Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

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Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

2011 has been Liszt's bicentennial and nearly everybody who is anybody has either released a CD or written something about Liszt. Has anybody spent more than a normal time listening to Liszt this year?

I started the year reading his letters and I realised very quickly that he was in many ways an extremely generous human being, giving time and encouragement to all those around him. I still have Alan Walker's three volume biography to start on over Christmas.

And listening to the music in large doses has left me considering how much I really do enjoy his music - his compositional mind seems to have been restless and inventive in the extreme.Not every work is equally great but some of the music we seldom hear is actually pretty wonderful.

If yu have spent time listening to Liszt this year I wonder what your impressions have been and what recordings have become favourites?

Naupilus

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

Lizst might very well be the most facinating of all the composers and performers.I would give anything to be able to travel back in time to hear him play!(hard to believe Brahms actually fell asleep during a Lizst recital of Lizst`s own B minor sonata).He had so many sides to him.Later in life he was anything but the flashy,matinee idol of his youth.He was almost saintly in his generosity.He would give the expensive cigars and boxes of candy that were given to him away to guests and his students.He started a free academy of music.(Though only very talented students need apply).My favorite Lizst story was when he told one of his students in composition class something to the effect of "Your music has much that is both beautiful and new.Unfortunately,the beautiful is not new and the new is not beautiful".(ouch!)I`m going to listen to Bernstein`s recording with the BSO of his Faust Symphony tomorrow along with Brendel`s recording of the B minor Sonata.

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

Liszt compositions with piano included - V Good to Excellent
Liszt compositions without piano. Awful.

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

Magnus Opus wrote:

Liszt compositions with piano included - V Good to Excellent
Liszt compositions without piano. Awful.

Magnus

That's the conventional view certainly. Christus is certainly not awful. It's patchy but the best passages of the oratorio are excellent. Alex Ross, undoubtedly far more alert than my lug ears, recently spotted the similarities between Christus and Parsifal, particularly in one passage. I was reminded of Bernstein in one of his lectures, sitting at his piano, wryly pointing out the link between Berlioz's Romeo & Juliette and Tristan.

There is some shocking Liszt - I think one of my least played discs is a recording of works for male voice choir; all tracks are duffers. But I have grown to like some of the symphonic works, partly because within them I hear the grains of future composers such as Tchaikovsky and Mahler. Second rate Liszt is interesting because it normally points to something. This is one of the qualities I have come to find endearing over the year.

Anyway, the point of the thread was to ask people how they had explored the composer this year, if they had taken the time. But it seems you have gone minimalist with your comments ;-)

 

Naupilus

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

yes

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

I have heard enough Liszt all these years, so I decided not to overdo this one. However, I have to state that he is a magnificent and wonderful composer, definitely an amazing one for the piano and a considerable one (particularly for the orchestration) for the symphonic and choral writing. Listening to his Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 (in the Orchestral transcription) in a concert some years ago, I felt I wish I could be a Hungarian to claim this music is "mine". To my surprise, when I mentioned that to a group of people, after the concert, they confessed they felt the same way!..

This year, I rediscovered "Etudes d'execution..." in a great performance by the rather overlooked Ovchinikov in Emi France, the old recordings of the always great Zimmerman in a new double CD on DG and an old fine recording of Thibaudet on Dal Segno.

From the new ones, I found worthy the version of the Concertos with Barenboim/Boulez on DG, a solid recital of J. Moog, (unknown in the rest of Europe but a great figure in Switzerland) on Claves, some very exciting "Annees de Pelerinage" (in excellent  SACD sound) by the ignored Ish-Hurwitz on Turtle and a very interesting recital named "Lectures" by a good newcomer, N. Stavy, on Hortus.

Still, not bad for this year.

Parla

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

I decided to celebrate the Liszt year with a CD purchase and bought an interesting all Liszt recital re-issued on Australian Eloquance, played by Lilya Zilberstein. An excellent disc.

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

My celebration of the Liszt bicentenary included two small marathons: listening to all the 19 Hungarian rhapsodies (by various pianists rather diverse in time and style, ranging from Alfred Grunfeld to Marc-André Hamelin) and also to all the versions of the B minor sonata I currently have (around 16). In this latter part of my personal Lisztian extravaganza, I was reminded once again of how slipshod a performance by the great Sviatoslav Richter could be on occasion: this rendition was taken from the 1966 Aldeburgh Festival, and even granting it's a live recording, it's surprisingly splashy and inaccurate, with notes splattered about and some which were simply dropped. But you wouldn't know that by reading the CD liner notes...

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

As far as the sonata goes, I vote Pollini.

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

There are two pieces by Liszt I've listened to more than most others and not just in 2011. One is Harmonies du Soir, one of the 12 "Transcendental Studies" (Richter, if any preference is asked for) , and the other the Hungarian Rhapsody no 6 (Cziffra). I know the latter is considered mere rabble-rousing, but then I'm evidently part of the rabble.

The Faust Symphony is another favourite of mine, ever since I first heard it live in 1982. Subsequently, Beecham hasn't disappointed me - I think it must be in another thread that someone denigrates this symphony.

 

 

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

I started the year reading his letters

Which edition did you read? The only one I know of is the OUP collection in a very stilted and inaccurate translation by one Adrian Williams.

Adrian

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