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Composer: Liszt, Franz (1811-1886)

© Franz Hanfstaengl, 1858
© Franz Hanfstaengl, 1858
April 2018
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LondonIOS: William Whitehead

IOS: William Whitehead
Bruhns, Schumann, Parry, Liszt
William Whitehead, Organ

AmsterdamAnna Prohaska and Eric Schneider: Behind the Lines

© Monika Rittershaus
Beethoven, Eisler, Wolf, Rachmaninov, Traill, Ives, Quilter, Cavendish, Schubert, Liszt, Schumann, Poulenc, Mahler, Weill
Anna Prohaska; Eric Schneider

Santiago de CompostelaCiclo de Piano Ángel Brage

Ciclo de Piano Ángel Brage
Bach, Mozart, Schubert, Liszt, Beethoven
Mariam Batsashvili, Piano

CanterburyPassion & Poetry

© Benjamin Ealovega
Wagner, Massenet, Verdi, Liszt
Philharmonia Orchestra; Christoph Altstaedt; Jerwoods Choir

LeicesterPassion & Poetry

© Ben Ealovega
Wagner, Massenet, Verdi, Liszt
Philharmonia Orchestra; Christoph Altstaedt; Jerwoods Choir
Latest reviewsSee more...

Alessandra Ferri returns in Royal Ballet triple bill

Alessandra Ferri and Federico Bonelli in Marguerite and Armand © ROH | Tristam Kenton
A random assortment of disassociated ballets performed with variable success - from the sublime to the nondescript. 
***11
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Minnesota Orchestra reacquaint with old friends in Minneapolis

Markus Stenz © Molina Visuals
In Minneapolis, Markus Stenz and Louis Lortie present time-honored Austro-German symphonic masterpieces in committed and compelling performances.
****1
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Truly transcendental: Chamayou triumphs in Liszt at Wigmore Hall

Bertrand Chamayou © Marco Borggreve | Warner Classics
Drama and poetry prevailed in Chamayou exhausting programme.
****1
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A polished London debut recital from George Li

George Li © Simon Fowler
The Chinese American pianist gives a confident, purposeful performance, without his personality quite shining through.
***11
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A Liszt rarity and Mahler staple from Volkov and the RPO

Ilan Volkov © Simon Butterworth
Unusual links between works of Liszt, Beethoven and Mahler explored by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Ilan Volkov and with Pavel Kolesnikov as soloist.
***11
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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 1393 Sonetti di Petrarca, S 158Aida: Danza sacra e duetto finale, transcription from Verdi, S 436/R 269Années de pèlerinageAnnées 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, Première année, S 160: Suisse: Vallée d'ObermannAnnées de pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse, S 160: Au lac de WallenstadtAnother PlaceAuf dem Wasser zu singen, S 558 no. 2 (transcribed from Schubert D 774)Aufenthalt, transcription from Schubert, S 560/3Ave verum corpusComment, disaient-ils, S 276Concert Paraphrase on Ernani II, S 432Der Müller und der Bach (transcription form Die Schöne Müllerin by Schubert) S 565 no. 2Der du von dem Himmel bist , S 279Die Forelle (transcribed from Schubert), S 563/6Die Lorelei, S 273Die drei Zigeuner, S 320Die stille Wasserrose, S 321Du bist wie eine Blume, S 287Elegy no. 2 for cello and piano, S 131 no. 2En Rêve, S 207Enfant, si j'étais roi, S 283Es war ein König in Thule, S 278Fantasia and Fugue on "Ad nos, ad salutarem undam" S 259Fantasy on themes from operas by Mozart "Figaro Fantasy", S 697Grandes Études de Paganini S 141: no. 3 in G sharp minor, "La Campanella"Harmonies poétiques et religieuses: Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude, S 173 no. 3Hungarian Rhapsody no. 1 in C sharp minor, S 244/1Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2 in C sharp minor, S 244/2Hungarian Rhapsody no. 3 in B flat major, S 244/3Hungarian Rhapsody no. 9 in E flat major "Carnival in Pest", S 244/9Ihr Glocken von Marling, S 328Im Rhein, im schönen Strome, S 272Isolde's Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, transc. for piano, S 447La Lugubre Gondola for piano, S 200 no. 1La Lugubre Gondola for piano, S 200 no. 2Les Préludes, symphonic poem no. 3, S 97Les adieux: Rêverie sur un motif de l'opéra Roméo et Juliette de Gounod S409Liebestraum no. 3 in A flat major, S 541Malédiction for piano and string orchestra, S 121Marguerite and ArmandMayerlingMephisto Waltz no. 1, "Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke", S 514No Man's LandOh! Quand je dors, S 282Orpheus, symphonic poem no. 4 for orchestra, S 98Orphée symphonic poem, transcr. for piano trio by Saint-Saëns, S 98Paraphrase on Verdi's "Il Trovatore", S 433Paraphrase on a Waltz from Gounod's "Faust", S 407Piano 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 99RW Venezia, S 201Rhapsodie Espagnole, S 254Romance Oubliée, for violin (or cello) and piano, S 527Réminiscences de Don JuanRéminiscences de Norma, S 394Réminiscences des Huguenots de Meyerbeer: Grande Fantaisie dramatique S412iiS'il est un charmant gazon, S 284Sarabande and Chaconne on Themes from Handel's Almira, S 181Totentanz, 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. 9 RicordanzaTranscr. from Wagner's Solemn March to the Holy Grail from Parsifal, S 450Unstern! Sinsitre, disastro, S 208Vergiftet sind meine Lieder (My songs are poisoned), S 289Via Crucis, S 53Von der Wiege bis zum Grabe (From the Cradle to the grave), Symphonic Poem, S 107Widmung, transcription of Schumann's liebeslied for piano, S 566Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh, S 306