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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Josquin des Prez on September 11, 2007, 04:42:39 PM

Title: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Josquin des Prez on September 11, 2007, 04:42:39 PM
Did he ever actually compose something or did he just hacked away on the piano until something decent emerged despite of himself?
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on September 11, 2007, 04:54:44 PM
Well, a query like that does seem to suggest that you want one answer, and not another.

But yes, Liszt composed a great deal of very fine music.  Even a great fan of Liszt would acknowledge that not all his work is of uniform excellence;  but you are letting that fact mislead you into condemning the whole.

A short list of excellent Liszt must IMHO include:

Orpheus
Missa choralis
Via Crucis
The Hungarian Fantasy for piano & orchestra
The Faust-Symphony
Aus dem Wiege bus zum Grabe
Années de pélérinage
La lugubre gondola
Romance oubliée
The Mephisto-Waltzes

Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Mark G. Simon on September 11, 2007, 07:00:10 PM
There's some really gorgeous stuff in Christus. I'm especially fond of the orchestral prelude and the "Stabat Mater Dolorosa".
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Holden on September 11, 2007, 11:38:46 PM
Well, a query like that does seem to suggest that you want one answer, and not another.

But yes, Liszt composed a great deal of very fine music.  Even a great fan of Liszt would acknowledge that not all his work is of uniform excellence;  but you are letting that fact mislead you into condemning the whole.

A short list of excellent Liszt must IMHO include:

Orpheus
Missa choralis
Via Crucis
The Hungarian Fantasy for piano & orchestra
The Faust-Symphony
Aus dem Wiege bus zum Grabe
Années de pélérinage
La lugubre gondola
Romance oubliée
The Mephisto-Waltzes



Add to that the 1st PC, the incredible Transcendental Etudes, some great songs and I think you have a compser who did just a little bit more than hack away at the piano.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: val on September 11, 2007, 11:44:25 PM
Quote
Josquin des Prez

Did he ever actually compose something or did he just hacked away on the piano until something decent emerged despite of himself?


Liszt is not one of my favorite composers. But he has some great works: the piano Sonata, some excerpts from Années de Pelerinage (La vallée d'Oberman is a masterpiece), the choral work Via Crucis, the Psalms (in special the 13), the Dante Symphony. But, regarding the large number of his compositions, I think that most of them is not very inspired.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Harry on September 11, 2007, 11:52:50 PM
The same for me really. His piano works, at least part of it, I like very much. I have a box with 9 cd's, played by Jorge Bolet, on Decca, who's performance is very good, at least to my ears.
Not so long ago I bought a very cheap Brilliant box with 5 cd's, filled with Orchestral works, played by the Budapest SO, under Arpad Joo. Decent performances, decent sound, and good enough for me, to understand, that this collection combined its enough from this composer. Somehow I never connected with Liszt.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Lethevich on September 12, 2007, 12:40:36 AM
The only truly weak Liszt that I have heard is the tone poems (the "symphonies" are strong), and even they are full of good moments. With Liszt the showmanship in some pieces (such as the Etudes) put many people off, but I find that there is musical substance alongside the technicality, and both combined make them exhilarating. Even his transcriptions are interesting - the opera paraphrases, and songs.

There's some really gorgeous stuff in Christus. I'm especially fond of the orchestral prelude and the "Stabat Mater Dolorosa".

Christus is superb. I assume that many people look at its length and don't even bother to listen, assuming that it will be full of weak moments. But it barely flags IMO.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Cato on September 12, 2007, 02:41:51 AM
Some of the tone poems are hackneyed  ("Battle of the Huns" is pretty awful), but in general the Abbe Liszt hits more homeruns than foul balls.

The Faust Symphony's opening theme is even a kind of 12-tone row: Liszt is always doing something to keep you guessing.  One of the best un-Ritalined composers ever!

Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on September 12, 2007, 02:49:20 AM
Liszt did indeed have an admirable faculty for taking musical risks;  so naturally, he made more "mistakes" than many another composer whose self-regard resulted partly in playing things ultra-safe.

But his method of play also resulted in signal successes.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Hector on September 12, 2007, 03:08:02 AM
Well, a query like that does seem to suggest that you want one answer, and not another.

But yes, Liszt composed a great deal of very fine music.  Even a great fan of Liszt would acknowledge that not all his work is of uniform excellence;  but you are letting that fact mislead you into condemning the whole.

A short list of excellent Liszt must IMHO include:

Orpheus
Missa choralis
Via Crucis
The Hungarian Fantasy for piano & orchestra
The Faust-Symphony
Aus dem Wiege bus zum Grabe
Années de pélérinage
La lugubre gondola
Romance oubliée
The Mephisto-Waltzes



No Piano Concertos?

I would include the B flat Piano Sonata as essential listening.

He invented the tone poem and Humphrey Searle was a great admirer and catalogued his ouevre.

I quite enjoy tosh like 'Hunnenschlacht' and 'Les Preludes' was a concert mainstay at one time.

The best of them, 'From the Cradle to the Grave,' is quite innovatory but he had that bombast that so afflicted some nineteenth century composers.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Lethevich on September 12, 2007, 03:16:42 AM
No Piano Concertos?

No love for Totentanz from anybody either :( It's not "deep" but it's melodic and very engaging :)
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on September 12, 2007, 03:18:49 AM
My list was in no canonically exclusive, Lethe & Hector; I glady endorse the Totentanz and both concerti, as well.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Lethevich on September 12, 2007, 03:31:23 AM
My list was in no canonically exclusive, Lethe & Hector; I glady endorse the Totentanz and both concerti, as well.

*cheer*

This thread made me go through everything I knew by him. While some (the etudes) are highly virtuosic, I've yet to find any banging. Tons of sublime stuff though: Années de Pèlerinage, Via Crucis, Liebestraum No.3, Mephisto Waltz No.1, Harmonies Poétiques et Religieuses...

Edit: A good example of Liszt's musicality as well as his virtuosity can be found by comparing his piano concerti to contemporaries such as Henri Herz. Herz's concerti are enjoyable, but they're just not on the same level as Liszt, neither as dazzling or melodic. Then, there is the less showy Liszt beyond those concertos, a level which similar virtuosos I have heard don't seem to have - while they wrote entertaining salon music, while Liszt was perculiarly spiritual and delicate in many works.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Florestan on September 12, 2007, 03:39:37 AM
I think the most inspired themes and melodies of Liszt are scattered through Wagner's scores...  ;D
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: lukeottevanger on September 12, 2007, 03:40:21 AM
...I've yet to find any banging...Années de Pèlerinage

IMO Orage, from the first book of the Annees. is pretty much banging all the way, although, given the subject matter, that's probably appropriate. Anyway, it's highly polished banging.

At his best, Liszt is an extremely subtle and adventurous composer. I tend to stay shy of his more virtuosic works but even there is much of great value. For me, however, it is late Liszt and, often, early Liszt, where the real gems are to be unearthed. Late Liszt needs no advertising, I'd have hope, but essentially it is a small corpus of works for piano, small chamber groups - the first Elegy!  :o - or organ which do things never done before and in a way never done since. Early Liszt is sometimes equally adventurous, in a more extravagant way. The Apparitions, for instance, explore rhythmic dislocations in a way no other 19th century composer ever did (at least, not until the end of the century) in order to create their fantastical, ephemeral mood. Wonderful stuff.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on September 12, 2007, 03:44:04 AM
I think the most inspired themes and melodies of Liszt are scattered through Wagner's scores...  ;D

Why, Andrei! How could you even suggest that a supreme genius could possibly be influenced by mere mortals?!??  8)
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Florestan on September 12, 2007, 03:50:08 AM
Why, Andrei! How could you even suggest that a supreme genius   could possibly be influenced by mere mortals?!??  8)

Why, Karl! What's Wagner got to do with supreme genius?  ;D
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on September 12, 2007, 03:51:39 AM
The only truly weak Liszt that I have heard is the tone poems

But, I won't permit this as anything like a generalization! :-)

Tasso and Orpheus, at the very least, deserve better.  Nor do I necessarily think the worse of Les Préludes or Mazeppa for being somewhat 'lighter'.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on September 12, 2007, 03:52:05 AM
Why, Karl! What's Wagner got to do with supreme genius?  ;D

All right, there you've got me  ;D
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Harry on September 12, 2007, 03:52:44 AM
What's Wagner got to do with supreme genius?  ;D


 ;D ;D ;D


Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Lethevich on September 12, 2007, 04:07:02 AM
Luke - to be honest I forgot about the earlier works in the Années de Pèlerinage set - I generally gravitate towards book 3 especially. Book 1, and some of book 2 are very exciting, but are also definitely way more overtly crowd-pleasing.

But, I won't permit this as anything like a generalization! :-)

Tasso and Orpheus, at the very least, deserve better.  Nor do I necessarily think the worse of Les Préludes or Mazeppa for being somewhat 'lighter'.

I should give them more of a chance, but it's shame they're obscure enough to not have a wide range of top interps to choose between. Les Preludes is great, and justly famous, but some of the others felt like their long duration was sustained by more than a little bluster compared to the inspired ones by Dvořák and Strauss (Sibelius is so different that I don't think he can be compared). With the current lack of recordings, it could just be that a conductor has yet to "get" the pieces - some works are notoriously difficult to perform well - but as yet I do not know :)
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Josquin des Prez on September 12, 2007, 05:32:58 AM
IMO Orage, from the first book of the Annees. is pretty much banging all the way, although, given the subject matter, that's probably appropriate. Anyway, it's highly polished banging.

At his best, Liszt is an extremely subtle and adventurous composer. I tend to stay shy of his more virtuosic works but even there is much of great value. For me, however, it is late Liszt and, often, early Liszt, where the real gems are to be unearthed. Late Liszt needs no advertising, I'd have hope, but essentially it is a small corpus of works for piano, small chamber groups - the first Elegy!  :o - or organ which do things never done before and in a way never done since. Early Liszt is sometimes equally adventurous, in a more extravagant way. The Apparitions, for instance, explore rhythmic dislocations in a way no other 19th century composer ever did (at least, not until the end of the century) in order to create their fantastical, ephemeral mood. Wonderful stuff.

Fascinating. Could you provide a detailed list of works which fall under this category?

One piece i really liked was a St Francois D'assise (one of the two 'legends') performed by Vladimir Feltsman (who also provides a rather sober and intelligent interpretation of the b minor sonata which makes the piece sound more clever then it really is). I rather enjoyed the darker, ethereal mood he creates here,  even though i still wouldn't call it a true composition in the real sense.

BTW, when i started this thread i really didn't consider his orchestral or choral music. His reputation has a pianist is so entrenched i actually forgot all about it. I have a recording of his Faut symphony performed by Bernstein, which is good but not exactly a masterpiece. I also have his piano concertos (Zimerman) which i absolutely despise.

Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on September 12, 2007, 05:48:52 AM
I have a recording of his Faut symphony performed by Bernstein, which is good but not exactly a masterpiece.

You do know better, don't you, than to dismiss a piece as "not exactly a masterpiece" on the basis of a single recording?

Quote
I also have his piano concertos (Zimerman) which i absolutely despise.

A pity! I find them entirely beguiling.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: quintett op.57 on September 12, 2007, 08:15:04 AM
But, I won't permit this as anything like a generalization! :-)

Tasso and Orpheus, at the very least, deserve better.  Nor do I necessarily think the worse of Les Préludes or Mazeppa for being somewhat 'lighter'.
His orchestral production is superb, my favorites being Tasso and Hungaria.
It's not surprising how influential he was (hear Wagner - Strauss - Debussy - Ravel - Schönberg and even Stravinsky's orchestral works I noticed recently).

I think he's neglected for strange reasons which are not objective, things like "he's not intellectual enough for me, my dear".
He's music is often powerful, and obviously some people tend to hear only this in his works.



Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: BachQ on September 12, 2007, 08:22:32 AM
I glady endorse the Totentanz and both concerti, as well.

Yet, these were not included in your original post .........  :P  >:D
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on September 12, 2007, 08:28:56 AM
I couldn't well include all the Liszt I like in one post, mon vieux
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: BachQ on September 12, 2007, 08:33:53 AM
I couldn't well include all the Liszt I like in one post, mon vieux

The transgression has been established and confirmed.

We will give due weight to your defense as we deliberate upon the appropriate penalty and sentence.   >:D
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on September 12, 2007, 08:34:25 AM
Gosh! Who will save me now?
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Haffner on September 12, 2007, 08:49:04 AM
I think that Liszt had alot to do with pushing the improvisational element in music composition. There are many pieces he wrote that strike me as having taken the mid ("super-soloing") portion of Beethoven's 5th PC and driven that aspect right to the hilt and beyond. Chopin certainly deserves credit with this as well, though I hear more Mozart and J. Haydn than LvB in his work.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Josquin des Prez on September 12, 2007, 09:00:58 AM
I think that Liszt had alot to do with pushing the improvisational element in music composition. There are many pieces he wrote that strike me as having taken the mid ("super-soloing") portion of Beethoven's 5th PC and driven that aspect right to the hilt and beyond. Chopin certainly deserves credit with this as well, though I hear more Mozart and J. Haydn than LvB in his work.

I don't know, his music just strikes me as a collection of improvised ramblings for the most part. It's like he never actually sat down and composed something, you know? He followed what felt good under his fingers and pronto, a new piece was born. That doesn't sound very 'Beethoven-like' to me, particularly considering how hard the latter agonized over every little detail and minutiae.

Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Haffner on September 12, 2007, 09:04:13 AM
I don't know, his music just strikes me as a collection of improvised ramblings for the most part. It's like he never actually sat down and composed something, you know? He followed what felt good under his fingers and pronto, a new piece was born. That doesn't sound very 'Beethoven-like' to me, particularly considering how hard the latter agonized over every little detail and minutiae.






I understand and sympathise with your pique. Liszt can be one of those composers you really have to listen to attentively. But I must tell you that the extra patience is well worth it, J.

Although an indefatigable improviser myself, I am fully aware of how alienating extended flights of improvisation can be for listeners.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on September 12, 2007, 09:15:21 AM
I've heard people complain about alleged emptiness in Liszt, for hours more than I have heard any "dud" music from Liszt's pen.

Period.

Somebody explain to me what's so special about kvetching over Liszt?
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on September 12, 2007, 09:16:19 AM
I don't know, his music just strikes me as a collection of improvised ramblings for the most part. It's like he never actually sat down and composed something, you know? He followed what felt good under his fingers and pronto, a new piece was born. That doesn't sound very 'Beethoven-like' to me, particularly considering how hard the latter agonized over every little detail and minutiae.

This post just strikes me as an improvised rambling for the most part. It's like you haven't sat down and considered the music, you know?
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: vanessa_zang on September 12, 2007, 09:20:38 AM
I never much liked the music of Schubert and Bruckner. I like them better now, but still not too much. BUT, all the while, I knew it was my loss.

There is nothing particularly wrong with not liking any composer's music. But to say that Liszt, Bruckner or any other composer was just a rambling hack is beyond (insert word of your choice here).
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Haffner on September 12, 2007, 09:22:36 AM
I've heard people complain about alleged emptiness in Liszt, for hours more than I have heard any "dud" music from Liszt's pen.

Period.

Somebody explain to me what's so special about kvetching over Liszt?




I can sympathise with these remarks as well. But I had to listen to alot of Liszt compositions with foreknowledge of their off-the-cuff brilliance to really understand and love them. So I can see where Josquin might have a problem at first.

En meme temps, I understand Karl's position regarding the immense value of Liszt's output.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 12, 2007, 07:15:43 PM
I don't know, his music just strikes me as a collection of improvised ramblings for the most part. It's like he never actually sat down and composed something, you know? He followed what felt good under his fingers and pronto, a new piece was born.

Well, I don't think Liszt exactly deserves that. Most things (piano-wise, anyway) sound neatly tied together to me.

There's certainly nothing 'rambling' about his hypnotic, quixotic Feux follets. Of course, this piece is a bit of a miniature so we should take that into account but the point is you don't get high quality results like this from 'rambling', addled thoughts.




Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Kullervo on September 13, 2007, 04:28:49 AM
A pity! I find them entirely beguiling.

Beguiling is definitely the word I'd use. I really don't get them at all, but I shall persevere. :D
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Hector on September 13, 2007, 05:27:50 AM
No love for Totentanz from anybody either :( It's not "deep" but it's melodic and very engaging :)

Yes, of course, both versions!
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: BachQ on September 13, 2007, 06:31:46 AM
Gosh! Who will save me now?

(http://cache.eb.com/eb/image?id=71263&rendTypeId=4)
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: JoshLilly on September 13, 2007, 09:07:38 AM
Quote
Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.


He did stuff.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on September 13, 2007, 09:32:34 AM

He did stuff.

Yeah, but not like the stuff Jimmy Page and Bob Dylan did . . . .
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Haffner on September 13, 2007, 09:40:06 AM
Yeah, but not like the stuff Jimmy Page and Bob Dylan did . . . .





or Elvis-has-left-the-building type 'o stuff.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: JoshLilly on September 13, 2007, 09:44:30 AM
Are you referring to the rumour about the time that Bob Dylan supposedly sampled marijuana?
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on September 13, 2007, 10:02:54 AM
Well, the book I've been reading takes it as a matter of public record that Dylan's drug of choice was speed.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: EmpNapoleon on September 14, 2007, 06:27:03 AM
These are the worst topics!  I love Liszt.  Now I question him because someone I don't know doesn't like him.  You can do the same with any composer.  How is someone going to explain what's so special about Liszt.  I can't give you my ears.  If you're ever going to like Liszt, you'll like the composer while listening to him, not because of a recommendation.  And if I'm going to discontinue listening to Liszt, then let it happen for me.

There's alot of this on this forum:  "I don't like this conductor because he's not subtle enough, or this orchestra because they're not robust."  Stop with the criticism!!  You're making me look to dislike recordings I like. Critics, critics, critics...

If I bought 1 cd at the recommendation of every GMG member, I'd have a bunch of cd's criticised by the same members.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Kullervo on September 14, 2007, 06:31:44 AM
Deux Légendes, Sonata... wow! The two concerti are growing on me as well. I love the way he uses the thematic material in the first.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: abidoful on August 05, 2010, 06:03:58 AM
I get so frustrated with Liszt- no opusnumbers (  >:( yeah, I'm very organised person) and soooooo many versions of the same work :o

I just don't know where to start exploring  ???
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: abidoful on August 05, 2010, 06:07:23 AM
Deux Légendes
I love those!! So many great works... :o
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on August 05, 2010, 06:17:56 AM
Sacrée vache, this thread has been dead almost three years?
 
La lugubre gondola (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_lugubre_gondola), in various versions.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: abidoful on August 05, 2010, 06:20:47 AM
Yeah, but Liszt never dies :D
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Josquin des Prez on August 05, 2010, 06:58:02 AM
I've come a long way in understanding Liszt since i originally made this thread, but his music still strikes me as artificial and uninspired. Such is life i guess.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on August 05, 2010, 06:59:19 AM
Perhaps someday you will perceive the inspiration in his work.  Everything happens in life!
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Franco on August 05, 2010, 07:06:31 AM
I've come a long way in understanding Liszt since i originally made this thread, but his still strikes me as artificial and uninspired. Such is life i guess.

I've never been taken with Liszt's music but I have always attributed this to be my limitation and not faulted Liszt.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Ten thumbs on August 05, 2010, 10:25:26 AM
All music is artificial; such is the nature of human endeavor!

Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Mirror Image on August 05, 2010, 09:30:54 PM
I enjoy a few of Liszt's orchestral works like his Faust Symphony, Prometheus, Orpheus, Les Preludes, and his piano concerti.
 
The Faust Symphony is the work that made me admire his music. The work is very deep and contains some gorgeous music. I especially like the dissonance he stirs up in the music.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Que on August 06, 2010, 01:16:44 AM
I have to admit that I have never been terribly impressed by Liszt, though there is some worthwhile stuff by him. And I wouldn't start a thread about it to prove my point....

Q
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: karlhenning on August 06, 2010, 03:00:23 AM
Somebody explain to me the point of a thread headed Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt?
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: abidoful on August 06, 2010, 04:35:54 AM

La lugubre gondola (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_lugubre_gondola), in various versions.
Cheers, I didn't realise that link :)
So there exists FIVE versions of that piece (?)--that isn't his only work in multiple versions; 2 versions of Paganini etudes, 3 versions of Transcendental etudes, 3 versions of Ab Irato (former etude perfectiomente), 2 versions of Ballade nr 2 and so on...! How to deal with them if performing? Just explore and decide I guess :)
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: quintett op.57 on August 06, 2010, 04:45:00 AM
These are the worst topics!  I love Liszt.  Now I question him because someone I don't know doesn't like him.  You can do the same with any composer.  How is someone going to explain what's so special about Liszt.  I can't give you my ears.  If you're ever going to like Liszt, you'll like the composer while listening to him, not because of a recommendation.  And if I'm going to discontinue listening to Liszt, then let it happen for me.

There's alot of this on this forum:  "I don't like this conductor because he's not subtle enough, or this orchestra because they're not robust."  Stop with the criticism!!  You're making me look to dislike recordings I like. Critics, critics, critics...

If I bought 1 cd at the recommendation of every GMG member, I'd have a bunch of cd's criticised by the same members.

No criticism, no forum (almost).

Anyway, Liszt is a great self-made orchestrator.
A piece like Hungaria is prodigiously interesting to hear.

His music is not random. It's just that he wanted it free from the most possible rules.
It's quite risky : It's quite hard to keep a coherence in a work without keeping the traditional rules of it.
For the listener, this coherence is sometimes very difficult to grasp. This is what's subtle in many of his works. This coherence is very light. I think he really wanted his music to seem completely free. He wanted us to be given this impression. He's like an acrobat trying to remain on the line that separate coherence from complete freedom.
He wanted to write without tonality if possible, but without inventing a new carcan. His quest has nothing to do with Schönberg's.


Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: knight66 on August 06, 2010, 09:08:29 AM
I have to admit that I have never been terribly impressed by Liszt, though there is some worthwhile stuff by him. And I wouldn't start a thread about it to prove my point....

Q

Ditto with about six exceptions, I just cannot get much out of his music.

Mike
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: offbeat on August 06, 2010, 12:46:53 PM
my favourite liszt work is his Dante Symphony - dramatic and mystical at same time.....
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Daverz on August 06, 2010, 03:08:28 PM
Somebody explain to me the point of a thread headed Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt?

I think it's a good question.  Liszt is an important composer, but it's not entirely clear why to many 21st century listeners.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Daverz on August 06, 2010, 03:10:13 PM
I enjoy a few of Liszt's orchestral works like his Faust Symphony, Prometheus, Orpheus, Les Preludes, and his piano concerti.
 
The Faust Symphony is the work that made me admire his music. The work is very deep and contains some gorgeous music. I especially like the dissonance he stirs up in the music.

Yes, it was the Faust Symphony that made me start wondering if there might be more to this guy than tub thumping overtures and flashy piano pieces.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Mirror Image on August 06, 2010, 08:28:30 PM
Yes, it was the Faust Symphony that made me start wondering if there might be more to this guy than tub thumping overtures and flashy piano pieces.

Faust Symphony is really a fine work. A work that exhibits such an intellectual curiosity and emotional depth.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Teresa on August 06, 2010, 08:32:41 PM
Liszt is very special to me, he is one of my absolute favorite composers.  Personally I do not like solo piano music from any composer, it is Liszt's works for orchestra and piano and orchestra that are so special to me. 

My favorites:

Mephisto Waltz No. 1 for Orchestra “Dance in the Village Inn”

http://www.youtube.com/v/LCnmFBVEFWo

Todtentanz for Piano and Orchestra

Hungarian Rhapsodies Nos. 1-6 for Orchestra

Symphonic Poems Nos. 1-13 especially Tasso, Battle of the Huns and Les Préludes, however all thirteen are wonderful compositions. 

And many, many others.   In short Liszt is special to those who love his music, and not so special to those who do not. 
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: quintett op.57 on August 06, 2010, 10:21:09 PM
Yes, it was the Faust Symphony that made me start wondering if there might be more to this guy than tub thumping overtures and flashy piano pieces.
there's no incompatibility between tub-thumping, flashy music and greatness. this is a prejudgement that often convinces people not to search the subtleties just behind.
Faust symphony's tub-thumping parts are very relevant.

La Notte, William Tell's Chapel or the first episode from Lenau's Faust are neither flashy nor tub-thumping but very original masterworks.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: abidoful on August 12, 2010, 05:23:23 AM
I enjoy a few of Liszt's orchestral works like his Faust Symphony, Prometheus, Orpheus, Les Preludes, and his piano concerti.
 
The Faust Symphony is the work that made me admire his music. The work is very deep and contains some gorgeous music. I especially like the dissonance he stirs up in the music.
Yeah, it's great work...But don't you find the second movement viola+oboe part kind of problematic? I'm very sorry, but that is just weird writing :-[
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: DavidRoss on August 15, 2010, 04:10:24 AM
He was a heckuva piano player, had nice hair, was an early rock star, and had a much better class of groupies than little Dickie.
Title: Re: Somebody explain to me what's so special about Liszt.
Post by: Mirror Image on August 15, 2010, 05:44:07 AM
Yeah, it's great work...But don't you find the second movement viola+oboe part kind of problematic? I'm very sorry, but that is just weird writing :-[

Liszt's orchestral music is full of problems, but at the same time it doesn't matter what those problems are technically speaking. Liszt pushed boundaries with his music. Some of it's great, some of stinks, but he was always willing to take a risk or two, which for me is much better than playing it safe all the time.