Category Archives: Liszt – Studying the Etudes – Transcendental Etudes, and Paganini Caprices

Journey’s End – and the Last Word from Liszt in 2011

  So we come to New Year’s Eve, the final day of 2011 and of the Liszt bicentenary. I set out on this online Année de Pèlerinage through Liszt’s music nearly a year ago, and it has been a fantastic experience. … Continue reading

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Dedicated to Madame Clara Schumann. But could she play them?

While considering Liszt’s Paganini Etudes, a few other points should be mentioned -Busoni also made piano transcriptions of Paganini’s Caprices, as did Schumann. Liszt dedicated both his 1838 and 1851 editions to Madame Clara Schumann, who, née Wieck, was one of … Continue reading

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The Paganini Effect – La Campanella

A wet, grey day in Cornwall, and I sit in a holiday cottage listening to a recording of violinist Itzhak Perlman playing Paganini Caprices, as you do. It’s not hard to imagine the impression that Paganini made on European audiences as he performed … Continue reading

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Harmonies du Soir; Chasse-Neige. Transcendental Etudes Nos 11 and 12

Harmonies du Soir opens in the bass with the sound of bells, un poco marcato, quasi campana, and bells and their overtones persist throughout the piece in different registers. The melody is underpinned by richly chromatic chords , often needing judgement … Continue reading

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Love letters – and agitation. Transcendental Etudes Nos 9 & 10

‘… a bundle of yellowed love letters…’ Busoni’s description of Ricordanza, Liszt’s ninth Transcendental Etude, has yet to be bettered. The curvaceous, beautifully shaped melody has the style of an Italian cantilena, but this is not a Chopinesque imitation; the melody was … Continue reading

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Wild Hunt – Wilde Jagd – Liszt

The sound of galloping horses must have been one of the background noises of the nineteenth century. They gallop through the music of the period, too – through Schubert’s Erlkönig, Schumann’s Wilder Reiter and through Liszt’s Wilde Jagd, but here … Continue reading

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Vision and Eroica – Transcendental Etudes Nos 6 and 7

Vision – of what? The titles of the Transcendental Etudes were added long after the music was conceived. Vision gives the imagination a free rein. Berman’s recording is particularly atmospheric – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKELIPxz1Z4 Lento, pesante, and we are in the serious, sombre key of … Continue reading

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