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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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