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#1454420 - 06/11/10 02:29 AM Liszt and Literature  
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philosophyfan Offline
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Originally Posted by Franz Liszt
"Here is a whole fortnight that my mind and fingers have been working like two lost spirits- Homer, the Bible, Plato, Locke, Byron, Hugo, Lamartine, Chateaubriand, Beethoven, Bach, Hummel, Mozart, Weber, are all around me. I study them, meditate on them, devour them with fury; besides this I practice from four to five hours of exercises (thirds, sixths, octaves, shakes, repeated notes, and cadenzas). Oh! provided I don't go mad, you will find an artist in me!"


It is well known that Liszt liked to read books whilst practising technical exercises, I am wondering what people think of this fact.


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#1454425 - 06/11/10 02:43 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: philosophyfan]  
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"Whilst"??

I did not know that!!

In fact, I sort of doubt it. smile


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1454428 - 06/11/10 02:48 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: philosophyfan]  
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Originally Posted by philosophyfan
Originally Posted by Franz Liszt
"Here is a whole fortnight that my mind and fingers have been working like two lost spirits- Homer, the Bible, Plato, Locke, Byron, Hugo, Lamartine, Chateaubriand, Beethoven, Bach, Hummel, Mozart, Weber, are all around me. I study them, meditate on them, devour them with fury; besides this I practice from four to five hours of exercises (thirds, sixths, octaves, shakes, repeated notes, and cadenzas). Oh! provided I don't go mad, you will find an artist in me!"


It is well known that Liszt liked to read books whilst practising technical exercises, I am wondering what people think of this fact.


Well - if you can indeed PROVE to us that this is a "fact" I'll be happy to comment.


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
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#1454429 - 06/11/10 02:51 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: Carey]  
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I'm still on his saying it's "well known." smile


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
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#1454432 - 06/11/10 02:58 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: philosophyfan]  
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I think a soul that craves the fulfillment music brings is well matched with a thirst for knowledge in other areas. Look at what he was reading - cornerstone literature (of Western civilization) - philosophy, ethics, epic poetry, humanities, and other musicians. The more you learn about works such as these, the more you find links that hold them together and the tighter knit is the tapestry they weave.

Both fields of study were giving him a depth and breadth of scope that he was clearly quite passionate about - thirst feeding thirst!

Speaking from my own experiences, being immersed in music has given me (at different stages in my life) a very different and much more developed awareness of what I listen to and how I listen. My interests in reading - which include history, art, classic literature just to name a few - have really given me an ability to see connections, patterns and movements on many scales (no pun intended), over periods of a few hunderd years and on a few different continents! My experience is: the more you know, the more you realize there is to know, and the more you want to know.
I personally know a fair amount - but I still feel it is a work in progress, which is most enjoyable.

The only thing I find surprising is that he says his mind and spirit are like two lost spirits.... I would have thought he might have found some level of mental/emotional/philisophical harmony from the combination of the two activities.


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#1454439 - 06/11/10 03:19 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: casinitaly]  
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No no -- he was asking about the "whilst" part. smile


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1454444 - 06/11/10 03:30 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: Mark_C]  
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casinitaly Offline

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Well, don't I feel a bit silly. smile I was going to make a joke about "how did he balance the books while he was doing arpeggios" but decided it was a more philisophical question.

ah well..... to err is human smile


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#1454445 - 06/11/10 03:31 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: Mark_C]  
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#1454447 - 06/11/10 03:44 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: casinitaly]  
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Originally Posted by casinitaly
.....to err is human smile

Well I don't know if you really erred, since the question you answered was probably more interesting. smile


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1454449 - 06/11/10 03:46 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: ChopinAddict]  
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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict

OK.......now we can get back to whether it's "well known." ha

BTW.......I still have my doubts.
Even though one of my esteemed teachers recommended the same thing. (I always thought it was a little nuts.)

I wouldn't have thought that Liszt considered technical exercises mindless, which I think you basically have to in order to do that kind of thing.


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1454455 - 06/11/10 04:13 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C

I wouldn't have thought that Liszt considered technical exercises mindless, which I think you basically have to in order to do that kind of thing.


I tried this once reading a couple chapters of Moby Dick while practicing scales and chords. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't too hard either. Mark_C makes a good point though, if this is in fact true then what does this say about our Romantic conceptions of Liszt. Perhaps it says nothing at all, perhaps Liszt only felt music was worthy of deep reflection and that technical exercises were not (since they are not, strictly speaking, music).

In the book "Practicing Perfection" there is a quote by Martha Argerich:
Originally Posted by Martha Argerich
"(Remembering her childhood) Officially, I was supposed to practice three hours but, in reality it was less because I cheated. What I really liked was reading, so I used to read while pretending to be practicing. If I heard the door I would put whatever I was reading under my skirt . . ."




Start every day off with a smile and get it over with.
#1454459 - 06/11/10 04:27 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: philosophyfan]  
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Originally Posted by philosophyfan
Quote
.....under my skirt . . ."

Well now it's really getting interesting. smile
If it had been at a slightly later age, she could also have used cleavage.


"Everything I say is my opinion, including the facts." :-)
#1454460 - 06/11/10 04:46 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: philosophyfan]  
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I'd say Liszt would adore ipad.

#1454534 - 06/11/10 10:00 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: Mark_C]  
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Originally Posted by Mark_C
Originally Posted by ChopinAddict

OK.......now we can get back to whether it's "well known." ha

BTW.......I still have my doubts.
Even though one of my esteemed teachers recommended the same thing. (I always thought it was a little nuts.)

I wouldn't have thought that Liszt considered technical exercises mindless, which I think you basically have to in order to do that kind of thing.



So Lisitsa can do it, and Liszt can't? I sort of really kind of doubt that.. ahahaha.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1454552 - 06/11/10 10:25 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: philosophyfan]  
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Originally Posted by philosophyfan
Originally Posted by Franz Liszt
"Here is a whole fortnight that my mind and fingers have been working like two lost spirits- Homer, the Bible, Plato, Locke, Byron, Hugo, Lamartine, Chateaubriand, Beethoven, Bach, Hummel, Mozart, Weber, are all around me. I study them, meditate on them, devour them with fury; besides this I practice from four to five hours of exercises (thirds, sixths, octaves, shakes, repeated notes, and cadenzas). Oh! provided I don't go mad, you will find an artist in me!"


It is well known that Liszt liked to read books whilst practising technical exercises, I am wondering what people think of this fact.


Apparently Liszt was good at "multi-tasking."


Mason and Hamlin BB - 91640
Kawai CA-65
YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/pianophilo
#1454553 - 06/11/10 10:25 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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The ultimate question is not whether to read or not, but what to read?

I'm going to try this with scientific journals, but it may deem to mind absorbing. If it doesn't go well then it's time to try Calvin and Hobbes.

Last edited by Rui725; 06/11/10 10:25 AM.
#1454565 - 06/11/10 10:36 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: Rui725]  
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Well I know he was obsessed with Faust. So I'm reading it right now laugh

(seriously, what's the devil obsession)



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
#1454594 - 06/11/10 11:24 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: Pogorelich.]  
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Wouldn't be surprised that Liszt's made a deal with the devil too haha.

#1454598 - 06/11/10 11:36 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: philosophyfan]  
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So nobody has a problem with the whole idea of (at least partially) ignoring your practicing? confused


Start every day off with a smile and get it over with.
#1454602 - 06/11/10 11:47 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: philosophyfan]  
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Once the technical aspect of a particular exercise has been truly ingrained, the act of doing so becomes "automated" and "mindless" so to speak. Only at the point, it would be a wise idea to let your mind wander. During the learning process, it would not be a good idea.

Liszt is not your everyday pianist either, so....

#1454971 - 06/12/10 04:06 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: Rui725]  
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I am actually good at multi-tasking and usually do several things at the same time with the computer, also completely different things, but I don't think I could read a book while practicing at this stage. Besides, I usually READ the notes, so I cannot read a book at the same time... frown
But I think if you have really memorized an exercise, why not? However, I am not talking from experience (I have never tried), it just appears to be possible to me, when your fingers play automatically....



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#1454978 - 06/12/10 05:15 AM Re: Liszt and Literature [Re: ChopinAddict]  
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this is purely technical exercises though, say a simple pattern of thirds in some key up and down. So there really is no note reading involved, just mechanical execution.

edit: sorry, wasn't aware you were talking about actually playing a piece. Maybe, maybe not, I agree then it would be a bad idea at that time.

Last edited by Rui725; 06/12/10 05:24 AM.

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