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 Post subject: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:26 am 
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Location: Edinburgh, UK
From a concert in 2009, here is the rare one of the group of three Liszt Verdi paraphrases published in 1859 (the other two being the almost ubiquitous Rigoletto, and Il Trovatore). Having recently criticised people's runs in Schubert D899, I'm not happy when I listen to mine here and can only hope I will be forgiven! I was also a bit naughty and changed Liszt's ending a little bit, though I think that's acceptable in this sort of repertoire. Anyway, enough of that.. I hope it's worth hearing.


Verdi-Liszt - Concert Paraphrase on Ernani


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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:27 am 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
Andrew, I just finished listening to it now, and find it quite impressive playing! I'm unfamiliar with this work but can hear some very demanding passages in it, and though sometimes the performance is a bit rough, altogether it is a respectable performance and certainly does justice to Liszt. Thank you for posting it. I think it should be available to the public. The ending was fine whatever you did :) .

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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:27 am 
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Okay, I forgive you. :lol:

Seriously, Andrew, like I've said before....Liszt would have loved you!
This sounded very nice and I have put it up on the site.

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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 10:23 am 
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Despite that I've heard only a handful of Liszt's opera transcriptions (and played only one, the Rigoletto), it seems to me that this one is not among the best of them. There's too much empty rhetoric, and the tunes don't seem all too memorable (that last could be Verdi's fault, some of his tunes are IMO a bit banal). All this being personal taste of course.

Congratulations on a commanding performance though ! A piece like this is damn hard work, and to sail through it with nothing worse than some slightly less-than-perfect passage work is something to be proud of. Great sound too, for a live recording.

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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:50 pm 
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Fantastic playing, Andrew!!! Your control of technique in the first half is really amazing.

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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 8:30 pm 
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Good playing Andrew, especially so as it was in a concert.

I looked in the file header information and noticed that the recording was from an "Edinburgh Fringe transcriptions recital". I didn't realise that the fringe included such concerts. I might be encouraged to visit the fringe sometime in the future if they have piano recitals alongside the student shows.

Well done.

Mark
http://www.youtube.com/user/MarkBPiano


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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:23 am 
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musical-md wrote:
Andrew, I just finished listening to it now, and find it quite impressive playing! I'm unfamiliar with this work but can hear some very demanding passages in it, and though sometimes the performance is a bit rough, altogether it is a respectable performance and certainly does justice to Liszt. Thank you for posting it. I think it should be available to the public. The ending was fine whatever you did :) .


Thanks; it's probably not quite as hard as it sounds (I'll address this further in a later reply), but there is one short passage (which occurs twice) which I find fiendishly difficult and I did not play a tempo in the recording. Safety first, I'm afraid!

pianolady wrote:
Okay, I forgive you. :lol:


That's very nice of you :D

pianolady wrote:
Seriously, Andrew, like I've said before....Liszt would have loved you!


I have my doubts but it's a nice thought!


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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:36 am 
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techneut wrote:
Despite that I've heard only a handful of Liszt's opera transcriptions (and played only one, the Rigoletto), it seems to me that this one is not among the best of them. There's too much empty rhetoric, and the tunes don't seem all too memorable (that last could be Verdi's fault, some of his tunes are IMO a bit banal). All this being personal taste of course.


Fair points; it certainly doesn't rank amongst the great Liszt transcriptions, but I do have a soft spot for it.

techneut wrote:
Congratulations on a commanding performance though ! A piece like this is damn hard work, and to sail through it with nothing worse than some slightly less-than-perfect passage work is something to be proud of.


One of Liszt's undoubted gifts, in the showman-pianist-composer department, is his ability to write music that sounds harder than it is. There are tricky corners in this, but much of the writing fits very pleasantly under the hand. I'd sooner tackle this than some of the harder Chopin etudes, that's for sure.

techneut wrote:
Great sound too, for a live recording.


Helps when you have a spare audiophile to hand for setting up the equipment :)

MarkB wrote:
Good playing Andrew, especially so as it was in a concert.

I looked in the file header information and noticed that the recording was from an "Edinburgh Fringe transcriptions recital". I didn't realise that the fringe included such concerts. I might be encouraged to visit the fringe sometime in the future if they have piano recitals alongside the student shows.


Yes, it was from a full programme of transcriptions, which was rather hard work. Actually, anyone can perform as long as they pay the relevant fees. There is usually quite a wide range of classical concerts (piano, chamber, etc) listed in the Fringe brochure. Some maybe are student shows, but on occasion you do see some semi-famous names (John Ogdon once played at the Fringe, incidentally). I've done six concerts over the years; it's been valuable experience.


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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:05 am 
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Andrew,

I just now had time to sit and listen. Wow, very impressive, especially for a live concert! I could never attempt a Liszt transcription. My arms would probably fall off, LOL. I couldn't tell what you added or changed, since I don't know the piece, but it sure sounded like a lot of fun (and work) to play!

You didn't happen to toss your gloves into the audience before playing, did you? (I'm sorry. Been a long week already and I couldn't resist). :wink:

~Adrienne

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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:59 am 
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Hi Andrew,

Having just heard you play this transcription, I believe there are two "stars" to commend. First, you give us a rousing and exciting performance. And this music is quite difficult to play from the sound of it, so I commend you for your marvelous performance. Also we should recognize Liszt. He was always very thoughtful, creative and clever in finding the best approximations for the piano of the orchestral and vocal parts of an operatic score. That's why his transcriptions still "wear well" today. Verdi along with Puccini has always been a favorite of mine. But in this score he seems not to be up to his usual standard and level of inspiration. You and Liszt as a team did your best with this music, but I believe that Verdi's original musical material in this instance is often banal and shallow, although there are some lovely moments here and there which you bring out so well in your rendition. It was well worth studying and recording though, as it adds to your extensive repertoire of transcriptions. Excellent playing, Andrew! Thanks for sharing this lesser-known transcription.

David

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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:56 pm 
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Location: Edinburgh, UK
AdrienneM wrote:
Andrew,

I just now had time to sit and listen. Wow, very impressive, especially for a live concert! I could never attempt a Liszt transcription. My arms would probably fall off, LOL. I couldn't tell what you added or changed, since I don't know the piece, but it sure sounded like a lot of fun (and work) to play!

You didn't happen to toss your gloves into the audience before playing, did you? (I'm sorry. Been a long week already and I couldn't resist). :wink:

~Adrienne


Thanks; and yes, Liszt's paraphrases do tend to be great fun (hopefully for both performer and audience!) No gloves, but I did arrive in a carriage pulled by six white horses. Well, maybe not :lol:

Rachfan wrote:
Hi Andrew,

Having just heard you play this transcription, I believe there are two "stars" to commend. First, you give us a rousing and exciting performance. And this music is quite difficult to play from the sound of it, so I commend you for your marvelous performance. Also we should recognize Liszt. He was always very thoughtful, creative and clever in finding the best approximations for the piano of the orchestral and vocal parts of an operatic score. That's why his transcriptions still "wear well" today. Verdi along with Puccini has always been a favorite of mine. But in this score he seems not to be up to his usual standard and level of inspiration. You and Liszt as a team did your best with this music, but I believe that Verdi's original musical material in this instance is often banal and shallow, although there are some lovely moments here and there which you bring out so well in your rendition. It was well worth studying and recording though, as it adds to your extensive repertoire of transcriptions. Excellent playing, Andrew! Thanks for sharing this lesser-known transcription.

David


As a melodist, I tend to prefer Bellini to Verdi, but in fairness this is not mature Verdi, which could explain what you (and Chris) feel about the original material. It may reflect the general falling from grace of transcriptions, but offhand I know of only one Puccini transcription (by Mikhashoff and recorded by Jean-Yves Thibaudet a few years ago). It was inevitable that I'd put this lesser-known transcription into a programme at some point; it is one of many contained in two Dover volumes of Liszt transcriptions which were practically my personal pianistic bible for many years!


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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:36 pm 
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Location: Springfield, Missouri, USA
andrew wrote:
As a melodist, ... Liszt transcriptions which were practically my personal pianistic bible for many years!

Are the Melodist Christians? :oops:

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"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 3:41 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
Are the Melodist Christians? :oops:

Lisztians, more likely :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:40 pm 
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Hey, I'm a Methodist!

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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:47 pm 
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You on meth, then ?

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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:26 pm 
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haha - No, just really bored!!
But you know....there are some nice Methodist hymns in the hymnal.

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:51 am 
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Location: Adelaide, Australia
Transcriptions do seem to be becoming "respectable" again, and I think this is a good thing. It's great to hear some of this less often played Liszt repertoire coming out, as an alternative to the usual warhorses.

I think you've coped well with the technical demands of this piece, and I don't mind your alternative ending at all. On the whole it's colourful and exciting to listen to. However, for my taste you haven't completely captured the bel canto aspect of the Italian operatic style. It needs a little more rubato, and more attention to the melodic line without letting the (admittedly very interesting) accompanying figures take over. For instance, I'm sure that any operatic baritone would linger slightly over the triplet at 44 seconds, and would make a much bigger deal over the marcato (which in romantic opera implies slowing down) and pause at 58-60 seconds. There are many more such details throughout the piece.

By the way, if you check the original aria (which nowadays is easy to do via YouTube, no need to leave the house and go to the library!) you'll find that in the first full bar of the main melody (at 35 seconds in your recording), the low C for the right hand on beat 2 is in fact part of the melodic line.

The episode from 3:12 to 3:45 sounds beautifully laid back and is for me the most convincingly "Italian" part of the performance. (But then with the LH octaves you get too absorbed in the accompaniment again!)

Don't mind me being so fussy over details, I did enjoy listening to this performance. I hope you post some more of these transcriptions! How about the waltz from Faust next? ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Fri Feb 04, 2011 2:01 pm 
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hanysz wrote:
I'm sure that any operatic baritone would linger slightly over the triplet at 44 seconds, and would make a much bigger deal over the marcato (which in romantic opera implies slowing down) and pause at 58-60 seconds. There are many more such details throughout the piece.

By the way, if you check the original aria (which nowadays is easy to do via YouTube, no need to leave the house and go to the library!) you'll find that in the first full bar of the main melody (at 35 seconds in your recording), the low C for the right hand on beat 2 is in fact part of the melodic line.

The episode from 3:12 to 3:45 sounds beautifully laid back and is for me the most convincingly "Italian" part of the performance. (But then with the LH octaves you get too absorbed in the accompaniment again!)

Don't mind me being so fussy over details, I did enjoy listening to this performance. I hope you post some more of these transcriptions! How about the waltz from Faust next? ;-)



Re these points:
paragraph 1 - my teacher pretty much made the same point when I played it to him later on.
paragraph 2 - yes, of course, that was simply careless on my part.
paragraph 3 - I was trying to use the octaves to create a piano version of orchestral swell in the lh; perhaps it should start from a quieter initial point to allow the rh to be more prominent.

If you're interested, I've posted quite a few transcriptions/paraphrases already to the site (including some of my own - http://pianosociety.com/cms/index.php?section=2819). Faust is on my "to do" list and I did some work on it last year, but I have a few other pieces I'm currently prioritising. Thanks for listening!


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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 12:22 pm 
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Love your playing of this piece. You capture the spirit of the transcription and are clearly enjoying yourself. I had no idea this transcription was so difficult, I had incorrectly remembered that it was one of the 'easier' ones! A live performance as well.
It's just finished playing. Going to listen again.
Thanks for sharing it.

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 Post subject: Re: Verdi-Liszt Concert Fantasy on Ernani
PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:18 pm 
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pb wrote:
Love your playing of this piece. You capture the spirit of the transcription and are clearly enjoying yourself. I had no idea this transcription was so difficult, I had incorrectly remembered that it was one of the 'easier' ones! A live performance as well.
It's just finished playing. Going to listen again.
Thanks for sharing it.


Thanks: yes, I'm very partial to this type of piece and was enjoying being on stage!


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