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#2053456 - 03/24/13 12:30 PM Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils?
fnork Offline
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I don't know to what extent this has been discussed recently on the forum, so if it has been discussed a lot elsewhere, please re-direct me smile We are very fortunate to have plenty of recordings of Liszt's pupils, whereas in the case of Chopin (who died much earlier), we only have recordings of pupils of pupils. While one can point out that far from all of his students were top-class pianists (Alan Walker mentions one of his books how Hans von Bulow a few times took over teaching when Liszt wasn't feeling well, and he literally threw out a good amount of the class...which eventually came back to Liszt, once Bulow had left), the interesting thing about listening to the best ones is how they all differed from one another. Liszt, although creating what we now know as the masterclass, seemed more concerned with making his students discover their own inner voices rather than telling them to do things his way. It's pretty telling to compare students like Moritz Rosenthal and Arthur de Greef for example, the latter being much favored by both Grieg and Saint-saens and whose playing stands out as much more rigid and "modern" than most of his contemporaries.

Any particular favourites among Liszt's students? Here's by the way a rather spectacular Feux Follets by Friedheim:



Edited by fnork (03/24/13 12:33 PM)
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#2053488 - 03/24/13 01:36 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
Mark_C Online   content
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Interesting topic, and I don't know that it's ever been discussed here, at least in the 200 years since I came on. ha

And I'd guess that few people have heard of more than a handful of them. I never heard of this de Greef dude grin even though I'm very interested in this kind of history and have read a lot on it. Not able to listen to the Friedheim right now, and BTW I didn't know we had recordings of his. (Is it really a "recording," or a piano roll?) Actually I don't even really know who were Liszt pupils, but I have a pretty definite notion that if we stretch it to "pupils of pupils," the list (no pun) ha would stretch very long. I mean, if we take it to pupils of pupils of pupils, pretty soon a lot of us right here go back to Beethoven!

But screw all that....I think I'd wind up going pretty comfortably with Rosenthal.

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#2053490 - 03/24/13 01:38 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
sophial Offline
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Based on Walker, my recollection is that Carl Tausig was his favorite male pupil and Sophie Menter his favorite female pupil. Tausig unfortunately died in his thirties and I don't think there are any recordings of his playing. Are there any of Menter's?

p.s. ah, I may have misread your question-- I thought you were asking if Liszt had favorites among his pupils!


Edited by sophial (03/24/13 01:40 PM)

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#2053505 - 03/24/13 02:01 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: sophial]
fnork Offline
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Correct about Sophie Menter I believe, and I think it is about her that Liszt said that she was a much better pianist than Clara Schumann! Menter only left some piano rolls unfortunately, as far as I know. Appears this is the only Liszt piece she ever recorded:



Piano rolls leave much to be desired, but clearly a VERY good pianist! There's a bit of improvising going on in that roll apparently, listening to it now.


And Marc, Arthur de Greef is MUCH recommended listening to! He worked with Grieg on the piano concerto and with Saint-Saens on the 2nd concerto, and they both were strongly in favour of his playing. It's interesting to note that both Grieg and S-S were overall more "modern" in their approach to playing piano, Grieg especially stayed away from keeping the hands asynchronised, he hardly arpeggiated unless indicated etc...De Greef's approach is, likewise, rather sober and "modern" for its time:

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#2053510 - 03/24/13 02:08 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
Damon Online   happy
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Although I don't like everything he does, I'm fond of this rendition by Lamond.

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#2053517 - 03/24/13 02:14 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: Mark_C]
fnork Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark_C
Actually I don't even really know who were Liszt pupils, but I have a pretty definite notion that if we stretch it to "pupils of pupils," the list (no pun) ha would stretch very long. I mean, if we take it to pupils of pupils of pupils, pretty soon a lot of us right here go back to Beethoven!

Yep, so it is. Having studied with a teacher who worked with Vlado Perlemuter in Paris, I'm not far from Ravel, but JUST having the link doesn't mean much if you haven't somehow absorbed something regarding a performance tradition. It reminds of a story where there was a female pianist in Weimar who claimed to have studied with Liszt - he eventually heard about it, asked about where she lived, went to her place and asked if he could hear her play. Story goes that after she had played, he said - "now you can go on and say that you have played for me" grin

In any case, I do think that hearing pianists that Liszt himself favored, together with memoirs/writings of people who studied with him, gives clues about Liszt himself and his playing. Although we only have "pupils of pupils" of Chopin, I do think that some of those pupils (Koczalski and Rosenthal for example) offer us some clues about how Chopin thought about piano playing, as well. It's very clear in some cases that when a talented young pianist came to Karol Mikuli, he did his best to pass on the tradition he inherited of his great teacher, CHopin. But let's leave the Chopin tradition for another thread grin


Edited by fnork (03/24/13 02:18 PM)
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#2053521 - 03/24/13 02:30 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
fnork Offline
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I don't know why I overlooked Lamond so much, must've heard some of his least interesting recordings...What a figure he must've been! Famous for his Beethoven sonata recordings until Schnabel recorded the complete set. Here's a pretty fantastic document - Lamond talking, in the 1940's, about his experiences with Liszt!

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#2053526 - 03/24/13 02:47 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
DameMyra Online   happy
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Thanks for the link to the de Greef recording. I hadn't heard of him either. I really like his playing and plan to listen to more. Reading his biography online it mentions he taught for many years at the Brussels Conservatory. I would be interested in who his students might have been. I did some googling and couldn't find any. Would you know of any, by any chance?


Edited by DameMyra (03/24/13 02:48 PM)
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#2053537 - 03/24/13 03:20 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
BruceD Offline
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The "problem" I have - and have always had - with a question such as this, is that it involves an unanswerable element. That is : to what extent did the student-pianist of (name any composer/teacher) follow the teachings of that particular composer to the letter or follow his own path as his own artistry developed? That path could possibly lead very far from the original, and assuming that a student of Liszt played the way Liszt did - or even played as Liszt taught him to play - may be an erroneous assumption.

The longer the lineage, the further, obviously, one gets from the original.

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#2053541 - 03/24/13 03:34 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: BruceD]
fnork Offline
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BruceD - That's certainly a good question to ask in this case. We don't have recordings of Liszt, we only have recordings of his pupils, alongside with their memories of Liszt's performances. However, we can put bits and pieces together out of the extensive memoirs from people that heard Liszt and that were taught by him, and together with their performances, we can at least understand him as a teacher and to a certain degree as a performer as well. To give one example - Liszt himself thought VERY highly of Friedheim's performance of the sonata, well...We don't have a live recording but we have a piano roll of Friedheim playing this very sonata:



I'm not a huge fan of piano rolls, but it's what we have in some cases, and I think it's an important document. Ultimately, I don't think it could be said that any of the pianists Liszt taught played just the way he did, and it wouldn't even be desireable. What's interesting is that they carried along a rich legacy inherited from their teacher and that they (or...lets say, the BEST ONES of his pupils, as me and most of us probably only have heard recordings of a dozen of his pupils or so) all remained highly individual pianists. I'm not saying that we automatically must listen with more care or interest just because someone happened to study with Liszt, but it's just a fact that many of the finest pianists of this era were associated with him in one way or another.
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#2053553 - 03/24/13 04:05 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: BruceD]
Damon Online   happy
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Originally Posted By: BruceD
The "problem" I have - and have always had - with a question such as this, is that it involves an unanswerable element. That is : to what extent did the student-pianist of (name any composer/teacher) follow the teachings of that particular composer to the letter or follow his own path as his own artistry developed? That path could possibly lead very far from the original, and assuming that a student of Liszt played the way Liszt did - or even played as Liszt taught him to play - may be an erroneous assumption.

The longer the lineage, the further, obviously, one gets from the original.

Regards,


Your "problem" is interesting in that it betrays the main desire is to ascertain how Liszt himself played rather than judge his success as a teacher. I always thought it would be funny if we could go back in time and be thoroughly unimpressed with his playing. smile
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#2053664 - 03/24/13 07:34 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
argerichfan Offline
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Originally Posted By: fnork
Correct about Sophie Menter I believe...

Correct indeed!
Quote:
... and I think it is about her that Liszt said that she was a much better pianist than Clara Schumann!

Less sure about that. There was no love lost between Clara and Franz, so that may need to be taken in context. But Clara certainly never produced a great pupil, and without recordings, we don't have anything to go on. I have always suspected that Clara's reputation was at least partly due to her surname. She was very fluent as a composer (albeit before she married Robert), but none of her works stand the test of time, and I cannot help but wonder if that might also apply to her abilities as a pianist.

But this tends to be a contentious point amongst certain members on this board.

I might venture to say that Rafael Joseffy was probably one of Liszt's finest late pupils. Reportedly he was a lot more secure technically than Arthur Friedheim, but where would we be without Friedheim's delicious book 'Life and Liszt'?

Required reading!
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#2053787 - 03/25/13 02:59 AM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
Ferdinand Offline
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Fnork - thank you for posting the link to the Lamond memoir. It brings Liszt to life, and makes that time seem so tantalizingly near.

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#2054456 - 03/26/13 09:18 AM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: argerichfan]
fnork Offline
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Originally Posted By: argerichfan
[quote=fnork]
Quote:
... and I think it is about her that Liszt said that she was a much better pianist than Clara Schumann!

Less sure about that. There was no love lost between Clara and Franz, so that may need to be taken in context.

I believe Kenneth Hamilton brought it up at some point in this talk:



What Liszt said (and I dont know to whom) was more that Sophie Menter was the best female pianist around but that it mustn't be said, because Clara Schumann is the queen...

Check this bit from Hamilton's "After the golden age":

"After the golden age"


Edited by fnork (03/26/13 10:35 AM)
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#2054496 - 03/26/13 10:53 AM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
argerichfan Offline
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Originally Posted By: fnork

Check this bit from Hamilton's "After the golden age":
...

Thank-you for the link, most interesting. It certainly confirmed what I had suspected Liszt thought of Clara's playing -and if you read farther down- what the more conservative pianists thought of Liszt's playing!

To this day I wonder about the motive behind Liszt's dedication of the first edition of the Paganini Etudes to Clara. Was it because he felt she was such a sovereignly gifted pianist, or that he knew damn well she wouldn't be able to get them up to speed?
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#2054523 - 03/26/13 11:45 AM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: argerichfan]
fnork Offline
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Originally Posted By: argerichfan
To this day I wonder about the motive behind Liszt's dedication of the first edition of the Paganini Etudes to Clara. Was it because he felt she was such a sovereignly gifted pianist, or that he knew damn well she wouldn't be able to get them up to speed?

I would presume there are many layers of irony behind that dedication, as the Liszt Paganini were written after Schumann (thinking of Robert here, obviously...) had done his own sets of pieces after the Paganini caprices, which by comparison are of little pianistic interest...
In any case, it seems to me that Clara's dislike for Liszt's music was there from the start, I believe it wasn't just a matter of jealousy towards the supreme pianist of that century
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#2054534 - 03/26/13 12:10 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: argerichfan]
fnork Offline
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Originally Posted By: argerichfan
But Clara certainly never produced a great pupil, and without recordings, we don't have anything to go on. I have always suspected that Clara's reputation was at least partly due to her surname. She was very fluent as a composer (albeit before she married Robert), but none of her works stand the test of time, and I cannot help but wonder if that might also apply to her abilities as a pianist.

But this tends to be a contentious point amongst certain members on this board.

The thing is that some of the pieces of hers were actually written when she was extremely young - what was she, 15, when she wrote her piano concerto? In some cases, it's worth asking what she would have become had she gotten the right encouragement as a composer. In any case, I do think she was very influential as a performer as well, and in any case she did make efforts at the most demanding piano repertoire, like Hammerklavier (though I suspect she never performed it...?).

As for her students, it should be said that basically all of them recorded when they were way past their prime, and the one that recorded the most happens to be the one we'd like to listen to the least, Adelina de Lara. Fanny Davies has much more character in her playing, and Ilona Eibenschutz too. Ilona's reminiscensces of Brahms are really worth hearing:



Carl Friedheim was also a pianist that Clara and Brahms thought highly of, though he didn't like the idea of recording and only made a handful recordings towards the end of his life. Clearly, he was an exceptional pianist in his prime:




Also, though Etelka Freund doesn't seem to have worked too much with Clara, they did know each others and she also was much appreciated by Brahms.

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#2054610 - 03/26/13 03:46 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: argerichfan]
pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted By: argerichfan
I have always suspected that Clara's reputation was at least partly due to her surname. She was very fluent as a composer (albeit before she married Robert), but none of her works stand the test of time, and I cannot help but wonder if that might also apply to her abilities as a pianist.
There are numerous rave reviews of her performances by important critics of the time.

Dubal calls her "the most influential woman musician of the 19th century, and doubtless the greatest woman pianist of her age" and says "her performing career and the magnitude of her repertoire were equalled by no man."


Edited by pianoloverus (03/26/13 03:53 PM)

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#2054777 - 03/26/13 07:50 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
argerichfan Offline
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Originally Posted By: fnork

As for her students, it should be said that basically all of them recorded when they were way past their prime, and the one that recorded the most happens to be the one we'd like to listen to the least, Adelina de Lara. Fanny Davies has much more character in her playing, and Ilona Eibenschutz too. Ilona's reminiscensces of Brahms are really worth hearing:

Well yes, Adelina de Lara recorded a fair amount, those recordings I have heard. I suppose what was most disappointing was not so much the apparent fact that she was past her prime, but that she didn't throw any new light on repertoire which modern pianists have demonstrated in spades. With riches on the order of a Rachmaninov, Rubinstein, Horowitz or Argerich, it seems a bit beside the point to be concerned with Clara and company.

Liszt did remark that if you want to hear Schumann played as he should not be played, then listen to Clara. Well of course that was plainly biased, but considering Liszt's monumental abilities (coupled with an ear which would rival Boulez), and his early appreciation of Wagner before it was fashionable, well we're not talking a dilettante here.

Putting aside the most unfortunate observation (cf the book 'Queer Episodes in Music') that Clara was not a particularly warm or kind individual, I suspect that her piano playing in middle and later years was not anything compared with the many great pianists active at the time, certainly nothing to match the the volcanic Teresa Carreño.

I fully recognize (perhaps unfairly) that Clara is a difficult issue for me.
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#2055021 - 03/27/13 09:21 AM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: argerichfan]
fnork Offline
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Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Putting aside the most unfortunate observation (cf the book 'Queer Episodes in Music') that Clara was not a particularly warm or kind individual, I suspect that her piano playing in middle and later years was not anything compared with the many great pianists active at the time, certainly nothing to match the the volcanic Teresa Carreño.

I fully recognize (perhaps unfairly) that Clara is a difficult issue for me.

Let's not forget she had quite a bit of a rollercoaster of a life, where both her husband and one of her children died in mental asylums and several of the remaining children died long before she did. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe she both was touring while late in pregnancy, and I also have a faint memory of that one of her children died during one of the tours, but she decided to continue the tour. Not because she didn't have a heart, but because she singlehandedly had to take care of a large family, and she did not accept money from anyone. She took care of her grandchildren as well, once one of her own kids wasn't able anymore to raise them. So yeah, it might be a tiny bit unfair to just toss her off as a not-too-warm or kind individual. More info, through wikipedia:

"Clara Schumann was the main breadwinner for her family through giving concerts and teaching, and she did most of the work of organizing her own concert tours. She refused to accept charity when a group of musicians offered to put on a benefit concert for her. In addition to raising her own large family, when one of her children became incapacitated, she took on responsibility for raising her grandchildren. During the May Uprising in Dresden in 1849, she famously walked into the city through the front lines, defying a pack of armed men who confronted her, rescued her children, then walked back out of the city through the dangerous areas again.
Her family life was punctuated by tragedy. Four of her eight children and her husband died before she did, and her husband and one of her sons ended their lives in insane asylums. Her first son Emil died in 1847, aged only one. Her husband Robert had a mental collapse, attempted suicide in 1854, and was committed to an insane asylum for the last two years of his life. In 1872 her daughter Julie died, leaving two small children. In 1879, her son Felix, aged 25, died. Her son Ludwig suffered from mental illness, like his father, and, in her words, had to be "buried alive" in an institution. Her son Ferdinand died at the age of 43 and she was required to raise his children. She herself became deaf in later life and she often needed a wheelchair."



In any case, we can leave the disciples of the Schumann/Brahms circle for a later discussion. De Lara might have little of interest for us, but I maintain that some of the other pianists like Friedheim, Ilona Eibenschutz and Fanny Davies do offer insights into the music. Don't miss Ilona's talks about her memories of Brahms...


...but for now, let's stick to the Liszt circle perhaps! smile
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#2055289 - 03/27/13 07:22 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
argerichfan Offline
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Originally Posted By: fnork

...but for now, let's stick to the Liszt circle perhaps! smile

Well we can do that, and many, many thanks for your contributions!

If I remain politely skeptical that Clara was merely brilliant without being particularly striking as a musician, look at the Liszt pianists which I would have given anything to have heard in their prime: Tausig, d'Albert, Rosenthal, Sauer, Joseffy, de Greef, Friedheim, Stavenhagen, Siloti. Was Clara a greater pianist than those?

Perhaps I'll count out von Bülow, but then we could go on to the Leschetitzky group. Such riches!
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#2055505 - 03/28/13 07:10 AM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
wr Offline
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Originally Posted By: fnork
It's interesting to note that both Grieg and S-S were overall more "modern" in their approach to playing piano,


I think S-S might respond that he was more old-fashioned, instead of more modern.

Some time ago there was a link in a thread here to an interesting essay by him in which he seemed to be identifying his pianistic style with something quite a lot older than the present day (that is, at the time he wrote it, which, IIRC, was shortly after the turn of the century). It was a way of playing that he had learned when young, and that he thought that kind of playing had pretty much disappeared in the late 1800's - early 20th century, much to his chagrin.

It is intriguing that someone whose life overlapped Chopin's by more than a decade also lived long enough to hear Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring"!! And the piano itself was still undergoing a lot of development when he was a kid.

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#2055591 - 03/28/13 10:48 AM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
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They were made in the twilight of his career, but some really fantastic recordings were made by Emil Von Sauer.
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#2055602 - 03/28/13 11:05 AM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: Thracozaag]
argerichfan Offline
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Originally Posted By: Thracozaag
They were made in the twilight of his career, but some really fantastic recordings were made by Emil Von Sauer.

I've heard his recordings of the Liszt concertos, and they seemed rather tame and underpowered. Do you have other recommendations?
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#2055610 - 03/28/13 11:14 AM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
Thracozaag Offline
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Schumann concerto, it's gorgeous.
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#2055617 - 03/28/13 11:18 AM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
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Would also highly recommend investigating the scores he edited; they're quite fascinating.
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#2055639 - 03/28/13 11:42 AM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
fnork Offline
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Speaking of editions! Apparently Lamond made a Beethoven sonatas edition? I hear it is interesting in the sense that many early 20th century editions are - highly edited, etc.
And YES regarding von Sauer - very poetic playing in the Schumann concerto.
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#2055679 - 03/28/13 01:13 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
ClsscLib Offline

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Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
I went to a performance at one of the Smithsonian museums last night where the pianist described himself in the program as "A pupil of a pupil of a pupil of Liszt." It was clearly meant in fun.
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2055703 - 03/28/13 02:02 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: fnork]
Thracozaag Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/06/04
Posts: 1979
Loc: Salt Lake City
The lovely thing is we're all basically descended from the Lisztian tree.
_________________________
"I'm a concert pianist--that's a pretentious way of saying I'm unemployed at the moment."--Oscar Levant

http://www.youtube.com/kojiattwood
https://www.giftedmusicschool.org/

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#2055754 - 03/28/13 03:30 PM Re: Favourite pianists among Liszt's pupils? [Re: Thracozaag]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17927
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: Thracozaag
The lovely thing is we're all basically descended from the Lisztian tree.


While that is undoubtedly true, does it have any significance?

Regards,
_________________________
BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190

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