Franz Liszt: The Nature Poet

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Thursday, June 06, 2013

On this edition of The Romantic Piano, David Dubal shares Franz Liszt's poetic tastes and love of the natural world in composition.

After 12 years of grueling non-stop concertizing Franz Liszt retired. He was everywhere in Europe: from Ireland to Lisbon to Madrid and even to Constantinople. He played to ovations never before given to a pianist. Liszt had invented the solo recital and brought the repertoire of the concert pianist to a new peak.

Liszt played his last public recitals in Odessa and in Elizabethgrad in the Ukraine in February of 1847. Only 36 years old, he had exhausted himself on the road. And he wanted to retire from the stage and settle down to compose. By then, so much was burning inside of him besides performing. In sleepy Wiemar, Liszt became court Kapellmeister. Through his baton and through his teaching, he made Weimar the most musically progressive town in the world of music. His glamorous presence brought a cultural luster to the city not seen since the days of Goethe and Schillers living there.

During his Weimar years (1848-1861), Liszt composed a constant stream of music and invented what he called he symphonic poem - a one movement orchestral score based on his feelings about poetry. In all of his output, he was a painter and poet of the world.


Transcendental Etude after Paganini, S 140: no 2 in E flat major "Octave" / Vladimir Horowitz

Années de pèlerinage no 3, S 163: no 4, Les jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este / Claudio Arrau

Années de pèlerinage, première année, S 160 "Suisse": no 2, Au lac de Wallenstadt / France Clidat

Hungarian Rhapsody for Piano, S 244: no 6 in D flat major / Vladimir Horowitz

Concert Etude for Piano, S 145: no 1, Waldesrauschen / John Ogdon

Transcendental Etude for Piano, S 139: no 12, Chasse-neige / György Cziffra

Hungarian Rhapsody for Piano, S 244: no 10 in E major / Nelson Freire

Grandes Etude de Paganini, S 141 / Barbara Nissman

Comments [7]

Tom from Seattle

Does anyone know how I can listen to this program? If there is a link, I'm having trouble finding it. Thanks for the help!

Oct. 05 2015 03:15 AM
Richard from Pleasantville

I am so pleased that David Dubal is back. His programming and playing comparative performance are without compare. Not to take away from any other programs. They also have excellent historic commentary, which is very valuable. Mr. Dubal, listening to your program on Chopin two weeks ago almost caused me to have an auto accident, almost being the key word. I was so intent in listening on listening to two performances that a I cut a corner too close, but disaster was averted

Mar. 09 2014 10:27 PM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

I didn't care for some of the pieces in this program. Not as much as the prior programs. Maybe it was because, as Dubal described, some of Liszt's music sounds "abstract, gloomy." Surprisingly perhaps, it was the Horowitz pieces that I enjoyed least. I prefer a delicate touch, a Horowitz specialty, and though I'm sure Horowitz pounds the keyboard as well as any pianist ever, I'll take a pass on the effect.

But there was a portion of the Hungarian Rhapsody that reminded me of the "standard" tune "Autumn Leaves." It's in a quieter section (almost midway) though followed by a pounded repeat.

Since you went away the days grow long
But I miss you most of all my darling

Les Feuilles Mortes - Edith Piaf

Still, another excellent program by Mr. Dubal.

Jun. 10 2013 08:20 PM
David Levy from Lakewood, New Jersey

I am so delighted that David Dubal is back on WQXR. I was very upset and disappointed when the new management of WQXR did not continue his Reflections From the Keyboard series. Perhaps now they will bring him back on a steady basis, where he belongs.

Jun. 10 2013 04:43 PM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

No web audio available.

Let's see. Here's a show that almost as soon as an episode airs gets onto the web site's most "Listened" list. But not this episode. I wonder why. Was it something I said?

This is a classic case of 'cut off your nose to spit your face.'

Jun. 08 2013 10:35 AM
Valerie from New York

What a pleasure it has been to be able to look forward to David Dubal's show every week again. He instills his passion and love of music into every musical journey on which he takes his audience. His deep understanding of the power of music and his uncanny ability to convey it makes his show an absolute highlight of the WQXR programming repertory.

Jun. 06 2013 10:31 PM
Paul from New York

I am so pleased to have David Dubal back on WQXR again as I journey through these weeks of the Romantic Piano. WQXR is indeed fortunate to have a musical historian on its airwaves who brings such insight, knowledge, and whimsy to his audience. I support WQXR in bringing David Dubal back where he belongs and look forward to more programs hosted by him.

Jun. 06 2013 10:30 PM

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