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#1228013 - 07/07/09 08:02 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: beet31425]
Damon Online   happy
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 6423
Loc: St. Louis area
Originally Posted By: beet31425
Myself, I have mixed feelings about the great man. Heart-rending, beautiful melodies. Astonishing harmonic sequences, paving the way for Wagner and music history. Fascinating original pianistic textures.

And yet... I often feel there's something missing; some bedrock sense of depth that I get from, say, Beethoven and Chopin. So that, sadly for me, I've always thought of Liszt as second-rate Chopin.

But realizing how important Liszt is to people on this forum-- and worldwide-- makes me think I might be missing something. Perhaps, along the lines of ProdigalPianist, I've been listening to the wrong pianists. Or to the wrong pieces. So there may be hope for me; after all, I used to think Mozart was just second-rate Beethoven until I was abruptly cured of that a few years ago.

I'll try some of the suggestions from this thread. Meanwhile, I do at least hold the Db major Consolation dear to my heart, as my grandmother used to play it....

Often, how it is played makes all the difference. Had it not been for Horowitz, I wouldn't be listening to Chopin. I used to find his music insipid and my early exposure to it was from Rubenstein, a famed Chopin interpretor. Oddly, Horowitz does nothing to make me enjoy Liszt as Rubenstein did.
Horowitz was awesome!

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#1228051 - 07/07/09 10:07 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: sophial]
FunkyLlama Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/09/09
Posts: 359
Originally Posted By: sophial

Please click on the above and read Alfred Brendel's essay "Liszt Misunderstood" for an educated opinion on the music of Franz Liszt. He says it far better than I ever could.

Brendel is quite mean about Rachmaninoff D:

#1228422 - 07/08/09 03:08 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: FunkyLlama]
beet31425 Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/09
Posts: 4023
Loc: Bay Area, CA
Well, consider me a convert.

Inspired by forum members' general love of Liszt, as well as Brendel's words, I've begun listening to him, for the first time in earnest. For the last 24h it's been mostly the trancendental etudes, and when you have several recordings to compare (from Naxos music library) and the scores to follow along with (from imslp.org), you can really get into it.

And far from feeling like second-rate Chopin, or any kind of Chopin, he now just feels like Liszt. And he's just great!

(Actually, in his combination of beautiful melody and lack of restraint, he really reminds me, to my surprise, of Schubert. Surely the middle section of the slow movement of Schubert's late A major sonata is Lisztian.)
Goldberg memorization progress: Aria -> V15 (52%...)

#1230710 - 07/13/09 12:19 AM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: beet31425]
ChopinLives81 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/10/04
Posts: 1554
Loc: New York City
Well I'll throw in my two cents. I think that a lot of people miss the overall reason for a composer/pianist' being and existence sometimes. Liszt did a great service to us all with his transcriptions and adaptations to solo piano. His personal research into developing technique paved the way to express ideas on a piano that were inconceivable before. His merit lies within his endeavors.

Still I must add that I've been a deep listener of Liszt for quite some time and I'm familiar with many of his works ( compositions ) and his creation and development of melodies is just as profound as any other composer.

The real question is....what constitutes a melody in our opinion. If its not catchy or memorable is it still a melody? I feel it reflects a lot about our musical understanding. When I first began listening to piano music, there were hundreds of pieces that I couldn't understand for the life of me, why they were popular or why one would bother to play them. It wasn't until after I began to understand the nature of music that I discovered the melodies within the music that were invisible to me at first.

Am I alone on this????
"A Sorceror of tonality; the piano is my cauldron and the music is my spell, let those who cannot hear my calling die and burn in He11."

Check my videos @:

#1231022 - 07/13/09 04:15 PM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: beginningpianist]
SantaFe_Player Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/31/08
Posts: 607
Liszt wrote many beautifully singing, melodic pieces. But he also wrote many that were strictly for showing off his own virtuosity; I think sometimes the two are mutually exclusive but by no means did he completely lack in melody. I think we tend to hear the flashy ones more often but there is some heartbreakingly beautiful Liszt out there.

#1231050 - 07/13/09 05:12 PM Re: Do you think Liszt lacks melody? [Re: SantaFe_Player]
Juishi Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/10/08
Posts: 123
With all liszt-experts around I would be delighted to hear what are those "many pieces" that were written for showing off only.
Do not mention etudes because they do have melodies and very good ones :>

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