Liszt’s ninth Rhapsody is the “Carnival at Pest” – one of the few Hungarian Rhapsodies to which he gave a name. Once again Liszt turns to Hungarian folk melodies and fuses them with improvisatory elements. The result is a dazzling virtuosic firework display. The relaxed atmosphere of a Budapest carnival around 1840 is brought to life – indeed Liszt is said to have recorded several themes when there. Accordingly, the work quickly found its way into European concert halls, and then into those around the world. To use Béla Bartok’s words, Liszt once again succeeds in creating a “work of perfect authenticity”.
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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
Mit dem “Pester Karneval” setzt Henle die Reihe von Neuausgaben der Ungarischen Rhapsodien fort – im vorliegenden Fall angesichts der nicht gerade unkomplizierten Quellenlage eine nicht ganz leichte Aufgabe, welche die Herausgeber jedoch in gewohnt souveräner Weise gelöst haben.