Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

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RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

I'm not very experienced when it comes to Liszt, but I'd like to mention two discs that I really liked this year.

The first is Hamelin's recital disc (Hyperion). It includes his sonata and I must say, although it wasn't my first time hearing it, that it was Hamelin's approach that made it click for me. Now, it just flies by whenever I listen to it, I don't really realize when I get to the end. I thought this was an amazing disc, every bit of it.

The second one is Lortie's Années de Pèlerinages (Chandos). I thought that was a good listen and I came back to it many times. I like how it feels like a collection of different moods and things, that's nice. Plus, I was on a trip in Switzerland right after getting the disc, so it made all the more sense.

I was thinking of trying out Hough's new disc of the Liszt/Grieg concertos. Has anybody listened to this new release?

Also, I'm really tempted by his transcriptions of Beethoven's symphonies. For some reason, at this point I find them quite appealing. I've only heard bits of them. Can anybody recommend some recordings? (ideally available for download at an online store)

I could also mentioned that I heard his Dante symphony in concert at the Enescu Festival in September, played by Staatskapelle Berlin with Barenboim conducting. It left me with mixed feelings, honestly, but I suspect it might have had something to do with my mood – I dislike Barenboim's piano playing and the concert had opened with a Mozart piano concerto that rubbed me the wrong way. Anyway, that's why I'm not exactly prepared to give up on Liszt the orchestral composer just yet.

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

MN

Hamelin has recorded three wonderful Liszt discs - the others being a mixed recital (recorded live) and a set of Liszt & Schubert Marches. I am really hoping that one day Hamelin will record the piano version of Totentanz or the Dante Sonata.

As for orchestral Liszt if you are looking for symphonic argument as set out by a master like Beethoven or Brahms then you will be disappointed. Liszt is part of the fork in the road that happened in the nineteenth century - one way went Brahms and another went Berlioz/Liszt/Strauss. The are some who hear Tchaikovsky in Liszt, particularly the symphonic poems.

Naupilus

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

MN

Hamelin has recorded three wonderful Liszt discs - the others being a mixed recital (recorded live) and a set of Liszt & Schubert Marches. I am really hoping that one day Hamelin will record the piano version of Totentanz or the Dante Sonata.

As for orchestral Liszt if you are looking for symphonic argument as set out by a master like Beethoven or Brahms then you will be disappointed. Liszt is part of the fork in the road that happened in the nineteenth century - one way went Brahms and another went Berlioz/Liszt/Strauss. The are some who hear Tchaikovsky in Liszt, particularly the symphonic poems.

Naupilus

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

Adrian3 wrote:

Other way round, surely?

That's what I was thinking. Apparently one of the motifs from Liszt's Faust was later "borrowed" for Die Walkure! Actually, it's probably fairer to say there was cross-pollination. Liszt was full of grand ideas, but just didn't have Wagner's technical and architectural discipline.

From an interesting interview with Nike Wagner:

Quote:

Wagner thought Liszt was crazy in his later years. And yet his late works and their emerging atonality were far more modern than Wagner's. But it's true that Richard loved and always respected Franz. Liszt's music wasn't buried until after his death.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/0,1518,775814,00.html

She also talks about the Wagner clan's failure to acknowledge its debt not only to Liszt but also to Wieland Wagner.

The book Wagner and his Works by Henry Theophilus Finck has a chapter on "Wagner's opinion of Liszt's music", which includes a nice anecdote:

Quote:

It was at a rehearsal of the Walkure in 1876, which Liszt attended, when suddenly, as Sieglinde utters her dream-words, 'Did father then return,' Richard Wagner seized Liszt's arm, exclaiming: 'Papa, here comes a theme which I got from you.' 'Very well,' replied Liszt, 'then it will at least have a chance of getting a hearing!'  The theme in question is the beginning of the Faust symphony, at the first hearing of which ... Wagner exclaimed rapturously: 'Many beautiful and delightful things there are in music, but this music is divinely beautiful!'

http://books.google.com.au/books?id=g3OnyUSS9JgC&pg=PA22&lpg=PA22&dq=%22wagner+praised+liszt%22&source=bl&ots=m9vPe9O1_Z&sig=NiOGHwYypNZq5AS3It6nsP5wxrI&hl=en&ei=kzDUTsvXJsOaiAe7p4SCDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CB4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=%22wagner%20praised%20liszt%22&f=false

 

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

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

Naupilus,

That's fine. I try to discipline myself to not expect different things and take a composer's work on it's own terms. I'm happy when I manage to do it. I think I will try that Volkov disc, Funeral Odes. Not to be too gloomy on a Tuesday morning, but it sparked my interest.

And now to completely go head on against my first paragraph, am I right in expecting Liszt's orchestration to remain rather sparse for all his career? Even in that trio you put him, alongside Berlioz and Strauss, his orchestration has a sort of straightforward feel to it, I think. Does that change?

Also, I was very close to picking up that Hamelin marches disc that you mentioned, but that month's budget eventually went to another disc. I think I'll be back, though, can't seem to get enough of this great pianist.

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

Mircea Nestor wrote:

Naupilus,

That's fine. I try to discipline myself to not expect different things and take a composer's work on it's own terms. I'm happy when I manage to do it. I think I will try that Volkov disc, Funeral Odes. Not to be too gloomy on a Tuesday morning, but it sparked my interest.

And now to completely go head on against my first paragraph, am I right in expecting Liszt's orchestration to remain rather sparse for all his career? Even in that trio you put him, alongside Berlioz and Strauss, his orchestration has a sort of straightforward feel to it, I think. Does that change?

Also, I was very close to picking up that Hamelin marches disc that you mentioned, but that month's budget eventually went to another disc. I think I'll be back, though, can't seem to get enough of this great pianist.

MN

I would not put Liszt in the line of Berlioz and Strauss because of orchestration - both were, for my ears, better and more flexible orchestrators. It is more in the type of orchestral music and the ideas that they chose to express muscially that I hear a line. Berlioz wrote some of the most amazing programmatic music  (I still feel the Symphony Fantastique is a work composed before its time) and all three used Byron as inspiration (and the work of poets in general). All three really found it hard to work within the traditional forms. Both Berlioz and Liszt seem to me to have been restless innovators - Berlioz more consistent than Liszt perhaps. Strauss is slightly different - the early orchestral works have the sheer audacity of Berlioz and the plastciity of form that one hears often in Liszt. Later Strauss seems less revolutionary in comparison - but most definitely the work of a master. Eduard Said writes very well about late Strauss (and late Beethoven) and gave me a new interest in the wind sonatinas.

Prompted by our exchange I listened again to the Volkov disc. Yes some of the material falls short but at moments I found myself in the soundworld of Wagner. The pleasure in listeningto music like this is not so much the greatness but instead the chance to make connections and see where a composer's ideas come from, together with where the may lead. I remember Daniel Barenboim once commenting about Parsifal, "first act sounds like Bruckner, the second like Liszt and the third like Debussy". And I hear those links too - as if all the music is connected. Of course Wagner does not sound like Debussy (it would have to be the other way round!) but echoes and refelctions bounce both ways.

Do try more Hamelin if you can. He is a top pianist and musician and I am always happy to see he records music that often is left uncovered. I have yet to come to terms with his Reger piano concerto, but one day maybe!

Naupilus

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

Further to my previous assertions regarding Liszt and Mahler, I urge you to listen to the Heroide Funebre (I'm listening to the Masur recording now). Such a shame he never completed his "Revolutionary" symphony (the Heroide Funebre was intended as the first movement).

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

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

naupilus wrote:

 Has anybody spent more than a normal time listening to Liszt this year?

Yes - the 'Listening to Music' group I attend are spending 2 x 2 hour sessions on him - even though there's no live Liszt to be heard anywhere in my area!

This week I discovered pianist Gyorgy Cziffra - still yet to explore properly - and the 9 Beethoven piano transcriptions.  Arguably redundant, now that we have full recordings of orchestra and choir but I like them.

Next week - orchestral from the Weimar period - I'll let you know what makes an impression then.

 

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

naupilus wrote:

Play a Liszt trasnscription before the real thing if you have time...

I will...actually, this is just the sort of development I was hoping for when signing up for the listening group - the ability for hear familiar music from a different perspective.

 

RE: Liszt 200 - how was it for you?

Try playing Beethoven's 5th symphony at full volume whilst having a bath with your head under the water. Try it several times and see how far through the symphony you can get. (you may get different perspectives - one may involve the neighbours, one may involve paramedics - let us know the results)

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