Author Archives: Christine Stevenson

Kiss and Tell – When Beethoven Met Liszt

Above is a portrait of Beethoven, painted in 1823 by Waldmüller, the year when Beethoven and Liszt met. Fifty-two years later, when in his sixties in 1875, Liszt gave the following spoken account of the meeting to his pupil Ilka … Continue reading

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It started with a kiss – or did it? Liszt and Beethoven meet in Vienna

  There are various accounts of Liszt’s encounter with Beethoven in Vienna in 1823, and it’s hard to get at the truth. Least likely is Ludwig Nohl’s version of the encounter, which describes Beethoven going up to Liszt after the … Continue reading

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#BTHVN2020 – Open to View

It’s on the horizon; the countdown has begun. Next year marks Beethoven’s 250th Anniversary celebrations; in fact, the celebrations start in December 2019, promising  a year of exciting concerts and events worldwide. But I’m starting early, partly inspired by a … Continue reading

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Chopin, Paderewski and a Search for a Tree

The Chopin Museum in Poland is a pianist’s delight. It has two locations; one at his birthplace at Zelazowa Wola, which I didn’t visit, and the other at the Ostrogski Palace in Warsaw, where I spent several hours. There, one can gaze at letters … Continue reading

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The Heart of the Matter – Chopin’s heart at the Church of the Holy Cross, Warsaw. And his final Mazurka…

‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also’. These words, from St Matthew’s gospel, are the words on the pillar of  the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw where Chopin’s heart is interred. A single red rose … Continue reading

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Chopin the Organist

You can’t get away from Chopin in Warsaw. There’s no escape – from the moment you set foot in the Arrivals Hall of Warsaw Chopin Airport to walking the streets of the Old Town where there are Chopin benches (push … Continue reading

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Down and out in Warsaw and Vienna? Chopin, Scherzo No 1 in B Minor

Chopin’s four Scherzi are currently in my repertoire, each written at an interesting stage in the composer’s life. The genial fourth scherzo, Op 54,  was composed during a summer spent at Nohant with Aurore Dudevant, better known as the writer … Continue reading

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On Wagner’s Birthday – Liebestod – from Tristan und Isolde – Wagner/Liszt

Following  April 23rd’s post, written on the joint birthdays of Prokofiev and Shakespeare, today’s post is written on Richard Wagner’s birthday, and the piece is the Liebestod from his opera Tristan und Isolde, transcribed for the piano by Liszt. A … Continue reading

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Prokofiev – Ten Pieces from Romeo and Juliet Op 75

We all know the story. We’ve seen the play, we’ve watched the film, we’ve studied it at school, we know the quotes … Shakespeare’s characters, Romeo and Juliet, the ‘star-cross’d lovers’, have provided musical inspiration for Berlioz’s symphonie dramatique  of … Continue reading

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Liszt – A Tale of Two Women. Sonetto del Petrarca 104

 I have written elsewhere of Liszt’s Années de Pèlerinage, a set of three volumes plus a supplement, Venezia e Napoli , the composition of which spanned Liszt’s life from his twenties to his seventies, from youth to what used to be … Continue reading

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