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Liszt : lesser known (unknown ?) pieces #2641227 05/08/17 05:55 AM
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IgorLevit Offline OP
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Hello,

In the last few months I found an interest in listening to (and probably later playing) some of Liszt's compositions which are not often played in recitals and on cds. I'm looking for more, and it is always difficult to find interesting pieces in the phenomenal output Liszt left us.

First I'd like to share some of my best discoveries, which I rank as masterpieces :

- Fantasy and fugue on the choral Ad nos ad salutarem undam, originally for organ, but transcribed by Busoni in a superb manner :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSO0GTGopIk
Hamish Milne recorded it for Hyperion (not listenable online) and it is magnificent.

- The "Hymne à Sainte-Cécile" transcribed from Gounod. Soyeon Kate Lee plays it in the Naxos complete piano music volume 38.

- The two part Réminiscences de Lucrezia Borgia inspired by Donizetti's opera are marvellous as well, Mark Viner recently released a cd with both.

- And another one, the Midnight Procession, which is the first "Episode du Faust de Lenau", which means the first part of Mephisto Waltz number 1! Liszt asked that they should never be separated, and it is a pity that so many pianists (99.9%) tackle the Waltz and never play the first part, which shows a more introverted part of Liszt's music while still offering a few virtuoso parts with a big climax. You can find it on Kit Armstrong's Liszt cd, along with a very personal interpretation of the Mephisto Waltz, inspired by the orchestral score.

I know there is Leslie Howard's complete set, but I have two problems with it. I bought a few volumes, and I have hard time distinguishing between interesting pieces and what he recorded just for the sake of it, and also I find his playing quite boring : most pieces require a first class virtuoso who takes risks to bring the piece alive, and I don't hear this with him.

Do some of you know lesser known gems from Liszt's compositional output ? Please don't cite the classics like the sonata, ballades, etudes, pilgrimage years, harmonies poétiques et religieuses, don juan, rigoletto, tristan and isolde... Unless you have a particular interest in a former version of these pieces which would have some specificities we don't fnid in the final version.

Last edited by IgorLevit; 05/08/17 09:26 AM.
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Re: Liszt : lesser known (unknown ?) pieces [Re: IgorLevit] #2641283 05/08/17 08:43 AM
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I'd like to recommend his Scherzo und Marsch S.177. There is a fantastic recording by Richter of it which can be found on amazon (somewhere). There was a Horowitz recording released but he butchered the ending with his own little version of a coda. The original is much harder with tons of octaves building up to the end. Rarely played but a fantastic piece!

Re: Liszt : lesser known (unknown ?) pieces [Re: IgorLevit] #2641342 05/08/17 11:08 AM
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I've always liked Francis's take on religion (think Bénédiction de Dieu for example) - so much better than the so-called 'spiritual minimalism' stuff that's around these days. But what do I know - I'm an atheist grin.

How about this for example - Wolfie supposedly wrote out Allegri's Miserere from memory when he was 14, from just one hearing of it in the Sistine Chapel (where it was jealously guarded) - which was how he, Allegri and Sistine came to be linked......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tkAMKzRSrjc

Another useless fact (for those who like useless facts): Tchaikovsky used Liszt's arrangement as his source in his Mozartiana suite, not Wolfie's original Ave verum corpus. Strange, considering that Wolfie was his idol, not Francis......

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXjn6srhAlY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IX1zicNRLmY


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Liszt : lesser known (unknown ?) pieces [Re: Journee Oubliee] #2641351 05/08/17 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Journee Oubliee
I'd like to recommend his Scherzo und Marsch S.177. There is a fantastic recording by Richter of it which can be found on amazon (somewhere). There was a Horowitz recording released but he butchered the ending with his own little version of a coda. The original is much harder with tons of octaves building up to the end. Rarely played but a fantastic piece!


Great piece!


"I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well."

J.S. Bach
Re: Liszt : lesser known (unknown ?) pieces [Re: IgorLevit] #2641507 05/08/17 07:23 PM
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Liszt's three Apparitions are very mature for early Liszt works, they are pretty unknown at least as far as I can tell.

As for the harmonies poétiques et religieuses, the earlier versions of some of the pieces that came later in the revised years of pilgrimage are wonderful and hard to find. Like Les Cloches de G (still do not know why it is not Geneva and probably botched that french) It is very different then the later version, and I feel much better.

Then there is his earlier La campanella, and 4th Paganini etude Arpeggio in G, which are also rather different and sadly obscure (but they are tough so it sort of makes sense) I really think the first la campanella pays a better tribute to Paganini and also sounds better over all (at least the ending for certain)

there is die zelle in nonnenwerth


There are his Hungarian Rhapsodies, many of which are completely cast aside for the 2nd one.

His Grosses Concert Solo (I am trying to learn it It is a great precursor to the sonata in B minor)

Is his Tannhaueser transcription not well known? I am not sure but it sure is wonderful

En reve

His Beethoven transcriptions are not that well known, but they are great works.

there are many more that I am just struggling to remember, perhaps after I get some much needed sleep I'll have them.



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Re: Liszt : lesser known (unknown ?) pieces [Re: IgorLevit] #2641515 05/08/17 07:49 PM
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The Csardas Macabre is a lesser-known gem I find myself often returning to, especially around Halloween smile

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHlkVrdBKR8

Re: Liszt : lesser known (unknown ?) pieces [Re: IgorLevit] #2641528 05/08/17 08:42 PM
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how about all of his other verdi paraphrases besides the rigoletto?


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Re: Liszt : lesser known (unknown ?) pieces [Re: IgorLevit] #2641547 05/08/17 10:07 PM
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Historical Hungarian Portraits.

The Tarantella from Auber's La Muette de Portici is played less frequently than the Tarantella from Venezia e Napoli. Liszt's pupil Frederick Lamond recorded it. Difficult.

Funeral March from Donizetti's Dom Sebastian. The Lewenthal recording is fun.

Weihnachtsbaum. Among recordings is an old one of excerpts by Ilona Kabos.

Concerto Pathetique (2-piano version of Grosses Konzertssolo). Usually played with an interpolation by von Buelow.

The "other" Mephisto Waltzes.

Some of the Wagner transcriptions are less played and not so difficult as the Tannhaueser Overture and the Liebestod: Elsa's Dream, Lohengrin's Reproof to Elsa, and Elsa's Bridal Procession. Those are the titles as given in an ancient Schirmer publication, Wagner-Liszt Album. Lohengrin's Reproof has a quaint English translation of Atmest du nicht printed into the music for mentally singing along while you play. ("Dost thou not breathe as I the scents of flowers?")

Cuius Animam from the Rossini Stabat Mater is not too killing. Also recorded by Lamond.

Among other Verdi paraphrases, which were asked about, Miserere from Il Trovatore is interesting but not easy.

The Fantasy and Fugue on BACH is impressive. The opening is better in the organ version; the climax better in the piano version, in my opinion.

Variations on Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen. The aforementioned record of Liszt works by Ilona Kabos has an excellent performance of this underappreciated work. I prefer the piano version. One of my favorite Liszt works.

LAP


LAP
Henry F. Miller Pedal Piano, Decker Brothers Concert Grand, Knabe Grand, Chickering 135 Grand, Mathushek Orchestral Square, Baldwin Hamilton, Challis Harpsichord
Re: Liszt : lesser known (unknown ?) pieces [Re: IgorLevit] #2641698 05/09/17 10:33 AM
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I've found this book very useful: Humphrey Searle, The Music of Liszt (Dover, 2012, republication of 1956 ed.) The catalogue of Liszt's works, pp. 155-196, is a quick reference if you don't have Grove at hand.

-LLW

Re: Liszt : lesser known (unknown ?) pieces [Re: IgorLevit] #2828152 03/18/19 07:09 AM
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Sorry for re-activating this old thread but if you're still curious, Liszt's Réminiscences de "La Scala" (fantasy based on Mercandente's Il Giuramento) is a really really rare work which has only ever been recorded twice (Howard and Pistorius). I find the fantasy an enjoyable, jovial work worthy of a revival. Here it is:

Re: Liszt : lesser known (unknown ?) pieces [Re: IgorLevit] #2828175 03/18/19 07:50 AM
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A very good piece. I have Howard's in my collection.



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