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 Post subject: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:07 pm 
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Anyone here doing anything special for Liszt's 200th birthday? I know there are all kinds of celebrations happening around the world. Today I listened to Marc-Andre Hamelin playing Liszt's B-minor Sonata on Performance Today. Here is the link if you're interested: http://performancetoday.publicradio.org/playlist.php The performance is on Hour 2 at about 22:30. Hamelin's performance is wonderful, as expected!

Also, I hear that Lang Lang will be performing Liszt which will be broadcast in movie theaters around the globe. I know how some of us here feel about Lang Lang so I don't expect there to be much interest in this...:wink:

My teacher will be performing Liszt along with other fine performers in the city tomorrow at a special Liszt celebration. I am unable to attend, so I guess I will just play some Liszt sometime tomorrow on my own piano for my own personal audience (which is nobody...).

So....what are your plans?

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 9:52 pm 
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Not doing anything special, though it has been on my mind. I did upload my favourite piece of Liszt to the online e-cital celebrating his bicentenary ( http://www.ecital.net/listing.php ), so at least I did something.


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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 2:05 am 
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I am going to NOT get a hair cut. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2011 3:44 am 
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@Andrew - that's a nice gesture!

@Scott - good idea - Maybe I look a little like Liszt with my hair. Ok, that will be my tribute.... :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 12:27 am 
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I'm doing a little something, sorry it's a day late...

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 3:10 am 
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Nice program! I wish I could attend and cheer you on ... but I'm on-call this weekend. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 4:01 am 
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hanysz wrote:
I'm doing a little something, sorry it's a day late...


You rock, Alexander! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 3:37 am 
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No amateur pianist should leave this earth without playing at least one difficult piece by Liszt - an Etude or Rhapsody, etc. I've been trying to relearn one off and on (mostly off these days). So, I guess I've been celebrating his B-day in advance. :P I am still far from a decent recording...

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 2:08 pm 
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88man wrote:
No amateur pianist should leave this earth without playing at least one difficult piece by Liszt - an Etude or Rhapsody, etc. I've been trying to relearn one off and on (mostly off these days). So, I guess I've been celebrating his B-day in advance. :P I am still far from a decent recording...



Uh oh....I am in trouble. I've not learned either a Liszt Etude or Rhapsody.

Even if I did want to learn one of them, I would not know where to start.

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 7:33 pm 
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Pianolady wrote:
Uh oh....I am in trouble. I've not learned either a Liszt Etude or Rhapsody.
No problem! Just learn either the Mephisto Waltz or his Sonata. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:57 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
Pianolady wrote:
Uh oh....I am in trouble. I've not learned either a Liszt Etude or Rhapsody.
No problem! Just learn either the Mephisto Waltz or his Sonata. :lol:


Oh sure.... :wink:

Actually, I've heard the Sonata so many times recently that I could probably sound it out on my piano now. Except instead of playing it in 1/2 hour, it may take about three hours to get to the end....

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 28, 2011 11:48 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
Uh oh....I am in trouble. I've not learned either a Liszt Etude or Rhapsody.

Even if I did want to learn one of them, I would not know where to start.

Try Paganini study number 5, or number 3 from the "Three concert studies". If you want to explore the Transcendental Studies, the most accessible I think are the two without names, no. 2 in A minor and no. 10 in F minor. Also have a look at Hungarian Rhapsody number 5 in E minor.

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 12:42 am 
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hanysz wrote:
pianolady wrote:
Uh oh....I am in trouble. I've not learned either a Liszt Etude or Rhapsody.

Even if I did want to learn one of them, I would not know where to start.

Try Paganini study number 5, or number 3 from the "Three concert studies". If you want to explore the Transcendental Studies, the most accessible I think are the two without names, no. 2 in A minor and no. 10 in F minor. Also have a look at Hungarian Rhapsody number 5 in E minor.


Re the Transcendentals, no. 2 - seriously? That's far from easy. I'd say the most accessible are (easiest first) 3, 1, 11 and 6.


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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:22 am 
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andrew wrote:
Re the Transcendentals, no. 2 - seriously? That's far from easy. I'd say the most accessible are (easiest first) 3, 1, 11 and 6.

No, not too seriously, I don't know this collection so well. Probably your guess is better than mine.

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:57 am 
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Thanks for the suggestions, Alexander and Andrew. Now, if I only had more time - can you do anything about that...? :)

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:35 am 
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pianolady wrote:
Thanks for the suggestions, Alexander and Andrew. Now, if I only had more time - can you do anything about that...? :)


You won't need much time for the first transcendental - it's only a minute long ;)

Seriously though, if you wanted to learn one, go for no. 11. It's got a lot of musical content and it's not prohibitively difficult. Alexander's suggestion of the 5th Hungarian Rhapsody was also good.


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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:41 pm 
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andrew wrote:

Seriously though, if you wanted to learn one, go for no. 11. It's got a lot of musical content and it's not prohibitively difficult. Alexander's suggestion of the 5th Hungarian Rhapsody was also good.


Ok, I will definitely take a look at those two. Thank you again for the help! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 4:02 pm 
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Transcendental no 3 (Paysage) is perfectly sight-readable. It's all about voicing and phrasing. Frankly, nothing transcendental about it in my opinion.

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:05 am 
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One piece I love and which is not really difficult is the Valse-Impromptu. Been meaning to practice and record it for ages but there's always something else.
We don't have this one on the site yet. The Valse Melancholique is beautiful too, and also the Valse Oubliee. They would make a nice trio.

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 4:55 pm 
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techneut wrote:
One piece I love and which is not really difficult is the Valse-Impromptu. Been meaning to practice and record it for ages but there's always something else.
We don't have this one on the site yet. The Valse Melancholique is beautiful too, and also the Valse Oubliee. They would make a nice trio.


I meant that I want to see if I can play one of Liszt's Trascendental Etudes and also a Hungarian Rhapsody so that I can at least say that I've played one or two (even if they are the easiest in the series...). Then I can leave this earth. :wink: But these three Valses pique my interest too so I'll put them on my to-do list as well. (I may have to quite my job.... )

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 5:53 pm 
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musical-md wrote:
Transcendental no 3 (Paysage) is perfectly sight-readable.


Entirely agreed.

pianolady wrote:
techneut wrote:
One piece I love and which is not really difficult is the Valse-Impromptu. Been meaning to practice and record it for ages but there's always something else.
We don't have this one on the site yet. The Valse Melancholique is beautiful too, and also the Valse Oubliee. They would make a nice trio.


Video of Cziffra playing the Valse-Impromptu: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRD5RralCgA Lovely. And the addition at the end always makes me smile.

pianolady wrote:
I meant that I want to see if I can play one of Liszt's Trascendental Etudes and also a Hungarian Rhapsody so that I can at least say that I've played one or two (even if they are the easiest in the series...). Then I can leave this earth. :wink: But these three Valses pique my interest too so I'll put them on my to-do list as well. (I may have to quite my job.... )


Liszt's transcriptions also come with a reputation for extreme difficulty, which is justified in some cases but not in others: the Chopin Maiden's Wish isn't too bad and a fair number of the Wagner transcriptions range from straightfoward to only medium difficulty.


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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:20 pm 
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andrew wrote:

Video of Cziffra playing the Valse-Impromptu: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRD5RralCgA Lovely. And the addition at the end always makes me smile.


OMG :shock: I just watched this. Indeed a very lovely piece, but it seems way too hard!! Even Cziffra was sweating (I know...probably from the studio lights). There must be a thousand of those tiny notes in there! And did you hear those arpeggios at the end? OMG!! I'm not feeling so good now because of that video, but thanks, Andrew, for the link.

andrew wrote:

Liszt's transcriptions also come with a reputation for extreme difficulty, which is justified in some cases but not in others: the Chopin Maiden's Wish isn't too bad and a fair number of the Wagner transcriptions range from straightfoward to only medium difficulty.


Yes, I've learned Chopin's "My Joy" already. And not too long ago I had the Maiden's Wish on my piano. I was happy because I thought it was really quite easy. Then I learned that I only had the first page and there is a whole bunch of other pages that I inadvertently neglected to print out. I never went on any further on that piece.

I dunno - I feel overwhelmed. Sometimes these professional players just ruin it.... :(

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:47 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
andrew wrote:

Video of Cziffra playing the Valse-Impromptu: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRD5RralCgA Lovely. And the addition at the end always makes me smile.


OMG :shock: I just watched this. Indeed a very lovely piece, but it seems way too hard!! Even Cziffra was sweating (I know...probably from the studio lights). There must be a thousand of those tiny notes in there! And did you hear those arpeggios at the end? OMG!! I'm not feeling so good now because of that video, but thanks, Andrew, for the link.



Aha, this is what happens when you have a composer who was a master showman and his music is played by a virtuoso who is also a master showman! The vast majority of the piece is actually very straightforward; the only passages which might need work are the couple or so of cadenza-type sections and there's an ossia for at least one if I remember correctly. Liszt is very good at writing music that sounds a lot harder than it is: you'll find that often this sort of stuff fits very comfortably within the hands. I'd urge you to look at it apart from anything else because I think you'll find yourself very pleasantly surprised by how approachable you find it. Cziffra also uses a lot of rubato which makes some passages sound harder; some people probably would consider it bad taste but he's almost certainly trying to put over the improvisational, scherzando aspect of the music.

The arpeggios at the end are Cziffra being Cziffra :wink: It's an ornamentation of the Liszt original.


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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:29 pm 
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It is not really a terribly hard piece. Not easy of course, and some tricky measures, but nothing that a competent amateur can't handle.

Cziffra is not quite as garish as usual here. But he still can't resist playing everything that even remotely looks like a run or cadenza at double speed, adding octaves, filling in chords, doing whatever pleases him to look even more virtuosic. I wonder if he could play anything straightforward, like the composer wrote it. Did he ever play Bach, except virtuoso transcriptions ?

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:44 pm 
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His baroque recordings may surprise you in their comparative lack of indulgence.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao2XIqACb5U (Scarlatti)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IdRUCiRib1Q (Daquin)

I do have a discography somewhere but not to hand so I'm going from memory in saying that the only Bach is in Busoni transcriptions, plus there is a CPE Bach Andantino on an early disc.


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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2011 11:47 pm 
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techneut wrote:
Cziffra is not quite as garish as usual here. But he still can't resist playing everything that even remotely looks like a run or cadenza at double speed, adding octaves, filling in chords, doing whatever pleases him to look even more virtuosic. I wonder if he could play anything straightforward, like the composer wrote it.


I really do wonder if Liszt would be terribly bothered by his alterations. Liszt is known to have said to advanced pupils that in his transcriptions and in the Hungarian Rhapsodies (i.e. the lighter pieces) that if they had the capacity to play the notes, it was perfectly acceptable to add their own variants. It's quoted somewhere in the Gollerich writings on his masterclasses, I believe.

Also..

Give me an individual pianist like Cziffra who gets into the spirit of the music (and has the appropriate tonal qualities) over a dull, Urtext-obsessed pedant like Alfred Brendel any day. Brendel, who witters on about the sanctity of the score and then can't even play the scales in the 2nd Rhapsody.. check them out, they are quite hilarious.


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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 3:59 am 
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Ok, I guess I will just have to print out the piece tomorrow - see if it is at all within my capabilities. Won't know unless I try... Also the Etude and Hungarian rhapsody too.

So it seems that Cziffra tends to 'out Liszt' Liszt, right?

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:29 am 
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andrew wrote:
I really do wonder if Liszt would be terribly bothered by his alterations. Liszt is known to have said to advanced pupils that in his transcriptions and in the Hungarian Rhapsodies (i.e. the lighter pieces) that if they had the capacity to play the notes, it was perfectly acceptable to add their own variants. It's quoted somewhere in the Gollerich writings on his masterclasses, I believe.

Sure you have a point. Cziffra's histrionics would bother me less in the transcriptions and rhapsodies which are showpieces of a somewhat improvisational nature, very much his territory. But this Valse-Impromptu is a perfectly polished miniature with not one note too many or too short. I don't see why it is necessary to pimp it up, even if it's only little things he does. Whether Liszt would agree ? Probably, but that does not make it right to my ears.

andrew wrote:
Give me an individual pianist like Cziffra who gets into the spirit of the music (and has the appropriate tonal qualities) over a dull, Urtext-obsessed pedant like Alfred Brendel any day. Brendel, who witters on about the sanctity of the score and then can't even play the scales in the 2nd Rhapsody.. check them out, they are quite hilarious.

I don't find much to criticize about Brendel's version (although I have to admit I don't like this piece and much prefer the Bugs Bunny version, see
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYM84n-2 ... re=related ). Not sure which scales you refer to, you mean at 8:36 where he seems to leave out some notes ? If so, why would that not be allowed, if it is allowed to add notes ? Actually I'm not sure I would not prefer this version over Cziffra's, who makes rather a mess of this section.

Ugh, his baroque pieces. The Daquin is not too bad, but in the Scarlatti he veers between soggy and aggressive, and he's tinkering with the score again, changing things, leaving out bars.

Here's a Liszt vid that much impressed me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGBXA1tB ... re=related and boosted Lisitsa a notch up in my opinion.
Tryly awesome playing.

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 9:33 am 
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pianolady wrote:
Ok, I guess I will just have to print out the piece tomorrow - see if it is at all within my capabilities.

I'll be interested to see. I said it was not overly hard, but to be honest I've always dashed through it, not seriously practiced and polished it. So there could me more to it. But IMO it is very much worth the effort.

pianolady wrote:
So it seems that Cziffra tends to 'out Liszt' Liszt, right?

Cziffra out-everybody'ed everybody.

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:30 am 
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techneut wrote:
andrew wrote:
Give me an individual pianist like Cziffra who gets into the spirit of the music (and has the appropriate tonal qualities) over a dull, Urtext-obsessed pedant like Alfred Brendel any day. Brendel, who witters on about the sanctity of the score and then can't even play the scales in the 2nd Rhapsody.. check them out, they are quite hilarious.

I don't find much to criticize about Brendel's version (although I have to admit I don't like this piece and much prefer the Bugs Bunny version, see
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYM84n-2 ... re=related ). Not sure which scales you refer to, you mean at 8:36 where he seems to leave out some notes ? If so, why would that not be allowed, if it is allowed to add notes ?


Yes, I don't hear a supertonic in any of those scales. I wouldn't be so bothered about him leaving out notes if it were not for two things. Firstly, his comments about sticking to what Liszt wrote, and secondly, it's part of a wider pattern of behaviour in his Liszt playing - for example he omits the entire "three-handed" arpeggiated section from his early Vox recording of the Norma Fantasy and if you watch the Dante sonata on youtube carefully there certainly appear to be a few "simplifications" going on. Just seems to me he's omitting notes from a position of technical weakness to make his life easier. Tbh he just shouldn't play Liszt - his youtube Isolde's Liebestod is a pet hate of mine (it's so unbearably bad interpretatively and tonal colour-wise I can't bring myself to go back and check out the Vox recording) and I find that performance more offensive than any omitted notes.

techneut wrote:
Here's a Liszt vid that much impressed me http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGBXA1tB ... re=related and boosted Lisitsa a notch up in my opinion.
Tryly awesome playing.


It's better than her usual, which I think is a bit dry. She has improved in the last ten years: I remember a point at which her website had a Don Juan video of which the last couple of minutes were a total wreck. I'd suggest you listen to Michelangeli's Totentanz btw; I think that is awesome!


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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:40 am 
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pianolady wrote:
So it seems that Cziffra tends to 'out Liszt' Liszt, right?


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TISGp5kPw4 :D A completely unique pianist.


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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:15 pm 
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Ugh! :x :roll: :)

(Yeah, but can he play 'Mary Had a Little Lamb'? :lol:)

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:09 pm 
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techneut wrote:
One piece I love and which is not really difficult is the Valse-Impromptu. Been meaning to practice and record it for ages but there's always something else.
We don't have this one on the site yet. The Valse Melancholique is beautiful too, and also the Valse Oubliee. They would make a nice trio.


I'm printing out a bunch of pieces right now....

Chris, if you see this, which Valse Oubliee do you refer to? There are four or five of them on IMSLP. Or if anyone else reads this, is there a Valse Oubliee that is not part of a set?

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 6:49 pm 
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I was referring to the first Valse Oubliee (1881) which is in my Peters book.
Despite that it says 'First' in the title, it never occurred to be that there would be more :roll: :D

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 8:22 pm 
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techneut wrote:
I was referring to the first Valse Oubliee (1881) which is in my Peters book.
Despite that it says 'First' in the title, it never occurred to be that there would be more :roll: :D



Funny!

Ok, got it. I'm pretty well loaded up now. Just wish I could learn music faster than I do!

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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!
PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 1:43 am 
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pianolady wrote:
techneut wrote:
One piece I love and which is not really difficult is the Valse-Impromptu. Been meaning to practice and record it for ages but there's always something else.
We don't have this one on the site yet. The Valse Melancholique is beautiful too, and also the Valse Oubliee. They would make a nice trio.


I'm printing out a bunch of pieces right now....

Chris, if you see this, which Valse Oubliee do you refer to? There are four or five of them on IMSLP. Or if anyone else reads this, is there a Valse Oubliee that is not part of a set?


My Liszt biography reckons there are four. The first is the one which gets played the most.


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 Post subject: Re: Franz Liszt's big day!