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ClassicsOnline Home » LISZT: Scherzo and March / 3 Liebestraume / Berceuse (Liszt Complete Piano Music, Vol. 10)
Womaniser, romantic, extrovert and musical genius were the constituent parts of Franz Liszt. But below his ever changing personality was a deeply religious person, who, particularly in his younger life, had ideas of making his life in the church.
Born in Hungary in 1811, he was an infant prodigy, composing and playing in public by the age of 8, and money was found to ensure that he enjoyed the best possible education in Vienna. He was soon involved in aristocratic circles and met with such famous composers as Beethoven and Schubert.
When the family moved to Paris he was aged 13, and there he made a sensational debut, a success he repeated in England later in the year. At 16 his father died and he supported his mother as a popular pianist. His compositions were at first influenced by Chopin, Weber and Berlioz, and new works poured from his pen.
His success brought him financial rewards, though the help he gave to many young composers, gave an impression of greater wealth than actually existed. But when short of money, he simply returned to his life as a travelling virtuoso pianist.
In 1848 his life took another path, and he became
conductor in Weimar. That gave him time
to review and revise all his compositions
to that time, and it was over the next
twelve years that he wrote most of the
works for which he is now best known.
romantic quest took him to Rome in 1861,
and he made his home there until he died
in 1886 during a visit to Bayreuth to see
Wagner. It was during those last few
years that the church eventually
reclaimed him, and he took holy orders.
strange that the Scherzo and March has
never become popular, as it belongs to
that same period, 1850, which saw the
creation of the famous Sonata in B minor.
It is also cast in the same mould, and is
full of virtuosity and the volatility of
the Mephisto Waltzes. Around the same
time Liszt was to compose the
Liebestraume, in a much more restrained
mood, as three love-songs without words.
Berceuse was originally composed to mark
the marriage of the Austrian Empress
Elisabeth in 1854. He returned to the
work nine years later and developed it
into a much more substantial score from a
time aspect, while retaining the
atmosphere of idyllic repose. Another
royal personage, Louis Ferdinand, was the
inspiration for the Élégie. He had been
sent a book of works by the talented
Prince, and from it he extracted a melody
of considerable charm to form the theme
for his composition. It was completed in
1842, about the same time as he wrote the
original Romance. He revised it in 1848,
though it was not published until the
early part of this century.
short works complete the disc, the
Feuilles was for publishing in a
magazine, a regular feature of such
publications of the time, while the
Albumblat is a simple statement of a
become the most prolific recording
pianist of the CD era. He is Hungarian
and came to world prominence when winning
the 1973 Hungarian Piano Concurs. Since
then he has travelled to many parts of
the world both as a concert soloist and
recitalist. Of his recent Liszt
recordings, Penguin Guide to Compact
Discs wrote, "one has the sense
of Liszt himself hovering over the
Was made in the Clara Wieck Auditorium in Sandhausen, Germany, during September 1995.
This mixture of the better-known and relatively unknown works has no direct equivalent in the catalogue. Leslie Howard on Hyperion is the obvious competitor as he has over a number of
discs recorded this music, but as we have
said on previous occasions, his cycle of
Liszt has received mixed response. While
he is trying to meet all the wildly
differing moods of this composer, Naxos
are playing on the strengths of a number
of outstanding Liszt exponents.
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