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Composer: Liszt, Franz (1811-1886)

© Franz Hanfstaengl, 1858
© Franz Hanfstaengl, 1858
January 2019
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DijonItalian Virtuosities

Liszt, Sciarrino
Jean-Pierre Collot, Piano

StockholmRoland Pöntinen, recital

Roland Pöntinen, recital
Schubert, Pontinen, Agócs, Liszt, Rachmaninov
Roland Pöntinen, Piano

AmsterdamMaster Pianists Series: Alexander Gavryluk

© Marco Borggreve
Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninov, Prokofiev
Alexander Gavrylyuk, Piano

GlasgowAfternoon Performance: Stephen Hough Plays Liszt

Bartók, Liszt
BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; Thomas Dausgaard; Stephen Hough

BudapestHungarian Gems 1 / Bartók / Dubrovay / Liszt-Weiner

Bartók, Dubrovay, Liszt
Concerto Budapest; Zoltán Rácz; Maria Włoszczowska; Boglárka Fábry
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Seeking new horizons with the Royal Philharmonic

Alexander Shelley © Dwayne Johnson
Alexander Shelley conducts a folksong-infused programme of Kodály and Bartók, with Mariam Batsashvili performing Liszt. 
***11
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Magnificent Mariinsky at the Lied Center for the Performing Arts

Valery Gergirev conducts the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra © Justin Mohling | Lied Center for Performing Arts
Gergiev and Abduraimov create magic in a dazzling Rachmaninov Rhapsody.
*****
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Martin Helmchen pays debt to Schumann’s genius in Baden

Martin Helmchen © Giorgia Bertazzi
By using Schumann’s Novelletten to draw a broad dramaturgical bow over the whole evening, Martin Helmchen stands on his own as a bold and highly creative pianist.
*****
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Metamorphoses and transcendence: Igor Levit at Carnegie Hall

Igor Levit © Robbie Lawrence
Levit transfigured one more time the musical material in a sort of new, life-affirming way. 
*****
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Petrenko’s Brahms reaches Alpine summits on the Mersey

Vasily Petrenko © Svetlana Tarlova
On reaching the second instalment of his Brahms cycle, Vasily Petrenko brings a fresh breath of alpine air to Liverpool, while George Li impresses in Rachmaninov’s ever popular Second Piano Concerto.
****1
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Biography

For most of us, the name of Franz Liszt conjures up a two word phrase: piano virtuoso. Liszt gave us the piano recital: before him, no pianist was so sure of his prowess and showmanship as to dare to book a large concert hall and pull in an adoring audience there to see just one man playing the piano for an entire evening.

Liszt’s vast array of piano pieces abounds with showmanship: whether or not they are more difficult to play than other composers’ works, they sound more difficult and more impressive. But amidst all the razzmatazz, it’s easy to overlook the depth, variety, innovation and sheer quality of the music. His masterwork, the single movement Sonata in B Minor, builds a series of themes into a massive musical structure with a coherence that would later be echoed in the operas of his son-in-law Richard Wagner. The shorter Totentanz is utterly convincing in its depiction of a series of shifting moods, while the Hungarian Rhapsodies alternate joyous fireworks with moments of rare delicacy. Equally impressive are Liszt’s transcriptions and “reminiscences”. Listening to his Reminiscences de Norma gives you the uncanny feeling that you’re listening to the original Bellini opera, while being aware that this can’t possibly be right since there’s only one man and a piano. Liszt formed part of the democratisation of music to wider audiences, playing music by many other composers and transcribing Beethoven’s nine symphonies for the piano.

Liszt’s output stretched far beyond piano works, including wonderful religious music and orchestral works, notably the Faust Symphony and a series of symphonic poems.

Liszt was born in 1811 to a musical German-speaking family in Sopron, in a small finger of Hungary very close to the Austrian border and the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt where Haydn was employed for many years. He was taught by Carl Czerny (the author of the dexterity studies still used by many of today's piano students) and was recognised early as a child prodigy: his one act opera Don Ssanche, ou le château de l’amour, received its première five days before his fourteenth birthday. For the first half of his life, he lived as a travelling musician, touring the major cities of Europe (particularly Paris) and dazzling an ecstatic public. His superstar nature was reflected in a prolific and tempestuous love life; although he had a series of highly public affairs and several children, he never married. In 1847, he gave up public performances to focus on composition and teaching, living first in Weimar and then in Rome. He became a revered and influential teacher: extraordinarily, he did not charge for lessons, believing that he had already made enough money from his music.

For much of the twentieth century, critics belittled Liszt’s music as flashy and superficial: he was seen as the dead end of a decadent romantic movement. More recently, music scholars have been kinder, perceiving compositional techniques which have strongly influenced 20th century music. But throughout this time, his works have been continuously popular with pianists and audiences, and he stands as one of the most memorable composers of the 19th century.

List of works
12 Transcendental Études, S 1392 Légendes, for orchestra, S 1753 Sonetti di Petrarca, S 158A Faust Symphony, S 108A Faust Symphony, S 108: Nocturnal processionAnnées de pèlerinage, Deuxième année, Italie, S 161Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année, Italie: Après une lecture du Dante. Fantasia quasi sonata, S.161 no.7Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année, Italie: Sonetto del Petrarca no. 104, S 161 no. 5Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année, Italie: Sonetto del Petrarca no. 47, S 161 no. 4Années de pèlerinage, Première année, S 160: Suisse: Vallée d'ObermannAnnées de pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse, S 160Années de pèlerinage, Troisième année: Les jeux d'eaux à la villa d'Este, S 163 no. 4Années de pèlerinage, Troixième année, S 163Another PlaceAuf dem Wasser zu singen, S 558 no. 2 (transcribed from Schubert D 774)Bagatelle sans Tonalite, S 216aBallade no. 2 in B minor, S 171Bist du, S 277ChristusChristus: Stabat Mater SpeciosaConsolation no. 1 in E major, S 172Consolation no. 2 in E major, S 172Consolation no. 3 in D flat major, S 172Consolation no. 4 in D flat major, S 172Consolation no. 5 in E major, S 172Consolation no. 6 in E major, S 172Dante SymphonyDer du von dem Himmel bist , S 279Die Lorelei, S 273Die stille Wasserrose, S 321En Rêve, S 207Erlkönig (transcribed from Schubert), S 558 no.4Fantasia and Fugue on "Ad nos, ad salutarem undam" S 259Fantasie and fugue on the theme B-A-C-H, S 529Fantasie über Themen aus Ludwig van Beethovens "Die Ruinen von Athen" für Klavier und Orchester S 122Fantasy on Hungarian folk melodies S 123Festklänge, symphonic poem, S 101FunéraillesGastibelzaGrandes Études de Paganini S 141: no. 6 in A minor "Theme and Variations"Gretchen am spinnrade, D 558 no. 8 (transcribed from Schubert D 118)Harmonies Poétiques et ReligieusesHarmonies poétiques et religieuses – Ave Maria, S. 173Harmonies poétiques et religieuses: Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude, S 173 no. 3Harmonies poétiques et religieuses: Funérailles, S 173 no. 7Harmonies poétiques et religieuses: Pensée des morts, S 173 no.4Hungarian Coronation Mass, S 11Hungarian Rhapsody no. 12 in C sharp minor, S 244/12Hungarian Rhapsody no. 14 in F minor, S 244/14Hungarian Rhapsody no. 15 in A minor, "Rakoczy March", S 244/15Hungarian Rhapsody no. 19 in D minor, S 623/19Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2 in C sharp minor, S 244/2Hungarian Rhapsody no. 6 in D flat major, S 244/6Hungarian Rhapsody no. 9 in E flat major "Carnival in Pest", S 244/9Hunnenschlacht, S 105Ich möchte hingehn, S 296Ihr Glocken von Marling, S 328Im Rhein, im schönen Strome, S 272Impromptu (Nocturne), S 191Isolde's Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, transc. for piano, S 447La Lugubre Gondola for piano, S 200 no. 1Les Préludes, symphonic poem no. 3, S 97Liebestraum no. 3 in A flat major, S 541Liebesträume, S 541Lieder: selectionLégende no. 1 "Saint François d'Assise: la prédication aux oiseaux", S 175Légende no. 2 "Saint François de Paule: marchant sur les flots", S 175Marguerite and ArmandMephisto Waltz no. 1, "Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke", S 514Mephisto waltz no. 2, S 515Molitva (Gebet), S 331Nocturne no. 3 in A flat major, Op.62 no. 1, S 541Nuages gris (Grey Clouds), S 199Orpheus, symphonic poem no. 4 for orchestra, S 98Paraphrase on Verdi's "Il Trovatore", S 433Piano Concerto no. 1 in E flat major, S 124Piano Concerto no. 2 in A major, S 125Piano Sonata in B minor, S 178Prelude and Fugue on BACH, S 260Prometheus, S 99Rhapsodie Espagnole, S 254Rigoletto: Paraphrase de Concert, S 434Romance Oubliée, S 527Réminiscences de Don JuanRéminiscences de Norma, S 394Ständchen "Horch, horch! die Lerch" S 558 no. 9 (transcribed from Schubert's D 889)Ständchen no. 7 (transcribed from Schubert's Schwanengesang)Symphonic poem no. 6 "Mazeppa", S 100Tasso: Lament and Triumph, symphonic poem, S 96Totentanz for piano and orchestra, S 126Totentanz, S 525Transcendental Études, S 139: no. 10 in F minorTranscendental Études, S 139: no. 11 Harmonies du SoirTranscendental Études, S 139: no. 12 Chasse neigeTranscendental Études, S 139: no. 4 MazeppaTranscendental Études, S 139: no. 5 Feux FolletsTranscendental Études, S 139: no. 8 Wilde JagdTre sonetti di Petrarca, S 270Trois odes funèbres, S 112: Le triomphe funèbre du TasseTwo Episodes from Lenau's Faust, S. 110Valse caprice d'après Schubert in A minor, S 427 no.6Valse oubliée, S 215 no. 2Variations on a theme from Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen by JS Bach, S 180Venezia e NapoliVia Crucis, S 53Von der Wiege bis zum Grabe (From the Cradle to the grave), Symphonic Poem, S 107Wagner's Overture to Tannhäuser, transcr. for piano, S 442Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, organ prelude after JS Bach cantata, S 179À la Chapelle Sixtine (Miserere d'Allegri et Ave verum corpus de Mozart) S.461Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh, S 306