Lang Lang’s encore is Liszt’s Petrarch Sonnet No. 104, Années de pèlerinage, No. 2. The following description is copied from a program note for a Lang Lang concert on 11/23/2004 at Kimmel Center, Philadelphia.
Liszt’s three Petrarch sonnets form part of his collection Années de pèlerinage, deuxième année, Italie (Years of Pilgrimage, second year, Italy), composed between 1837 and 1849, though not published until 1858. Whereas the first book of the Années de pèlerinage (Swiss) had been concerned mainly with evocations of nature, the second book dealt with works of art—both literary and visual—that Liszt had encountered on his travels in Italy with Marie d’Agoult. His Sonetti del Petrarca were inspired by three of the best known sonnets in Petrarch’s Canzoniere: Benedetto sia ’l giorno (No. 47), Pace non trovo (No. 104), and I’vidi in terra angelici costumi (No. 123). Liszt had originally set them as songs for high tenor voice, then for piano solo, then revised them again for the Années. He even returned to them many years later, making “simpler” versions for medium tenor or baritone. Taken as a group, the various versions provide fascinating insight into Liszt’s transcription procedures. Formally the piano pieces, with some divergences from the songs, loosely follow the structure of Petrarch’s sonnets with introduction, interludes and coda. Sonnet 104 begins with an agitated ascent that introduces the main melody, which Liszt presents three times in different guises (the various versions of the piece differ significantly in form). The basically lyrical melody is subjected to occasional tempo changes and pianistic outbursts that suggest the sonnet’s images of a restless search for peace. A recitativelike passage introduces the coda, which dies away quietly.
Petrarch Sonnet No. 104
I find no peace, yet make no war;
I fear yet hope, I burn yet am ice;
I fly in the heavens, but lie on the earth;
I hold nothing, but embrace the whole world.
One imprisons me, who neither frees nor holds me;
nor keeps me for herself, nor loosens the noose;
Love does not slay me, nor unshackle me;
Love wishes me not to live, but leaves me in torment.
I see without eyes, and have no tongue but cry,
I long to perish, yet I beg for aid;
I hate myself, but love another.
I feed on sadness, yet I weeping I laugh;
death and life repel me equally.
I am in this state, Woman, because of You.