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Topic: Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?  (Read 2440 times)

Offline stormx

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Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?
on: December 27, 2004, 02:35:00 PM
Hi!!

I am new to classic music and piano learning...but i have been listening a lot recently, mostly solo piano music.
My favourites composers are Beethoven, Chopin and Shumman.

Yesterday i bought a double CD containing the Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies. The interpreter is Georges Cziffra, who i have read is considered a Listz expert.

I really did not like it at firsts listenings. It sounded strange to me, and i was not able to find the melodic line in the pieces.

Question:
is Liszt that difficult to understand compared to Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Shumann?
Should i insist, and it will finally click on my head, or is it better to keep it aside and assume i am not a Liszt lover?

Merry Christmas and happy new year !!!

Offline etudes

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Re: Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?
Reply #1 on: December 27, 2004, 02:48:29 PM
I love Cziffra HR CD
i would say i love every track of that
:)
am Cziffra fans
Piano = my life
My life = piano

Offline quasimodo

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Re: Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?
Reply #2 on: December 27, 2004, 03:07:46 PM
Hi!!

I am new to classic music and piano learning...but i have been listening a lot recently, mostly solo piano music.
My favourites composers are Beethoven, Chopin and Shumman.

Yesterday i bought a double CD containing the Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies. The interpreter is Georges Cziffra, who i have read is considered a Listz expert.

I really did not like it at firsts listenings. It sounded strange to me, and i was not able to find the melodic line in the pieces.

Question:
is Liszt that difficult to understand compared to Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Shumann?
Should i insist, and it will finally click on my head, or is it better to keep it aside and assume i am not a Liszt lover?

Merry Christmas and happy new year !!!



Please don't give up !!! Keep on listening to new things : Liszt, Ravel, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Bartok and so on. Let your ears get used to different sounds. Also listen other things than piano : symphonic music, chamber music, jazz. I promise you : you will like it.

"You can't like something without learning it and you can't learn something without liking it." (Samson François)
" On ne joue pas du piano avec deux mains : on joue avec dix doigts. Chaque doigt doit être une voix qui chante"

Samson François

Offline donjuan

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Re: Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?
Reply #3 on: December 27, 2004, 07:20:45 PM
HI Stormx, well, you are talking about my favorite composer Liszt and my favorite recording artist Gyorgy Cziffra.  Well, you are in a great position to check out some truly awesome Liszt.  Have a listen to Hungarian Rhapsodies No. 2,4,6,7,10,12,15, and 19 -they are my favorites. 

In my opinion, Liszt is one of the easiest composers to understand, compared to Bach or even Prokofiev where you have to think in abstract terms to try to find the meaning of a certain harmony progression or whatever.  In Liszt, it is all so obvious!  Many pieces focus on a single idea or subject, such as a fountain or a portrait of the devil.  Listening to Liszt is a lot like watching a movie- the music appeals to all senses and it is all pure and sincere and therefore, very easy to comprehend.  With Bach, listening is a lot (IMHO anyway) like reading a complex poem and deciphering every little detail.  It really does take intellectual effort and I find it all so exhausting.  Fascinating, but ultimatlely exhausting.  I dunno - maybe its because Im dumb.... But Liszt is always rewarding as it is fascinating.

donjuan

Offline Motrax

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Re: Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?
Reply #4 on: December 28, 2004, 02:08:38 PM
Indeed, don't feel discouraged that you aren't getting the music right away. You haven't mentioned Chopin - perhaps you should listen to some of his works (Nocturnes played by Rubinstein, namely). The nocturnes are all very melodic and easy to follow, but will also introduce your ears to more romantic harmonies. I find Liszt to be rather shallow much of the time ( :o), but it will certainly take a number of listens to really get the fullest enjoyment out of any piece of music.
"I always make sure that the lid over the keyboard is open before I start to play." --  Artur Schnabel, after being asked for the secret of piano playing.

Offline willcowskitz

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Re: Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?
Reply #5 on: December 28, 2004, 03:43:38 PM
I second most of what donjuan says here. I would like to add, that I believe you, as a feeling human being, must share certain emotional aspects with Liszt to understand the fire of his music, or it will - as Motrax described - sound shallow. Remember, that every composer sounds different, and once you get deeper into their "sound", you will notice that many of their pieces also sound different. This is when your mind will start to cultivate and learns to distinguish different styles and moods from each other, and this is also why it is - as Motrax said - vital for understanding and enjoying music to listen to pieces many times over and over again, but always with the same open, un-numbed and curious mind. Keep active, search for the style that you personally like most, then expand that taste. And first of all, enjoy!

Offline Allan

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Re: Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?
Reply #6 on: December 28, 2004, 11:07:26 PM
Yes, I like them.  They are precussive, energenic and...fun.   Liszt, in my book, is second only to Bach.

Offline offenbach

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Re: Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?
Reply #7 on: December 29, 2004, 12:10:02 AM
I love Liszt, as well as the Cziffra CD. My favs are 2,6 and Spanish, with No 9 being my favorite.

 :) O

Offline jon

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Re: Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?
Reply #8 on: December 29, 2004, 12:42:47 AM
I too have ten Hungarian Rhapsodies by Cziffra.I love all the Rhapsodies, but they did take me listening to them around 3 times to really appreciate them though.My favorite are no.2,no.6 (such a catchy tune),no.9 "Carnival in Pest",and Rakoczy March.To be honest I like the way  Cziffra plays them except no.2 .Maybe it's just because i know this piece better, but it sounds like he gets a little carried away towards the end to the point that he doesn't even match the left hand with the right.That's just what feel, but these are great pieces that you can enjoy without having to sit there with the score to understand them.

Offline rafant

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Re: Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?
Reply #9 on: December 29, 2004, 05:39:43 PM
Please don't hurry up to conclude you are not a Liszt lover. It's premature. You have in front of you a lot of music to hear for years to come. Musical taste develops gradually and never ends.  Also I'd like to prevent about programming oneself in a negative way. If you repeat to yourself you are no apt for Listz (or Liszt is not for you), you run the risk of making your mind to believe in that. It would be a pity to lose in this way the opportunity of appreciating and enjoying his wonderful compositions.

In the meanwhile you could start by hearing his Consolations, Liebestraume, and Petrarca's Sonets. And congratulations for your good taste.

Offline Daniel_piano

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Re: Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?
Reply #10 on: December 29, 2004, 08:56:02 PM


Please don't give up !!! Keep on listening to new things : Liszt, Ravel, Rachmaninov, Scriabin, Bartok and so on. Let your ears get used to different sounds. Also listen other things than piano : symphonic music, chamber music, jazz. I promise you : you will like it.

"You can't like something without learning it and you can't learn something without liking it." (Samson François)

I don't agree
Music is so instinctive that you don't need to learn anything to like it
Either you like or you don't
A famous artist once said that art is also the ability to turn something complicated into something that anyone can identify with immediately, children or laymen alike
Great painters of the past didn't want people to learn anything about paiting history and theory to appreciate their work, they would have considered it a failure on their part, they actually wanted people to appreciate their works using ther instinct not their conscious knowledge and this meant to them their work was a success and that they managed to create art turning complex theory in something immediate and intuitive

Today there's this habit of telling people when they don't like a concert or a symphony or a sonata to keep hearing it until their will appreciate it
But this was considered like cheating
Composers like Rimsky-Korsakov, Tchaikovsky, Grieg, Debussy and others (but I'm sure of these ones) said they really liked a piece of music only if it was appreciated by them after the first or max second listening, if they needed to listen it hundreds of times before they could like it, they considered it worthloss or not something they really liked

Hearing something hundreds of times before you can say that you like it is indeed cheating as even something you would consider horrible would become something you appreciate if you keep hearing it, because of addiction of the mind
Even something painful as pinching you with a sharp knife would become normal after hundred or repetitions and you would even burn to death without feeling pain if you keep gradually increasing the temperature around you
The mind and body can get accustumed to anything
Liking music by getting accustumed to it is cheating, because music is instinctive and immediate that it loses its meaning and its magic if you need to get accustumed to it after lot of repetitive listening
Only music you like after the first listening or the second one is music you can really say you like, all the rest is just psychological accustuming to a umpleasant stimulus

Anyway, there's nothing to undertand when listening to music: either you like or don't, either it means something to you or don't, either the sounds are pleasant to the ear anatomy or don't
You lose the music power if you think while you listen to it, you don't have to understand music just let it happen and be passive while it goes within you
I don't know if anyone is famialiar with Herbert Benson concept of "Relaxation Response" or awareness and wholeness or alpha waves
Music should be listened passively, in complete relaxation with no other thoughts popping out on your head, with your eyes closed and your annoying interior voice shut
You can't experience music the way it should experience if you start thinking about the melodic line, the progressions, the instruments utilized, the speed or if you're distracted by thoughts about your life, what you'll have for dinner, what you'll do Saturday night
Experience it, that's all

Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies are based on popular Romanian music (for some strange reason Liszt believed it to be Hungarian music) so maybe something that can help you understand the nature of this music is to close your music, wipe your mind of any other though and feel the sensation of East Europe gypsy music let the music draw for you images of paesan dancing or else let the music draw for you the image of life in Bucarest, it's houses and parks

Daniel
"Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask "Why me?" Then a voice answers "Nothing personal, your name just happened to come up.""

Offline quasimodo

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Re: Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?
Reply #11 on: December 30, 2004, 11:41:50 AM
Daniel, I think we are talking of different matters. I agree with you that some works are simply mediocre or even crap, so you could listen to them a hundred times, you won't like it. And there's also the question of personal tastes and emotions.

But in the case of stormx, I think his/her trouble comes from the fact that (s)he was not used to listen to music which does not emphasize melody and which transgress the rules of harmony that were compulsory in the times before. I have been like stormx at a certain time, I didn't know other musicians but roughly those whom (s)he mentionned.

When I heard some Debussy or Erik Satie for the first time, then, I was completely perturbed and confused. I was almost thinking that was not music but I knew that those musicians were more or less reputed so I kept on listening and then my ears (rather my brain actually) got accustomed to these different harmonies and modal conceptions, scales by thirds and so on... and today I'm completely comfortable with the idea that music can involve no clear melodic pattern. It was also a similar process which lead me to appreciate contemporary jazz: a long time ago, I used to think that it was just a big bunch of sh*t made by insane persons under hallucinogens. Today I'm quite a fanatic !!!

It's a question of cultural biases, I think all of us when exposed to some oriental music involving quarter-tones intervals, do not feel comfortable with it at first listening. But by the time we become ear-trained to those, we have a better understanding of what we considered as just noise in first place.
" On ne joue pas du piano avec deux mains : on joue avec dix doigts. Chaque doigt doit être une voix qui chante"

Samson François

Offline willcowskitz

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Re: Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?
Reply #12 on: December 30, 2004, 07:14:29 PM
Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies are based on popular Romanian music (for some strange reason Liszt believed it to be Hungarian music) so maybe something that can help you understand the nature of this music is to close your music, wipe your mind of any other though and feel the sensation of East Europe gypsy music let the music draw for you images of paesan dancing or else let the music draw for you the image of life in Bucarest, it's houses and parks

I'm not sure if this is fully true. While I think gypsys were originally Romanians, they emigrated to other countries, including neighbouring Hungary, a lot. While these people took their genes and culture with them, there have without a doubt been fusions of different cultural backgrounds, and given the possibility that the setting for the birth of these simple, traditional tunes was Hungary, the surrounding environment has most probably had a huge influence on gypsy musicians. However when speaking of folkloristics of any kind, including music, one shouldn't think within the borders of countries already because they've been radically changing in middle and eastern Europe during past centuries, leaving Hungarians in Romania, Romanians within borders of Hungary, etc.

Offline stormx

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Re: Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?
Reply #13 on: December 30, 2004, 09:09:00 PM
Thanks for all your opinions !!! this forum is great  :)

I have listened to the Rapshodies again 2 or 3 times, and they start to look different...for instance, right now, i really like the "Marche de Rakoczy" (n° 15).

Happy new year !!!

Offline Goldberg

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Re: Liszt Hungarian Rapshodies - do you like them?
Reply #14 on: December 31, 2004, 12:17:58 AM
I too have ten Hungarian Rhapsodies by Cziffra.I love all the Rhapsodies, but they did take me listening to them around 3 times to really appreciate them though.My favorite are no.2,no.6 (such a catchy tune),no.9 "Carnival in Pest",and Rakoczy March.To be honest I like the way  Cziffra plays them except no.2 .Maybe it's just because i know this piece better, but it sounds like he gets a little carried away towards the end to the point that he doesn't even match the left hand with the right.That's just what feel, but these are great pieces that you can enjoy without having to sit there with the score to understand them.

This is extraordinarily interesting because the 2nd Rhapsody was one of the few pieces that Cziffra explicitly made no attempts whatsoever at modifying to his own tastes, at least in the studio recordings (playing it live might have been quite different). From my understanding, he played this rhapsody with the utmost respect for the composer, who actually outlawed the piece's performance from any of his students, except maybe one or two exceptions; along with Chopin's 2nd scherzo, Liszt proclaimed the piece "overplayed" (hahaha, a hilarious allusion to today's worl, where practically ANYthing can be considered such). In my opinion (this part isn't set in writing, at least as far as I have read), Cziffra probably meant to revive Liszt's original intentions in the Rhapsody by leaving the piece as it was written and NOT including any of the famous cadenzas (Siloti, Rachmaninoff, etc), or, even more Cziffra-y, improvising his own. Considering that Cziffra enthusiastically learned from masterclasses of one of the most distinguished Liszt pupils (what was his name? Thamon or something?), not to mention a practical reincarnation of Liszt himself, I would guess that his interpretation of the 2nd rhapsody contains a certain quality that makes it comparable to Liszt's own.

It's just a thought, however. It doesn't mean you have to like his recording. He took liberties with many of the other rhapsodies, but very few--if any--with the 2nd...and yet you say this is the only one of his that you don't like! So, that's just somewhat interesting.

Anyway, I love the rhapsodies, although I myself have some reservations to no. 2---any no. 2. It is, by no means, due to the obvious popularity of the piece, however; I just find the 2nd rhapsody boring and dull as a composition; no recording that I've heard to date has brought me to terms with it, although I was thrilled by the technical display of Hamelin's cadenza (which is by no means a reason to like the whole piece of course).

Otherwise, the only other one that I really don't like much is perhaps his most important (next to the Spanish Rhapsody): the Rakoczi march, no. 15. IMO, it has nothing on Horowitz's transcription....shame I heard his version before the original.

A few that I just love: 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19. And I thouroughly enjoy all the others.
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