Monday, December 7, 2009

A Liszt list

Yesterday I was listening to Leonard Pennario playing Liszt's "Dante" Sonata and I found this wild Franz Liszt site.

This guy goes on this rant about Liszt. He titles it: "Liszt: Romantic Leader and Mystical Pioneer."

He writes: "Liszt is unique, and his immense influence is unquestionably monumental."

There follows a whole laundry list -- Liszt, ahaha -- of reasons including this one which I love:

He was one of the first modern conductors, breathing life into a score in lieu of merely beating time, thus focusing more on fluid expression rather than a cold metronomic beat. While a metronome may have its place in certain circumstances, over use and strict adherence drains a performance of its humanistic beauties, especially works from the Romantic era. Unfortunately, there are still many performers today that roboticize Romantic music. Just because we live in a progressively industrial and computerized world doesn't mean we should abandon our humanity. This is not to say that all works must abandon the metronomic beat, as it certainly is mandatory with certain works, such as Ravel's Bolero or Shostakovich's third movement from his 8th Symphony for example, but when performing romantic works that breathe with passion and intense mood swings it's imperative to feel the beat with one's heart and not one's mind. So, perhaps many instuctors today should heed Liszt's advice - don't use a metronome!

You get this:

He was the first and true inventor of atonal music, well before Schoenberg.

(Thanks a heap, Liszt.)

This is a great graf as we say in the newspaper business:

It is evident that many rivals and turncoat friends did a great injustice to this man. None of them; Hanslick, Clara Schumann or Joachim to name a few, were as magnanimous or gifted as he was and perhaps they resented it. Like the high praise Liszt once received from Clara until he became a superstar, when she completely reversed her opinion - adding how she loathed how the frenzied women fell at his feet.

It goes on and on. I love it when people attack a subject with such passion and this guy does.

Warning: something goes wrong with the music. It starts sounding like roller rink stuff and then it freezes like that. Eventually you have to leave the Franz Liszt site for that reason.

But it is fun while it lasts.

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