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Komponist: Liszt, Franz (1811-1886)

© Franz Hanfstaengl, 1858
© Franz Hanfstaengl, 1858
Oktober 2017
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LondonDinara Klinton

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Bach, Siloti, Rachmaninow, Petri, Liszt, Kempff, Hess, Busoni
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Biographie

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.

Werkverzeichnis
12 Études d’exécution transcendante, S1392 Légendes, for orchestra, S 1753 Sonetti del Petrarca: I' vidi in terra angelici costumi, S 2703 Sonnetti del Petrarca: Benedetto sia il giorno, S 2703 Sonnetti del Petrarca: Pace non trovo, S 2703 sonetti di Petrarca, S 158Ab irato, étude de perfectionnement de la Méthode des méthodes de Fétis, S 143Aida: Danza sacra e duetto finale, transcription from Verdi, S 436/R 269Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année, Italie: Après une lecture du Dante. Fantasia quasi sonata, S.161 no.7Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année, Italie: Sposalizio, S 161 no. 1Années de pèlerinage, Première année, S 160: Suisse: Vallée d'ObermannAnnées 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. 4Ave Maria, S 659Bagatelle sans Tonalite, S 216aBallade no. 2 in B minor, S 171Comment, disaient-ils, S 276Consolation Nr. 3 in Des-Dur, S172 Nr.3Consolation in E major, S.172 no.6Csárdás macabre, S 224Danse macabre, piano transcr. of Camille Saint-Saëns' Op.40, S 555Die Lorelei, S 273Eine Faust-Symphonie in drei Charakterbildern, S 108Enfant, si j’étais roi, S 283Er liebte mich so sehr! S 271Fantasia and Fugue on "Ad nos, ad salutarem undam" S 259Fantasie and fugue on the theme B-A-C-H, S 529Fantasy and fugue in G minor by JS Bach , BWV 542, S 463Fantasy on Hungarian folk melodies S 123FaustGrandes Études de Paganini S 141: no. 6 in A minor "Theme and Variations"Grosses Konzertstück über Themen aus Mendelssohns Lieder ohne WorteHarmonies poétiques et religieuses: Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude, S 173 no. 3Harmonies poétiques et religieuses: Funérailles, S173 Nr.7Hungaria, symphonic poem no. 9, S 103Ihr Glocken von Marling, S 328Isolde’s Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, transc. for piano, S 447Klavierkonzert Nr. 1 Es-Dur, S 124Klavierkonzert Nr. 2 in A-Dur, S125Klaviersonate in h-Moll, S178La Lugubre Gondola for piano, S 200 no. 1La Lugubre Gondola for piano, S 200 no. 2Le Rossignol, S 250aLes Préludes, Symphonische Dichtung Nr. 3, S97Liebestraum no. 3 in A flat major, S 541Légende 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 ArmandMazeppa, Symphonische Dichtung Nr. 6Mephisto Waltz no. 4, S 696Mephistowalzer Nr. 1, "Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke", S 514Nuages gris (Grey Clouds), S 199Oh! Quand je dors, S 282Orpheus, symphonic poem no. 4 for orchestra, S 98Prelude and Fuge for A minor by JS Bach (BWV543) transcribed for solo piano, S 462/1Präludium und Fuge über den Namen BACH, S 260Rapsodia húngara núm. 6 en re bemol mayor para orquesta, S 359Rhapsodie Espagnole, S254Rigoletto: Paraphrase de Concert, S 434Réminiscences de Don Juan for two pianosSoirées de Vienne (Transkription nach Schubert), S.427S’il est un charmant gazon, S 284Tasso: Lament and Triumph, symphonic poem, S 96Totentanz for piano and orchestra, S 126Totentanz, S 525Trans. from Wagner's Flying Dutchman: chorus, S 440Transcr. from Wagner's Solemn March to the Holy Grail from Parsifal, S 450Tre sonetti di Petrarca, S 270Ungarische Rhapsodie Nr. 11 in a-Moll, S244/11Ungarische Rhapsodie Nr. 12 in cis-Moll, S244/12Ungarische Rhapsodie Nr. 13 in a-Moll, S244/13Ungarische Rhapsodie Nr. 2 in cis-Moll, S244/2Ungarische Rhapsodie Nr. 9 in Es-Dur, "Karneval in Pest", S244/9Valse caprice d'après Schubert, S.427 no.7Variations on a theme from Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen by JS Bach, S 180Von 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 312Études d'exécution transcendante d'après Paganini, S 140Études d’exécution transcendante, S139 Nr.10: Presto molto agitatoÉtudes d’exécution transcendante, S139 Nr.11: Harmonies du SoirÉvocation à la Chapelle Sixtine, S 651Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh, S 306