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Composer: Liszt, Franz (1811-1886)

© Franz Hanfstaengl, 1858
© Franz Hanfstaengl, 1858
June 2019
Evening performance
Matinee performance
Upcoming eventsSee more...

ViennaMacMillan | McGregor | Ashton

Shostakovich, Various, Liszt
Sir Kenneth MacMillan; Wayne McGregor; Sir Frederick Ashton; Vienna State Ballet; Valery Ovsyanikov; Deborah MacMillan; Ursula Bombshell

RavelloSalvatore Giannella piano recital

Salvatore Giannella piano recital
Schubert, Beethoven, Liszt
Salvatore Giannella, Piano

RavelloLuca Mennella piano recital

Luca Mennella piano recital
Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt
Luca Mennella, Piano

LondonSummer Music in City Churches: All The World's A Stage

Bach, Brahms, Liszt, Prokofiev, Tchaikovsky
Nicola Losito, Piano

RavelloCinzia Dato piano recital

Cinzia Dato piano recital
Schumann, Brahms, Liszt
Cinzia Dato, Piano
Latest reviewsSee more...

“The spirit of Margot” celebrated in The Royal Ballet's Fonteyn gala

Dame Darcey Bussell and Gary Avis in Ashton's Tango from Façade © ROH | Andrej Uspenski
A memorable and important event in the history of British ballet, sensitively and sentimentally performed. 
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A colorful travelogue from Roberto Plano in Cleveland recital

Roberto Plano © Gregory Wilson
Roberto Plano offered a colorfully diverse selection of solo pieces before joining forces with Cleveland Orchestra members for Brahms' Piano Quintet.
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Michael Tilson Thomas Makes His Montreal Debut

Michael Tilson Thomas © Chris Wahlberg
Michael Tilson Thomas had a spectacular debut with Montreal's Orchestre Symphonique. George Li's performance of Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 was breath-taking. 
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Lortie plays Liszt's complete Années de pèlerinage

Louis Lortie © Elias
The several empty seats were probably a comment on the current reputation of the composer more than that of the pianist. Both deserved a full house.
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Soporific Schubert, but peak Liszt from Khatia Buniatishvili

Khatia Buniatishvili © Gavin Evans | Sony Classical
It ever there was a "recital of two halves", then this was it, with a leaden Sonata in B flat major countered by blazing Liszt at the Barbican. 
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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 Sonnetti del Petrarca: Pace non trovo, S 270A Faust Symphony, S 108A Faust Symphony, S 108: GretchenAnnées de pèlerinageAnnées de pèlerinage, Deuxième année, Italie: Après une lecture du Dante. Fantasia quasi sonata, S.161 no.7Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année, Italie: Canzonetta del Salvator Rosa, S 161 no. 3Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année, Italie: Il Penseroso, S 161 no. 2Années 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, Première année: Suisse, S 160: Au lac de WallenstadtAnnées de pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse, S 160: Chapelle de Guillaume TellAnnées de pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse, S 160: Les Cloches de GenèveAnnées de pèlerinage, Troisième année: Aux cyprès de la Villa d'Este I: Thrénodie, S 163 no. 2Années de pèlerinage, Troisième année: Aux cyprès de la Villa d'Este II: Thrénodie, S 163 no. 3Années de pèlerinage, Troisième année: Les jeux d'eaux à la villa d'Este, S 163 no. 4Années de pèlerinage, Troisième année: Sunt lacrymae rerum, S 163 no. 5Another PlaceAuf dem Wasser zu singen, S 558 no. 2 (transcribed from Schubert D 774)Ave verum corpusBallade no. 2 in B minor, S 171Berceuse, S174Bist du, S 277Comment, disaient-ils, S 276Consolation no. 2 in E major, S 172Csárdás obstiné, S 225 no.2Die Lorelei, S 273Elegy no. 1 for cello and pianoErlkönig (transcribed from Schubert), S 558 no.4Fantasia and Fugue on "Ad nos, ad salutarem undam" S 259Fantasie über Themen aus Ludwig van Beethovens "Die Ruinen von Athen" für Klavier und Orchester S 122Fantasy and fugue in G minor by JS Bach , BWV 542, S 463Fantasy on themes from Rienzi, S 439Freudvoll und Leidvoll, S 280FunéraillesGrande paraphrase de la Marche pour le Sultan Abdul-Medjid Khan, S403Grandes Études de Paganini S 141: no. 1 in G minorGrandes Études de Paganini S 141: no. 2 in E flat majorGrandes Études de Paganini S 141: no. 3 in G sharp minor, "La Campanella"Grandes Études de Paganini S 141: no. 4 in E majorGrandes Études de Paganini S 141: no. 5 in E major "La chasse"Grandes 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 religieuses: Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude, S 173 no. 3Harmonies poétiques et religieuses: Cantique d'amour, S 173 no. 10Harmonies poétiques et religieuses: Funérailles, S 173 no. 7Harmonies poétiques et religieuses: Pensée des morts, S 173 no.4Hungarian 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. 6 in D flat major, S 244/6Hungarian Rhapsody no. 8 in F sharp minor, S 244/8Hungarian Rhapsody no. 9 in E flat major "Carnival in Pest", S 244/9Ich möchte hingehn, S 296Isolde'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. 2La MarseillaiseLes Préludes, symphonic poem no. 3, S 97Lieder: selectionLégende no. 1 "Saint François d'Assise: la prédication aux oiseaux", S 175Légende no. 2 "Saint François de Paule: marchant sur les flots", S 175Malédiction for piano and string orchestra, S 121Marguerite and ArmandMayerlingMephisto Polka, S 217Mephisto Waltz no. 1, "Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke", S 514Mephisto Waltz no. 3, S 216Mignons Lied: Kennst du das Land, S 275Missa Choralis, S 10Nuages gris (Grey Clouds), S 199O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst, S 298Oh! Quand je dors, S 282Orpheus, symphonic poem no. 4 for orchestra, S 98Orphée symphonic poem, transcr. for piano trio by Saint-Saëns, S 98Ossa arida, J38Overture from Rossini's William Tell, S 552Paraphrase 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 178Pilgerchor aus Tannhäuser, transc. for piano, S 443Prelude and Fugue on BACH, S 260Qui seminant in Lacrimis, J48RW Venezia, S 201Rhapsodie Espagnole, S 254Rigoletto: Paraphrase de Concert, S 434Réminiscences de Don JuanRéminiscences de Lucia di Lammermoor, S 397Réminiscences de Norma, S 394S'il est un charmant gazon, S 284Sarabande and Chaconne on Themes from Handel's Almira, S 181Senta-Ballade aus Der Fliegende Holländer, transc. for piano, S 441Ständchen no. 7 (transcribed from Schubert's Schwanengesang)Symphonic poem no. 6 "Mazeppa", S 100Totentanz for piano and orchestra, S 126Totentanz, S 525Transcendental 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. 8 Wilde JagdTranscr. from Wagner's Solemn March to the Holy Grail from Parsifal, S 450Tre sonetti di Petrarca, S 270Two Concert Studies, S 145Ungarischer GeschwindsmarschValse oubliée in F sharp minor, S215 no.1Valse oubliée, S215 no.2Valse-impromptu, S 213Variations on a theme from Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen by JS Bach, S 180Venezia e NapoliVia Crucis, S 53Vor hundert JahrenWeinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, organ prelude after JS Bach cantata, S 179Wiegenlied, S 198Études d'exécution transcendante d'après Paganini, S 140