We have begun with numbers 2 and 6: in the coming years we will be producing editions of all of Franz Liszt’s “Hungarian Rhapsodies”, brilliant pianistic excesses and a favourite with all virtuosos. Hungarian folk music was a source of inspiration for Liszt throughout his life. The best known example is the “Rhapsodies hongroises” for piano, which made the charac-teristic syncopated rhythms of the puszta melodies and the fiery temperament of the czardas famous throughout the world. The popularity of these very demanding showpieces for the piano is shown by the countless arrangements which even include transcriptions for orchestra.
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Liszt’s active interest in the national music of Hungary began in the late 1830s. In 1840, Haslinger in Vienna published two volumes of Hungarian national melodies, Magyar Dallok – Ungarische Nationalmelodien, containing Liszt’s arrangements of seven tunes (vol. 1: nos. 1–6; vol. 2: no. 7). Two further volumes with four tunes appeared in 1843 (vol. 3: nos. 8, 9; vol. 4: … more
About the composer
The most famous piano virtuoso of the nineteenth century is regarded as the most influential artist and composer (with Berlioz, Wagner) of the so-called New German School. His immense musical oeuvre comprises, above all else, works for solo piano, including numerous transcriptions; he also devised the symphonic poem. Important, too, are his sacred and secular choral works and songs.
|1811||Born in Doborján/Raiding (Sopron) on October 22, son of an official in the service of Prince Esterházy. First piano lessons from his father, early first attempts at composition, first public performance at age nine.|
|1822||Relocation of the family to Vienna, studies with Carl Czerny and Antonio Salieri.|
|1823||Relocation of the family to Paris. Composition studies with Ferdinando Paër and Antonín Reicha (1826). Performances in salons, concerts.|
|1824–27||Concert tours through France, to England and Switzerland. Composition of opera paraphrases for piano.|
|1830||Acquaintance with Berlioz, self-study by reading. He becomes Parisian society’sfavourite pianist and piano teacher.|
|1835||He moves to Switzerland with Countess Marie d’Agoult: their first child together, Blandine-Rachel, is born here. He continues concertizing in Paris.|
|from 1839||Continuous concert tours throughout Europe.|
|from 1847||Symphonic poems, including No. 2, “Tasso: lamento e trionfo”; No. 1, “Ce qu‘on entend sur la montagne” (‘Bergsymphonie,’ ‘Mountain Symphony’); “A Faust Symphony in Three Character Pictures”; “A Symphony to Dante’s Divine Comedy” (‘Dante Symphony’); as well as [No. 11], “Hunnenschlacht” (“Battle of the Huns”).|
|1848–61||Kapellmeister in Weimar; he advocates for progressive music (Wagner, Schumann, Berlioz).|
|1857–62||Oratorio, “The Legend of St. Elisabeth.”|
|1861–68||Resident in Rome.|
|1865||Takes minor holy orders.|
|1871||Appointed Hungarian court councilor; he lives in Rome, Weimar, and Budapest.|
|1886||Death in Bayreuth on July 31.|
About the authors
Following the revelatory triumphs of Henle’s edition of Liszt’s Second Hungarian Rhapsody – the winner of a 2006 IP Award – it is good to note the arrival of the Sixth Rhapsody from the same house.