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5 Minutes on Franz Liszt’s FunĂ©railles

Pianist Daniel Barenboim, now celebrating 75 years, has published a series of short videos titled “5 minutes on…” in which he discusses well-known piano pieces. In this episode he talks about Franz Liszt’s FunĂ©railles from the piano cycle Harmonies PoĂ©tiques et Religieuses.

Barenboim talks about FunĂ©raillesLiszt built his monumental and transcendental technique on the back of Czerny’s 1,100 etudes, which, as his teacher, Czerny forced him to memorize and play incessantly. Liszt translated that incredible power to the piano. Armed with such technique, he was free to explore new directions in both composition and performance. There was, literally, nothing he couldn’t play. Because he was so gifted, he was able to break new ground by playing recitals of other composers’ music, which was unusual during the early and middle 19th century.

Piano score to download and print:

Read more about Franz Liszt


/nilsjohan
 
     

Ode to Joy at the Proms 2017

Hear Igor Levit’s encore at First Night of the Proms 2017. Liszt’s piano solo version of Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.

Beethoven theme transcribed by Liszt

Piano score to download and print:
Extract, page 45-47: Beethoven/Liszt – Theme from Symphony 9

The 9 Symphonies Transcribed by Liszt

For those interested in Liszt’s transcriptions of all nine Beethoven symphonies might also find thrill in the 19th century practices on ways to experience orchestral music without attending a symphony concert, years before the invention of recordings and piano rolls. With this in mind inspiring recordings of the Liszt versions of the symphonies have been spotted utilizing a variety of historical keyboards and performance styles. Liszt had produced a superb two-piano transcription of the Ninth, a work he often conducted. Despite his publisher Breitkopf & HĂ€rtel’s appeals, Liszt maintained that distilling the universe of Beethoven’s last symphony for one player at one instrument was impossible. In 1865 however, living in seclusion at a monastery on the Monte Mario, Liszt wrote a translation of the symphony medium to solo piano with immense craft and inspiration. The opening of the finale to the ‘Ode to Joy’ is stunningly affecting. But it is a stint preparation for the combination of rhythm, colour, pacing and unyielding musical will, describing the sublime exaltation of Beethoven’s incitement.

“Of the major Romantics, Liszt alone had a personal connection with Beethoven. A case could be made that this first-hand association would prove to be the defining event of his life. Even in old age, he continued to refer to Beethoven as his great ideal, the lodestar of his artistic universe. Liszt’s advocacy of Beethoven’s music, at a time when many of his contemporaries were either unfamiliar with or baffled by the late-period works, is a matter of historical record.
Before the earliest attempts at sound reproduction, Liszt drew on every means at his disposal to create an accurate replica, a facsimile, of works he recognised as uniquely powerful, in order that others might better know and understand an artistic legacy he loved and valued above all.”
— Patrick Rucker, Gramophone

Hear full recordings of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony transcribed by Liszt:

NEW! Click the album covers to listen to the complete albums:

(This is a new feature available for Gold members of pianostreet.com)

Read more in Piano Forum:
Have you heard the Beethoven / Liszt Symphonies (Transcriptions)
Beethoven Symphonies – Which one would you play?


/nilsjohan
 
     

Garrick Ohlsson live in Fort Worth

Since his triumph at the 1970 Chopin International Piano Competition (the only American winner ever), pianist Garrick Ohlsson has established himself worldwide as a musician of magisterial interpretive and technical prowess. Although long regarded as one of the world’s leading exponents of the music of FrĂ©dĂ©ric Chopin, the Grammy Award-winner commands an enormous repertoire, which ranges over the entire piano literature.

In this season-closing concert of the Cliburn Live series in Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, Texas on Tuesday, April 5, 2016, Ohlsson performs works by Beethoven, Schubert, and Chopin. Thanks to the closely positioned microphones and sparse artificial reverb (if any), we get to hear the sound balance similar to what a top concert pianist hears from the piano chair when playing a Steinway D in a large hall.

PROGRAM
Beethoven: Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, op. 110
Schubert: Fantasy in C Major, D. 760 (“Der Wanderer”)
Chopin: Scherzo No. 4 in E Major, op. 54
Chopin: Etude in E Minor, op. 25, no. 5
Chopin: Etude in G-sharp Minor, op. 25, no. 6
Chopin: Nocturne in C Minor, op. 48, no. 1
Chopin: Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, op. 23

In an interview from 2012 (examiner.com) Garrick Ohlsson explains one aspect of his continuous interest in exploring the richness of the whole piano repertoire:

“The heroism of the Liszt Sonata or of the Appassionata is really not of real life. It’s the same thing as great Shakespeare, with these violent tragedies, and really, all art in all cultures. It tells us about ourselves. When I’m playing Beethoven, or Liszt, or whomever, I get in touch with heroism, with sublimity, a demonism or a tenderness, that I have some idea about. It’s like an actor having to do a great role. You might discover that some of those qualities are in you a little bit.
That’s the affinity, that’s what you have a feeling for. And I think that’s the greatest privilege for it. For me, the function of Art is to bring me in touch with that greater world. Great writers do it, great film makers can do it, etc. I mean, I like great music because it’s better than real life (laughs) – although real life is just fine, don’t get me wrong. But there’s a distillation, a sublimity or a happiness, a pleasure or a great sadness. It distills the essence.”


Over a four-year period, CLIBURN LIVE webcasts over 250 performances live and on demand to the world—all three competitions (Amateur in June 2016, Cliburn in May/June 2017, and Junior in June 2019) and select Cliburn Concerts by some of the world’s top performing musicians (2-3 annually).

“The Cliburn’s mission is to share classical music with the widest audience possible,” said Jacques Marquis, president and CEO. “The viewership of the competition webcasts has grown exponentially every four years and is an extremely valuable tool to fulfilling that mandate. We have an expertise in broadcasting live concerts online and are presenting the finest artists annually in Fort Worth. It’s a natural extension to showcase Cliburn Concerts internationally as well—and a way to bring people from across the world to the Cliburn much more often.”


/nilsjohan
 
     

Schiff Horses Around in Master Class

In a piano masterclass on Schubert’s Moments Musical at The International Musicians Seminar at Prussia Cove, Andras Schiff noted, for one of his students, that, in Schubert’s time, horse-drawn conveyances were the norm instead of just a tourist attraction.


/patrick
 
     

Can We Play Like Mozart Did?

Pianos during the 18th century were much different than their counterparts in the centuries from the 19th to the 21st. First of all, they were much smaller, normally comprising only five octaves instead of 7 1/3. Secondly, they were lightweight contraptions built using barely more materials than a harpsichord. Late 19th-century pianos were much sturdier and could withstand later compositional techniques. Liszt, for example, left a trail of destroyed pianos in his wake because the materials weren’t up-to-snuff.

The fortepiano that Mozart played almost daily during his last nine years.

The fortepiano that Mozart played almost daily during his last nine years.


It was different 100 years before when Mozart was making a world tour as a youngster. Instead of being hunched over the piano crashing one’s weight down upon it, performers were required to sit ramrod straight and keep their arms and elbows at their sides. Most playing was finger-driven with supple wrists that were raised and lowered with great delicacy. Tchaikovsky’s racing octaves, Rachmaninoff’s gigantic block chords and Liszt’s monumental tonal constructions were notably absent from pieces composed at that time.

Christina Kobb, who is heading up a project to promote 18th-century playing, such as might have been practiced by Mozart, notes that it is easier to play running 16th notes faster. It’s also simpler to play chords more accurately and smoothly. She maintains that pianists should, at the very least, familiarize themselves with the techniques to get better in touch with the thoughts and aspirations of the composers of the time.

Learn 18th century piano techique with Christina Kobb:

Read more at nytimes.com


/nilsjohan
 
     



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