Release Date: 01/12/11
'The Twilight of Liszt' is a bridge. A bridge between the Romantic and Modern music, the path leading to Béla Bartók.
For years I overlooked the treasure of music Liszt's last six years of life and work left to us. A few years ago I had to learn the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 19 and the CsÃ¡rdÃ¡s macabre for a commission. I was taken aback by how different this world was to the Liszt I had known; it frightened me, I was shocked by its gravity, but as with everything that strikes fear into one, it also attracted me.
This came completely unexpectedly, a kind of 'back to the future'. When I felt truly at home in BartÃ³k's music, then I put aside my doubts and fears about the elderly Liszt's depressing musical confession. Suddenly I was gripped by the sense that some pieces would open the seventh door of Bluebeard's castle.
At first sight it might seem odd to find the last four Hungarian Rhapsodies here, but these pieces were written in this period. Their mood is very similar to that of the csÃ¡rdÃ¡s and quite unlike the grandiosity of the first fifteen rhapsodies. There are far fewer virtuoso elements - as if Liszt no longer wants to decorate the melody, but to sour it.
Alongside the sombre Hungarian pieces (rhapsodies and csÃ¡rdÃ¡s) the Valses oubliÃ©es and the Romance oubliÃ©e have a rather nostalgic effect. We hear the caricature of a world that has gone, with a wan smile.
The third group includes the pieces of the character of a dirge (La lugubre gondola Nos. 1 and 2, Unstern! Sinistre, and Nuages gris). Liszt seems to converse with death, and in it we hear darkness, freezing coldness and fear. It is as if he knew in advance in what undignified circumstances he would have to pass away. We find respite only in the piece En rÃªve, where the dream finally brings light and hope, perhaps in the world beyond.
'The Twilight of Liszt' is a bridge. A bridge between the Romantic and Modern music, the path leading to BÃ©la BartÃ³k.
|Label: BMC Records|
|Run Time: 70 mins|
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