When the Last Stars Begin to Fade


The autograph of this hitherto unknown song by Franz Liszt (1811–86), Wenn die letzten Sterne bleichen (When the last stars begin to fade), was discovered in 2007 among the papers of Count Franz von Pocci (1807–76) in the manuscript department of the Bavarian State Library. Pocci, an ingenious caricaturist, poet, musician, composer, founder of the Kasperltheater, jurist, and master of ceremonies in the age of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, met Liszt on his concert tour through southern Germany in 1843. In Munich, Liszt stayed at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, where he met the German novelist and writer Bettina von Arnim and her daughters, Pocci, and many other participants in Munich cultural life. Wenn die letzten Sterne bleichen is dedicated to Pocci, and appears to have been written by Liszt at an impromptu musical soirée at the hotel and first sung by Armgard von Arnim, who had a lovely soprano voice and was admired by Liszt. Pocci wrote the poem for the song, which deals with the short moment between night and morning. The manuscript of the 24-bar composition shows how quickly Liszt jotted down and corrected the song, omitting elements such as clefs, dynamic markings, phrasing, and articulation.

Date Created

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

Wenn die letzten Sterne bleichen

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

4 pages : 23.5 x 28.5 centimeters. Autograph; voice and piano


  • BSB Shelfmark: Mus.ms. 23595

Last updated: October 18, 2012