Franz Liszt

Liebestraum No. 3

Explained using the 5-4-3-2-1 Method

Duration: 4–5 Minutes
Genre: Character Piece
Time of Creation: Around 1850
World Premiere: Unknown (First Publication 1850)

Table of Contents

Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3 in 5 Sentences

Franz Liszt’s Liebestraum No. 3 is a piano piece that marks the conclusion of the three-part cycle “Liebesträume”. Liszt, who is famous for his contributions to program music, based the composition on texts (see below in the “Questions and Answers”). In character, Liebestraum No. 3 is reminiscent of a night piece (nocturne): The effect is described as calm and dreamy, but at the same time expressive. The form is remarkable, as Liszt combines the three individual parts of the piece with virtuoso cadenzas (see below under “Highlights”).

Note: This work belongs to the Classical Music Top 100.

4 Highlights from Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3

Highlight 1: Prelude (up to the first cadenza)

With the quiet, repetitive first section, Liszt puts us in that mood typical of a night piece:

Highlight 2: first cadenza

The first cadenza (a virtuosic passage that seems improvised) leads into the second part:

Highlight 3: climax and second cadenza

In the second part, Liszt builds the climax, which is most clearly perceptible via the volume, which reaches its maximum here. This is followed again by a cadenza that…

Highlight 4: reminiscence of the beginning

…leads to the third part, in which we hear reminiscences of the first part:

3 Questions and Answers about Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3

Question 1: Which models did Liszt use for his Liebesträume?

The models for Liszt’s Liebesträume are songs that Liszt composed on various texts: Liebestraum No. 1 and Liebestraum No. 2 are based on the texts “Hohe Liebe” and “Seliger Tod” by the German poet Ludwig Uhland. The basis for Liebestraum No. 3 is the text “O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst” („O love, as long as love you can“) by the German lyricist and translator Ferdinand Freiligrath.

Question 2: Who are famous performers of Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3?

Famous pianists who have played Liszt’s Liebestraum No. 3 include Lang Lang (see below), Claudio Arrau, Evgeny Kissin, Khatia Buniatishvili (see below), and Richard Clayderman.

Question 3: In which era did Franz Liszt live?

Franz Liszt lived in the Romantic era and is considered one of its most important representatives.

2 Recommended Recordings of Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3

Recording 1: Lang Lang (video production)

Compositions by Liszt are repertoire in which Lang Lang feels right at home. This is also clearly noticeable in his interpretation of the 3rd Liebestraum. Since this recording is a production of the piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons, there is also a little surprise after the first cadenza… 😉

Recording 2: Khatia Buniatishvili (live, 2011)

Choosing the right encore is an art: you have to sense exactly what the mood of the audience is, and then decide on an encore that will either “heat up” or “cool down”. It’s a good thing that Liszt wrote so many pieces that are suitable as encores 😊 While La Campanella is suitable for “heating up”, you can reach for Liebestraum No. 3 if you want to give the performance a rather quiet ending. Khatia Buniatishvili does just that here at the 2011 Verbier Festival:

1 Quote about Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3

O love, as long as love you can!

The first verse from Ferdinand Freiligrath's poem, which served as a model for Liszt's Liebestraum No. 3

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