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#1214306 - 06/08/09 10:12 PM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: Horowitzian]
boo1234 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/09
Posts: 504
if you ask me Brahms lacks in melody too.

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#1214341 - 06/08/09 11:39 PM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: boo1234]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
This thread has just gone from really bad to horrible.
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1214345 - 06/08/09 11:47 PM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: boo1234]
Emanuel Ravelli Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 679
Loc: Virginia
I think we're getting lost in generalizations here. Sure, there's Liszt and Brahms out there that isn't terribly tuneful, but I can think of many examples of works by both composers where just the opposite is true. Liszt: B minor Sonata, Un Sospiro, Liebestraume, Benediction de Dieu dans las Solitude. Brahms: many of the intermezzi, esp'y all of the Op. 117 pieces, Op. 118 No.2, the middle of Op. 119 No. 2 the Rhapsodies (including Op. 119 no. 4) and the wonderful things he does (some of them very melodic) with a simple classical theme in the Handel Variations.

For my money, the all-time champ of the "Find the Melody" game is Schumann. Most of his stuff is nothing but dense harmonic textures and sometimes weird rhythms. But then consider Carnaval, the Abegg Variations, the F# major Romance, and Traumerei -- some of the greatest melodies ever written for piano. Most of the reason a composer is considered great boils down to memorable melodies. We just need to keep looking and listening until we find the ones we love.


Edited by Emanuel Ravelli (06/08/09 11:51 PM)
Edit Reason: typo
_________________________
Phil Bjorlo

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#1214351 - 06/08/09 11:56 PM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: Emanuel Ravelli]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Thank you for your thoughtful post, Phil. I agree with you completely. Another great melodist is Rachmaninoff. I was listening to Elyso Bolkvadze play his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini today with Jansung Kakhidze and the Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra. What a masterful work! cool
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1214352 - 06/09/09 12:00 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: Horowitzian]
musica71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 415
Loc: Bend, Or.
For Heaven's sake...what about the Consolations? Also Neil McKelvie has the most gorgeous video on youtube (Bostonpianoamateurs) of a French piece that Liszt wrote for voice. It is absolutely beautiful!!
_________________________
Musica 71

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#1214366 - 06/09/09 12:38 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: ecthelion]
Ferdinand Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/23/07
Posts: 936
Loc: California
I don't understand why people are attacking Ecthelion. He made it clear that he was describing his impressions of Liszt. He admitted his experience is limited. He does not deserve anyone's scorn. Suppose the Liszt enthusiasts were to try to enlighten him by offering a broader viewpoint and suggestions for listening, instead of disdain for venturing an opinion. Other readers of the thread might learn something too.

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#1214374 - 06/09/09 01:18 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: Ferdinand]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6205
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
While the quality of Liszt's overall compositional output was inconsistent, when he was at his best he did, in fact, write many beautiful and memorable melodies. They're there if you take the time to explore his work and seek them out. One of the challenges with Liszt, however, is the overall difficulty of much of his piano music. Its not the kind of stuff that is easy to sightread - and often the "melodies" are buried in the complexity of the writing. The Transcendental Etudes are perfect examples.
_________________________
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo

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#1214393 - 06/09/09 03:00 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: Ferdinand]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7756
Originally Posted By: Ferdinand
I don't understand why people are attacking Ecthelion. He made it clear that he was describing his impressions of Liszt. He admitted his experience is limited. He does not deserve anyone's scorn. Suppose the Liszt enthusiasts were to try to enlighten him by offering a broader viewpoint and suggestions for listening, instead of disdain for venturing an opinion. Other readers of the thread might learn something too.


Anyone showing a high-handed and completely misguided disdain for a major-league composer of whom they obviously have little understanding deserves lots of scorn. Besides which, the original post didn't even ask for other people's thoughts on the subject, but was just worded as an outright dismissal, with just the tiniest hint that the writer might admit to not really being in a position to hold the opinion that was expressed. The whole post is sort of troll-like, actually. And I really don't care a whole lot about attempting to "enlighten" someone exhibiting such a closed mind right off the bat - it usually isn't worth the effort. They need to grow up a lot first, no matter what their chronological age.

There, now do you understand a little better?

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#1214394 - 06/09/09 03:10 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: boo1234]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7756
Originally Posted By: boo1234
if you ask me Brahms lacks in melody too.


As has been pointed out, music doesn't depend on melody to be great. There are a zillion examples of exceptionally good music that isn't particularly "melodic", or if they do contain a melody, it isn't particularly distinguished, starting all the way back before Bach.

And Bach himself wrote a lot of great stuff without much melody - the very first prelude in the WTC being the classic example. The basic material of many of his fugues isn't really good melody - he just understood the contrapuntal potential of it and took it from there. Beethoven likewise wrote a great deal of excellent stuff based on banal melodic material, if there was any at all; it's practically a trademark of his style.



Edited by wr (06/09/09 03:10 AM)

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#1214419 - 06/09/09 05:01 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: wr]
davaofthekeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/08
Posts: 243
The thing with clear, defined (humable?) melodies in music, at least to me, is that they make you tire of the piece more quickly. A melody often becomes very predictable once you´ve learned it, while more complex layers of harmony does not in the same way. (I know this is a generalization, just thought I´d put the thought out there). I get utterly sick of playing very melodic pieces by for instance Mozart, but spend lots more time exploring and discovering the harmonic structure in some of Liszt´s works. To each his own.

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#1214428 - 06/09/09 05:55 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: davaofthekeys]
David Ramezani Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/19/05
Posts: 226
Loc: Sweden
Here is a piece with some of my favourite melodies:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BZgte0ObLw&fmr=18
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRa36DV6zJ8&fmt=18

And it is written by no other than Liszt.

And if you are looking for beauty:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avdHNjOmWBU&fmt=18
_________________________
Best regards,

David Ramezani

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#1214451 - 06/09/09 07:20 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: John Citron]
ecthelion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/24/09
Posts: 72
Originally Posted By: John Citron
...
"How sad that natural gifts as rare as those possessed by M. Liszt are only used to convert music into a shell-game and conjuring show! That is not at all the destiny of this enchanting art. It should touch us, move us, not astonish us. The emotions are inexhaustible, but astonishment soon wears off. M. Liszt, you are very young; you are an excellent sight-reader and already a very skilled musician; you possess wonderful fingers; unfortunately, however, you were born at a time when pianists have made music into silliness and you have been carried away by the torrent.…Renounce these brilliant frivolities in favor of more solid advantages."

In my oh so humble and honest opinion, his works are beautiful, but get boring after awhile. This is the same for music of his contemporaries as well. The constant virtuostic runs up and down the keyboard over the steady bass line becomes the same and predictable after listening to a few of their works.
...
John


Along the lines of what I meant when I said "sacrifice melody for virtuosity".

I just wanted to know what the general consensus was like. From what I can see here, I might have just said what many others think about Liszt.

Originally Posted By: Ferdinand
Suppose the Liszt enthusiasts were to try to enlighten him by offering a broader viewpoint and suggestions for listening, instead of disdain for venturing an opinion. Other readers of the thread might learn something too.

Exactly.

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#1214478 - 06/09/09 08:42 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: ecthelion]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: ecthelion
I just wanted to know what the general consensus was like. From what I can see here, I might have just said what many others think about Liszt.

You might have. But you should also consider that it may be, as you said in your OP, that your own understanding (and that of others, too) is limited.

There's a difference between an opinion, an informed opinion, and a matter of fact. It honestly sounds like you've made up your mind and are seeking evidence and validation for that predetermined position. Rather than start with a conclusion and looking for data to support it, it's customary (and safer) to start with the evidence (and an open mind) instead.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1214530 - 06/09/09 10:01 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: sotto voce]
Numerian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 1075
There's nothing wrong with ecthelion asking a loaded question. It is a serious question, after all, and more credit to ecthelion if he provides his or her own opinion to kick off the discussion. It is not as if this was a hit and run thread that ecthelion abandoned. Some of the responses have too much condescension for my taste.

He did not, after all, ask whether M. Liszt was a great composer. Liszt was a great composer and remains underrated even to this day. He was an even greater man in the history of Western music, perhaps one of the most influential considering the composers and performers he selflessly championed.

But he was not a great melodist, of which there are not that many in Western music. Franz Schubert, P.I. Tchaikovsky, Frederic Chopin, Johann Strauss, Richard Rodgers, Arthur Sullivan - these are men with a unique and rare talent to write many great melodies throughout their career. This doesn't even count the opera composers like Verdi, Bizet, Bellini, and Donizetti.

Liszt is not in this company. So what? He is still a great composer who had many other gifts and I play his pieces constantly for my own enjoyment. He just is not in that pantheon of great melodists.

Ask someone familiar with Western music to "sing me some Liszt" if you want an answer to ecthelion's question, and you'll see the responses are limited.

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#1214547 - 06/09/09 10:32 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: Numerian]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Not being considered a great melodist is hardly the same as lacking melody. If Liszt suffers in this regard in comparison to Schubert, Chopin or composers of opera, the difference is one of degree, not of kind.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1214549 - 06/09/09 10:34 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: sotto voce]
Numerian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 1075
It's a pretty big degree, though.

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#1214575 - 06/09/09 10:55 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: Numerian]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
I don't agree, and I think it's a matter of opinion unless one can inventory all works in Liszt's vast corpus (after first defining, of course, what defines the presence or absence of melody and what makes melodies qualitatively better or worse than one another).

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1214581 - 06/09/09 11:03 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: sotto voce]
Numerian Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 1075
I walk out of Iolanthe or Die Fledermaus singing and humming all the great melodies presented. I don't do that after a Liszt recital. He provides different satisfactions, not the least of which is the talent of the pianist in presenting Liszt's music. Maybe if you assembled Liszt's greatest hits in one concert I would say "great melodies", but the vast corpus of his work does not elicit the same reaction.

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#1214599 - 06/09/09 11:33 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: Numerian]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
But Liszt's vast corpus of work is indeed vast. How much of it are you familiar with? My own acquaintance is very limited, yet offers no basis at all for an generalized assessment of lack of melody or lack of "great melodies."

I don't think the comparison between operas and a Liszt recital is apposite. Opera is supposed to be melodic, after all, and Liszt didn't write any; the pieces programmed at a Liszt recital are a tiny fraction of his oeuvre that may or may not be melodic. It's not necessarily a consideration in programming recital pieces.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1214603 - 06/09/09 11:42 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: Horowitzian]
virtuoso418 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/03
Posts: 645
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: virtuoso418
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: GreenRain
Many works by Liszt are worthless and lack in melody.

Many works? I realize it's just a matter of opinion, but could you give some examples?


I doubt he knew that more than five Liszt pieces existed.


Interesting you say something like this in light of your comments in another thread:

Originally Posted By: virtuoso418
If you don't anything constructive to say to the post, then don't say anything at all. [...]



It was a joke. I should of inserted a smiley. chill.

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#1214606 - 06/09/09 11:46 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: virtuoso418]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
It wasn't funny. A smiley doesn't turn an insult into a joke.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1214614 - 06/09/09 12:02 PM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: sotto voce]
virtuoso418 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/03
Posts: 645
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
It wasn't funny. A smiley doesn't turn an insult into a joke.

Steven


Whether or not you find it funny, that's fine. But it was never an insult in the first place to turn into a joke. You sure do take these things seriously, it's quite funny.



BTW, green: In case you took it as an insult, I apologize. smile

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#1214628 - 06/09/09 12:20 PM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: virtuoso418]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
virtuoso418,

You seem preoccupied with the seriousness with which other people "take these things." You might take your own advice to "chill" and "relax."

BTW, saying you're sorry that someone took offense at your offensive remark isn't an apology for making it.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#1214632 - 06/09/09 12:26 PM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: sotto voce]
virtuoso418 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/03
Posts: 645
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
virtuoso418,

You seem preoccupied with the seriousness with which other people "take these things." You might take your own advice to "chill" and "relax."

BTW, saying you're sorry that someone took offense at your offensive remark isn't an apology for making it.

Steven


LOL, so I can't say sorry? Wow.

Sotto, this conversation is over. You have too much blinding hostility. Good day.

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#1214643 - 06/09/09 12:37 PM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: virtuoso418]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Intentional irony is amusing; psychological projection, not so much.

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

Top
#1214649 - 06/09/09 12:52 PM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: sotto voce]
Pogorelich. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/28/08
Posts: 4526
Loc: in the past
Yeah, man, I mean that B minor sonata is SUCH crap, eh? Full with abstract abnormalities, I wouldn't even classify it as music, Liszt, can't find a single melody in there, I tell ya! It's just like contemporary music nowadays, isn't it? Shame, shame.
_________________________

'I want to invest my emotions only in music; it will never disappoint me or hurt me - it is a safe place to be.'

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#1214650 - 06/09/09 12:56 PM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: virtuoso418]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Originally Posted By: virtuoso418
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: virtuoso418
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: GreenRain
Many works by Liszt are worthless and lack in melody.

Many works? I realize it's just a matter of opinion, but could you give some examples?


I doubt he knew that more than five Liszt pieces existed.


Interesting you say something like this in light of your comments in another thread:

Originally Posted By: virtuoso418
If you don't anything constructive to say to the post, then don't say anything at all. [...]



It was a joke. I should of inserted a smiley. chill.


You're one to be talking.
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1214718 - 06/09/09 02:38 PM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: Horowitzian]
virtuoso418 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/29/03
Posts: 645
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: virtuoso418
Originally Posted By: Horowitzian
Originally Posted By: virtuoso418
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: GreenRain
Many works by Liszt are worthless and lack in melody.

Many works? I realize it's just a matter of opinion, but could you give some examples?


I doubt he knew that more than five Liszt pieces existed.


Interesting you say something like this in light of your comments in another thread:

Originally Posted By: virtuoso418
If you don't anything constructive to say to the post, then don't say anything at all. [...]



It was a joke. I should of inserted a smiley. chill.


You're one to be talking.


Who are you.

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#1214735 - 06/09/09 03:10 PM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: virtuoso418]
Horowitzian Offline
8000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/08
Posts: 8453
Do you really expect anyone to believe it was a joke? It's easy to insult someone and when called out on it claim it was a "joke" and "I should have inserted a smiley".
_________________________
Close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear weapons.

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#1214843 - 06/09/09 06:03 PM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: Horowitzian]
debrucey Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 2600
Loc: Manchester, UK
The Chasse-Neige etude has a very nice melody.

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