Liebesträume is a set of three solo piano works by Franz Liszt, published in 1850. The two poems by Uhland and the one by Freiligrath depict three different forms of Love. Uhland’s ‘exalted Love’ is saintly or religious Love: the martyr renounces worldly Love and heaven has opened its gates. The second song ‘blessed death’ is often known by its first line ‘I had died’, and evokes erotic Love. Freiligrath’s poem for the famous third Notturno is about unconditional mature Love ‘Love as long as you can!’.
Franz Liszt had two great Loves in his life, Comtesse Marie d’Agoult, and later Princess Carolyn Sayn-Wittgenstein. In Paris Franz Liszt met the young and beautiful Countess D’Agoult. She was unhappily married and in a separation. She fell madly in love with Liszt. Eventually, they became a couple.
My heart overflows with emotion and joy! I do not know what heavenly languor, what infinite pleasure permeates it and burns me up. It is as if I had never loved!!! Tell me whence these uncanny disturbances spring, these inexpressible foretastes of delight, these divine, tremors of love. Oh! all this can only spring from you, sister, angel, woman, Marie! All this can only be, is surely nothing less than a gentle ray streaming from your fiery soul, or else some secret poignant teardrop which you have long since left in my breast.
My God, my God, never force us apart, take pity on us! But what am I saying? Forgive my weakness, how couldst Thou divide us! Thou wouldst have nothing but pity for us…No no! It is not in vain that our flesh and our souls quicken and become immortal through Thy Word, which cries out deep within us Father, Father…out Thy hand to us, that our broken hearts seek their refuge in Thee…O! we thank, bless and praise Thee, O God, for all that Thou has given us, and all that Thou hast prepared for us….
This is to be — to be!
Oh let me repeat that name a hundred times, a thousand times over; for three days now it has lived within me, oppressed me, set me afire. I am not writing to you, no, I am close beside you. I see you, I hear you. Eternity in your arms… Heaven, Hell, everything, all is within you, redoubled… Oh! Leave me free to rave in my delirium. Drab, tame, constricting reality is no longer enough for me. We must live our lives to the full, loving and suffering to extremes!…