liszt

Posted by: pianojosh23

liszt - 02/26/09 07:26 AM

I'm new to the whole piano world, so I don't know if this is common knowledge or not.
Is it just me or does the majority of liszts pieces just have a whole lot of.... nothing in them? Say the piece might start very entertaining and bright, but then just go onto a very long stretch of slow/soft music that most of the time doesn't make any sense?
Liszt is my favourite composer, but a large portion of is musicis just boring and pointless to me, I don't get this really with any other composer.
By the way he is my favourite composer because i LOVE some of his works, like liebstraum, HR2, La Campanella, Transcdental etude 10, HR10, well most of the HR's actually and more.
But yeah what do YOU guys think and does anyone have a clue what i'm talking about?
Thanks \:\)
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: liszt - 02/26/09 08:26 AM

I find it difficult to make general statements about Liszt, as he lived a long life and was an extremely prolific composer. His compositions encompass great diversity, and I suspect that only a small number of people are even familiar with the majority of them.

Anyway, the gist of what you're saying has been expressed and discussed before, as you'll find in past threads if you search for them. Some think that showiness too frequently overwhelms substance; others disagree. Given that you find much of his output boring and pointless, I'm very surprised you name him as your favorite composer!

Steven
Posted by: pianojosh23

Re: liszt - 02/26/09 08:39 AM

I name him as my favourite composer because a fair bit of his music I love so much. But there are SO many of his pieces that just have extended slow/soft sections that IMO don't make much sense. I guess i'm being a bit silly because it's not my place as a 15 year old to see if pieces like these make sense. Maybe i'll see the meaning more when i'm older/more mature.
Thanks for the comment.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: liszt - 02/26/09 08:51 AM

That's a very mature way of looking at it! I think you'll find that your understanding of familiar things, as well as an appreciation for new ones, will grow over time.

It's not easy to admit this, but when I was your age I felt the same way about Chopin's nocturnes; only a couple of them out of the lot of 20 or so appealed to me at all, which I now find completely inexplicable!

Steven
Posted by: LiszThalberg

Re: liszt - 02/27/09 02:25 PM

I think the soft sections in Liszt add a lot to the piece. If you listen to later Liszt (like the nocturne he wrote), it is a lot less flashy and more sentimental. One prof. I went to said he and Brahms often used quiet moments in pieces to "look back on life". Also, use those soft moments to rest your fingers laugh

Matt
Posted by: William A.P.M.

Re: liszt - 02/27/09 02:35 PM

I agree with Steven. The appreciation will come with time. The pieces that the OP mentioned in the original post are the ones that everybody knows anyways. I'm sure the OP has not encountered the enormous amount of music that Liszt left behind. I've been listening to Liszt for so many years, and it took me just 5 years to begin to appreciate his transcriptions of Schubert's music.

Then I came across the 3rd Piano concerto and I knew there was just too much to discover. The man composed as if it were crucial to his existence. xD

There are also the 'Annees de Pelerinage' which are just amazing. Please check out the Tarantella from 'Venezia e Napoli' (1859 version). I heard Hamelin play this a while back and it just shook me off my seat. Liszt's playing must have been demonic to say the least!
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: liszt - 02/27/09 11:02 PM

Ah, you all need to hear a knock-out performance of Liszt's orchestral Festklšnge. Crikey, talk about kinetic music, this has it all! Liszt wrote it for his upcoming wedding which, alas (she was ugly anyway), never happened.

But such sexually potent music. Listen carefully to what is going on, and prudes need not apply.
Posted by: akonow

Re: liszt - 02/28/09 02:48 AM

Like Steven said, Liszt was a prolific composer who lived a long life (not to mention the fact that he dabbled in so many different genres and styles). As such, it may surprise some people to learn that a work like Don Sanche and a work like Bagatelle sans tonalité actually came from the same composer.

It's probably unwise to try to simplify Liszt's music to being "just boring and pointless". I have to admit that I didn't like much of Liszt's music at first either but if you just live with it for awhile I can guarantee that you'll discover his genius to be both refreshing and endearing. If you want to gain a real appreciation for Liszt, I wholeheartedly recommend Leslie Howard's recordings of the complete piano works (the Soirées Musicales and works for piano and orchestra are marvelous).
Posted by: BJones

Re: liszt - 02/28/09 03:04 AM

Originally Posted By: argerichfan
she was ugly anyway


Based on 19th century photographs, they were all wildebeasts. But not any more thank goodness, due to the advent of modern cosmetic surgery, surgical implants, and body sculpting. Just think of how sexually potent Liszt would have been were he alive today!
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: liszt - 02/28/09 03:12 AM

Originally Posted By: akonow
I wholeheartedly recommend Leslie Howard's recordings of the complete piano works (the Soirées Musicales and works for piano and orchestra are marvelous).
Well, the signal to noise ratio isn't always what we might prefer, and IMHO, there are some dull stretches in Howard's recordings... but when he gets fired up... look out!

The Grand Solo de concert for piano & orch (which you reference) is really quite exciting; I've always loved it. But I dearly love Liszt's original, the Grosses Konzertsolo. It is not a piece of music to win converts to Liszt, you're either on his wavelength or not. (One thinks of Strauss's Die Frau, Elgar's The Kingdom or Bruckner's 3rd symphony.)

A number of my mates -and folks on this board!- don't much fancy Liszt, and we don't recommend the heathen start with one of Liszt's more extravagant posturings!
Posted by: akonow

Re: liszt - 02/28/09 03:15 AM

Meh, I figured with Howard one can at least search through all the recordings until one finds something one likes. smile
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: liszt - 02/28/09 03:22 AM

Originally Posted By: BJones
Just think of how sexually potent Liszt would have been were he alive today!

I shudder... in a pleasant way. Doubt it would be in the sexually calm, but pleasing, realms of Jesse McCartney, Hayden Christiansen or Zac Efron. No, we're talking Daniel Day Lewis, Sean Penn, Orlando Bloom, Brad Pitt, those blokes...
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: liszt - 02/28/09 03:31 AM

Originally Posted By: akonow
Meh, I figured with Howard one can at least search through all the recordings until one finds something one likes. smile

Yes, as long as it is not mainstream Liszt. But that's the glory of Howard... he has given us music we would never have otherwise heard.

But no, he isn't going to take on Argerich in the Sonata, not to mention other classic recordings of Liszt by Horowitz, Richter, Giles, Ogdon... one could go on ad infinitum... I'll think of 20 or 30 more pianists by this evening. I need coffee.
Posted by: akonow

Re: liszt - 02/28/09 01:39 PM

Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: akonow
Meh, I figured with Howard one can at least search through all the recordings until one finds something one likes. smile

Yes, as long as it is not mainstream Liszt. But that's the glory of Howard... he has given us music we would never have otherwise heard.

But no, he isn't going to take on Argerich in the Sonata, not to mention other classic recordings of Liszt by Horowitz, Richter, Giles, Ogdon... one could go on ad infinitum... I'll think of 20 or 30 more pianists by this evening. I need coffee.

That's very true. I like to think of Howard as a better version of Idil Biret because he has mastered all the piano music of a composer without the cost of too much musicality.

Speaking of Argerich, I get to see her play Ravel's Concerto in G in 2 weeks! Sorry, off topic. smile
Posted by: Wood-demon

Re: liszt - 02/28/09 01:47 PM

Originally Posted By: BJones
Just think of how sexually potent Liszt would have been were he alive today!


At the age of 199 I seriously doubt it...not without a bumper supply of Viagra anyway!
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: liszt - 02/28/09 01:58 PM

You think that only because of some of the most well known music of Liszt.. like the Spanish Rhapsody. Liszt is one of my absolute favourite composers and I still think that piece has so much garbage in it and can be scaled down to 5-6 minutes.

His later works are much more reflective (as someone already said) and the sonata.......... That piece is one of the most amazing works ever created IMO!
Posted by: Bhav

Re: liszt - 02/28/09 01:58 PM

Originally Posted By: Wood-demon
Originally Posted By: BJones
Just think of how sexually potent Liszt would have been were he alive today!


At the age of 199 I seriously doubt it...not without a bumper supply of Viagra anyway!


Never a good idea, especially not for a 199 year old anyway:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article2275504.ece

Quote:
A SEX-MAD Russian died after guzzling a bottle of Viagra pills to keep him going for a 12-hour orgy with two women pals.


laugh
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: liszt - 02/28/09 09:31 PM

Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: akonow
Meh, I figured with Howard one can at least search through all the recordings until one finds something one likes. smile

Yes, as long as it is not mainstream Liszt. But that's the glory of Howard... he has given us music we would never have otherwise heard.

I just listened to Howard's recording of the Liszt Eb.

Sure, he gets all the notes, but we are blisteringly spoiled for choice these days. Howard's pianism is competent without being in the least bit striking. He attempts a moment of repose in the 'slow' movement, but when Liszt calls for fire and passion, Howard seems completely oblivious and unable to deliver the goods. A cold Brit embarrassed and impotent in the Mediterranean hot house, he calmly pays his money without ever exciting the object of his affection.

And his octaves are prim, careful and proper...
Posted by: Wood-demon

Re: liszt - 03/01/09 04:41 AM

Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: akonow
Meh, I figured with Howard one can at least search through all the recordings until one finds something one likes. smile

Yes, as long as it is not mainstream Liszt. But that's the glory of Howard... he has given us music we would never have otherwise heard.

I just listened to Howard's recording of the Liszt Eb.

Sure, he gets all the notes, but we are blisteringly spoiled for choice these days. Howard's pianism is competent without being in the least bit striking. He attempts a moment of repose in the 'slow' movement, but when Liszt calls for fire and passion, Howard seems completely oblivious and unable to deliver the goods. A cold Brit embarrassed and impotent in the Mediterranean hot house, he calmly pays his money without ever exciting the object of his affection.

And his octaves are prim, careful and proper...


Howard is an "Aussie", actually.
Small wonder that Howard fails to rise to the occasion after recording the umpteenth thousand piece by Liszt in his recording project. If we really have to have every piece of garbage (alongside the masterpieces) that Liszt turned out it would have been wiser (and perhaps kinder) to have divided the project up between a number of pianists who might have been able to lavish more care and attention on their particular assignments.
Posted by: sotto voce

Re: liszt - 03/01/09 09:15 AM

Originally Posted By: Wood-demon
[...] If we really have to have every piece of garbage (alongside the masterpieces) that Liszt turned out it would have been wiser (and perhaps kinder) to have divided the project up between a number of pianists who might have been able to lavish more care and attention on their particular assignments.
Garbage from great masters??? eek

laugh

cool

Steven
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: liszt - 03/01/09 11:46 PM

Originally Posted By: Wood-demon

Howard is an "Aussie", actually.

Oops. Yeah you're right, Wood-demon, as you always are. (And that not meant to be flippant, your knowledge is highly respected.) But Howard has lived in London since 1972. I met him several years back -I must have been in 6th form- rather odd bloke, when I told him I was working on the 6th Liszt Rhapsody, he looked a bit askance, almost as if to say 'you're not studying Argerich's recording, are you?' As a matter of fact I was...
Posted by: argerichfan

Re: liszt - 03/02/09 12:16 AM

Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Originally Posted By: Wood-demon
[...] If we really have to have every piece of garbage (alongside the masterpieces) that Liszt turned out it would have been wiser (and perhaps kinder) to have divided the project up between a number of pianists who might have been able to lavish more care and attention on their particular assignments.
Garbage from great masters???

I'm not inclined to accuse Liszt of writing 'garbage'. Yes, the signal-to-noise ratio is perhaps not on the level of a Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann (though arguments could be made there) or Brahms, but I suspect Liszt was simply too prolific. The 'list' of works in Grove's makes one positively giddy. When did he have time to even notate this stuff? Not to mention his voluminous correspondence...

And yet... there is very little of Liszt I have heard which is devoid of musical interest. His songs deserve to be better known (Charles Rosen sees them more in the French tradition), and his choral works flummoxed Roman Catholic composers for years. Liszt's setting of the Stations of the Cross is oddly compelling in its stark and uncompromising response to this utterly defining moment in Christianity.

Marcel Dupré's glorious setting could never have been written without Liszt's example.
Posted by: Wood-demon

Re: liszt - 03/02/09 04:33 AM

Originally Posted By: argerichfan
Originally Posted By: sotto voce
Originally Posted By: Wood-demon
[...] If we really have to have every piece of garbage (alongside the masterpieces) that Liszt turned out it would have been wiser (and perhaps kinder) to have divided the project up between a number of pianists who might have been able to lavish more care and attention on their particular assignments.
Garbage from great masters???

I'm not inclined to accuse Liszt of writing 'garbage'. Yes, the signal-to-noise ratio is perhaps not on the level of a Mendelssohn, Chopin, Schumann (though arguments could be made there) or Brahms, but I suspect Liszt was simply too prolific. The 'list' of works in Grove's makes one positively giddy. When did he have time to even notate this stuff? Not to mention his voluminous correspondence...

And yet... there is very little of Liszt I have heard which is devoid of musical interest. His songs deserve to be better known (Charles Rosen sees them more in the French tradition), and his choral works flummoxed Roman Catholic composers for years. Liszt's setting of the Stations of the Cross is oddly compelling in its stark and uncompromising response to this utterly defining moment in Christianity.

Marcel Dupré's glorious setting could never have been written without Liszt's example.


My scores of Liszt take up a fairly large space in my library, so he's a composer I love and respect hugely. Perhaps "garbage" was too emotive a term to use...."works of inferior quality" might have been a better one. I think you might agree that Liszt was guilty of producing them, and, personally, I wouldn't want to hear everything that he wrote. I recall an interview with Howard some years ago in which he seemed to be "narked" that pieces, new to him, by Liszt were constantly coming to his attention that would have to be recorded for the complete edition he was working on.
Of course, Liszt wasn't the only composer to be guilty of writing sub-standard works...sometimes the general public takes to them in preference to the masterpieces; "Fur Elise" immediately comes to mind!