Holiday gifts from Piano Street: Two New Liszt Scores
Why not spend some of the remaining time of this Liszt-year at the piano with two of his most beloved pieces, Consolation no 3 and Liebestraum?
Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes
Franz Liszt’s 12 Transcendental Etudes from 1851 are a set of pieces designed to develop technique while beeing musically engaging and enjoyable at the same time. They are considered some of the legendary virtuoso’s most demanding music.
1. Listen to the complete recordings by Claudio Arrau and Boris Berezovsky while following along in the scores!
2. Share your thoughts: Which are your favorite etudes and interpretations?
Please post a comment here!
Click the pianist’s name to start the playback and then the “View Score” link.
|No. 1: Preludio||Arrau||Berezovsky|
|No. 2: Molto Vivace||Arrau||Berezovsky|
|No. 3: Paysage||Arrau||Berezovsky|
|No. 4: Mazeppa||Arrau||Berezovsky|
|No. 5: Feux Follets||Arrau||Berezovsky|
|No. 6: Vision||Arrau||Berezovsky|
|No. 7: Eroica||Arrau||Berezovsky|
|No. 8: Wilde Jagd||Arrau||Berezovsky|
|No. 9: Ricordanza||Arrau||Berezovsky|
|No. 10: Allegro Agitato Molto||Arrau||Berezovsky|
|No. 11: Harmonies du soir||Arrau||Berezovsky|
|No. 12 Chasse-Neige||Arrau||Berezovsky|
Scores to download and print: Liszt – Transcendental Etudes (Gold membership required)
About Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes
The Transcendental Etudes S. 139 began in 1826, as a set of youthful and far less technically demanding exercises called the Étude en douze exercices (Study in twelve exercises) S. 136. Liszt then elaborated on these pieces considerably, and the far more technically difficult exercises called the Douze Grandes Études (Twelve Great Studies) S. 137 were then published in 1837. The Transcendental Etudes S. 139 are revisions of his Douze Grandes Etudes. As the third and final version, this set was published in 1852 and dedicated to Carl Czerny, Liszt’s piano teacher, and himself a prolific composer of etudes. The set included simplifications, for the most part; in addition to many other reductions, Liszt removed all stretches of greater than a tenth, making the piece more suitable for pianists with smaller hands and less technical skill. However, the fourth etude of the final set, Mazeppa, is actually more demanding than its 1837 version, since it very frequently alters and crosses the hand to create a “galloping” effect. When revising the 1837 set of etudes, Liszt added programmatic titles to all but the Etudes Nos. 2 and 10. These titles are in French and German. Later, one of Liszt’s editors Ferruccio Busoni gave the name Fusées (“Rockets”) to the Etude No. 2, and the name Appassionata to the Etude No. 10; however, Busoni’s titles are not commonly used or well known.
About the Arrau recordings
Arrau was entering his seventies when these performances were taped—in quad—in March 1974. An omnicompetent technique was intact, while expressiveness, suggesting the wisdom of a lifetime, blossomed. “Feux-follets” is punctilious yet quirky, leisurely and glowing, which is to say, not hustled. “Mazeppa” evinces more a canter than a gallop—virtuosically scintillant if not pyrotechnically coruscating—but still grandly compelling. If you want the fast-forward spin, try Freddy Kempf. The remaining Études are magisterial in any company, that is, even the best of today’s pianists could learn from them. “Paysage” is all rapture; “Ricordanza” (which Busoni compared to a bundle of faded love letters) is a steady spate of surprises and felicities, like fond memories awakening; the expressive crescendo of “Harmonies du soir” takes one’s breath. And so on.
- Fanfare Magazine
About the Berezovsky recordings
Liszt’s Douze Etudes d’exécution transcendante and pianist Boris Berezovsky were made for one another: under the extreme difficulty of execution and acrobatic tour de force of the Etudes Transcendantesis hidden a romantic musician steeped in poetry, Liszt. And behind the diabolical virtuosity and fantastic digital agility of the pianist, there is a performer of extreme sensitivity, Boris Berezovsky. We should not be obsessed with his curriculum vitae as an ace of the keyboard – he was born in 1969, studied with pianist Elisso Virsaladze at the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow where he won the Gold Medal in the Tchaikovsky Competition and has since then led an international career – because with time Boris has learnt to sublimate his impressive technique and to simply put it at the service of the music. This film reveals to us a Berezovsky who is literally unequalled in his mastery of the terrible pitfalls of the Etudes Transcendantes – he even breaks a piano string… – and immerses us in the Romantic world of Liszt.
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