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Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 10 #2808442 01/30/19 12:34 AM
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MikeN Offline OP
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Here's a video from way back before I learned how to play the piano.

I'm rather curious what people think of this piece. I really didn't like it back then. I thought it was noisy, shallow, and kind of ugly sounding. Strangely enough, I have a far greater respect for this sort of thing. I even worked on relearning this piece for a few weeks last year before giving up, so I'd be really interested to hear people's thoughts about the interpretation which to me sound verrrry studenty with a hint of having had multiple cooks in the kitchen giving ideas that the head chef couldn't quite make sense of at the time.




Here's hoping I'll have something truly new for you guy to listen to soon. grin

Re: Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 10 [Re: MikeN] #2810078 02/02/19 11:47 PM
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trigalg693 Offline
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I fell in love with this piece very early on, and wanted to learn it despite my horrible technique. After working on it for 2 years I hated it and didn't want to play it anymore.

A few months ago I brushed it off again for a performance, and found myself enjoying playing it again. A lot of that might have been because it feels so much easier to play now that I am much more skilled. It's a very Liszt piece with all the loud notes sweeping up the keyboard, and I kind of missed that after playing a bunch of more restrained music haha.

Re: Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 10 [Re: MikeN] #2810247 02/03/19 02:08 PM
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Tim Adrianson Offline
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Hi, MikeN! Well, briefly put, I've heard many noisier, shallower, uglier renditions of this piece than what I heard here -- I thought you were able to capture the playful and lyrical aspects of this Etude quite effectively. In general terms, I think that you have to have really good "chops" to project Liszt's music properly, in the sense that the required virtuosity needs to be there with a sense of reserve in hand -- barely hanging on, or just getting through the thickets, just isn't going to cut it. From what I understand, Liszt was a naturally hard worker in his youth, and simply practiced several hours a day to attain his level of staggering virtuosity. Again in general terms, I hear the TE 10 as being in the same spirit as "Feux Follets" -- really pretty lighthearted and melodic in spirit, but laden with immense virtuosic demands that need to seem to be effortless be musically compelling.

Re: Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 10 [Re: Tim Adrianson] #2810305 02/03/19 05:21 PM
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MikeN Offline OP
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Thank you for sharing your experience trig! I think it's really amazing how one's relationship these "big" pieces changes so much as we grow, yes?

As far as hating it, for a while I forgot I ever learned it and if I ever remembered, you couldn't have paid me to play it for you anyways for reasons not least of having to do with comfort or lack thereof. Preparing for this recording did, in fact, injure me.


As always, thank you for your thoughtful reply Mr. Anderson! I'm comforted to hear you find what I did with the piece effective.

In my mind the Liszt etudes in particular present an interesting delimma as far as required "chops" to play. I think they're very easy to fight through due to the compositional language being surprisingly uncomplicated and the lack of the sort of superfine, perpetual motion passagework one encounters in Chopin etudes that can cause a pianist to really lock up from tension buildup. Add in the Lisztian stereotype of fast and loud and one can get away with banging things out and be somewhat convincing. Yet, on the otherside of things, to really master and make something musically satisfying, one already needs the sort of peerless ease and control one might attain in, say, Chopin. Unfortunately, I think this accounts for some of the pointlessly "bangy" Liszt interpretations one hears, but of course you know this. I'm really just elaborating on your point.



Originally Posted by trigalg693
It's a very Liszt piece with all the loud notes sweeping up the keyboard, and I kind of missed that after playing a bunch of more restrained music haha.


Originally Posted by Tim Adrianson
Again in general terms, I hear the TE 10 as being in the same spirit as "Feux Follets" -- really pretty lighthearted and melodic in spirit, but laden with immense virtuosic demands that need to seem to be effortless be musically compelling.


How fascinating that even within the first 2 post we have, as I understand it, rather different viewpoints concerning the character of the piece.

I've struggled with these two lines of thought myself, but I find, now that I'm better equipped to pull it off, really aligning with Tim's perspective and my reasons have a lot to do with the pronounced lack of density in this piece.

There's just so little bass. Actually, there are added bass octaves in this recording to try to alliviate what I perceived as an issue back then. Yet, the longer I live with the piece and the more I'm able to accomplish Liszt's markings, many of which sit pretty low dynamically, the more I start to see the piece as some kind of tarentella/song fusion and less like the huge Lisztian show stopper. Though, I think the latter approach can be very convincing in the right hands.

Thanks for sharing!

Re: Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 10 [Re: MikeN] #2811759 02/07/19 04:55 AM
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Oh, I adore this piece--I think it one of the -lovely- transcendental etudes, actually. (Yes, like Feux-Follets.)

I may come back and watch your old rendition later. Thank you for posting. (Perhaps I won't notice you being led by disorganized/uncoordinated set of people, but that's an interesting point you bring up, too.)

Last edited by winterflower; 02/07/19 05:01 AM.
Re: Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 10 [Re: winterflower] #2812126 02/07/19 08:57 PM
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MikeN Offline OP
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Originally Posted by winterflower
Oh, I adore this piece--I think it one of the -lovely- transcendental etudes, actually. (Yes, like Feux-Follets.)

I may come back and watch your old rendition later. Thank you for posting. (Perhaps I won't notice you being led by disorganized/uncoordinated set of people, but that's an interesting point you bring up, too.)


I'm impressed at how well adored this etude is. It encourages me to go through the tedious process of relearning it and performing it again.

You'll have to let me know if you notice the awkwardness I do. It's only about 3 or so things in particular I find strange.

Re: Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 10 [Re: MikeN] #2812237 02/08/19 07:56 AM
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I have always enjoyed this etude. Very spirited and lively.



[Linked Image]
Re: Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 10 [Re: MikeN] #2816409 02/16/19 11:58 PM
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Thanks. Except that I might wimp out and listen to some of your other recordings instead, though once I have a firmer conception of these things myself I could return to this.

I might not have much conception of the unity of a piece in the first place. So when I find something strange, it might not always break the unity of the piece for me. (But I am exaggerating; I can get annoyed when I like some of a piece and then get annoyed at the intrusion of another part.)

I am curious how your repertoire was picked back then, if you were not so sympathetic? They should compel you to play a number of styles and genres (sonata or -etude-), and perhaps you can't just dodge composers, but it seems like learning a transcendental etude is enough of an investment, and the piano canon is sufficiently wide, to give some room for negotiating on that point. (I wouldn't know, really; I don't have experience with being assigned pieces.)

Re: Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 10 [Re: winterflower] #2819321 02/23/19 07:21 PM
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MikeN Offline OP
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Originally Posted by winterflower
Thanks. Except that I might wimp out and listen to some of your other recordings instead, though once I have a firmer conception of these things myself I could return to this.

I might not have much conception of the unity of a piece in the first place. So when I find something strange, it might not always break the unity of the piece for me. (But I am exaggerating; I can get annoyed when I like some of a piece and then get annoyed at the intrusion of another part.)

I am curious how your repertoire was picked back then, if you were not so sympathetic? They should compel you to play a number of styles and genres (sonata or -etude-), and perhaps you can't just dodge composers, but it seems like learning a transcendental etude is enough of an investment, and the piano canon is sufficiently wide, to give some room for negotiating on that point. (I wouldn't know, really; I don't have experience with being assigned pieces.)


I understand. Still it's always of interest to hear what other people's viewpoints are.

As far as how my repertoire was picked, I had an unconventional teacher. She didn't generally pick repertoire based on diversity of style as is the accepted way of doing things. Her aim was moreso to understand the artistic personality and the pianistic strengths of her students and help them in greater developing towards that way. As far the Transcendentals, she realized early on that I had a bit of a gift for understanding and unraveling physical difficulties at the instrument, so she set me to learning the whole set as a project. This was actually the first one I worked on. I didn't like the music, but I thought it a good way of developing as a pianists and, sure enough, learning the half of the set that I did taught me a lot about absorbing, understanding, and performing virtuosic music. By the time I was playing my knuckle buster senior recital, I was learning stuff like this without a flinch

I imagine one can see the flaw in this approach for many students and I certainly saw many of my classmates not benefiting so much from this approach, but I did still have my precollege teacher leaning over my shoulder making sure I was learning what I needed to learn as far as what one learns form other styles and genres, so for me it was a good thing overall.

Hopefully, that answers your question.

Re: Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 10 [Re: MikeN] #2820231 02/26/19 07:08 AM
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Rather than too many chefs trying to make one soup, I'd say it's more like one apprentice that is trying to make a soup with spices he doesn't yet know.

There were many nice moments there, and you clearly had good ideas, but your technique was letting you down a bit... Or rather, you heard the things, but couldn't quite execute them yet.

My first teacher seemed to have similar ideas as your teacher. I didn't start with easy stuff to gradually move on to more tricky things. After playing for maybe two years, he already told me to play the Emperor concerto, Waldstein and the Mephisto waltz. Of course I couldn't play them well at the time, bit I grew tremendously from learning them. Nothing wrong with aiming too high sometimes!
You'll play this piece later in life, and have many of the things already figured out!

Good job!

Re: Liszt Transcendental Etude No. 10 [Re: MikeN] #2822391 03/03/19 01:36 PM
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MikeN Offline OP
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I agree with your sentiment excepting that I think it was less a matter of not being able to execute things period but more a matter of not being able to execute things reliably and with total control which might've been what your point was to begin with. I'm still impressed with how few people pick up on the spoon fed nature of the interpretation. Most of the ideas really weren't my ideas. I never felt I had a good concept of the piece, which is why I posted this old recording in the first place so I'd have a few different perspectives if I decide to go through the tedium of relearning it.

Ahh, yes. It seems we did have similar experiences with one caveat. I refused to play anything large scale as far as length until a couple years after this recording. I could justify working up really difficult things that were shorter but with bigger core works, like Mephisto or big Beethoven things, I felt having to relearn the piece later would outweigh any good in breaking into them sooner.

Thanks for weighing in!

Last edited by MikeN; 03/03/19 01:42 PM.

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