This catastrophe, the couple’s emotional reunion early in 1835, and especially Marie’s becoming pregnant in March, cemented their decision to elope to Switzerland in June 1835 (their daughter Blandine was born in December).
They enshrine many of the central features of Romanticism, capturing the desire to wander, the search for beautiful landscapes and fusion with nature, the fertilization of music with literary and other cultural associations, as well as the journey of discovery, both outward (the physical exploration) and inward (the sense of personal pilgrimage).
Gounod’s Faust is his only opera to have retained a place on stage, and within two years of its first production in 1859 Liszt had written this witty and ingenious elaboration of the waltz, which also incorporates a lyrical intermezzo based on the Faust–Marguerite love duet ‘Ô nuit d’amour! Faust was, of course, a subject close to Liszt’s heart – he composed his own Faust Symphony in 1854 – yet Sacheverell Sitwell observed long ago a curious quality of cynical detachment in this showpiece: ‘Liszt must have seized upon this tune from the most popular opera of the day, determined to make its worldly success his excuse for committing every kind of sacrilege with its body, and yet lifting it, in doing this, on to a higher spiritual plane than it could ever aspire to on its own merits …
In this piece he is giving the public their delight and mocking them in that.’ Certainly the pyrotechnical demands are at times disproportionately sophisticated for Gounod’s occasionally banal themes, and with Liszt’s modulations and harmonic twists adding a delicious spice and urbanity to the music, this tremendously effective piece is an example of Liszt’s treatment transcending its origins.
Pastorale is a charming vignette, its repeated binary structure reflecting the unpretentious simplicity of the music and the country scene it portrays.
It acts as an interlude before the second water-study, Au bord d’une source, which in its first version ran on from Au lac de Wallenstadt without a break, both works being in A flat major.
These revisions were made between 18, and the new volume was published in 1855.