Tune of the Day: Dream of Love
This Liebestraum (German for “Dream of Love”) is the last and by far the most famous of a set of three solo piano works by Hungarian composer Franz Liszt. Published in 1850, the three Liebesträume were originally conceived as songs after poems by Ludwig Uhland and Ferdinand Freiligrath. Freiligrath's poem for the third nocturne is about unconditional love: “Love as long as you can! The hour will come when you will stand at the grave and mourn”.
The piece can be considered as split into three sections, each divided by a fast cadenza requiring dexterous finger work and a certain degree of technical ability. The same melody is used throughout the entire piece, each time varied, especially near the middle of the work, where the climax is reached.
It isn't hard to see why No. 3 is universally known and the other two are only infrequently heard. Its gently arcing six-bar phrases and throbbing repeated notes, and that glowing, completely unexpected modulation to B major make it a miniature masterpiece. By the mid-20th century, Liszt's “Dream of Love” eventually became so popular and overplayed that pianists began dropping it from their repertory. Though that trend eventually reversed, the piece is still not as often performed as it once was.