Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other?

Posted by: lordlactose

Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 03:34 PM

I have never been able to found out about how they interacted with each other. I have heard rumors, note these are only rumors, I am not saying they are true. I heard that Franz Liszt loved chopin's music. He even said "chopin is a better composer then me". I heard Chopin did not like Liszt and used to mock him in private. Liszt wrote a biography about Chopin. Liszt made friends with all kinds of people like popes and kings. I bet he probably tried to befriend Chopin. However Chopin had such a nasty personality he probably did not allow this to happen. Chopin did not seem to appreciate the music of Liszt.

Do you guys have any info concerning the matter?
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 04:07 PM

After that "such a nasty personality" crack I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt answering you as if you're asking a serious question and not just a troll on the prowl - - -

Just about all you said about the admiration on Liszt's side was true. He definitely appreciated Chopin. Unfortunately, Chopin didn't live to know the very admirable sort of man and composer into which Liszt matured. Liszt was two years younger than Chopin still very much the brash, licentious, over the top virtuoso at the time. Still, they were unlikely friends in Chopin's early days in Paris. Chopin probably met George Sand through Liszt. They drifted apart when the close friendship between George Sand and Liszt's mistress Marie d'Agoult turned to bitter antagonism. Liszt later put it in chess terms to the effect that "when the Queens went to war their Knights were forced to go to war as well." There's also a tale (the evidence is sketchy) that Chopin and Liszt fell out when Liszt used Chopin's apartment for a sexual encounter with the fiancee of Chopin's friend Camille Pleyel while Chopin and Pleyel were visiting to England together, putting Chopin in the position of appearing to have been compliant in the seduction. The source of the notion that Chopin disliked Liszt's music (the best of which he never lived to hear) and mocked him in private is a series saucy forged letters supposedly written by Chopin to his alleged mistress Delfina Pocochka. These were "found" by a mentally disturbed musicologist named Pauline Czernicka in the 1940's and discredited about thirty years later. They were generally accepted as genuine in the interim, caused quite a stir, and found their way into many otherwise valid biographies and have been the source of much misinformation to this day. The only mention Chopin makes of Liszt in his genuine letters is to praise Liszt's playing, writing as he listened, "I wish I could steal his way of playing my etudes" and no letters that Chopin may've written to Liszt survive.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 04:17 PM

i tried reading the Liszt bio of Chopin. Before starting it I thought it would be incredibly interesting. The problem was that Liszt's writing style (or maybe everyone's at that time) is so flowery and convoluted that I found the book impossbile to read. The sentences he uses are two or three or more times longer than are usual today.
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 04:26 PM

According to Alan Walker, Liszt's girlfriend of the time, Princess Caroline von Sayn-Wittgenstein supposedly wrote it. (She wrote stuff like that as well as smoked cigars - Liszt liked brainy women). There are probably some genuine tidbits in there that she got from Liszt that are worth digging for but they're lost in so much wordy padding that I doubt Liszt himself made it through to edit it. It's literally taking me years to read it in small doses. Liszt's letters are very readable. We'd be much better off if he had written it.
Posted by: Palindrome

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 04:30 PM

I would simply point out that Liszt sat by Chopin's deathbed, playing Chopin's music to him.

Actions trump words (histories, letters, rumors, whatever).
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 04:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Palindrome
I would simply point out that Liszt sat by Chopin's deathbed, playing Chopin's music to him.



Uh, where did you get that idea? shocked
Posted by: antony

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 04:42 PM

Yes, I read "Chopin in Paris" and there was no mention of Liszt at Chopin's deathbed.
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 04:44 PM

Liszt wasn't there nor ever claimed to have been.
Posted by: Mattardo

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 04:50 PM

I haven't heard he was there either...

The nasty personality probably refers to his well-known complaints of other composers - I can see why someone would consider him as a bit of a jerk, when some of those complaints were a little bit unfounded, especially the one about Beethoven's music. I like Chopin's music, but I do not much care for Chopin's personal views.
Posted by: bplary1300

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 04:51 PM

I've read that Liszt's biography is ill-researched and badly put together, seems odd that he would do something like that to a composer whom he admired. However, it makes sense that they wouldn't always get along. Their views on music were almost entirely different. Liszt, a young man filled with virtuoso bravura, and Chopin, a quiet man known for his unearthly pianissimo. It makes sense that there may have been some sour moments in their relatioship. However, that's not to say they didn't respect eachother. Chopin dedicated his Op.10 to Liszt!
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 04:58 PM

Originally Posted By: Mattardo
I haven't heard he was there either...

The nasty personality probably refers to his well-known complaints of other composers - I can see why someone would consider him as a bit of a jerk, when some of those complaints were a little bit unfounded, especially the one about Beethoven's music. I like Chopin's music, but I do not much care for Chopin's personal views.


What on earth did Chopin ever say about Beethoven? The only quotation I know of is when he wrote about an unspecified trio that "Beethoven is snapping his fingers at the whole world. I've never heard anything so fine." And he did buy his favorite pupil Carl Filtsch a Beethoven score, telling the boy to "cherish this masterpiece" after he'd had a successful performance. In truth, Czernicka has a lot to answer for. Chopin wrote very little about other composers in his genuine letters yet I keep hearing how he dissed other composers in his letters. That's been repeated ad nauseum with very little to back it up. It strikes me as a case of repeat something often enough and everyone will believe it whether it has any validity or not, like Richard III's hump. And besides since when does having a contrary opinion constitute having a "nasty" personality? Does one have to pass some sort of musical correctness test to be considered on the side of the angels these days?

Chopin had a bit more to say about pianists than other composers in his letters but he's remarkably tolerant of amateur performers, always finding a little something kind to say, such as "she has a nice touch," or "she's really good at dynamics." He reserved his scathing wit for professionals, a practice some members of this forum might wish to consider.
Posted by: Palindrome

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 05:07 PM

Originally Posted By: -Frycek
Originally Posted By: Palindrome
I would simply point out that Liszt sat by Chopin's deathbed, playing Chopin's music to him.



Uh, where did you get that idea? shocked


Well, I had read that somewhere. Can't find it now. Brief search yields:

Originally Posted By: Google
Feeling ever more poorly, Chopin desired to have one of his family with him. In June 1849 his sister Ludwika Jędrzejewicz, who had given him his first piano lessons, agreed to come to Paris. He had lately taken up residence in a very beautiful, sunny apartment at Place Vendôme 12. It was there, a few minutes before two o'clock on the morning of Wednesday, 17 October 1849, that Chopin died. His death certificate stated the cause as tuberculosis. In 2008 this finding was questioned, cystic fibrosis being offered as an alternative cause.

Later, many persons who had not been present at Chopin's death would claim to have been there. "Being present at Chopin's death," writes Tad Szulc, "seemed to grant one historical and social cachet." Those actually around his bed appear to have included his sister Ludwika, Princess Marcelina Czartoryska, George Sand's daughter Solange and her husband Auguste Clésinger, and Chopin's friend and former pupil Adolf Gutmann, his friend Thomas Albrecht, and his confidant, Polish Catholic priest Father Aleksander Jełowicki.
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 05:18 PM

There was actually a cartoon - some fashionable woman apparently dying of shame, captioned "The only countess who wasn't at Chopin's bedside."
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 05:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Palindrome
Those actually around his bed appear to have included his sister Ludwika, Princess Marcelina Czartoryska, George Sand's daughter Solange and her husband Auguste Clésinger, and Chopin's friend and former pupil Adolf Gutmann, his friend Thomas Albrecht, and his confidant, Polish Catholic priest Father Aleksander Jełowicki.


And most likely Chopin's Irish manservant "my good Daniel," and a Polish nurse whom Chopin's sister took back with her to Poland to work for their mother. Somehow they always manage to forget the servants.
Posted by: al-mahed

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 05:45 PM

I have Tad Szulc's book, some people say it is not too accurated, but according to him Chopin met Sand in a reception offered by Liszt and his mistress Marie D'Agoult on 10/24/1836. Also, he says that Chopin and Liszt were friends (not close friends, but friends) until Sand and Marie D'Agoult fight.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 05:53 PM

+1
Posted by: Mattardo

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 06:12 PM

Originally Posted By: -Frycek
Originally Posted By: Mattardo
I haven't heard he was there either...

The nasty personality probably refers to his well-known complaints of other composers - I can see why someone would consider him as a bit of a jerk, when some of those complaints were a little bit unfounded, especially the one about Beethoven's music. I like Chopin's music, but I do not much care for Chopin's personal views.


What on earth did Chopin say about Beethoven? The only quotation I know of is when he wrote about an unspecified trio that "Beethoven is snapping his fingers at the whole world. I've never heard anything so fine." And he did buy his favorite pupil Carl Filtsch a Beethoven score, telling the boy to "cherish this masterpiece" after he'd had a successful performance. Czernicka has a lot to answer for. In truth, Chopin wrote very little about other composers in his genuine letters yet I keep hearing how Chopin dismissed other composers, etc. That's a statement that's repeated ad nauseum with very little to back it up. It strikes me as a case of repeat something often enough and everyone will believe it whether it has any validity or not, like Richard III's hump. Though why should Chopin not be entitled to his opinion no matter what it was? Does one have to pass some sort of test to be musically correct these days? Does disagreeing with accepted opinion constitute having a "nasty" personality? BTW in his letters he's remarkably tolerant of amateur performers, always finding a little something kind to say. He reserved his scathing wit for professionals, a practice some members of this forum might wish to consider.


Delacroix recounts a conversation with Chopin on Beethoven, in which Chopin criticizes Beethoven pretty harshly. I'm sorry - I don't have the patience to type it out. It can be found in Composers on Composers or online, possibly. There are several works, at least, dealing with Chopin and trying to escape the influence of Beethoven and his music - he generally found him distasteful.

This is not surprising - some of the romantics were trying to forge their own paths, and did not want to be in debt to the old masters. It fits in with the times, and with Chopin's works. I have read that he refused to publish his Fantasie-Impromptu because it was too similar, owed too much to previous composers (most likely the Moonlight Sonata).


Of course, Chopin can have his opinion. And I can have an opinion on Chopin's opinions lol!
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 06:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Mattardo
[Delacroix recounts a conversation with Chopin on Beethoven, in which Chopin criticizes Beethoven pretty harshly. I'm sorry - I don't have the patience to type it out. It can be found in Composers on Composers or online, possibly. There are several works, at least, dealing with Chopin and trying to escape the influence of Beethoven and his music - he generally found him distasteful.


Is this in Delacroix's Journal? I'll take your word for it. Chopin and Delacroix had some really good talks. It sounds to me as if Chopin did have some decidely mixed feelings about Beethoven as do many. (I do too as a matter of fact, often finding him bombastic, but sometimes sublime. )

Re Fantasie Impromptu - It's also been suggested that he fancied there was too much resemblance to Ignaz Moscheles's Impromptu in Eb major op.89. There's also evidence - an extant private copy - that suggests that Chopin wrote it on commission for an individual's private use and simply no longer considered it his to publish.
Posted by: stores

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 07:20 PM

Originally Posted By: -Frycek
Originally Posted By: Mattardo
[Delacroix recounts a conversation with Chopin on Beethoven, in which Chopin criticizes Beethoven pretty harshly. I'm sorry - I don't have the patience to type it out. It can be found in Composers on Composers or online, possibly. There are several works, at least, dealing with Chopin and trying to escape the influence of Beethoven and his music - he generally found him distasteful.


Is this in Delacroix's Journal? I'll take your word for it. Chopin and Delacroix had some really good talks. It sounds to me as if Chopin did have some decidely mixed feelings about Beethoven as do many. (I do too as a matter of fact, often finding him bombastic, but sometimes sublime. )

Re Fantasie Impromptu - It's also been suggested that he fancied there was too much resemblance to Ignaz Moscheles's Impromptu in Eb major op.89. There's also evidence - an extant private copy - that suggests that Chopin wrote it on commission for an individual's private use and simply no longer considered it his to publish.


I've not ever read anything from Chopin himself concerning many composers (outside of the rather well known quotes regarding Schumann). I've HEARD many times over the years that Chopin wasn't necessarily fond of LVB, but I don't hold too tightly to these accounts, especially being that Chopin was so obviously inspired by LVB in more than a few important works.
Posted by: Elene

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 07:50 PM

Not only was Chopin quite obviously influenced by Beethoven, but some of his sonatas were a standard part of his teaching repertoire.

Delacroix once wrote something about Chopin playing Beethoven "divinely," if I remember correctly, and said that was better than a lot of talk about esthetics. I believe Delacroix was heavily involved with writing on the subject of esthetics at the time.

(Unfortunately, I decided to forgo purchasing a copy of Delacroix's journal when I saw one at the Louvre a few years ago, and bought his collected correspondence with Mme Sand instead. Tant pis, now I can't look all this up.)

Wilhelm von Lenz, a student of both Liszt and Chopin, the guy who wrote the biography of Beethoven that divided his life into three style periods, complained that Chopin's playing of Beethoven, while wonderful, was "feminine," whatever that's supposed to mean. (Perhaps it meant that he didn't beat the (*&(*^$ out of the piano! And should females then never play Beethoven?) At any rate, we know Chopin regularly did play Beethoven, and he is not known to have any extremely negative opinion of him.

Frycek has covered this subject with her usual thoroughness and clarity, so I have little to add, except that quoting the Czernica letters as fact should probably be an offense that gets one banned from these pages! The trouble being that they are so often quoted by sources that seem reputable that it's hard for the non-obsessed, casual reader to sort out the truth.

Elene
Posted by: Mary-Rose

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 08:05 PM

Here is what Delacroix recorded in his journal about Chopin's remarks on Beethoven:

Friday 2nd February 1949
In the evening, I talked of music with Chopin, Grzymala and Alkan. He thinks that Beethoven was obsessed by the idea of Bach. He based much of his work on Bach.
[I assume here that 'he' was Chopin but it could of course be Alkan who is being quoted.)

Saturday, 7th April 1849
Went with Chopin for his drive at about half-past three...
I asked him to explain what it is that gives the impression of logic in music. He made me understand the meaning of harmony and counterpoint; how in music the fugue corresponds to pure logic, and that to be well versed in the fugue is to understand the elements of all reason and development in music. I thought how happy I should have been to study these things, the despair of commonplace musicians. It gave me some idea of the pleasure which true philosophers find in science. The fact of the matter is that true science is not what we usually mean by that word – not, that is to say, a part of knowledge quite separate from art. No, science, as regarded and demonstrated by a man like Chopin, is art itself, but on the other hand art is not what the vulgar believe it to be, a vague inspiration coming from nowhere, moving at random, and portraying merely the picturesque, external side of things. It is pure reason, embellished by genius, but following a set course and bound by higher laws. And here I come back to the difference between Mozart and Beethoven. As Chopin said to me, “Where Beethoven is obscure and appears to be lacking in unity, it is not, as people allege, from a rather wild originality – the quality which they admire in him – it is because he turns his back on eternal principles.” Mozart never does this.

These are the only instances where Delacroix mentions Chopin speaking of Beethoven.
Posted by: Mattardo

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 08:21 PM

Thanks for hunting that down! Do you have the rest of the quote, where he mentions Beethoven's trouble with intervals?
Posted by: Mary-Rose

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 08:26 PM

To get back to the original question posed by lordlactose:
1) Chopin certainly didn't have a 'nasty personality' or he'd never have made so many true friends in his lifetime, who described him in the highest possible terms of love and admiration. Liszt was fond of him too.
2) I think the reason Liszt and Chopin didn't have a closer friendship was three-fold. First, as has already been said, their lady-loves quarrelled. Secondly, they were often not in the same place or even the same country (Liszt wasn't in France when Chopin died). Thirdly, as men they were simply too different from each other. Liszt was all for show and drama; he was an unfaithful lover and father and had tendencies to peasant crudity. That isn't to say he didn't also have many good points of course. But Chopin had unusual values for his milieu, hating to have to show off in public and placing great importance on family values and integrity within personal relationships. He also had a much more aristocratic upbringing, so I should imagine he cringed a little at Liszt's behaviour sometimes. As Frycek so wisely indicated, Liszt improved with age but by then Chopin had met an early death.
Posted by: Mary-Rose

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 08:31 PM

No, I don't remember anything about trouble with intervals!
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 09:06 PM

Originally Posted By: -Frycek
According to Alan Walker, Liszt's girlfriend of the time, Princess Caroline von Sayn-Wittgenstein supposedly wrote it. (She wrote stuff like that as well as smoked cigars - Liszt liked brainly women). There are probably some genuine tidbits in there that she got from Liszt that are worth digging for but they're lost in so much wordy padding that I doubt Liszt himself made it through to edit it. It's literally taking me years to read it in small doses. Liszt's letters are very readable. We'd be much better off if he had written it.

This is my take on it too, and thanks Frycek! I have read all three of the Alan Walker books. Highly recommended.

The contrast between the personalities of Chopin and Liszt will go on indefinitely, and why not. They were both tremendously gifted men, but it seems a bit late in the day to worry about their failings, which were quite evenly distributed.

Received critical commentary generally tells us that Chopin's music is greater than Liszt's. Perhaps.

But of all the 'great' composers, Chopin has written IMO the highest percentage of music which I'm just plain tired of listening to. After hearing the Ab polonaise on the radio yesterday, what more is there to say about this tired warhorse?

Chopin is ironically a victim of his own perfection. I can listen to Liszt's C# minor rhapsody forever, but another Chopin Scherzo or Ballade? Oh gawd. The etudes? Yeah, we know they're harder than Liszt's, no new grand revelations there.

Chopin needs to be put to bed for a generation. With every year I like this man's music less and less. It's been ages since I have purchased a Chopin CD, his relevance has peaked, though I imagine no one will agree.
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 09:08 PM

Different strokes - - -
(through overexposure even perfection can come to be perceived as banal, much as I imagine the conventional idea of Heaven to be deadly dull - -though this is not my experience with Chopin's music - unlearned ignoramous that I am, the more I hear, and play, the more I see - I believe you may feel the same way about Elgar)

And I wonder what happened to our OP - - -
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/10/10 10:00 PM

Originally Posted By: -Frycek
Different strokes - - -
(through overexposure even perfection can come to be perceived as banal, much as I imagine the conventional idea of Heaven to be deadly dull - -though this is not my experience with Chopin's music - unlearned ignoramous that I am, the more I hear, and play, the more I see - I believe you may feel the same way about Elgar)

Well Frycek, that was very well put. Elgar's music gains in stature for me every year, but so do many other composers.

HOWEVER: please do me a great favour and do not refer to yourself as an 'ignoramus'. That's a joke and you know it. I have always appreciated your contributions on this board, and you strike me as an incredibly fine and knowledgeable individual.
Posted by: Damon

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/11/10 06:04 AM

Originally Posted By: argerichfan

Chopin is ironically a victim of his own perfection. I can listen to Liszt's C# minor rhapsody forever, but another Chopin Scherzo or Ballade? Oh gawd. The etudes? Yeah, we know they're harder than Liszt's, no new grand revelations there.


While I have not mastered all of the etudes, I am dumbfounded less by Chopin's than by Liszt's 5th transcendental etude.

Originally Posted By: argerichfan

Chopin needs to be put to bed for a generation. With every year I like this man's music less and less. It's been ages since I have purchased a Chopin CD, his relevance has peaked, though I imagine no one will agree.


I agree!
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/11/10 07:05 AM

Originally Posted By: argerichfan

HOWEVER: please do me a great favour and do not refer to yourself as an 'ignoramus'. That's a joke and you know it.

Actually, no, it's not. You may notice I never comment on theory - - because I know very little- nor post my recordings because I don't play all that well. I'm basically self taught and sometimes scare myelf by simply pondering the depths of my own ignorance. But I can be taught - - -
Posted by: Jonathan Baker

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/11/10 04:40 PM

Every remark attributed to Liszt regarding his appraisal of Chopin appears to be unstinting praise. Chopin was the only pianist-composer of Liszt's generation that he truly admired, and even idolized. And apparently Chopin was the only pianist that Liszt did not regard as a rival to be demolished and disposed of (as with Thalberg).

Liszt was legendary for his charm and kindness to students as well as visitors from around the world who came to pay him homage. But he was far from gracious to rival pianists. Liszt's attitude toward Rubinstein was far one of caution and aloofness, at best. Rubinstein resented the treatment and reciprocated the attitude with an extra twist of spite, as his autobiography makes clear. Both parties put on airs of civility of course, but the undercurrent of rivalry was always evident.

A point-counterpoint comparison of Chopin's output contemporaneous to that of Liszt's demonstrates, to my ears (others may disagree, of course) that Chopin was the more focused and profound artist, and certainly the most innovative. It is to Liszt's credit that he did not recoil with resentment (competitive as he was) but instead, very frankly admired and befriended Chopin, a complex personality of infinite subtlety, and with whom one could not be too careless.

As I believe someone previously indicated, Chopin's early death denied him the opportunity to witness Liszt mature into his stature as a composer. I doubt, however, that Chopin would have been much interested. Chopin, like Mozart before him, or Debussy afterward, was one of those geniuses who is a universe unto himself, and for whom once his methods and values were set early in life, felt little need thereafter to refer to other artists for ideas.

As I once again work my way through Chopin's preludes and etudes, I am astounded that a youth barely into his twenties could encompass such worlds of pain and beauty into a language of unprecedented originality. The first prelude, for instance, could almost have been written by a youthful Schoenberg and no one would questioned it (I am exaggerating, but not by much). In that regard Chopin was even more of a prodigy than Mozart or Mendelssohn.


Posted by: Jonathan Baker

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/11/10 05:12 PM

Originally Posted By: Mary-Rose
To get back to the original question posed by lordlactose:
1) Chopin certainly didn't have a 'nasty personality' or he'd never have made so many true friends in his lifetime, who described him in the highest possible terms of love and admiration. Liszt was fond of him too.



Thank you for making this point. Your perspective encourages a more thoughtful appreciation for Chopin's known talent for friendship. Too many biographies seem to lavish attention on Chopin's break-up with Sand, or Liszt's bedroom burlesque with some lady in Chopin's quarters (whatever that was about).

Chopin's only social 'problem', if you will, was his sheer intelligence. He was not one to act the vulgar frat-boy just to get along with the guys. He knew exactly his worth no less than Beethoven or Wagner knew theirs, and bearing that in mind, he was an incomparably more civilized and admirable man by comparison.
Posted by: jdhampton924

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/11/10 05:51 PM

Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: -Frycek
According to Alan Walker, Liszt's girlfriend of the time, Princess Caroline von Sayn-Wittgenstein supposedly wrote it. (She wrote stuff like that as well as smoked cigars - Liszt liked brainly women). There are probably some genuine tidbits in there that she got from Liszt that are worth digging for but they're lost in so much wordy padding that I doubt Liszt himself made it through to edit it. It's literally taking me years to read it in small doses. Liszt's letters are very readable. We'd be much better off if he had written it.

This is my take on it too, and thanks Frycek! I have read all three of the Alan Walker books. Highly recommended.

The contrast between the personalities of Chopin and Liszt will go on indefinitely, and why not. They were both tremendously gifted men, but it seems a bit late in the day to worry about their failings, which were quite evenly distributed.

Received critical commentary generally tells us that Chopin's music is greater than Liszt's. Perhaps.

But of all the 'great' composers, Chopin has written IMO the highest percentage of music which I'm just plain tired of listening to. After hearing the Ab polonaise on the radio yesterday, what more is there to say about this tired warhorse?

Chopin is ironically a victim of his own perfection. I can listen to Liszt's C# minor rhapsody forever, but another Chopin Scherzo or Ballade? Oh gawd. The etudes? Yeah, we know they're harder than Liszt's, no new grand revelations there.

Chopin needs to be put to bed for a generation. With every year I like this man's music less and less. It's been ages since I have purchased a Chopin CD, his relevance has peaked, though I imagine no one will agree.


Funny that you put it like this. The past semester, I was playing in an all Chopin recital, played the E-flat minor polonaise. By the end of the semester I just felt done with Chopin for a while. When me and my teacher discussed repertoire for the summer and following semester, I literally was almost begging not to play Chopin for a while. She was wishing me to play the Grande Polonaise.
I do wish to play this piece, but not now, I wish to explore other romantic composers, though sometimes it feels like there is only one to pick from!

My teacher wanted me to do a piece with orchestra, I talked her into Liszt's first concerto.
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/11/10 08:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Jonathan Baker
And apparently Chopin was the only pianist that Liszt did not regard as a rival to be demolished and disposed of (as with Thalberg).

Rather vulgar way to put it. Were you there at the time and aware of the stakes involved? Thalberg's music has a pusillanimous comfort to it which must have made Liszt laugh.

Quote:
Liszt's attitude toward Rubinstein was far one of caution and aloofness, at best. Rubinstein resented the treatment and reciprocated the attitude with an extra twist of spite, as his autobiography makes clear. Both parties put on airs of civility of course, but the undercurrent of rivalry was always evident.

Yes, but do you know what Rubinstein said about Liszt's music? He called him 'no composer'. Funny thing, who was it that so utterly influenced the Russian Big 5: Liszt or Rubinstein?

Quote:
A point-counterpoint comparison of Chopin's output contemporaneous to that of Liszt's demonstrates, to my ears (others may disagree, of course) that Chopin was the more focused and profound artist, and certainly the most innovative.
I was not aware that Chopin wrote any symphonic poems, a genre Liszt basically pioneered. Was that not innovative? Furthermore, his choral music (of which he wrote more of than Chopin's entire catalog of piano music), particularly the Via Crucis, haunted Catholic composers for years. Not until Dupré did we get another horribly stark evocation of the 12 Stations.

Quote:
As I believe someone previously indicated, Chopin's early death denied him the opportunity to witness Liszt mature into his stature as a composer. I doubt, however, that Chopin would have been much interested. Chopin, like Mozart before him, or Debussy afterward, was one of those geniuses who is a universe unto himself, and for whom once his methods and values were set early in life, felt little need thereafter to refer to other artists for ideas.

As I once again work my way through Chopin's preludes and etudes, I am astounded that a youth barely into his twenties could encompass such worlds of pain and beauty into a language of unprecedented originality. The first prelude, for instance, could almost have been written by a youthful Schoenberg and no one would questioned it (I am exaggerating, but not by much). In that regard Chopin was even more of a prodigy than Mozart or Mendelssohn.

This is fair enough, and well stated (thank-you!), nothing I can particularly argue with. I will simply go back to an earlier post I made in this thread: personally there's just something about Chopin's almost smug genius that -for me- has less and less relevance with every year. I may only be 28, but Mozart and Mendelssohn gain in stature for me every year. I guess Chopin was just too good. I'm tired of him. Sorry mate... wink
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/11/10 10:43 PM

Chopin's music is great, until it gets served with extra schmalz. I am getting really tired of pianists dissolving into distorted puddles at the pedals while playing any and every Chopin piece.. Rubato merging into "finger vibrato" and all pedals down seems to be a la mode now. I personally can't wait for the bicentennial year to move on.
Posted by: wr

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/12/10 01:50 AM

Originally Posted By: Jonathan Baker
Every remark attributed to Liszt regarding his appraisal of Chopin appears to be unstinting praise. Chopin was the only pianist-composer of Liszt's generation that he truly admired, and even idolized. And apparently Chopin was the only pianist that Liszt did not regard as a rival to be demolished and disposed of (as with Thalberg).



Liszt praised Alkan as well, and always paid Alkan a visit when Paris.
Posted by: izaldu

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/12/10 05:07 AM

I think Liszt is probably one of the most underrated composers of the 19th century.
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/12/10 08:12 AM

Really? Personally I think very highly of Liszt. His sonata is one of few pieces that knock the breath out of me. His Funerailles is another.
Posted by: izaldu

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/12/10 10:22 AM

I think so, and let me tell you, i did not like Liszt that much until i gave him some time. The Sonata, for example, took me quite some time to really enjoy; i even think i am still on that process!
But i was talking more about Liszt's non piano music. His orchestral works; that is te part of Liszt's works that i think do not have the recognition they deserve yet. My impression is that LIszt's piano music has overshadowed the rest of his works. Hopefully that will change at some point?
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/12/10 01:24 PM

Originally Posted By: izaldu
My impression is that LIszt's piano music has overshadowed the rest of his works.

Well, I definitely plead guilty to that. Any favorite non piano suggestions to begin my education?
Posted by: Mattardo

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/12/10 03:57 PM

Originally Posted By: -Frycek
Originally Posted By: izaldu
My impression is that LIszt's piano music has overshadowed the rest of his works.

Well, I definitely plead guilty to that. Any favorite non piano suggestions to begin my education?


His tone poems are supposed to be fairly good, and a few of his symphonies. I just finished listening to a lecture on Liszt and his life, and they talked about these pieces. The one that comes to mind is one symphony dealing with Faust - each movement describes a character in the story, and the last movement depicts Mephistopheles and how he goes about changing Faust's musical theme (the lecturer mentions Mephistopheles ability to only destroy, not create - so his musical themse are closely related to and made up of Faust's). Very interesting stuff. He dedicated it to Hector Berlioz - The Faust Symphony.

In the end, his piano repetoire is so immense, it's almost impossible to judge Liszt without putting that at the forefront - though he spent a large amount of time furthering the careers of other musicians. He was the only conductor brave enough to consistently stage Wagner's works, when Wagner was very unpopular. Wagner was nice enough to pay him back by stealing Liszt's daughter from her husband heh heh.
Posted by: chopinizmyhomeboy

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/12/10 07:14 PM

Originally Posted By: izaldu
I think so, and let me tell you, i did not like Liszt that much until i gave him some time. The Sonata, for example, took me quite some time to really enjoy; i even think i am still on that process!
But i was talking more about Liszt's non piano music. His orchestral works; that is te part of Liszt's works that i think do not have the recognition they deserve yet. My impression is that LIszt's piano music has overshadowed the rest of his works. Hopefully that will change at some point?


I enjoy the works of Liszt very much; I used to not like his works, however, they appeal to me a great deal now. The Dante Symphony is tremendous; I adore his program music! Even though it is a piano work you should check out the Dante Sonata (Deuxieme Annee VII) as well (very kool and geniously composed)! These "Dante works" appeal to me especially since Dante Alighieri is my favorite poet. I also agree that Liszt's works are very underrated. I enjoy the Liszt/Schubert Soirees de Vienne Valse-Caprices (especially No. 6 and 7), an underrated set that should definietly be played more, imo.

Horowitz playing the List/Schubert Valse-Caprices:

No. 7:


No. 6:


Dante Sonata (played by Brendel):

Part 1:

Part 2:

Dante Symphony (Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra; Conductor: Daniel Barenboim ):

Mvt. 1 "Inferno" (the rest of the symphony can be found by clicking on the video and going to Youtube):
Posted by: Kuanpiano

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/12/10 08:22 PM

I have yet to find a performance of the dante sonata which doesn't sound dry...somehow I know the score can sound incredible, just nobody seems to be able to pull it off. I didn't like Brendal's, Ogdon's, Volodos, etc. The search continues...

...though I think the majority of Liszt's stuff is underappreciated because either they're poor quality (Liszt wrote wayyy too many things that shouldn't have been published), or they're outclassed by the usual warhorses, the Sonata in B, Mephisto Waltz, Transcendental etudes, etc.
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/12/10 09:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
I have yet to find a performance of the dante sonata which doesn't sound dry...somehow I know the score can sound incredible, just nobody seems to be able to pull it off. I didn't like Brendal's, Ogdon's, Volodos, etc. The search continues...
Basically a piece only a true Lisztian (like moi) could love. I've heard all the recordings you mention (plus Arrau and a few others which escape my memory), and I suspect only Liszt ever really pulled it off, though Brendel comes fairly close. Doubtful the Dante Sonata ever made any converts to Liszt, though IMO it has some undeniably glorious moments.

Someday, somewhere, a pianist will conquer this Everest head-on, so until then we wait. If only we could bring back Busoni...
Posted by: Kuanpiano

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/12/10 09:51 PM

The heavenly themes are absolutely glorious...I dabbled a bit in it and love it all...I hope I'll one day be able to play it.

I don't understand what's going on when people say it's just "tritone, tritone, tritone!! OCTAVES!!!BOOM!"; it's fantastically virtuosic, but also filled with atmosphere, drama, and profound insight. Truely inspired.
Posted by: Damon

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/12/10 11:34 PM

Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: Kuanpiano
I have yet to find a performance of the dante sonata which doesn't sound dry...somehow I know the score can sound incredible, just nobody seems to be able to pull it off. I didn't like Brendal's, Ogdon's, Volodos, etc. The search continues...
Basically a piece only a true Lisztian (like moi) could love. I've heard all the recordings you mention (plus Arrau and a few others which escape my memory), and I suspect only Liszt ever really pulled it off, though Brendel comes fairly close. Doubtful the Dante Sonata ever made any converts to Liszt, though IMO it has some undeniably glorious moments.

Someday, somewhere, a pianist will conquer this Everest head-on, so until then we wait. If only we could bring back Busoni...


Have you tried Ashley Wilkes? Or Jorge Bolet? I have Lazar Berman's but it falls a little short, which was disappointing since he is awesome on most of the "Years". I thought Howard did a good job here. (ducks)
Posted by: Kuanpiano

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/13/10 12:10 AM

I just listened to Volodos again (maybe I wasn't paying attention the first time), and I couldn't stand the changes he made to the score. He monkeyed with the second "heaven" theme, and made everything a mess. I don't understand why nobody even tries to make a phrase out of the first heaven theme too?
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/13/10 12:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Damon

Have you tried Ashley Wilkes? Or Jorge Bolet? I have Lazar Berman's but it falls a little short, which was disappointing since he is awesome on most of the "Years". I thought Howard did a good job here. (ducks)

Gee, haven't heard Ashley Wikes, so okay. Bolet's later Liszt recordings for Decca were rather somnambulant , though the Schubert-Liszt CDs were admirable. Berman's 'Years' are fine, good point there.

Howard the duck? I've ordered some pies which I've no intention of eating. They have other destinations.
Posted by: Elene

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/13/10 01:09 AM

Just BTW, Brendel's performances of the Annees de Pelerinage (I think just the first book) and his short lectures on each piece, referenced in the YouTube videos above, are available on Netflix.

For those who have had it with Chopin's bicentennial year, hang on, just a few more months till Liszt's.

(Oh, no.... Wagner's will be coming up in not too long, as well....)

Elene
Posted by: izaldu

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/13/10 04:23 AM

Originally Posted By: -Frycek
Originally Posted By: izaldu
My impression is that LIszt's piano music has overshadowed the rest of his works.

Well, I definitely plead guilty to that. Any favorite non piano suggestions to begin my education?


Well all the works pointed out above (Dante Symphony, Faust, Totentanz ...); also a couple works that i recently discovered and have enjoyed a lot are the Legend of Christus Oratorio and St. Stanislaus oratorio. The latter has only been recorded once, this is the only version available as far as i know:

http://www.amazon.com/Franz-Liszt-St-Stanislaus/dp/B00014X89Ufr

Christus

http://www.amazon.com/Christus-Liszt/dp/B00000655L/ref=pd_sim_m_4

And the Legend of St. Elizabeth of Hungary
http://www.amazon.com/Liszt-Die-legende-heiligen-Elisabeth/dp/B000W9EM4O/ref=pd_sim_m_2

It's a totally different Liszt in some of these works. I hope you enjoy it.



Jason, regarding the Dante Sonata, i recently found a copy of Rafael Orozco's Liszt album from the early 90s, including the Sonata, three Sonetti del Petrarca and the Dante Sonata. Another benchmark recording in my opinion from this magnificent pianist. I willl try to upload some of these recordings to youtube as they are getting more and more difficult to find.
Posted by: Damon

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/13/10 08:02 AM

Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: Damon

Have you tried Ashley Wilkes? Or Jorge Bolet? I have Lazar Berman's but it falls a little short, which was disappointing since he is awesome on most of the "Years". I thought Howard did a good job here. (ducks)

Gee, haven't heard Ashley Wilkes, so okay.

Ashley Wilkes = Leslie Howard. I sometimes interchange him with the actor of the same name who played Ashley Wilkes in "Gone With the Wind"
Posted by: Jonathan Baker

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/13/10 09:53 PM

For the most part, we are all talking about Liszt, not Chopin. And so it was in their lifetime...

I love Liszt the artist. I always had a crush on him. Or maybe just shameless envy. He is far greater than the sum of his spectacular parts. Freely speaking, what I love about Liszt (among many, many things) was his child-like joy. Did any pianist in history have more fun at the keyboard than Liszt? This etudes and rhapsodies remind me of a kid in a candy store - Liszt's sheer delight in discovering and exploiting the potential of the keyboard is palpable.

Another quality of Liszt I love is his restlessness. He was never satisfied, always searching endlessly, always idealistic, his vision always reaching to the horizon of the Future. He was more Byronic than Byron.

And another thing, I rejoice in his triumph.
He was, as Saint-Saens (who knew him) said of him; "He was more Myth than Man." He truly was larger than life. He led one of the most fantastic lives in history. I admire about Liszt's fearlessness, his unparalleled courage, not only in inventing the role of concert pianist with such heroic grandeur and abandon, but in every aspect of his life and art. Even to the very end, when most artists are withdrawing into private study, Liszt was still breaking all known barriers of tonality and form. For a man in his seventies, that is brave.

And finally, he was, as Anton Rubinstein said, "The father of us all." It is hard to even imagine this art form with Liszt and Chopin standing at its center. I think Liszt , in worldly terms, had the most successful career in music history, bar none. He started out as the original sex-symbol rock star, and ended up the Venerable Master for the Ages. I have trouble conjuring up the record of another career that spanned the expanses of show-biz glamor to Mount Olympus veneration. The only other musician I can think of who came anywhere near this same profile was Leonard Bernstein (but that is another discussion).

But what of Chopin?

Chopin composes not as a pilgrim, but as an oracle - one who has already arrived. His sheer breadth of vision and emotional depth is not less than that of Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven, and he is on the same par for his revolutionary innovations and mastery of form. Chopin stands complete, a finished master and Genius from the very beginning.

With Liszt, I root for him as I did for the hero of an adventure movie. With Chopin, my personal reaction is almost an awe verging toward disbelief that he even existed. like Mozart, he seems almost unapproachable in his gifts and complete mastery. One simply and gratefully receives the gifts of his Genius and leaves in wonderment at how anyone so obviously human could write with such a transcendent level of inspiration.

Yes, this is fatuous prose, I know...

They were human beings with all the ordinary failings of our kind. But their music has haunted my dreams since childhood. Why should I not also love them for that?

Posted by: Jonathan Baker

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/13/10 10:16 PM

I am sorry you are bored to sobs with Chopin. But that is not about Chopin - that it is about you. Perhaps far too much Chopin in your diet makes for monotonous eating. (I never could devote myself to any one composer for very long...)

Revisiting the Prokofiev sonatas is perhaps the antidote. Or better yet, Elliot Carter's Sonata. No heart-throb sentimentality will mar your musical enjoyment there!
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/13/10 11:17 PM

Originally Posted By: Jonathan Baker

And finally, he was, as Anton Rubinstein said, "The father of us all."

But of course Rubinstein was, after all, speaking of Liszt the pianist. I don't think Rubinstein understood Liszt's compositions at all, unlike the Big 5. Of course many conservative musicians had similar problems. Rubinstein's reputation as a pianist is still pretty huge, though I do wonder if it would stand up to scrutiny today. I suspect Liszt's would.

But what doesn't stand up to scrutiny are Rubinstein's myriad and exhausting catalogue of compositions. Competently written of course, but nothing better than what his conservative counterparts in the West were writing.

It has been argued that it really took a 'Rubinstein' to breathe life into his piano music, and thus it gradually fell out of fashion when Rubinstein passed away. His 5th piano concerto -to cite one example- has a signal to noise ratio which borders embarrassment, but there's enough kinetic excitement on the printed page (the coda of the 1st movement?) to make one wonder what Rubinstein would have done with it in performance. Tantalizing thought.

As for Chopin, I never said he was anything less than the embodiment of perfection. More curious why composers who are as great or greater than Chopin -Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Wagner- continue to excite me with every year, yet currently (at least), I've just grown tired of listening to his music. It's played to death on the radio, and I need a vacation.

Yes it's all about 'me', but it's all about 'you' too, eh mate? wink

It's painfully well known on this board how much I adore the music of Sir Edward Elgar -and I do not claim he is a greater composer overall than Chopin, though they are hard to compare- but why is it that Elgar moves from strength to strength whereas Chopin gets more wearisome? Clearly something is amiss, and I don't know why that should be.

The Mozart 21st concerto and the Beethoven 5th always excite me (and how well known are they?), but another Ab polonaise and I'm outta here! laugh
Posted by: Brandon_W_T

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/14/10 10:01 AM

Just watched Impromptu before I opened this thread! Lol. I thought much of the movie was all lubby dubby, but sounds like a bit of it might be true.
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/14/10 10:18 AM

Originally Posted By: Brandon_W_T
Just watched Impromptu before I opened this thread! Lol. I thought much of the movie was all lubby dubby, but sounds like a bit of it might be true.

Wasn't able to make it through that one...
Posted by: Brandon_W_T

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/14/10 11:44 AM

Hehe.

I LOVED Amadeus, Immortal beloved, and kinda liked Copying Beethoven.

But Impromptu was too, as I said, luvvy dubby goochie goo like hehe.

Had good music though.


When does that Rachmaninoff movie come out?
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Franz Liszt and Chopin's relationship with each other? - 07/14/10 10:51 PM

Are ya'll on the right thread?