Dreams of Love: The Many Facets of Franz Liszt

An introduction to, and celebration of, the extraordinary life and music of Franz Liszt (1811-1886), the consummate master of the romantic piano. Explores the different aspects of Liszt’s personality – virtuoso, innovator, religious figure, transcriber of other people’s music, and patriot – and combines them into a compelling recital.

Length: 50-90 mins.

Three excerpts from the concert:

1. Sposalizio.  Liszt was the first composer to write religiously inspired music for the piano.  A superb example is Sposalizio, Italian for “wedding,” inspired by Raphael’s painting of that name, which depicts the wedding of Mary and Joseph.  Simply put, Liszt presents a Joseph theme, then a Mary theme, and then combines them at the work’s climax.

2.  Rossini’s La regata veneziana. One of Liszt’s remarkable gifts was for taking work of others and giving it new life on the piano.  There are literally hundreds of examples of this, ranging from the symphonies of Beethoven, which Liszt transcribed in their entirety in the 1850s, to the work performed here, a sparkling song by Rossini originally composed for soprano duet and piano.

3. Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15.  A central thread to Liszt’s creativity was his patriotism for his native Hungary.  One manifestation of this was the set of 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies, written over a forty-year period, that use folk themes and other elements in a brilliantly original way. They were in his lifetime, and remain, some of his most popular and accessible music.  No. 15, played here, is based in the nationalist folksong known as the Rákóczi March.  Liszt’s virtuosic treatment of the theme is typical of the Hungarian Rhapsodies as a whole.

Sample program:

Introduction: Liebestraum No. 3 (1850)
The Innovator: Harmonies poétiques et religieuses (1834)
The Virtuoso: Mazeppa (1852)
The Religious: Sposalizio (1858)
The Transcriber:

  • Schubert-Liszt: Soirées de vienne No. 6 (1852)
  • Rossini-Liszt: La regata veneziana (1837)

The Patriot: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 15 (“Rákóczi March”) (1853)
Last Years:  La lugubre gondola II (1883)
Conclusion: Sursum Corde (1883)