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Liszt Fantasy on themes from Rienzi

Discussion in 'Submission Room' started by andrew, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Not Liszt's finest paraphrase: it's rather bombastic, but it is great fun to play. Recording from a recent recital. Sorry Chris, I will get round to recording serious music one day, but you wouldn't believe how many paraphrases I've had in my repertoire over the years :wink:

    Wagner-Liszt - Fantasy on Themes from Rienzi
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Wow, Andrew! I hope there was a fire extinguisher nearby to put out the flames coming from the piano after that performance! Like I've said before, Liszt would have loved you! :)
    I don't know this music, but I can't imagine it being played any better. Well done! It's on the site.
     
  3. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Great playing ! Yes it is a bombastic piece of work (but are not operatic fantasies that be default).
    I can't help marveling at the sheer beauty of Wagner's big theme (I was not aware this was from Rienzi). Whatever you think of the man and his long-winded operas, some of his tunes are heavenly. I just wish Liszt had treated that with more respect and not woven so much virtuoso rhetoric around it.

    So, you'll be recording something 'serious' one day ! I hope you won't find that too boring :p
     
  4. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thanks. There are a couple of moments where I rush suddenly, and these annoy me more than wrong notes, but they are fairly insignificant. Also, the first half of Liszt's cadenza is borderline unplayable (imo) at the tempo I adopted, and I had to bale out into an improvised continuation (well it is marked ad libitum :) ) - I'm glad I can think on my feet, as I think I've covered it quite well. Agreed, it was quite a fire and brimstone rendition; I used to play it in a slightly more circumspect manner, but this is what happens when I'm enjoying myself!
     
  5. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Not all are bombastic, but it is probably a reasonable assumption. This one, however, I find more bombastic than most.

    Ironically, I think the one thing which didn't come naturally to Liszt, and which emphatically did to Wagner, was writing melodies that stand on their own and not as a function of their harmony (for example, Liszt's most famous melody, Liebestraum no. 3, where the first two bars of "melody" aren't melody until you include the harmony). However when you write paraphrases, melodies are pre-packaged and fair game for anything: it is almost de rigueur from the late 1830s onwards that a long, slow-moving melody will be swathed in arpeggios and suchlike (or "pianistic confectionery" as it says in the sleeve notes of one of my CDs).
     
  6. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi Andrew,

    Masterful playing! I recognized Rienzi immediately. Wagner has such wonderful melodies. I read above your comment on the cadenza and did pick up on it toward the end of the figure, but your instant recovery and completely musical solution saved the day there. This is a very busy piece to say the least, but you manage always to layer the sound so as to allow the melodic line to soar about it all. This is a fine rendition. Thanks for sharing it here.

    David
     
  7. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    My teacher made an interesting comment about such pieces "they are etudes in melodic projection" and he's quite right, of course. Fail to control it, and they easily become an unintelligible mess of notes. Fortunately Liszt usually writes in such a way that the difficulties are congenial to the fingers (some of his contemporaries weren't always so generous). This is a favourite of mine to perform: thanks for listening!
     
  8. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Indeed, from my view a marvellous performance, Andrew! Bravo! It was a pure pleasure to listen to it.
     
  9. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Thank you: I'm glad you enjoyed it!
     
  10. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Andrew,
    This was an impressive effort and accomplishment. Personally, this style of Liszt is not my cup of tea: way too much make-up, but you did a very credible job!
     
  11. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    This piece is a little bit of a stylistic throwback for Liszt; it was written in 1859 and is very much in the "reminiscence" style of 20 years previous. I sometimes think such pieces work better in a live context, there being a theatrical and visual aspect to the music. It's certainly not one of Liszt's greatest works, but I do have a soft spot for it. Thanks for listening!
     
  12. jlr43

    jlr43 Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ye gods, the guy's got chops! An extremely commanding and rousing performance -- and delivered live! Very impressive octaves. I agree with your comment that the work itself seems a bit bombastic. Unlike the Tannhauser and Isolde transcriptions, IMO Liszt's greatest, this one seems to lapse into a bit virtuosic fustian after the statements of the primary theme.

    My only slight criticisms would be that some of the chordal accompaniments could be a bit tighter; as it is some of them seem just a bit enjambed and muddled in places. Sometimes more mordant accents could be in order. Also, though this is clearly a heroic paraphrase, some of your ff dynamics would be even more convincing (to me) at the climactic junctures if you worked up to them more by starting off not quite so forcefully.

    Anyway, all minor. My hat has to go off to anyone who carries off a live performance with such steel and abandon in a live venue. I greatly enjoyed listening.

    Joe
     
  13. andrew

    andrew Member Piano Society Artist

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    Agreed about the chordal accompaniment: the l.h. in the D maj middle section is on occasion somewhat untidy and doesn't always have the correct rhythmic bounce. Also agreed re the dynamics: the piece is full of ff markings, but Liszt does provide a few opportunities to reculer pour mieux sauter, as it were, and the performance would benefit from better observation of these. Not always easy to do when playing something as adrenalised as this, but still it is something to think about for next time. Thanks for listening, and for the comments.
     

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