Author Topic: Franz Liszt (1811-86)  (Read 47539 times)

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greg

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2009, 02:28:23 PM »
So... I've been wondering something about Liszt, but I don't even know how to phrase the question...
maybe this isn't phrased right, but would anyone consider Liszt the most forward-looking/innovative of the Late Romantics?
there's more to that question, too, but I'm not sure I can explain.

greg

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2010, 04:21:48 PM »
Wow... no reply over half a year?

Being hooked on the Liebestraum No.3 currently, I realize this was written a little bit before Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, and I wonder where he got that sound from. It seemed to be too much of a jump- but when I listen to Liebestraum, it seems like that has to be a strong influence. I don't know of anything before 1850 that has that kind of intensity, and Tristan was written (if i remember right) ~10 years later.

Not to mention Liszt messing with atonality/near atonality more than probably any other composer at the time... maybe... I mean, take the statement "Liszt was the most innovative and influential composer in his time"- is this a good thing to say or not?

George

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2010, 04:27:22 PM »
Wow... no reply over half a year?



Lisztless. 8)

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #23 on: April 06, 2010, 04:35:10 PM »
Wow... no reply over half a year?

Being hooked on the Liebestraum No.3 currently, I realize this was written a little bit before Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, and I wonder where he got that sound from. It seemed to be too much of a jump- but when I listen to Liebestraum, it seems like that has to be a strong influence. I don't know of anything before 1850 that has that kind of intensity, and Tristan was written (if i remember right) ~10 years later.

Not to mention Liszt messing with atonality/near atonality more than probably any other composer at the time... maybe... I mean, take the statement "Liszt was the most innovative and influential composer in his time"- is this a good thing to say or not?

Innovative? Maybe. Influential? No. It took a genius (Wagner) to elevate the harmonic ideas of Liszt to such heights that no one was able to escape, willing or not.

greg

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #24 on: April 06, 2010, 05:45:02 PM »
Innovative? Maybe. Influential? No. It took a genius (Wagner) to elevate the harmonic ideas of Liszt to such heights that no one was able to escape, willing or not.
Yeah, I guess that makes sense.

What I mean by influential, though, is that in the little of Liszt that I've listened to, I hear a little Wagner here, a little Schoenberg there, a little Debussy there... I just can't help but wonder if this is coincidence or if these composers directly drew inspiration from his music.

Of course, there also seems to be a very strong influence of Schumann, too, though I guess that's beside the point.

To me, for example, this just sounds like the perfect bridge between Schumann and Debussy...
(written in 1883)
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/9HI80RzyDyQ&amp;feature=related" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/9HI80RzyDyQ&amp;feature=related</a>



I wonder what Liszt I should listen to next...
« Last Edit: April 06, 2010, 06:07:24 PM by Greg »

greg

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2010, 06:37:20 PM »
Just now stumbled upon this page, and it happens to pretty much say what I just said:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_works_of_Franz_Liszt

Here's another one:
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/zkBI9ShQ1mY&amp;feature=related" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/zkBI9ShQ1mY&amp;feature=related</a>

I just thought after listening to this one (written in 1881) that it literally took 30 years for anyone to even expand on this harmonic language- Schoenberg doing so around 1911. The weird thing is, right after I had thought, I read more from that page and it says "30 years" as well.

Then I thought... Bartok, too, maybe? And it mentions Bartok.
Wagner, Schoenberg, Bartok, Debussy... who else?  :D
I guess Liszt was just a madman spouting off ideas in every direction, and that's how so many composers during and right after his time developed their own very unique sounds- developing on his crazy ideas.

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2010, 06:43:24 PM »
I see what you are saying, and yes, those composers were obviously inspired by Liszt. Bartok even referred to him as the first modern pianist. The problem is that the late works of Liszt were probably inspired by Wagner in the first place. Its hard to pinpoint who influenced whom. Both composers borrowed and exchanged ideas constantly. All we can say for sure is that the harmonic ideas of Liszt were more advanced then those of Wagner (a close comparison of their work in a chronological order will demonstrate this), but it was Wagner who was the first to elevate those harmonic ideas to the level of genius, and we can only imagine the effect this had on Liszt. I think what probably happened is that Wagner did something Liszt always aspired to, but was never able to achieve. So at one point he decided to relinquish all pretense at creating an artistic style based on advanced harmony which could still produce feeling (the way Wagner did) and simply went on an inward journey exploring as many harmonic possibilities as he could envision, in his own bitter lonesomeness. Essentially he abandoned all pretense at being a Romantic and plunged head on into modernism.

I wonder what Liszt I should listen to next...

Most of his late works are great, but finding a good recording of them is a challenge.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2010, 06:57:07 PM by Josquin des Prez »

greg

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2010, 06:50:45 PM »
That does make it hard, when their lives and creative work practically overlaps. Well, I'm sure in some book out there, there might be more info on who influenced who, etc.

Know any good recordings, specifically?

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2010, 06:53:48 PM »
Know any good recordings, specifically?

Sadly, i do not. I have all the Leslie Howard recordings of his late music, which are adequate, but not great. Every now and then i look for something else but nobody really seems interested in this repertory (just a few scattered pieces here and there by various performers, which i can't be arsed to collect without braking my bank account), which is a shame.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2010, 06:57:57 PM by Josquin des Prez »

greg

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2010, 07:35:31 PM »
That sucks.  :'(

Well, interestingly, I found a few more things:

On this page, in the section for Liszt, you can read for free, online, correspondences between Wagner and Liszt, and letters written by Liszt. I wonder how they talk about music ideas and such...
http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/l


Also, this here is CRAZY. I bet most people, if blindfolded, would say that this piece was written by Debussy. But, no, it was written by Liszt. As one comment says, "Debussy must've obsessed over pieces like this and then just rolled with whatever he decided to write".

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/ADQKl6adDgU" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/ADQKl6adDgU</a>

I wonder if Scriabin was influenced by Liszt... what about Stravinsky (in terms of polytonality, etc.)? (though Stravinsky seems unlikely)

But, the thing is, why didn't I know about this stuff before?  ???

Okay, I gotta get to sleep now... :D

Offline Est.1965

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #30 on: April 07, 2010, 12:05:06 AM »
This is a great 1884 image.  Guess whose picture is looking down at proceedings in Liszts Music Room.
Dear Hans Rott
In the 1980s there was a creative punk group called "Big Audio Dynamite".  I have decided to apply the term to you, my man.  And I still haven't properly finished your Screenplay yet.  Too bad.  Take care anyway old chum, I'm off to listen to Brahms!
Kind regards, John

Offline Dax

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #31 on: April 07, 2010, 12:25:29 AM »
Innovative? Maybe. Influential? No. It took a genius (Wagner) to elevate the harmonic ideas of Liszt to such heights that no one was able to escape, willing or not.

There is much that is wrong-headed and misinformative here. A bald statement of untruth backed up by no example or explanation.

Liszt's innovations (not only harmonic) are apparent in the 1830s: there are countless examples - I'll suggest Malediction as a starter since I've just come across it on youtube with a score to follow as you listen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQxo8WImLBk

There is of course much more that is remarkable before his late music and it's not difficult to find out what or why by a bit of elementary googling. "Innovations Liszt" will immediately turn up stuff like this.

Quote
Franz Liszt
biographical comments excerpted from Richard DiSilvio's site at http://www.d-vista.com/OTHER/franzliszt2.html
"Franz Liszt has emerged as one of the most awe-inspiring figures in all of music history. Regarded as the greatest pianist of all time, who outplayed such greats as Chopin and Thalberg, his genius extended far beyond the piano to push musical composition and performance well beyond its 19th Century limits. His unique compositions bewildered, inspired and inflamed the imaginations of his own era, yet quite miraculously he also laid the seeds for a series of schools that would flourish in the near and distant future. Such as; the late Romantic, Impressionist and Atonal schools. For this... Liszt is unique - and his immense influence monumental."
DeSilvio identifies several of Liszt's innovations. Among them are:
His piano compositions stand as pinnacles of the literature.
He invented the symphonic poem.
His music evoked deep psychological and emotional impact far exceeding what existed previously, thus opening new doors to new dimensions in sound and the human psyche.
He was one of the first modern conductors breathing life into a score in lieu of merely beating time. Thus focusing more on fluid expression, not a cold metronomic beat.
He developed the transformation of themes, later imitated by Wagner as a leitmotif.
He was the true inventor of impressionism and atonal music, well before Debussy and Schoenberg.
He was the first to fully orchestrate on the piano- utilizing all its undiscovered resources- earning him the title King of the piano.
He devised the piano recital and master class, both indispensable to modern audiences and students alike. He had perfect pitch and was the first performer to play entirely from memory, thus forging today's commonplace standard. Likewise, he was a philanthropist that raised funds for national disasters and charities, or erecting the Beethoven monument, which was largely due to his efforts.
He selflessly promoted the works of fellow composers; Wagner, Grieg, Smetana, Berlioz, Debussy, Saint-Saƫns, Faure, Borodin and others who all likewise gained valuable artistic insights into their own creativity by this grand master.
And most importantly, he altered the course of music history, more than any 19th Century composer, as the future would follow Liszt's direction, not Brahms or the traditionalists- who followed Beethoven's adopted classical structure.

An underpublicized area of Liszt which is well worth attention is the austere religious music - highly recommended is the late Via Crucis and some of the psalms. Not all are necessarily chockful of innovations (Via Crucis is) but there's exceptional music there nonetheless (eg., Psalm 137 - By the waters of Babylon).
« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 02:18:15 AM by Dax »

karlhenning

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #32 on: April 07, 2010, 01:57:23 AM »
I see what you are saying, and yes, those composers were obviously inspired by Liszt.

There, you see, when you're not clowning around with your Suuuper Geeenius dog-&-pony show, you're even capable of a quietly sane remark.

Quote
Bartok even referred to him as the first modern pianist. The problem is that the late works of Liszt were probably inspired by Wagner in the first place. Its hard to pinpoint who influenced whom.

Yes, though your efforts on this head are hampered by your need to consider N1. a suuuupernal geeeenius and N2. "inconsequential" because he is not a suuuupernal geeeenius.

Quote
All we can say for sure is that the harmonic ideas of Liszt were more advanced then those of Wagner.

Full stop.  That is all we can say for sure (unless we go on to say that, once Wagner had his go at advancing those harmonic ideas, he retrenched to arguably safer harmonic ground with his next opera).  The drivel you followed that remark up with is your tired old boilerplate.  If didn't have your muzzle in a bag of glue, you might realize that yourself.  As it is, such remarks are continuing demonstration that you don't have a grasp on what a fact is.
 
Quote
Most of [Liszt's] late works are great, but finding a good recording of them is a challenge.

And the latest works were written after Wagner's death, when even such a suuuupernal geeeenius could not have elevated anything.

karlhenning

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #33 on: April 07, 2010, 01:58:08 AM »
There is much that is wrong-headed and misinformative here. A bald statement of untruth backed up no example or explanation.

Ah!  I see you've now met "Josquin"!

Offline Dax

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #34 on: April 07, 2010, 02:17:30 AM »

greg

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #35 on: April 07, 2010, 03:15:39 AM »
Quote
He was the true inventor of impressionism and atonal music, well before Debussy and Schoenberg.
It's interesting how much of an important statement this is, yet this is the first time I've ever seen it written down. Of course, they took the styles much further, but  this seems to be overlooked a bit.

karlhenning

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #36 on: April 07, 2010, 04:32:40 AM »
The idea of inventors in music (especially in a statement which which wants somehow to de-prioritize Debussy and Schoenberg) is a little dodgy, isn't it?

One excellent aspect of this discussion, though, is to remind us the extent to which the Romantics were about restless expansion and pushing the envelope.  The Neo-Romantics would seem to have us believe that the Romantics were all about warm-&-fuzzy-dom.

karlhenning

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #37 on: April 07, 2010, 04:34:05 AM »
He does keep crossing my path. But doesn't (cannot) attempt an answer. Perhaps that's as it should be.

He's like a telemarketer;  draw him away from his script and he's lost.

Offline Dax

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #38 on: April 07, 2010, 05:11:46 AM »
The idea of inventors in music (especially in a statement which which wants somehow to de-prioritize Debussy and Schoenberg) is a little dodgy, isn't it?

Quote
He was the true inventor of impressionism and atonal music, well before Debussy and Schoenberg


Yes, I did bite my lip about that one. I agree that the idea of "inventors" is dodgy, but I don't object to Debussy and Schoenberg being "de-prioritized". Not until the likes of Satie and Ives are given their due, anyway.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 07:29:20 AM by Dax »

greg

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Re: Franz Liszt (1811-86)
« Reply #39 on: April 07, 2010, 06:02:38 AM »
One excellent aspect of this discussion, though, is to remind us the extent to which the Romantics were about restless expansion and pushing the envelope.  The Neo-Romantics would seem to have us believe that the Romantics were all about warm-&-fuzzy-dom.[/font]
Yep.


The idea of inventors in music (especially in a statement which which wants somehow to de-prioritize Debussy and Schoenberg) is a little dodgy, isn't it?
Or maybe you could think of composers as explorers, in a way. Liszt could be the guy that discovered many different countries but didn't do much about it. He just opened them up so others could claim them as their own and explore even more things about the country (of course "country" would be like saying "style".) Obviously, Liszt never invented the tone row, for example- but, I just wonder how different Debussy, Wagner or Schoenberg would sound if it weren't for Liszt.

 

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