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Compositeur: Liszt, Franz (1811-1886)

Rechercher des événements de musique classique, opéra et ballet | Liszt
© Franz Hanfstaengl, 1858
Liszt, Franz
Biographie
Liszt, Franz

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.

Liste des oeuvres
3 Etudes de concert: Un sospiro, S 144 no. 3A Faust Symphony, S 108: GretchenAnnées de Pèlerinage, Deuxième Année: Après une lecture de DanteAnnées 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, 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. 3Another PlaceConcerto Pathétique, S 258Concerto pour piano no. 1 en mi bémol majeur, S 124Concerto pour piano no. 2 en la majeur, S 125Consolation no. 3 en ré bémol majeur, S 172 no. 3Erlkönig (transcr. de Schubert), S 558/ 4Fantaisie et Fugue sur « Ad nos, ad salutarem undam » S 259Grand galop chromatique S 219Gretchen am spinnrade, D 558 no. 8 (transcr. de Schubert D 118)Harmonies poétiques et religieuses, S. 173Harmonies poétiques et religieuses: Bénédiction de Dieu dans la Solitude, S 173 no. 3Harmonies poétiques et religieuses: Funérailles, S 173 no. 7Isolde’ s Liebestod du Tristan et Isolde de Wagner, transc. pour piano, S 447Les Préludes, poème symphonique no. 3, S 97Liebestraum no. 3 en la bémol majeur, S 541LiveLégende no. 2 "Saint François de Paule: marchant sur les flots", S 175Malédiction pour piano et Orchestre à cordes, S 121MayerlingMephisto-Valse no. 1, « Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke », S 514Organ chorale 'Nun danket alle Gott', S 674cOrpheus, poème symphonique no. 4 pour orchestre, S 98Pièce pour piano en la bémol majeur S189Prelude and Fuge for A minor by JS Bach (BWV543) transcribed for solo piano, S 462/1Prelude and Fugue on BACH, S 260Prometheus, S 99RW Venezia, S 201Rhapsodie Espagnole, S 254Rhapsodie hongroise no. 2 en ut dièse mineur, S 244/ 2Rhapsodie hongroise no. 6 en ré bémol majeur, S 244/ 6Rhapsodie hongroise no. 9 en mi bémol majeur « Carnaval à Pest », S 244 no. 6Rigoletto: Paraphrase de Concert, S 434Romance oubliée, pour piano, S 132Sonate pour piano en si mineur, S 178Ständchen, from Schubert's Leise flehen meine lieder, D 957, S 560/7Variations on a theme from Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen by JS Bach, S 180Venezia e Napoli: TarantellaWeinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, organ prelude after JS Bach cantata, S 179