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Letís hate Franz Liszt club (Read 3685 times)

Offline georgey

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Letís hate Franz Liszt club
« on: March 06, 2018, 05:29:40 AM »
Dare I post this?  ;)

2 of the biggest members of all time:  Brahms and Clara Schumann.  Why did they hate Lisztís music?  The Liszt piano sonata is greater than anything written by Brahms for the piano (Brahms beloved instrument), with the possible exception of the Brahms 2nd piano concerto.  

My theory:  Rather than hate the music, they hated what they saw as the persona of Liszt:  Living in a castle on the top of a mountain with everyone coming up to worship him as if Liszt was a god.  Too bad Brahms and Clara could not see the music independently from the composer.  I donít think they admitted to anything but hating every piece written by Liszt.  At least Brahms was able to on some days admit that he admired at least some of the music of Wagner (especially Die Meistersinger).

Offline mjames

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #1 on: March 06, 2018, 05:47:54 AM »
They were musically conservative, and Liszt's music was a stark contrast to preceding music that they loved (including early romantic). Clara and Brahms were fond of the the restrained classicism of Mozart, Schubert, Bach, Chopin, whereas Liszt (and his "followers") sought to erode them or well in their eyes expand. It was just a huge clash of ideas on how music should be approached. Liszt being a pivotal figure of the movement they despised probably played a big role in their very public dislike of him.

Ironically enough Brahms ended up being a far more important figure in "modern music" (or maybe just as important) than Liszt. Guys like Schoenberg often cited Brahms along with Beethoven as their biggest inspirations.

Offline georgey

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #2 on: March 06, 2018, 05:51:27 AM »
They were musically conservative, and Liszt's music was a stark contrast to preceding music that they loved (including early romantic). Clara and Brahms were fond of the the restrained classicism of Mozart, Schubert, Bach, Chopin, whereas Liszt (and his "followers") sought to erode them or well in their eyes expand. It was just a huge clash of ideas on how music should be approached. Liszt being a pivotal figure of the movement they despised probably played a big role in their very public dislike of him.

True.  This (musically conservative) accounts for about 30% of their hatred of the music IMO.  How do account for Brahms love and great admiration of Wagner's music (which he did admit to on some days)?

Offline mjames

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #3 on: March 06, 2018, 05:56:47 AM »
unrelated but sort of related...Brahms is actually in my top 10 list of greatest tragedies in music

1. Schubert's early death
2. Schubert lackuster education in music
3. Brahms meeting Robert Schumann

out of all the mentors he could have picked out of the "greats" he ended up with the dullest one...
Just imagine a timeline where he didnt get brainwashed by the schumanns....

What could have been.

Offline georgey

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #4 on: March 06, 2018, 06:02:55 AM »
Ironically enough Brahms ended up being a far more important figure in "modern music" (or maybe just as important) than Liszt. Guys like Schoenberg often cited Brahms along with Beethoven as their biggest inspirations.

I can hear in my mind the exact spot of a Brahms I think Op. 89, Gesang der Parzen, for mixed chorus and orchestra (1882) that Schoenberg so admired and said influenced him in his atonal development.  Listen to the very early D major string quartet of Schoenberg and you will hear Brahms.

Offline georgey

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #5 on: March 06, 2018, 06:12:48 AM »
unrelated but sort of related...Brahms is actually in my top 10 list of greatest tragedies in music

1. Schubert's early death
2. Schubert lackuster education in music
3. Brahms meeting Robert Schumann

out of all the mentors he could have picked out of the "greats" he ended up with the dullest one...
Just imagine a timeline where he didnt get brainwashed by the schumanns....

What could have been.

It's been a few years since I read my Brahms biography.  My recollection is Brahms discovered much of Schuman's music on his walk from Hamburg to Schuman's place.  Before meeting Schumann, someone in some town had a library of Schumann's music that Brahms looked at and fell in love with.  But you are right.  I'm sure there was a lot of brainwashing when Brahms arrived at age 20 at the Schuman's.  Brahms played his Op. 1 C major piano sonata and Robert Schumann went on and on how great it was.  And so the brain washing began.  ;)

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #6 on: March 06, 2018, 06:51:57 AM »
The only thing that's good by Liszt is mid to late period
Live large, die large.  Leave a giant coffin.

Offline clouseau

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #7 on: March 06, 2018, 07:12:14 AM »
Georgy you have written a lot of interesting posts, and have started some interesting and thought provoking threads in this forum.

But this is not one of them
"What the devil do you mean to sing to me, priest? You are out of tune." - Rameau

Offline ahinton

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #8 on: March 06, 2018, 12:01:40 PM »
The only thing that's good by Liszt is mid to late period
"The only"?! That's one heck of a lot!

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Alistair
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #9 on: March 06, 2018, 12:18:37 PM »
The only thing that's good by Liszt is mid to late period

Pensees des morts, Robert le Diable, Norma, plus many others.

I don't understand why people think Brahms had more influence on the future than Liszt when Liszt ended up practically writing atonally. Btw Schoenberg quotes from the sonata in Verklarte Nacht.

Fairly obvious that not everyone would appreciate Liszt's proto-rock star antics.

Offline visitor

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #10 on: March 06, 2018, 01:35:14 PM »
Pensees des morts, Robert le Diable, Norma, plus many others.

I don't understand why people think Brahms had more influence on the future than Liszt when Liszt ended up practically writing atonally. Btw Schoenberg quotes from the sonata in Verklarte Nacht.

Fairly obvious that not everyone would appreciate Liszt's proto-rock star antics.
agreed. he rewrote some of the 'rules' or rather turned his back on them, he more than anyone else I can recall set the stage for the movements and traditions that followed.

here's a cool excerpt from a a CD review that fittingly summs up some of the ideas he pioneered in terms of compositon, and expansion of the tonal language

"...This is a fascinating idea: to take some of Lisztís core piano works and explore how the man and his music influenced everything that followed....first programme is about Liszt the expressionist, and his followers Ė Berg, Scriabin, Wagner; the second concentrates on his impressionist works, along with Ravel, Bartůk and Messiaen. The repertoire is challenging but worth the effort Ė you can hear how Lisztís music was absorbed by other composers Ė his spare, tritone- based melodic lines, or the sparkling tone colours of the air, light and water depicted
in his musical postcards, the Annťes de Pťlerinage...."


Liszt almost more than anything redefined our idea of what the piano can do and how to compose for it in this new light.

Brahms carried the torch forward for a lot of Bob Schumann's idea, improved on it, I care not for Schumann's work personally but recognize his importance and influence as I like Brahms, so without no Bobby, no Johannes as we know him.


I personally mainly gravitate towards his later works when he got involved with the Church, and dealt with tremendous personal loss of both not being able to be with a love of his life, death of his kid, etc., however there are great flashes of brilliance early on, I especially love his Op.1 variations, if we didn't know who composed it, on first listening, we'd think it was by Schubert....
"...The Opus 1 (s148) Variations show a clever young hand at work, especially in the ease of the modulation at the coda from A flat major to E majoróa key-shift which would dominate much of his mature work. Written no doubt for his own use and dedicated to the piano-craftsman Sťbastien Erard, the work is also of interest because the theme turns up in the so-called Third Concerto
from notes by Leslie Howard © 1994...."

versatility and a command of the language to the extent that he added to that language and the ability as performer to execute on that with rare ease at the piano. That's probably Liszt's greatest strength

Offline georgey

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #11 on: March 06, 2018, 03:50:30 PM »
......... deleted .............

I agree that Liszt influenced the future much more than Brahms.  Brahms just happened to live in Vienna and the Viennese atonalists looked up to their home town hero.

7.1.18

Offline ahinton

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #12 on: March 06, 2018, 05:41:37 PM »
Schoenberg quotes from the sonata in Verklarte Nacht.
I know and love that work well but either have forgotten or didn't know this! What is the quote and where?

Best,

Alistair
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Offline klavieronin

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #13 on: March 06, 2018, 09:29:33 PM »
I'm pretty sure much of Liszt's later music wasn't published for several decades after he died. It was only in retrospect that people realised Liszt had already began to explore ideas that 20th century composers would be exploring decades later. He was kind of a "prophet" in that sense but not necessarily influential because nobody new what he had been doing.

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #14 on: March 07, 2018, 08:17:51 AM »
I know and love that work well but either have forgotten or didn't know this! What is the quote and where?

Best,

Alistair

Maybe "quote" in the exact sense is too strong, but I've certainly seen it written that the opening falling motif in Verklarte Nacht is an allusion to the similar motif at the start of the sonata.

Offline ahinton

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #15 on: March 07, 2018, 05:36:40 PM »
Maybe "quote" in the exact sense is too strong, but I've certainly seen it written that the opening falling motif in Verklarte Nacht is an allusion to the similar motif at the start of the sonata.
Of course! I don't know how I could have missed that! I wonder if it was conscious on SchŲnberg's part? There's no doubting the influence of Liszt (and Chopin) on SchŲnberg; one has only to consider the first chamber symphony to detect a confluence of structural thought between it and Liszt's Sonata.

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Alistair
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Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #16 on: March 07, 2018, 07:06:05 PM »
unrelated but sort of related...Brahms is actually in my top 10 list of greatest tragedies in music

1. Schubert's early death
2. Schubert lackuster education in music
3. Brahms meeting Robert Schumann

out of all the mentors he could have picked out of the "greats" he ended up with the dullest one...
Just imagine a timeline where he didnt get brainwashed by the schumanns....

What could have been.

Indeed it is a tragedy that Brahms ended up with the most unimaginative and boring composer of the romantic era.

He was infested with the Schumann virus and it ruined him for life. Even Clara, before she was infested, used to play Liszt, Henselt & Thalberg.

Thal
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #17 on: March 07, 2018, 10:12:18 PM »
Even Clara, before she was infested, used to play Liszt, Henselt & Thalberg.


Yeah, iirc she was the soloist in the premiere of the Henselt concerto!

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #18 on: March 08, 2018, 07:01:52 PM »
Indeed and i doubt if she ever played that masterpiece again after that unimaginative little turd came into her life.

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Offline ahinton

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #19 on: March 08, 2018, 09:37:37 PM »
Indeed and i doubt if she ever played that masterpiece again after that unimaginative little turd came into her life.

Thal
Well, I'm not about to comment on Robert Schumann here but there can be no doubt that Clara, like Fanny Mendelssohn and others, had talents that long went woefully unrecognised and largely underappreciated (although Felix Mendelssohn did at least appreciate his sister's work and expressed his anger rather than sorrow at her untimely death in the last and by far the best of his quartets, the one in F minor Op. 80).

Best,

Alistair
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Offline blairderosa

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #20 on: March 09, 2018, 08:58:48 AM »
It was most unfortunate that even before meeting Master Schumann and lady Clara, Master Brahms displayed his disdain for Master Liszt's piece personally by sleeping during the latter's performance of his Sonata in B minor, when they met in Weimar together with several other musicians. I'm quite confused by the reason standing behind this act of Master Brahms.

Yet I do also believe such affairs of the era between these outstanding composers concerned and concern none but them themselves, and others ought not to judge any of them with the slightest disrespect whatsoever.

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #21 on: March 09, 2018, 10:19:18 AM »
I think, to be fair to Brahms, he'd been on a very lengthy journey to get there, but certainly it wasn't the most diplomatic act.

Offline ca88313

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.
«Reply #22 on: March 10, 2018, 03:55:43 PM »
.

Offline ahinton

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #23 on: March 15, 2018, 10:39:40 AM »
I think you should change the title to "Let's love Franz Liszt club". He was the quintessential Romantic and we should all follow in his footsteps to improve today's music:

https://publicdomainreview.org/2011/10/17/what-makes-franz-liszt-still-important/
This is by and large a fine article and thank you for posting it.

Perhaps its most interesting and at the same time somewhat puzzling paragraph is the one that reads:


"The case of Franz Liszt, who was born in 1811 and died in 1886, is more complex. Celebrating the 200th anniversary of his birth ought to have been an opportunity to revisit a figure who helped define Romanticism, the role of the piano on the stage and in the home, and, most importantly, how music functions for most of the literate public. Yet our attention to him remains largely muted and ambivalent. Only a few of his works are still in the standard orchestral repertory ó the piano concertos and one tone poem Les Preludes. Pianists bring out a few select works in recital, mostly to display the virtuosity they demand. This is in stark contrast to Chopin, his contemporary, whom Liszt championed. The choral and organ music are never performed. If one compares this to Lisztís output, not only for the piano, (which is gargantuan in scope), one cannot help but be struck by the obscurity that most of his music has fallen into. The last effort in a major city to revive Lisztís music took place in New York in the 1970s under the leadership of Pierre Boulez."


That Boulez championed Liszt will perhaps come as quite a suprise to many. On the other hand, to suggest that Liszt's choral and organ music is "never performed" is simply untrue and was so at the time that this article was published (7 years or so ago); likewise, to suggest that only a handful of Liszt's piano works appear in recital programmes beggars belief. The immense scholarly work undertaken by such distinguished figures as Alan Walker, Humphrey Searle and Leslie Howard is hardly indicative of a largely sidelined composer and, of those three, Leslie Howard has recorded no less than one hundred CDs of the complete (or as near complete as can be) piano music of Liszt. It seems to me that the author was thinking more of the fate of most of Liszt's work in the early part of the 20th century when it was certainly the case that a good deal less of his music was regularly performed than it is today. The total Liszt discography must run into four figures, if not five; there have been dozens of recordings of his magnificent Sonata alone.

Yes, I cannot imagine that a "let's hate Franz Liszt club" has much of a future here, as numerous previous posts make clear!

Best,

Alistair
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Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline georgey

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #24 on: March 23, 2018, 03:08:18 AM »
Indeed and i doubt if she ever played that masterpiece again after that unimaginative little turd came into her life.

Thal

Liszt dedicated his greatest work (the piano sonata) to Robert Schumann.  What does this make Liszt?  ;)

Offline ahinton

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #25 on: March 23, 2018, 12:24:35 PM »
Liszt dedicated his greatest work (the piano sonata) to Robert Schumann.  What does this make Liszt?  ;)
Not sure if the sonata is quite Liszt's "greatest work" but it's certainly one of his finest. Chopin also dedicated his Second Ballade to Schumann; what does that make him? Mind you, Chopin didn't seem to "get" Schumann and the admiration for him expressed by Schumann was unrequited; the dedication on the Second Ballade is to "M. Robert Schumann"; very formal.

Schumann also dedicated one of his best works, the Fantaisie for piano, to Liszt; that the composer of that piece is the same as that of the piano concerto - a minor work if ever there was one, indeed - beggars belief...

Best,

Alistair
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Offline indianajo

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #26 on: March 23, 2018, 11:43:40 PM »
I heard a great organ piece by Liszt today at an organ AGO recital.  Judith Miller CAGO played Evocation a la Chapelle Sixtine (exerpt) today at 1st Presbyterian Jeffersonville. On the Schantz pipe organ.  
It had a stormy section using a lot of noise and windy thunder, followed by a sunny morning.  It reminded me of the Beethoven Pastoral symphony as decorated by Disney Studios in Fantasia, 1957 (when I saw it).  
By contrast I can hardly remember anything either Schumann or Shubert did.  Didn't one of them write that Trout quartet thing that was used as intro music by a british sitcom about a retirement home?  And the Unfinished symphony, I have about four LP's of it picked up at Salvation Army for <$1 but I can't hum a single theme from it.  Worth at least one quarter, maybe.  Those 400 songs one of them did, I've heard him compared to Lennon-McCartney and have to say, I can sing and play whole verses of the latter's songs, none of Mr. S.  
I've attempted the Christmas Fantasy of Liszt, one of his less technically demanding efforts.  
As far as Liszt's star personal habits, well, Lennon was also much too impressed with himself.  When you've started whole companies of yes men, one hears nothing but praise all the time. 

Offline lau

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #27 on: March 24, 2018, 11:15:41 AM »
franz liszt is so dumb, he probably ate loads of marinara sauce and was like.. what?

and then he was like its an eating etude for sauce ingestion.
so dumb.
i'm not asian

Offline cuberdrift

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #28 on: April 08, 2018, 07:47:26 AM »
Blasphemy! A travesty! What is this?! A shallow mockery of one of the greatest geniuses and inspirational figures in Western history.  >:( >:( >:(

How could you hate this?



...

Btw, on a slightly related note - I was thinking of putting up a classical music-themed restaurant in the future, and on the menu would be "Beethoven's Rage - so spicy you'll lose your ears!" chili, Debussy "Pleasure is the law" French toast, and "Liszt Hungarian Sausage - entrance yourself in the spice and heat of this lengthy dish as the admirers of Liszt once did two centuries ago!". It will also feature the John Cage cake as a special promo (but what it actually is is a mystery - you'll have to order it first to find out).

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #29 on: April 08, 2018, 12:33:41 PM »
It will also feature the John Cage cake as a special promo (but what it actually is is a mystery - you'll have to order it first to find out).

Let me guess; it's an empty plate and costs $4.33

Offline cuberdrift

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #30 on: April 09, 2018, 04:49:27 AM »
Let me guess; it's an empty plate and costs $4.33

Hmm...I did think that it would be empty, but you had me there at the price.  :)

Offline georgey

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #31 on: April 11, 2018, 10:02:53 PM »
Let me guess; it's an empty plate and costs $4.33

This is a good analogy.  Time is worth money as they say.  About a $1.00 (USD) per minute sounds about right.  I felt that our local orchestra owed me about a 4% refund on the ticket price when they performed this (Cage 4'33) a few years back.  ;)

Offline ahinton

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #32 on: April 12, 2018, 08:02:30 AM »
Blasphemy! A travesty! What is this?! A shallow mockery of one of the greatest geniuses and inspirational figures in Western history.  >:( >:( >:(

How could you hate this?

Liszt was indeed as you describe him; to assess his contribution to Western music one has to consider his achievements not only as a composer but also as a pianist, a teacher, a conductor, &c. Likewise, Arrau was one of the most remarkable pianists of the past century. To mock either is to mock oneself.

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Alistair
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Offline fftransform

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #33 on: April 13, 2018, 09:39:26 PM »
Ironically enough Brahms ended up being a far more important figure in "modern music" (or maybe just as important) than Liszt.

Absolutely wrong, in my opinion: The chromatic writing of Liszt was the progenitor of the Impressionists, from which the basic tenets of Spectralism (timbre over pitch content, which has dominated composition since Xenakis) were derived in Europe.








His works were also highly influential to the late German romantics like Wagner, Mahler and Strauss, which share a much more direct genealogy with the 2nd Viennese School than Brahms - regardless of what Schoenberg wrote about it in his twilight years in 1933, when his own music had started looking backwards more and more.  That is 1933 Schoenberg, not 2nd Viennese Schoenberg, and 1933 Schoenberg is as unimportant as they come.  Believe me, composers from the Darmstadt School like Boulez and Stockhausen weren't taking any pointers from Schoenberg's late works.  The Italian School was a direct offspring of the Futurists and the Neoclassicists, so I just don't see any Brahms influence anywhere if we're talking about the progression of music.

The most daring counterpoint by Brahms to me is probably the 76-2.  It could have just as easily been part of Schumann's Op. 12.




So if you can't say it about Schumann, I don't think you can say it about Brahms.

Offline fftransform

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #34 on: April 13, 2018, 09:42:16 PM »
Robert le Diable

I don't understand why people think Brahms had more influence on the future than Liszt when Liszt ended up practically writing atonally. Btw Schoenberg quotes from the sonata in Verklarte Nacht.

Fairly obvious that not everyone would appreciate Liszt's proto-rock star antics.

Second two bits are good points.  The Robert le Diable transcription is pretty vacuous to me, though.  Very, very difficult and impressive - but junk music.  One of his absolute toughest pieces, with the Auber Tarantella and the Contrabandista.


Offline fftransform

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #35 on: April 13, 2018, 09:53:49 PM »
"The last effort in a major city to revive Lisztís music took place in New York in the 1970s under the leadership of Pierre Boulez."

Berman and Boulez, rather different sensibilities.  Would be surprising if they were both wrong, wouldn't it?

Offline cuberdrift

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #36 on: April 21, 2018, 12:37:40 PM »
Fairly obvious that not everyone would appreciate Liszt's proto-rock star antics.

I actually sometimes don't understand why Liszt is considered to be the "first rock star" and not Paganini. Sure, he had long hair and "groupies", but that's about it.

Paganini seemed to have had a lot more in common with the modern idea of a "rock star" than Liszt. He possessed incredible showmanship, played a mobile instrument (the violin), and, most importantly, was considered a "devil" violinist (foreshadowing the much later Black Metal people). He even played the guitar for crying out loud.

Also, someone said that the violin during those times was associated with "the devil" - hence Liszt's Mephisto Waltz about the devil violin player, etc.

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #37 on: April 21, 2018, 12:44:44 PM »
I actually sometimes don't understand why Liszt is considered to be the "first rock star" and not Paganini. Sure, he had long hair and "groupies", but that's about it.

Paganini seemed to have had a lot more in common with the modern idea of a "rock star" than Liszt. He possessed incredible showmanship, played a mobile instrument (the violin), and, most importantly, was considered a "devil" violinist (foreshadowing the much later Black Metal people). He even played the guitar for crying out loud.

Also, someone said that the violin during those times was associated with "the devil" - hence Liszt's Mephisto Waltz about the devil violin player, etc.

Liszt was a rock star, Paganini was a goth ;)

Offline cuberdrift

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Re: Letís hate Franz Liszt club
«Reply #38 on: April 21, 2018, 01:18:55 PM »
Liszt was a rock star, Paganini was a goth ;)

Ah, I see. What's Scriabin then - an alien?  ???