I become / Portion of that around me”.

Deuxième année: Italie[edit]

"Deuxième année: Italie" ("Second Year: Italy"), S.161, was composed between 1837 and 1849 and published in 1858 by Schott. Nos. 4 to 6 are revisions of Tre sonetti del Petrarca (Three sonnets of Petrarch), which was composed around 1839–1846 and published in 1846.

  1. Sposalizio (Marriage of the Virgin, a painting by Raphael) in E major
  2. Il penseroso (The Thinker, a statue by Michelangelo) in C minor
  3. Canzonetta del Salvator Rosa (Canzonetta of Salvator Rosa) in A major (Note: this song "Vado ben spesso cangiando loco" was in fact written by Giovanni Bononcini)[9]
  4. Sonetto 47 del Petrarca (Petrarch's Sonnet 47) in D major
  5. Sonetto 104 del Petrarca (Petrarch's Sonnet 104) in E major
  6. Sonetto 123 del Petrarca (Petrarch's Sonnet 123) in A major
  7. Après une lecture du Dante: Fantasia Quasi Sonata (After Reading Dante: Fantasia Quasi Sonata) in D minor
  • Venezia e Napoli (Venice and Naples), S.162. Composed in 1859 as a partial revision of an earlier set with the same name composed around 1840. Published in 1861 as a supplement to the Second Year
  1. Gondoliera (Gondolier's Song) in F major – Based on the song "La biondina in gondoletta" by Giovanni Battista Peruchini.
  2. Canzone (Canzone) in E minor – Based on the gondolier's song "Nessun maggior dolore" from Rossini's Otello.
  3. Tarantella (Tarantella) in G minor – Uses themes by Guillaume-Louis Cottrau, 1797–1847.

Troisième année[edit]

"Troisième année" ("Third Year"), S.163, was published 1883; Nos. 1–4 and 7 composed in 1877; No. 5, 1872; No. 6, 1867.

  1. Angélus! Prière aux anges gardiens (Angelus! Prayer to the Guardian Angels) in E major – dedicated to Daniela von Bülow, Liszt's granddaughter, first daughter of Hans von Bülow and Cosima Liszt and wife of art historian Henry Thode. It was written for both melodeon, piano, or an instrument that combines both, for Liszt wrote "piano-melodium" on his manuscript[10]
  2. Aux cyprès de la Villa d'Este I: Thrénodie (To the Cypresses of the Villa d'Este I: Threnody) in G minor
  3. Aux cyprès de la Villa d'Este II: Thrénodie (To the Cypresses of the Villa d'Este II: Threnody) in E minor – The Villa d'Este described in these two threnodies is in Tivoli, near Rome. It is famous for its beautiful cypresses and fountains
  4. Les jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este (The Fountains of the Villa d'Este) in F major – Over the music, Liszt placed the inscription, "Sed aqua quam ego dabo ei, fiet in eo fons aquae salientis in vitam aeternam" ("But the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life," from the Gospel of John). This piece, with its advanced harmonies and shimmering textures, is in many ways a precursor of musical Impressionism
  5. Sunt lacrymae rerum/En mode hongrois (There are Tears for Things/In Hungarian Style) in A minor – Dedicated to Hans von Bülow.
  6. Marche funèbre, En mémoire de Maximilien I, Empereur du Mexique (Funeral March, In memory of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico) in F minor
  7. Sursum corda (Lift Up Your Hearts) in E major


There have been numerous recordings made of the suites, in both complete and incomplete form.

Year Pianist Section Label and number
1928, 1937, 1928 Claudio Arrau Incomplete
1936 Béla Bartók Sursum Corda (3e année) Patria MrE 63; later Pacific 6301, etc
1947 Vladimir Horowitz Au bord d'une source (1ere année) RCA Victor Red Seal
1947 Dinu Lipatti Sonetto 104 del Petrarca (2e année) EMI CZS 767163 2
1950 Wilhelm Kempff 3 pieces from 1ere année, 5 pieces from 2e année, 1 piece from Supplement Decca / London, once issued on Great Pianists of the 20th Century
1951 Vladimir Horowitz Sonetto 104 del Petrarca (2e année) RCA Victor Red Seal
1963 Sergio Fiorentino 1ere année: Suisse Delta Record Co. Ltd. DEL 12032/SDEL 18032
1969 Claudio Arrau Incomplete Philips Classics
1973 Jerome Rose Complete Vox CD3X 3004
1974 Wilhelm Kempff 2e année: Italie (minus Dante Sonata) & Gondoliera from Supplement Deutsche Grammophon
1975 Vladimir Horowitz Au bord d'une source (1ere année) RCA Victor Red Seal 82876 50754 2
1977 Lazar Berman Complete Deutsche Grammophon DGG 4372062
1977 György Cziffra Complete EMI Connoisseur Society CSQ 2141, 2142, 2143
1980 Alfred Brendel 3e année: Italie (3 pieces: No. 2, No. 4, No. 5) Philips Classics 9500 775
1986 Zoltán Kocsis 3e année: Italie Philips Classics 462312-2
1986 Alfred Brendel 1ere année: Suisse Philips Classics 462312-2
1986 Alfred Brendel 2e année: Italie Philips Classics 462312-2
1986[11] Tamás Vásáry 2e année: Italie BBC music Magazine
1989, 1984, 1983 Claudio Arrau Incomplete Philips Classics
1989 Jeffrey Swann Complete Akademia Records
1989[12] Roberto Poli 2e année: Italie OnClassical
1990 Jorge Bolet 2e année: Italie Decca / London ASIN: B00000E2MO
1990 Jorge Bolet 1e année: Suisse Decca / London ASIN: B00000E2MN
1990 Alan Marks 2e année: Italie Nimbus Records
1991 Louis Lortie 2e année: Italie Chandos Records
1991 Irène Polya Incomplete Hungaroton HCD 31517
1992 Jenő Jandó 1e année: Suisse Naxos Records 8.550548
1992 Jenő Jandó 2e année: Italie Naxos Records 8.550549
1992 Jenő Jandó 3e année Naxos Records 8.550550
1996 Pierre Goy 1e année Cantando
1995, 1996, 1990 Leslie Howard Complete Hyperion Records
2001 Carlo Maria Dominici 3e année Fabula Classica
2001 Frederic Chiu 2e année: Italie, Supplement Harmonia Mundi
2001, 2003, 2005 Ksenia Nosikova Complete Centaur Records
2000, 2002 Thomas Hitzlberger 2e année Cybele
2003 Aldo Ciccolini Complete EMI Classics 5851772
2003 Yoram Ish-Hurwitz 2e année: Italie Turtle Records
2004 Yoram Ish-Hurwitz 1ere année: Suisse Turtle Records
2004 Yoram Ish-Hurwitz 3e année Turtle Records
2004 Nicholas Angelich Complete MIRARE
2005 Stephen Hough 1ere année: Suisse Hyperion Records
2008 Daniel Grimwood Complete, without Supplement sfz music SFZM0208
2010 Louis Lortie Complete Chandos Records CHAN10662(2)
2010 Mūza Rubackytė Complete Lyrinx Records LYR 2216
2010 Jerome Lowenthal Complete Bridge Records 9307A/C
2008, 2009, 2010 Michael Korstick Complete CPO 777 478-2
2010 Tomas Dratva 1ere année Oehms Classics OC 786
2011 Julian Gorus Complete Hänssler Classic 98.627
2011 Alexander Krichel 2e année: Italie Telos Music
2011 Bertrand Chamayou Complete Naive
2011 Seung-Yeun Huh Complete, without Supplement Ars Musici 232406
2011 Ragna Schirmer Complete Berlin Classics 0300121BC
2012 Sinae Lee Complete Nimbus Records N16202
2012 Costantino Catena Supplement Camerata Tokyo CMCD-15133-4
2012 Reiko Kuwahara 1ere année: Suisse Denmoukeikaku/DPIC Entertainment
2013 Alexei Grynyuk Sonetti del Petrarca (2e année) Orchid Classics ORC100031
2013 Eisuke Nemoto 2e année: Italie, Supplement Denmoukeikaku/DPIC Entertainment
2014 Simone Jennarelli 1e année: Suisse [1]
2020 Suzana Bartal Complete Naïve Records ASIN: B084QHPLZD
2020 Yunchan Lim 2e année: Italie S.161 Young Musicians of Korea Vol.3, Korea Broadcasting System Media
2022 Francesco Libetta Complete, on Piano Borgato GrandPrix 333 C&Co New Recording https://www.qobuz.com/dk-en/album/annees-de-pelerinage-francesco-libetta/ucxmlr1nuiyka



Edition Peters publishes the complete score, with the first volume of the trilogy "Suisse" published together with the "Trois Morceaux suisses" for the first time, in line with the composer’s original intention to combine all his Swiss-inspired character pieces into a single volume. The musical journey is supported by the inclusion of historical illustrations of the scenes and landscapes that inspired the composer. Edited by world-renowned Liszt expert and concert pianist Leslie Howard, the edition also contains Liszt’s original fingerings.

Dover Publications has issued a complete edition in one bound volume. Also included is an appendix of related works including Lyon (from the first book of Album d'un voyageur), Apparitions, Tre sonetti del Petrarca, and the original version of Venezia e Napoli.

In literature[edit]

Haruki Murakami's novel Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (2013) centers on the movement "Le Mal du pays," and derives its title from the Années.[13][14]


  1. ^ Hamilton, Kenneth, "Liszt's early and Weimar piano works," in The Cambridge Companion to Liszt, ed. Kenneth Hamiton, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2005.
  2. ^ Lucie Renaud, Lucie, translated by Peter Christensen, Notes for the Analekta album Années de pèlerinage – Suisse (Years of Pilgrimage – Switzerland), André Laplante, "Analekta || Years of Pilgrimage, Switzerland, Classical music, André Laplante". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-04-16., accessed Sept. 8, 2010
  3. ^ Hamilton, pp. 66ff.
  4. ^ Lucie Renaud, Lucie, translated by Peter Christensen, Notes for the Analekta album Années de pèlerinage – Suisse (Years of Pilgrimage – Switzerland), André Laplante, "Analekta || Years of Pilgrimage, Switzerland, Classical music, André Laplante". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-04-16., accessed Sept. 8, 2010
  5. ^ Watson, Derek, Liszt, The Master Musicians, J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd., London, 1989, p. 244.
  6. ^ Watson, p. 244.
  7. ^ Hamilton, p. 68.
  8. ^ Watson, p. 244.
  9. ^ Naxos Direct Archived 2013-09-28 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Années de pèlerinage" Ferenc Liszt, Edited by Imre Sulyok, Imre Mezo. (Shanghai Music Publishing House, 2007) ISBN 978-7-80751-029-1
  11. ^ published May 1997
  12. ^ published 2008
  13. ^ O'Hagan, Sean (28 July 2014). "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage review – Haruki Murakami's familiar tale of a man's odd past and his empty present". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2021.
  14. ^ Arana, Marie (11 August 2014). "Review: 'Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage,' by Haruki Murakami". The Washington Post. Retrieved 29 June 2021.

External links[edit]