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"What else is our life but a series of preludes to that unknown Hymn, the first and solemn note of which is intoned by Death?"
Franz Liszts symphonic poem Les Préludes, written in 1854, follows the eponymous text from Alphonse de Lamartines collection of poems Méditations poétiques. It describes the fate of a man torn between the joys of love, a rustic idyll and a fierce struggle the latter serving to frame the work in the hymn-like Andante maestoso sections.
Lamartines poem is printed in three languages in the present score.