by Dr Michael Low A second article on this giant of piano music  According to all reliable accounts, Liszt was the first true celebrity pianist in the history of Western art music. He was the embodiment of the Romantic Era: the sublime and the ridiculous, the diabolical and the virtuous, the transcendental and the mediocre, […]

by Dr Mark Berry The following arises from a lecture given in Bergen op Zoom as part of a three-day symposium, ‘Liszt meets Ibach’. I was asked to give a general overview of the significance of Liszt’s keyboard music to complement the more specialised masterclasses, performances, and lectures.  In considering the significance of Liszt’s keyboard […]

by James Holden Stephen Hough’s recording of Liszt, ‘Bénédiction de Dieu dans le solitude’, Harmonies poétiques et religieuses, S.173/III on the CD Rhapsodie espagnole; Mephisto Waltz; Bénédiction de Dieu  released on Virgin as 724356112926. There are moments when the piano ceases to sound like a box full of hammers being thrown against metal. It ceases […]

A cadenza is “an improvised or written-out ornamental passage……usually in a “free” rhythmic style and often allow for virtuosic display” (source: Wikipedia). The piano music of Romantic composers Fryderyk Chopin and Franz Liszt is littered with cadenzas and fiorituras (flowery or florid embellishments and ornaments), and understanding the purpose of these ornaments, and how to […]

The ‘Sonetto 123 del Petrarca’, from the second, Italian, Années de Pèlerinage, was my first serious foray into Liszt’s music, and formed part of my ATCL Diploma programme. While waiting for the Diploma results at the beginning of this year, too superstitious to start looking at LTCL repertoire, I dabbled with the ‘Sonetto 47’ (I […]

Liszt’s Années de Pèlerinage Suisse (published 1855) are not fictional imaginings conjured up at home but his responses, in music, to the alpine landscape and landmarks of Switzerland, which he visited with Marie d’Agoult during the period 1835-1839. While owing a great deal to the romantic poetry of Goethe and Byron (in particular Childe Harold), […]