Consolations, S.172

The Consolations are a set of six solo piano works composed by Franz Liszt. There exist two versions of the Consolations: the first (S.171a) was composed by Liszt between 1844-9, and the second version (S.172, containing no. 3) was composed between 1849-50. The source of the title Consolations may have been Lamartine’s poem Une larme, ou Consolation (Liszt had already written music titled after Lamartine's work); another possible inspiration for the title are the Consolations of the French literary historian Charles Saint Beuve. The third Consolation is in D-flat major and initially marked as Lento placido. It is a favorite of audiences and an usual encore piece. Some similarity between this piece and Chopin's Nocturne Op. 27 no. 2 has been said to be a tribute to Chopin who died in 1849. In 1883 Liszt received a Grand piano from the Steinway Company with a design that included a sostenuto pedal. He began transcribing this Consolation for the new sostenuto pedal and in a letter to Steinway he opined on the positive effect it would have on the more tranquil passages.

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