Solo Piano-Liszts Concert Etudes

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Solo Piano: Liszt’s Concert Etudes March 3, 2014

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Page 1: Solo Piano-Liszts Concert Etudes

Solo Piano: Liszt’s Concert Etudes

March 3, 2014

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Franz Liszt (1811-86)

• child prodigy in Hungary and Vienna• father is a court official for Prince Nikolaus

Esterházy and an amateur musician—teaches him piano at age six

• in Vienna studies piano with Carl Czerny; counterpoint with Antonio Salieri

• public concerts as a virtuoso pianist at age 11; plays for Beethoven

• moves to Paris at age 12

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In Paris

• comes of age among leading writers, painters, musicians (works respond to poems or paintings)

• exploits technological advancements on the piano to develop a new virtuoso style– Sébastien Érard invents double escapement action

in 1820s allowing for quick repetition of notes– presents Liszt with a seven-octave grand piano;

new range of the 1820s

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The World Stage

• over 1000 concerts between 1839-1847• tours Europe, Turkey, Russia• aristocratic groupies and love affairs• stops touring in 1848 to focus on composition

as court music director at Weimar—important cultural center in modern-day Germany that was home to Bach, Schiller, Goethe

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The Liszt Legacy

• first pianist to give solo concerts in large hall– called these “recitals”—a term still in use today

• first to feature playing from memory• first to program a range of music from Bach to

his own contemporaries

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Liszt at the Piano (1840) with luminaries including Paganini, Rossini, and Beethoven

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Countess Marie d’Agoult

• Liszt´s mistress since 1833• she leaves her husband in 1835 to join Liszt in

Switzerland and Italy• among their children: Cosima Liszt– married Richard Wagner– director of the Bayreuth Festival until 1906– Cosima dies in 1930

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Listening Example: NAWM pp. 376-386

Franz Liszt (1811-1886)Three Concert Études, no. 3 (Un sospiro)Étude1845-49

Musical characteristics (beyond the virtuosity)

•harmonic scheme has 3 principal key areasseparated by major thirds (Schubert)

•coda features an octatonic scale (alternatingwhole and half steps) in the bass at mm.66-70

•innovative harmonic treatment was influential(chromatic harmonies)

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“Un sospiro” performed by Grace Thomas (2010)

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Music of the Virtuoso Cult: To be seen or heard?

Niccolò Paganini (1782-1840)—Italian violinist--his virtuosic playing had a profound effect on Liszt who heard him in the 1830s--perhaps the most important influence on Liszt in terms of raising the level of technique for an instrument and cultivating a virtuoso persona

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Two performances of Paganini Caprice no. 24 (ca. 1805-09)

Hilary Hahn

Alexander Markov

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The Virtuoso Cult: Art Music or Popular Music?

Viktor Zinchuk (b. Moscow, 1958), Paginini Caprice no. 24

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Solo Piano: America’s Louis Moreau Gottschalk

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Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-69)

• born in New Orleans, Louisiana• prodigy, studied piano and organ from age 5• studies in Paris, 1841• tours France, Switzerland, Spain• makes a splash in New York City, 1853• tours U.S., Caribbean, and South America• on tour: contracts malaria, dies in Brazil

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“The King of Pianists”—Chopin (1845)

virtuosic solo piano works on regionalAmerican, Afro-Carribean themes

exotic novelites

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Louis Moreau Gottschalk, The Banjo (1853-54)

Like Liszt, takes advantage of Sébastien Érard’s recently developed double escapement action

exploits expanded range of piano

invites comparison with Un sospiro in that a tuneful melody is projected through rapid virtuosic figuration

Here: “Camptown Races”—a recent minstrel song (1849) by Stephen Foster (1826-64)

the novelty: piano mimics a banjo

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Two performances of “The Banjo”

Philip Martin, Mexico City

Steven Mayer, Lansing, Michigan

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Listening Example:

Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869)Souvenir de Porto Rico (Marches des Gibaros), op. 31Character piece1857-58

Jibaros: rustic peasants who farmed inland areas of Puerto Ricoincorporates a Puerto Rican song: Si me dan pasteles, les dénmelos calientes (If you give me cakes, give them to me hot)

uses distinctive Afro-Caribbean rhythms including the Cuban habanera, a dance rhythm from Havana (ex: variation 4, m. 149, left hand)