Liszt - Cantico del Sol di Francesco d'Assisi
Type of Spiritual Experience
Liszt had a deep spiritual affinity with the stories of his two patron saints—St Francis of Assisi and St Francis of Paola—and the two Légendes, whether in their piano or orchestral shape, are among Liszt’s best-loved works.
The Fioretti (Little Flowers) of St Francis of Assisi was amongst Liszt’s favourite inspirational and devotional readings, and it is The Canticle of the Sun from that book which provides him with the text for the choral version of the Cantico del Sol.
The first setting of the text (for baritone, ad lib male chorus and piano or organ) was made in 1862 but, although it was performed, has remained unpublished. The definitive version, with the accompaniment of orchestra or piano and organ, was completed by 1881 and published immediately, but the contemporary version for piano solo remained unpublished until the excellent Neue Liszt-Ausgabe printed it in 1983.
In the piano version Liszt had abbreviated the title to Cantico di San Francesco, but the piece really deserves the same title as the cantata. The piece is partly based upon the familiar carol In dulci jubilo and is that rare thing amongst Liszt’s later works: a paean of joy.
A description of the experience
Cantico del sol
per baritono,coro ,organo e orchestra (1862)
Baritono: György Melis
Coro della Radio-Televisione Magiara
Orchestra Sinfonica di Budapest