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Topic: I want to play more Liszt!!!  (Read 1748 times)

Offline ivorycherry

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I want to play more Liszt!!!
on: December 13, 2020, 05:16:41 PM
Moved this to the rep board because I think it fits here better than the Student’s corner.


Hey guys,
So I’ve been listening to a lot of Liszt lately and I love his music. I would like to add some more Liszt into my repertoire and I have some pieces in mind. I usually play around 2-3 hours a day and am really into piano recently. I’m 14 and have a bunch of time to kill so why not piano?
My current repertoire is:
Chopin nocturne op 64 no 1 and 2
Chopin revolutionary etude op 10 no 12
Beethoven Sonata op 2 no 1 all movements
Beethoven Pathetique Sonata op 13 no 8 first movement
Brahms Rhapsody in G minor op 79 no 2
Liszt Liebestraume
Scriabin Impromptu opus 12 no 2
6 different Bach Preludes and Fugues from WTC

Judging from this, would I be able to play Un Sospiro or Wilde Jagd or another etude by Liszt? I know this sounds ambitious but I’m really willing to put in the work needed to play any of Liszt’s etudes. All of Liszt’s etudes are cool. If you don’t think I can play these are there any of Liszt’s etudes I could play that could challenge me? Or any Liszt pieces that might be good for me? I just really want to play something by Liszt. :D

Alex

Offline brogers70

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #1 on: December 13, 2020, 07:02:42 PM
Based on your listed repertoire, I'm guessing we're at about the same technical level. So here's what I'd suggest to figure out whether a dream piece is realistic. Get the score; follow along with a couple of recordings. Identify the bits that are going to be most challenging for you. If you're playing the pieces you listed already you have abetter idea of your own strengths and weaknesses than anybody here. Then pick 4-5 of the most difficult measures. Work on then 15-20 minutes a day for a couple of weeks. If you've got them comfortable and up to tempo or if you're making consistent progress in that direction, that's a sign that the piece is likely doable. If, after a couple of weeks you feel like you're beating your head against a wall, then I'd put it aside for a while until your technique progresses. Twenty minutes a day for a couple of weeks will get you the information faster than learning 90% of the piece and finding there's a residuum of difficult bits that keeps you from getting it in shape.

Offline ivorycherry

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #2 on: December 13, 2020, 07:11:39 PM
Thank you, I will do that right now... Would you recommend any specific etudes or other pieces by Liszt that I should start with(I’ve only played his Liebestraume) that would be doable for me from your opinion? I like almost all of his etudes and would be willing to play any of them. Thanks for your input and appreciate your help!

Alex

Offline ivorycherry

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #3 on: December 13, 2020, 07:15:27 PM
I am finishing the Scriabin Impromptu right now and will be picking a new piece with my teacher next week and I don’t want to seem to ambitious or stupid.

Offline brogers70

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #4 on: December 13, 2020, 09:25:18 PM
I assumed you didn't have a teacher. If you do have a teacher, just ask the teacher. They know your skill level, the things that are hard for you etc. The teacher works for you, not the other way around. There's no need for you to worry about seeming either stupid or over ambitious. Just tell them what you want to know and let the chips fall where they may.

Offline ivorycherry

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #5 on: December 13, 2020, 09:41:04 PM
Yeah I will ask him for sure. I just wanted to get some input from different people to see what their opinions are to get info from different perspectives.
Thanks again,
Alex

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #6 on: December 13, 2020, 10:00:42 PM
Wilde Jagd is a big step up from what you've played so far. Un Sospiro seems more reasonable, and if you do want to play one of the TEs, I'd recommend starting with Harmonies du soir.
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Offline j_tour

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #7 on: December 13, 2020, 10:35:27 PM
Wilde Jagd is a big step up from what you've played so far. Un Sospiro seems more reasonable, and if you do want to play one of the TEs, I'd recommend starting with Harmonies du soir.

That could be done.  All I know is the Jagd is, to me, a very frightening piece.  I don't even like to look at it or listen to it.  It's well beyond my abilities.

And, my only contribution is that the first, brief Transcendental étude is not so bad:  I like it, anyway, and it's just pretty much one or two technical/mechanical "tricks" that have to be learned.  That's very much within your ability to learn quickly.  The "Harmonies du soir" is arguably better music, and it has the advantage of referring to a very famous poem of Baudelaire, but that's up to you.

Among the first six or so Hungarian Rhapsodies, as well:  there are lots of relatively accessible ways to get into more Liszt:  you'd just have to read through them and see what you find is worth the effort to play.

My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline ivorycherry

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #8 on: December 13, 2020, 10:49:46 PM
Any thoughts on the Paganini etude no 6 in a minor?

Offline ivorycherry

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #9 on: December 13, 2020, 10:52:02 PM
Or the Eroica?
Just thoughts...

Offline ivorycherry

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #10 on: December 13, 2020, 10:55:18 PM
And out of the first six Hungarian Rhapsodies, which ones are the easiest and best for me to learn in your guys’ opinion?

Offline ivorycherry

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #11 on: December 13, 2020, 10:56:08 PM
I’m sorry I’m asking too many questions, I’m just on a time crunch by Tuesday to pick a new piece.

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #12 on: December 13, 2020, 10:57:40 PM
Good octaves are an absolute must for the Eroica.
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Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #13 on: December 13, 2020, 10:59:08 PM
5th HR really isn't all that difficult, plus it is a nice lyrical/dramatic piece.

1, 2 and 6 require very solid technique and also a level of physical capacity.
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Offline j_tour

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #14 on: December 13, 2020, 11:49:02 PM
5th HR really isn't all that difficult, plus it is a nice lyrical/dramatic piece.

1, 2 and 6 require very solid technique and also a level of physical capacity.

Yeah, the 5th or the 3rd could almost be read straight off the page.

I wouldn't rule out the 2nd, but it's pretty long and it also has a few problems:  namely, everyone's heard it so many times, you really can't make any mistakes, however minor, and you have to decide about the coda.  If you just want to read through some Liszt, you can probably fake your way through most of the main parts of the piece, though, just off the page.

Looking at the scores, I see from pencilled-in annotations that I played the 5th (e-minor), although I haven't read it in decades:  if I could have played it, you certainly can.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline ivorycherry

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #15 on: December 14, 2020, 12:24:54 AM
Ok, so I think I’m going to pick the HR 5... Any tips to keep in mind while learning it? Any help would be much appreciated!

Alex

Offline j_tour

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #16 on: December 14, 2020, 12:56:17 AM
Ok, so I think I’m going to pick the HR 5... Any tips to keep in mind while learning it? Any help would be much appreciated!

Alex

Sounds like an excellent choice.

I just played through it (just up until through the end of the G major little section and back into the main "heroic" theme, if you want to call it that), and it appears my teacher had stressed throughout the piece via annotations that I was apparently having some problems keeping the rhythm strict.  I don't know if that would be an issue for you.

There are a few little spots in the G major "lyrical" section where you want to watch your fingering.  You know, it should be nice and balanced and not have any spots where you have to improvise ad hoc some kind of verkakte fingering on the spot, like I did just now, after thirty years of even thinking of this piece.  Just legato and cantabile:  a few slightly awkward spots reading it for the first time in decades,  but that's why once practices/plays, after all.  That shouldn't be a problem for you.

Other than that, no:  I think you should be good to go.  It must have been maybe when I was roughly your age when I would have played it as well, or nearly so (IOW so long ago I just have to guess what I might have had trouble with based on my teacher's annotations at the time:  there's little subdivision markings and that kind of thing, which is definitely not in my handwriting, so it was certainly her idea for "homework," not that I did much), therefore it's not impossible,  and it's a very nice little piece with enough dramatic places for you to make some statements as an interpreter, if you choose to.
My name is Nellie, and I take pride in helping protect the children of my community through active leadership roles in my local church and in the Boy Scouts of America.  Bad word make me sad.

Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #17 on: December 14, 2020, 01:29:30 AM
In the HR5 lyrical sections, make sure to maintain a dynamic separation between the melodic figures and the accompaniment. By this I mean that your melody should aim to be one dynamic level louder than the accompaniment. Even better is to think of it as the accompaniment being one dynamic level quieter than the melody. This will give the proper balance between the two.
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #18 on: December 14, 2020, 04:42:41 AM
Wilde Jagd is a big step up from what you've played so far. Un Sospiro seems more reasonable, and if you do want to play one of the TEs, I'd recommend starting with Harmonies du soir.
Yes regarding Wilde Jagd vs Un Sospiro, the difference in technical difficulty is large there. Surely no1 or 3 if you are first trying the TEs out, no 11 has those tough consecutive large arpeggios which are not commonly found, without those it would be a much easier piece. Hungarian Rhapsody no 17 for a first one there too is a good choice.
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Offline ivorycherry

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #19 on: December 14, 2020, 05:28:31 AM
Yeah I’m still trying to decide what to play even though I’m leaning towards the HR 5. I’m still kind of thinking about the Un Sospiro and like you suggested there’s the HR 17. I think I’m just going to talk to my teacher about these 3 and any others he thinks are good during our next lesson on Tuesday and decide. All of your guys’ help and input is much appreciated!

Thanks for helping me,
Alex

Offline ivorycherry

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #20 on: December 14, 2020, 05:32:19 AM
Meant HR5 and 17 and Un sospiro by “these 3”.

Offline kc_gracie

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #21 on: December 22, 2020, 06:35:37 PM
Hello,

I think there is plenty of material written by Liszt that you should most certainly be able to handle. I enjoy listening to the Hungarian Rhapsodies, but I haven't been motivated enough to tackle one yet. On the other hand, I am a huge fan of other music he wrote. I absolutely adore many of the works in the Harmonies Poetiques et Religieuses and his 3 Annees de Pelerinage. I have been working on and have learned many of these pieces over the past several months and they bring me great joy. Also, many of his transcriptions are wonderful. Pieces I would look into (if you are interested) that have my attention and I believe you could tackle (some may be a bit harder than others) are listed below (these are some of my absolute favorites). Give them a listen and see what you really like. However, if you really find a piece you like, give it a shot. Motivation is a huge factor in being able to learn a piece well.

- KC


By Liszt:
Au bord d'une source
Vallee d'Obermann
Les cloches de Genève
Sposalizio
Sonetto 104
Aux cyprès de la Villa d'Este I
Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude
Pensée des morts
Funérailles
Cantique d’amour
Prelude: Weinen, klagen, sorgen, zagen

Schuber Transcription:
Auf dem Wasser zu singen
Standchen

Bach Transcription:
Prelude and Fugue in A minor

Wagner Transcription:
Isolde's liebestod

Offline ivorycherry

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #22 on: December 27, 2020, 04:56:45 AM
Yeah, so me and my teacher decided that I still needed to Polish the Scriabin a little more before I move on to another piece and I personally think(please correct me if I’m judging wrong) that the HRs that were recommended to me look a little easy(again, please it’s just what I believe from looking at the scores and sight reading them). I really LOVE the Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude and the Isolde's liebestod(even though just from looking at the score seems unrealistic) but the Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude is very very long. Do you guys think it would be realistic and a good choice?

Thanks,
Alex :)

Offline kc_gracie

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #23 on: January 01, 2021, 08:51:50 PM
So I will give you my thoughts, just my personal opinion. I think if you really want to learn the Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude, then give it a shot. Based upon the repertoire you have listed (of I'm sure you have learned other pieces along the way), I would say you have a level of technique that should be able to handle this. Will it be hard? Sure. Will you have some gaps in technique? Sure. But you will learn these as you go. So I wouldn't worry about whether it would be too hard at this point. I think you can do it.

Obviously, you have a teacher and their opinion will be very valuable as they will have a better understanding of your abilities and other time commitments for other pieces, etc. I would definitely encourage you to bring up this piece as I personally find it to be one of the best that Liszt wrote. Their opinion would certainly be nice to hear. But, also, I have sometimes learned things (at your young age) that my teacher didn't approve of because I was so inspired by a piece. I only played it for her after I learned it, and she was pleased. However, I don't necessarily encourage this behavior, just trying to emphasize that your drive and interests can be huge factors in the equation of whether to learn something or not (within reason of course).

The piece is very long. I actually learned this piece myself during the pandemic and I would like to say it is such a joy to play and it is just so much fun. While I did have a number of more difficult pieces under my belt in comparison, I was just really driven to learn this piece. As an aside, I have found some pieces that should be easy for me to be a huge pain solely based upon my personal drive and interest in said piece. So my ultimate advice is to just give it a shot. If you really adore this piece, go for it!

For learning it, I actually split it into 3 sections (which are obvious when you listen to it). The first section being before the choral middle section and the last section starting with the running base and return to the theme of the first section. I tried to tackle some of each section at the same time. I personally found the first section of the piece to be the hardest for me to learn with all of the two-note chords throughout (like almost a slow trill with the top 2 notes and an arpeggio in the lower notes, which made it harder to sight-read initially for me) and had to make sure I wasn't keeping my hand stretched too far during this section. However, once I got it down, it became much easier to play and it feels so very fluid to me now. Just don't rush it.

With all of that, I think it is a good choice if you really like the piece. Unless you have another reason for learning something shorter, say for a particular repertoire, competition, audition, etc., then I would encourage something else.

I hope this helps. Also, I wouldn't say the liebestod is unrealistic for you either and is much shorter.

Best of luck with what you and your teacher decide. Let us know what you choose!

-KC

Offline ivorycherry

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #24 on: January 02, 2021, 04:12:11 AM
Thanks for the help. I’ll decide with my teacher on Tuesday when I have my lesson.

Offline ivorycherry

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #25 on: January 06, 2021, 04:19:32 AM
Hello,
So, I discussed the Liszt Benediction de Dieu de dans la solitude and the Tristan and Isolde transcription and he said I could try the Tristan and Isolde transcription IF I really really like it but it would be a big step from what I’m playing now. So he said I can start working on it this week but if I don’t want to I can quit it halfway through the week if I think it’s  too hard and maybe start the Benediction de Dieu de dans la solitude. I am willing to put in the work into the Tristan and Isolde because I like it so much but there’s just so many tremolos... Any tips on those? I have trouble playing them well. I will push through with this piece with whatever it takes because it’s so cool and will hopefully post it in the audition room after I finish it for tips.

Alex

Offline kc_gracie

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #26 on: January 12, 2021, 06:52:03 PM
That is great. Isolde's liebestod is a great piece. I hope to learn this pieces as well in the near future. I have looked through the piece a few times and played sections here and there and, while I haven't learned it completely, I found it to be easier to manage than the Benediction. Of course, this may just be what I am personally more comfortable with and weak with, etc. It is a wonderful piece. I would say that either one would be great to have under your belt. The transcription, though, is much shorter and you will at least not have to deal with the incredible length of the Benediction.

For the tremolos, my editions all say to play as many notes as possible as softly as possible (in many of the passages). For these, and somebody correct me if I am wrong, I think the goal is to add an effect rather than strictly count the number of notes you are playing. In the instances where the number of notes is written out explicitly for a particular tremolo, you would be better off to specifically count those. I think you will find that you can handle these fairly well. Just relax your hand and give it a shot. You will figure it out. Keep the wrist as relaxed as possible and aim to keep them quiet, otherwise they can become very overpowering. I saw a mention, maybe even on this site, about practicing tremolos. Perhaps give that a search.

In particular, with the tremolos, what were you struggling with? Anything in particular that makes them sound unpleasant or difficult? For me, whenever I encounter tremolos in Liszt, I try just to stay as relaxed as possible and that goes very far. Hopefully we can help point you in the right direction.

-KC

Offline anacrusis

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Re: I want to play more Liszt!!!
Reply #27 on: January 24, 2021, 09:14:37 PM
You can check out a Liszt piece called "A La Chapelle Sixtine". It's rarely heard but very cool, expressive and rich, mixing darkness and light in a very appealing way. It starts out innocently and slowly and is like a set of variations that end up in some fast parts but most of it is rather manageable.
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