Annees de pelerinage: Italie (Years of Pilgrimage: Italy) derives its title from the set of three suites for piano by Franz Liszt in which he musically portrays the “strongest sensations and most lively impressions” created by his travels to Italy and Switzerland during the period 1835-39. In this composition, each of the four movements “explores” a particular Italian city or region through, in part, the eyes of other composers who (like Liszt) were inspired to write works based on their own sojourns in the country. There are references, both literal and oblique, to music by Berlioz, Tchaikovsky and Liszt (with a sly wink from Paganini). Serious and playful elements combine in the piece, with the two inner movements (II. Venezia e Napoli and III. Firenze) providing light-hearted foils to the more somber outer movements (I. Roma and IV. Abruzzo).
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