Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

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RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

Adrian3 wrote:

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.

Mr Williams may be very disappointd but I kind of cheated and downloaded a Kindle friendly translation from Project Gutenberg. I cannot speak for the accuracy of the translation (but I suspect it was a gentle hatchet job) but the formatting, while not perfect, was adequate. I find Project Gutenberg a good place to get translations of works that would otherwise be much harder to find in a bookshop (a particular robem for me as I am an expat living in Brazil) - I still have Liszt's correspondence with Wagner to read, plus his biography of Chopin. I had to save some money as I also got a copy of Alan Walker's 3 volume biography of Liszt and his more recent biography of Hans von Bulow. I hope this will be my Christmas season reading, together with a biography of John Cage.

Jeremy Denk, the American pianist, just wrote a nice piece on his blog about the pros and cons of Kindles and their cousins. I have to admit I bought a copy of a Beethoven Quartet score for the Kindle, only to find it was impossible to read and keep up with a recording.

Naupilus

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

Parla wrote "listening to his Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 in orchestral transcription...."

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 But how much of the  orchestration of Liszt's works was actually by the composer himself? The contents list on the Biddulph CD of my favourite orchestral recording of HR No 2, Stokowski's 1926/7 Philadelphia version states "arr Muller-Berghaus" whilst the booklet to the Mercury CD of Dorati's LSO recording states Liszt transcribed six of his Hungarian Rhapsodies for orchestra with the assistance of a student named Doppler. Perhaps one of those who have digested the 3 volume biogaphy will be able to enlighten me sometime.

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

33lp wrote:

Parla wrote "listening to his Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 in orchestral transcription...."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 But how much of the  orchestration of Liszt's works was actually by the composer himself? The contents list on the Biddulph CD of my favourite orchestral recording of HR No 2, Stokowski's 1926/7 Philadelphia version states "arr Muller-Berghaus" whilst the booklet to the Mercury CD of Dorati's LSO recording states Liszt transcribed six of his Hungarian Rhapsodies for orchestra with the assistance of a student named Doppler. Perhaps one of those who have digested the 3 volume biogaphy will be able to enlighten me sometime.

Hi

The best I can do is quote a part of Liszt's Will (1860) which states:

'6. Hungarian Rhapsodies for large orchestra, orchestrated by F. Doppler - revised by F. Liszt. N.B. The name Doppler must not be omitted from the title-page, for he has done the work marvellously.'

 - Franz Liszt: The Weimar Years, 1848 - 1861 (p.562)

Naupilus

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

33lp wrote:

Parla wrote "listening to his Hungarian Rhapsody No 2 in orchestral transcription...."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 But how much of the  orchestration of Liszt's works was actually by the composer himself? The contents list on the Biddulph CD of my favourite orchestral recording of HR No 2, Stokowski's 1926/7 Philadelphia version states "arr Muller-Berghaus" whilst the booklet to the Mercury CD of Dorati's LSO recording states Liszt transcribed six of his Hungarian Rhapsodies for orchestra with the assistance of a student named Doppler. Perhaps one of those who have digested the 3 volume biogaphy will be able to enlighten me sometime.

Hi

The best I can do is quote a part of Liszt's Will (1860) which states:

'6. Hungarian Rhapsodies for large orchestra, orchestrated by F. Doppler - revised by F. Liszt. N.B. The name Doppler must not be omitted from the title-page, for he has done the work marvellously.'

 - Franz Liszt: The Weimar Years, 1848 - 1861 (p.562)

Naupilus

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

I've gone back to Liszt just recently, but with no idea that it was an anniversary year! Poor Franz's reputation is always up for a pummeling, and I admit I didn't pay him any serious attention in my earlier listening years.

Listening closely to his orchestral works for perhaps the first time, I'm surprised by how modern he often sounds. His orchestrations are often striking in an astringent way, and his thematic development outside of sonata form was obviously an important innovation. Honestly, much of his stuff would not sound out of place in a concert of mid-20th century Russian music.

My interest was revised by Australian Eloquence's 2 CD set of Solti in the tone poems and Fischer in the Rhapsodies - but be warned! In my set at least, the end of the final rhapsody was irrevocably glitched (the disc looked fine), and the music could not even be extracted using Exact Audio Copy. But then, I think Solti's appeal in this repertoire is probably of short duration, and Fischer's approach was a little too molded for my tastes.

For the concertos, I have various recordings including an Arrau and Davis disc which for some reason my ears find repellent. I get much more pleasure from my bargain disc featuring Goldmann and Gmur. I have a radio recording of Richter and Mrav in one of the concertos; must fish that out.

There is an Amazon reviewer with initials AA who seems very knowledgable on Liszt, except that he takes every opportunity to excoriate Masur, which I think is unwarranted. Masur's EMI Gemini set with the Faust symphony contains many fine things, and I think I will have to get his complete cycle. But I'd also like to get some authentic Hungarian recordings - the samples I've heard of Lehel in the Faust sound terrific (in dated sound), and Ferencsik's recordings also appeal. (Karajan's recordings OTOH I find totally unappealing; too glitzy and lacking in authentic flavour.)

For those looking to hear Liszt's better tone poems, I recommend the lovely Orpheus, Prometheus, and the Two Episode's from Lenau's Faust. Also the Heroide March, whose sparse grimness reminds me of the late/post Soviet symphonists.

'Art doesn't need philosophers. It just needs to communicate from soul to soul.' Alejandro Jodorowsky

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

I think my favourite recordings that I purchased in 2011 are (in no particular order):

Funeral Odes (Volkov/BBCSSO/Hyperion) - great disc of lesser known Liszt. Maybe just too much in one listening though.

Piano Sonata etc. (Buniatishvili/Song) - strange album cover, complete with white swn, but fascinating, heart on sleeve playing. Not for every day I suspect, but when one needs a jolt!

Grey Clouds (Djordjevic/private label) - This won the Liszt Prize in 2010 (I think) and I managed to grab a copy while in the US. I love the late piano works. I have to admit that I sometimes don't understand them fully, but they are so fascinating.

Liszt Recital (Wilhelm Kempff/DG) - I was not sure I could see Kempff playing Liszt well but his wonderful gentle and (for me at least) unique sound fits the musis selected hand in glove. Kempff is old school in the best sense.

Tontentanz (Valentina Lisitsa/YouTube) - Apologies as this not a recording, but a video. Everytime I watch it I just think, "Yikes!". Maybe others might agree... click here

I have to say though that for me the best Liszt I have heard is the piano concertos with Zimerman and Ozawa. Just brilliant!

 

 

Naupilus

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

Thanks your comment on orchestration of the Rhapsodies, Naupilus, seems Mercury's booklet writer got it correct.

My own favourite liszt recordings include:

Sonata - Bolet (both Everest & Decca versions), Curzon and most magisterial of all, Arrau; perhaps because I once heard him play it live. I find all Arrau's Liszt generally unsurpassed and thought we may have had a boxed set of his Philips recordings for Liszt year (unless I've missed it) as Philips seem to have managed to produce some of the worst LP pressings I've ever had.  

Concertos - Brendel (both Vox & Philips versions) and Katchen.

Other works - Bolet's Decca series and RCA's "Bolet Rediscovered" CD.

3 Liebestraume, 3 Petrarch Sonnets, 3 Concert Studies - Kathryn Stott (Conifer CD).

For Liszt the showman at his most flamboyant it has to be Raymond Lewenthal's RCA LP of the Reminicences de Norma & the Hexameron. The latter has appeared on CD but not to the best of my knowledge the former. This is a truly fabulous Liszt record.

And lastly something I have to admit surprised me. I am not greatly given to the hype of TV talent-type shows and was not entirely convinced by Sophie Cashell on some BBC 2 effort some years ago. Browsing in a CD shop however I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt and bought her CD. Her Liszt items however are quite superb, the 3 Liebestraume but most of all the Second Ballade, one of Liszt's masterpieces, is given a performance of maturity, poetry and virtuosity which absolutely astonished me. I was blown away by it - a fantastic performance.  

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

PS Another great Liszt recording I'd forgotten about until I just played it is a Reference Recordings LP by the Japanese pianist, perhaps something of an outsider, certainly in the UK, Minoru Nojima. Not exactly as well known as the others I mentioned but his recording of the Sonata is up with the greatest, perhaps not least as this is one of the most realistic sounding piano recordings I have heard. I seem to recall reading that one of the four items on the second side, Harmonies du Soir, had the dubious distinction of being selected by Barrington Coupe for one of the recordings passed off as being by his late wife Joyce Hatto.   

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

Further to my post on the orchestral music, listening to the Faust symphony over the weekend made me wonder what Mahler would have done without this example of a large scale orchestral rhapsody on philosophical themes. Maybe he would have been a "proper" opera composer, with a few classical scale symphonies on the side....

BTW, my mention of a Richter/Mravinsky radio recording of one of the Liszt concertos was an error - it was actually the Tchaik 1st :(

'Art doesn't need philosophers. It just needs to communicate from soul to soul.' Alejandro Jodorowsky

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

The influence of Liszt on Mahler is a bit far-fetched, eyeresist. Maybe, Wagner had played a more vital role than the rather ambivalent Liszt's tone poems or Faust's Symphony. In any case, even Liszt's orchestral works have been heavily influenced by Wagner too.

Parla

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