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Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385623
08/18/08 01:49 AM
08/18/08 01:49 AM
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Some interesting stories here... One sentence in particular that is interesting in the Grieg quote is "He plays the whole thing, ... , nay, more, for he played fuller, more broadly." Not even Liszt bothered to read and play back the music note by note, he read the rhythms, harmonies and the violin melody and improvised on that.

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Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385624
08/18/08 01:56 AM
08/18/08 01:56 AM
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Pacific Northwest, US.
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Quote
Originally posted by Fleeting Visions:
His sonata, which imitates Liszt's in form and development, is also not a bad specimen. I believe that it is in Bb minor.
Yes, you are correct as usual. I wouldn't consider it a masterpiece -it has never caught on with pianists- the superb technical and musical alignment of the organ sonata isn't duplicated as brilliantly.

But as long as there are organists on this planet, Reubke's sonata will continue to be performed on a regular basis. I have many recordings (10 to be exact! eek ) and have also heard it in concert countless times, most recently at King's College chapel.


Jason
Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385625
08/18/08 04:41 AM
08/18/08 04:41 AM
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The abilities of Franz Liszt are well known. But have you ever heard about Georges Bizet doing similar things?
Before Liszt started to play one of his own pieces (a very difficult one) he said to the audience: "There are only two people in the world who can play this piece - Hans von Bülow and I."
Georges Bizet who happened to be there went to the piano and sightread the whole score. Liszt didn't seem to be astonished at all. His brief comment: "I see we are three."

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Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385626
08/18/08 07:23 AM
08/18/08 07:23 AM
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davaofthekeys Offline OP
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Just remembered another one I read a long time ago in some old book I borrowed from my music colleges library, something about a rare concert, probably pretty early in Liszt career, where Liszt, Chopin and a couple of other pianists where performing on the same bill, and that on this occasion, Liszt improvised a prelude to begin the concert. Pretty incredible.

Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385627
08/18/08 08:32 AM
08/18/08 08:32 AM
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Chicago, IL USA
Palindrome Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by florhof:
The abilities of Franz Liszt are well known. But have you ever heard about Georges Bizet doing similar things?
Before Liszt started to play one of his own pieces (a very difficult one) he said to the audience: "There are only two people in the world who can play this piece - Hans von Bülow and I."
Georges Bizet who happened to be there went to the piano and sightread the whole score. Liszt didn't seem to be astonished at all. His brief comment: "I see we are three."
I've read that Liszt felt Bizet to be the third best pianist he had ever heard. (No, I don't know who numbers 1 and 2 were.)

The story about Saint-Saens sightreading Wagner came from Von Bulow, who said that Camille's orchestral score reading ability surpassed that of everyone he knew.

and...

Quote
Originally posted by davaofthekeys:
Wow, this is great stuff! I love to hear new Liszt stories, I find it very inspiring! (and a bit frightening)
Uhhh... I don't think there are gonna be any new ones.....


There is no end of learning. -Robert Schumann Rules for Young Musicians
Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385628
08/18/08 08:36 AM
08/18/08 08:36 AM
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Singapore
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timbo77 Offline
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Sight-reading is a skill like any other and some people through practice and natural facility are very very good at it. I'm sure Liszt could plough his way through Grieg's concerto and anything else he laid his eyes on. I would expect many concert pianists today can sight read some pretty tricky stuff, not to mention conductors, who sight read orchestral scores complete with transposing multiple instruments.

I've watched one teacher of mine breeze his way through the full orchestral score of Parsifal whereas my father, a classical tenor by training, can sightread pretty much anything. I've sat by as he happily works his way through Rachmaninoff concertos, Scriabin sonatas, Chopin ballades all the while apologising for the little mistakes he makes along the way or cooing about a particular modulation. He assures me he learnt it through sheer practice, as he played through scores of music for singing roles he was preparing or wanted to sing through. Admittedly, it makes me want to give up playing the piano sometimes, but each time I get to see him (alas far too seldom, being over 6,500 miles away) I do my best to find something that stumps him. smile

Me? I am a terrible sight reader.

Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385629
08/18/08 08:36 AM
08/18/08 08:36 AM
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Champaign, IL
Fleeting Visions Offline
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I believe that Liszt said that at least three different pianists were the best he had ever heard on different occasion. This is fitting to his romantic sentiment.

Quick question: Sentimentalism vs. Sentimentality?


Amateur Pianist, Scriabin Enthusiast, and Octave Demon
Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385630
08/18/08 08:43 AM
08/18/08 08:43 AM
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Numerian Offline
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Possibly the Hexameron concert? Liszt, Pixis, Thalberg, Herz, Czerny and Chopin contributed variations on a theme from Bellini's I Puritani. The concert was a charity event and Liszt took on the additional responsibility of ordering the pieces, composing connecting links, and a prelude and finale to tie it all together. He also composed an orchestral accompaniment and a four hand piano version later on.

Amidst all this Lisztian accomplishment, Chopin's brief nocturne stands out as very modernistic and the only thing still remembered from the Hexameron.

Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385631
08/18/08 08:59 AM
08/18/08 08:59 AM
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On a poignant note, Liszt really was sight reading. As an old man he gave up that sort of exhibition as he was nearly blind with cataracts. Winston Churchill's mother, Jennie, was seated beside Liszt at a banquet in England. She found him utterly charming. She also had to help him navigate the food on his plate.


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Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385632
08/18/08 11:53 AM
08/18/08 11:53 AM
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USA
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Keep these stories coming... I'm loving this thread more than I thought.

Any good book recommendations for similar?

Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385633
08/18/08 12:21 PM
08/18/08 12:21 PM
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Pennsylvania
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Quote
Originally posted by davaofthekeys:
Liszt improvised a prelude to begin the concert. Pretty incredible.
Not that incredible I would think. For a long time concert pianists would begin their concert with an improvised prelude.


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

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Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385634
08/18/08 12:38 PM
08/18/08 12:38 PM
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Pacific Northwest, US.
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Quote
Originally posted by Numerian:
Amidst all this Lisztian accomplishment, Chopin's brief nocturne stands out as very modernistic and the only thing still remembered from the Hexameron.
Not sure I follow you. Chopin's variation may be the finest musically, but Hexameron is very much the sum of its parts and that is how it is remembered today. IMHO the piano & orchestra version gilds the lily, and I think Lewenthal made the best compromise in his splendidly atmospheric and "sense of occasion" recording.

Interestingly, without Hexameron what is the chance anyone but a specialist would recognise the name Pixis?


Jason
Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385635
08/18/08 12:49 PM
08/18/08 12:49 PM
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Posts: 22,273
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by argerichfan:
[...]Interestingly, without Hexameron what is the chance anyone but a specialist would recognise the name Pixis?
Pixis? I don't recognize the name! laugh

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385636
08/18/08 01:34 PM
08/18/08 01:34 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
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Basel, Switzerland
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Quote
Originally posted by BruceD:
Quote
Originally posted by argerichfan:
[b][...]Interestingly, without Hexameron what is the chance anyone but a specialist would recognise the name Pixis?
Pixis? I don't recognize the name! laugh

Regards, [/b]
Sinful statements!! wink
Surely we are all aware of Pixis' take on Meyerbeer's opera, which was also the starting point for Liszt's most successful warhorse: Robert le :t:

Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385637
08/18/08 01:44 PM
08/18/08 01:44 PM
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Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
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I only know of Robert le Diable because of the Grand Duo Concertante for piano and cello by Chopin and Franchomme. I guess it's not exactly a warhorse. wink

The name "Pixis" reminds me of another sin of which I'm culpable: I've never heard of François-Joseph Fétis other than in connection with the Méthode des Méthodes.

Steven

Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385638
08/18/08 09:59 PM
08/18/08 09:59 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by Goose68:
Keep these stories coming... I'm loving this thread more than I thought.

Any good book recommendations for similar?
The very best source about Liszt: Alan Walker's three volume biography.

Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385639
08/19/08 05:00 AM
08/19/08 05:00 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by davaofthekeys:
Just remembered another one I read a long time ago in some old book I borrowed from my music colleges library, something about a rare concert, probably pretty early in Liszt career, where Liszt, Chopin and a couple of other pianists where performing on the same bill, and that on this occasion, Liszt improvised a prelude to begin the concert. Pretty incredible.
Almost everybody improvised regularly back then. I have just finished reading a bio of Hummel, and he actually preferred improvising in public to playing written music. There was a fairly amazing story in the book about how at the end of a music party/concert, Hummel was getting ready to leave, but people prevailed on him to do a little improvising first. As it happened, people were waltzing in the next room, and so he started to improvise around the dance, and then he amazed everyone by managing to weave in thematic material from all the music that had been heard earlier in the evening, and then topped it all off with a fugue, keeping the waltz going throughout the whole thing!! He also frequently did duo improvisations in concerts with Moscheles.

Ah, the good old days...

Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385640
08/19/08 06:32 AM
08/19/08 06:32 AM
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Hmm, I guess there was more improv going on back then, nowadays it seems pretty rare on the classical scene (which I think is pretty good actually, I don´t care much for improv).

But I still think that being singled out to improvise a prelude and a finale to a concert featuring pianists such as Pixis, Thalberg, Herz, Czerny and Chopin is pretty incredible and not really an ordinary feat, even for a pianist back in those days.
Just imagine the pressure and expectations one would have had to deal with at such a star-studded event, not only performing and improvising in front of an audience, but also that many other accomplished pianists.

Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385641
08/19/08 09:11 AM
08/19/08 09:11 AM
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The young Clara Wieck (Schumann) initially drew a lot of criticism as the result of her innovation of playing pieces from memory. At the time the only time a pianist played without music was when he was improvising. The lack of music was intended to underscore the improvisatory nature of his performance. Clara memorized easily and quickly but not particularly accurately and often sounded more like she was presenting her own impression of a work rather than the work itself. Because of the liberties she was inclined to take, her early audiences sometimes thought she was trying to pass off others' compositions as her own improvisions.


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Re: Liszt really sight-read Chopins etudes..? #385642
08/19/08 10:04 AM
08/19/08 10:04 AM
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To my knowledge Liszt Sight-read not Chopins Etudes but his LADIES!

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