Franz Liszt The Monk in Sorrow c.1860
A new edition published by SOUNDkiosk Piano Edition
With new prose translation by Jamie Crofts of the poem by Nikolaus Lenau with music by Franz Liszt.
What is The Monk in Sorrow?
The present score is for spoken word and piano. It is an example of a melodrama.
The meaning of the word melodrama has rather a checkered history, now having a rather pejorative association.
In it's historical context it simply means a spoken poetic text with piano accompaniment.
The form has been neglected somewhat, perhaps as it is entertainment for the domestic rather than public space.
I believe The Monk in Sorrow (originally Der Traurige Mönch) is a gothic masterpiece.
The aim in the present edition was to produce a composition which could easily be performed and understood by an English speaking audience.
The emphasis was therefore on meaning rather than meter.
I made the choice to abandon the metrical aspect of the original poem, since it isn't a composition where the words fit the music precisely.
To the right are three extracts from the new edition.
Jamie Crofts 2009
What is The Monk in Sorrow about?
This gothic masterpiece tells of a lone horse rider who takes shelter from a storm in an ancient tower. The area is known to be haunted by the ghost of a monk whose face is so sorrowful that anyone who sees it is taken with an unbearable melancholy, such that they would wish to die.
Neither the rider nor the horse survive.