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Composer: Liszt, Franz (1811-1886)

© Franz Hanfstaengl, 1858
© Franz Hanfstaengl, 1858
February 2018
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Las Palmas de Gran CanariaOrquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria

Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria
Liszt, Saint-Saëns
Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria; Ramón Tebar; Gustavo Díaz-Jerez; Ángel Hortas

LondonOdyssey of Love: Liszt and his women

Liszt
Lucy Parham; Joanna David; Robert Glenister

New York CityPierre-Laurent Aimard in recital

© Marco Borggreve
Obukhov, Liszt, Scriabin, Beethoven
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Piano

ParisLa Tempête - Orchestre national d'Île-de-France

© ONDIF/Belleville/Christophe Urbain
Dvořák, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky
Orchestre national d'Île de France; Ainars Rubiķis; Alexandre Kantorow

ParisBeethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Debussy, Liszt

Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov, Debussy, Liszt
Giuseppe Guarrera, Piano
Latest reviewsSee more...

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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Many pianos: Alexander Melnikov at Wigmore Hall

Alexander Melnikov © Marco Borggreve
An intriguing concert performed on three pianos from different eras which revealed how composers responded to the piano technology available to them at the time.
****1
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Infernal Liszt: Ott, Pappano and a Faustian pact

Alice Sara Ott © Jonas Becker
The Faust Symphony formed the bloated climax of a demonic date with the Grim Reaper, who loomed large over Sir Antonio Pappano's “Total Liszt” programme with the LSO.
****1
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Caprice and conviction from Oxford Phil

Khatia Buniatishvili © Julia Wesley
I suspect that we seek out many of the world’s great soloists beacuse we know what we will get, but we might well seek out Buniatishvili because we don’t.
***11
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Louis Lortie makes a Liszt pilgrimage in Chicago

Louis Lortie © Elias
A knowledgeable and subtle devotee of Franz Liszt, bring the first two cycles of the Années de pèlerinage to Chicago.
****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 1393 Sonetti del Petrarca: I' vidi in terra angelici costumi, S 2703 Sonetti di Petrarca, S 1583 Sonnetti del Petrarca: Benedetto sia il giorno, S 2703 Sonnetti del Petrarca: Pace non trovo, S 2706 Chants Polonais (after Chopin Op. 74), S 480A Faust Symphony, S 108Aida: Danza sacra e duetto finale, transcription from Verdi, S 436/R 269Années de pèlerinageAnnées 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, Première année, S 160: Suisse: Vallée d'ObermannAnnées de pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse, S 160Années de pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse, S 160: Au bord d'une sourceAnnées de pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse, S 160: Au lac de WallenstadtAnnées de pèlerinage, Troisième année: Les jeux d'eaux à la villa d'Este, S 163 no. 4Another PlaceAuf dem Wasser zu singen, S 558 no. 2 (transcribed from Schubert D 774)Aufenthalt, transcription from Schubert, S 560/3Ave verum corpusBagatelle sans Tonalite, S 216aConcerto Pathétique, S 258Consolation in D flat major, S 172 no.4Consolation no. 3 in D flat, S 172 no. 3Der Müller und der Bach (transcription form Die Schöne Müllerin by Schubert) S 565 no. 2Die Forelle (transcribed from Schubert), S 563/6Die Lorelei, S 273Du bist wie eine Blume, S 287Elegy no. 2 for cello and piano, S 131 no. 2Er liebte mich so sehr! S 271Erlkönig (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 529Fantasy on themes from operas by Mozart "Figaro Fantasy", S 697Frühlingsnacht, S568 (transcription from Robert Schumann)Hungarian Rhapsody no. 1 in C sharp minor, S 244/1Hungarian Rhapsody no. 11 in A minor, S 244/11Hungarian 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 244/9Hunnenschlacht, S 105Im Rhein, im schönen Strome, S 272Isolde’s Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, transc. for piano, S 447Les Préludes, symphonic poem no. 3, S 97Les adieux: Rêverie sur un motif de l’opéra Roméo et Juliette de Gounod S409Légende no. 1 "Saint François d'Assise: la prédication aux oiseaux", S 175Marguerite and ArmandMephisto Waltz no. 1, "Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke", S 514Mephisto waltz no. 2, S 515Nuages gris (Grey Clouds), S 199Piano Concerto no. 1 in E flat major, S 124Piano Concerto no. 2 in A major, S 125Piano Sonata in B minor, S 178Prelude and Fuge for A minor by JS Bach (BWV543) transcribed for solo piano, S 462/1Prelude and Fugue on BACH, S 260Prometheus, S 99Rhapsodie Espagnole, S 254Réminiscences de Norma, S 394Réminiscences des Huguenots de Meyerbeer: Grande Fantaisie dramatique S412iiSarabande and Chaconne on Themes from Handel’s Almira, S 181Sei mir gegrüßt, S 558 no. 1 (transcribed from Schubert D 741)The Black Gondola (orchestral version)Totentanz for piano and orchestra, S 126Transcendental Études, S 139: no. 10 in F minorTranscendental Études, S 139: no. 11 Harmonies du SoirTranscendental Études, S 139: no. 9 RicordanzaTranscr. from Wagner's Solemn March to the Holy Grail from Parsifal, S 450Variations on a theme from Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen by JS Bach, S 180Via 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 566Wie singt die Lerche schön, S 312Évocation à la Chapelle Sixtine, S 651