2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

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IcedNote
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2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:41 pm

I have no idea if this is a topic for conversation or simply Storytime with IcedNote, but in any case I thought I'd share. :D

This year I'm going to learn Liszt's Sonata in B Minor.

Or rather...

This year I'm going to attempt to learn Liszt's Sonata in B Minor. :mrgreen:

See, now that I'm leaving composing behind, I'm going to have some extra time on my hands. There are many ways I'm going to fill that time, but I something I've wanted to do for a while now is to get back to playing piano.

Long before I was a composer, I was a pianist. Hell, even almost did a performance degree! But thankfully I realized that whatever modest talent I had wasn't enough to make me a concert pianist. I could play some Beethoven sonatas, Chopin, Debussy, etc., but I certainly wasn't enough of a Serious Musician to spend hours and hours practicing arpeggios, scales, trills, etc. And that suited me just fine.

Of course, all of that was...19 (!) years ago. I didn't play much in undergrad (I tested out of the piano requirements) and turned my attention to the guitar (much more dorm-room friendly). Then when I moved to California for my PhD back in 2008, I bought an old upright so I could at least play occasionally. A few years later I started earnestly playing through Bach's WTC, and I've been doing that ever since. But by "playing through" I don't mean practicing particularly troublesome passages or anything like that. Rather, I just play. Sure, I've gotten pretty damn good at some of them because I keep returning to them, but I'm not focused on making any of them Concert Ready. Know what I mean?

So yes, I have been playing piano quite regularly for the past few years, even though it hasn't been Serious. Sadly, and entirely unsurprisingly, my fingers don't do what they used to. And the most frustrating part of it is that my fingers don't "remember" interval spans anymore. Meaning -- if I see an octave on the page, my fingers no longer effortlessly jump the exact span of an octave. As you can imagine, this can playing a bit cumbersome. But I have hopes that'll come back in time.

So why the hell would I want to burden myself with learning the Liszt Sonata of all pieces? Good question. :mrgreen: I guess it's because I've always felt a kinship with Liszt, and his demonic flare (or whatever you want to call it) speaks to me. Also, I'm always up for a challenge...and this is definitely going to be damn challenging! Even in my prime my technique wasn't quite good enough for a piece like this. But hey, I'm the only one who needs to suffer through it. And maybe the guy below me if he's home. :wink:

My plan is to practice about an hour every day for the rest of the year. Sure, there'll be days when I don't get to it. But I've been pretty damn loyal to playing the WTC every day, so this new schedule isn't at all unreasonable. What will the results be? Probably pretty good adagios and trainwrecks of everything else. :mrgreen: And you know what? That's fine by me. I'm really just curious to see what happens, and if the piece is even kind of recognizable by December 31, 2017.

Anyway, figured the thought of me bashing my head against this piece might bring a smile to some of your faces!

RECORDING SUGGESTIONS Which recordings do you suggest I should check out? I don't have a preferred one myself, but I'm sure I'll listen to any I can get my grubby little mitts on moving forward.

-G

P.S. The first page sounds really good already. :roll: :lol:
Last edited by IcedNote on Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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maestrob
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:25 pm

Hi, Garrett!

Good luck on this project of yours: I can just imagine the wonderful listening that's in store for you besides the actual rigors of practicing.

What recordings do you have of this great work? ......and will you be using them to get ideas from for your own interpretation?

IcedNote
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Mon Jan 02, 2017 1:51 pm

maestrob wrote:Hi, Garrett!

Good luck on this project of yours: I can just imagine the wonderful listening that's in store for you besides the actual rigors of practicing.

What recordings do you have of this great work? ......and will you be using them to get ideas from for your own interpretation?
Oh! Yes...I forgot to ask for suggested recordings! Thanks for the reminder. 8) I'll edit my post...

-G
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:03 pm

For serious listening, I tend to pull these three off the shelf: Arrau, Bolet and Hamelin. Nothing wrong with Brendel, Richter or Argerich, either, if you like a more idiosyncratic approach.

IcedNote
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:06 pm

maestrob wrote:For serious listening, I tend to pull these three off the shelf: Arrau, Bolet and Hamelin. Nothing wrong with Brendel, Richter or Argerich, either, if you like a more idiosyncratic approach.
Thanks! Are those first three the only recordings they made, or do I need to search for such and such recording on such and such label in such and such year? :? :wink:

-G
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maestrob
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:26 pm

Here are the current covers of the aforementioned discs:

Image


Image


Hamelin has only recorded the Sonata once, AFAIK.

Enjoy! 8)

IcedNote
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:43 pm

Excellent, thanks! I'm on 'em.

-G
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by Ted Quanrud » Mon Jan 02, 2017 3:34 pm

Image

Hi Garrett --

Agree completely with maestrob's recommendations and would add this superb performance by Minoru Kojima which has long been highly regarded by critics and audiophiles.

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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by Holden Fourth » Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:05 pm

Garrett, at your age your 'fingers' will come back and the WTC is a good way of helping it to happen. Don't get to the stage where they won't. This has happened to me thanks to a couple of broken fingers in my left hand (sport) and now the onset of arthritis.

So, go for it and remember that exercises can be very useful in improving/regaining your technical skills. There are plenty of musical exercises out there without having to resort to scales.

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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by Ricordanza » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:51 am

IcedNote wrote:So why the hell would I want to burden myself with learning the Liszt Sonata of all pieces? Good question. :mrgreen: I guess it's because I've always felt a kinship with Liszt, and his demonic flare (or whatever you want to call it) speaks to me. Also, I'm always up for a challenge...and this is definitely going to be damn challenging! Even in my prime my technique wasn't quite good enough for a piece like this. But hey, I'm the only one who needs to suffer through it. And maybe the guy below me if he's home. :wink:
While I admire you for your ambition, and I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm, my honest opinion is that you are on the road to disappointment. As my forum name suggests, I share your kinship for Liszt, and the B Minor Sonata is the Mount Everest of the Romantic piano repertoire. But like that mountain, it is much admired although few can climb it. If your technique at its prime was not good enough for this piece, is it realistic to believe that you can conquer it now?

In my prime (which wasn't very prime), the one Liszt piece I was able to handle was Sposalizio, from the first book of the Years of Pilgrimage. It isn't demonic, but it's a beauty, and sounds harder than it is. Have you given that a try? On the other hand, if octaves give you a problem, Sposalizio isn't the piece for you.

On the subject of recordings of the Liszt Sonata, the first one I heard has never been surpassed: Emil Gilels.

maestrob
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by maestrob » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:32 pm

I have both the Nojima and the Gilels and agree, gentlemen, that they are both excellent :D .

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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by John F » Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:58 am

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the recording by Simon Barere, the Russian older contemporary of Horowitz whose blazing virtuosity set standards for record collectors in the 1950s and whose Liszt seemed the most Lisztian of all. But maybe that's it; few here were listening to classical records in the 1950s, or were even born then, and Barere's live recordings of Liszt and other composers were published after his death by a minor record company (Remington) which went out of business in the mid-'60s. (A few were reissued on Turnabout and Varese-Sarabande.)

The Liszt sonata was recorded in a 1947 Carnegie Hall recital and played with extraordinary abandon, and some wrong notes that Barere wouldn't have passed in a studio recording - which he did not live to make.





For more about Simon Barere and his Remington recordings:

http://www.soundfountain.org/rem/rembar.html
John Francis

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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by Holden Fourth » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:31 pm

John F wrote:I'm surprised no one has mentioned the recording by Simon Barere, the Russian older contemporary of Horowitz whose blazing virtuosity set standards for record collectors in the 1950s and whose Liszt seemed the most Lisztian of all. But maybe that's it; few here were listening to classical records in the 1950s, or were even born then, and Barere's live recordings of Liszt and other composers were published after his death by a minor record company (Remington) which went out of business in the mid-'60s. (A few were reissued on Turnabout and Varese-Sarabande.)

The Liszt sonata was recorded in a 1947 Carnegie Hall recital and played with extraordinary abandon, and some wrong notes that Barere wouldn't have passed in a studio recording - which he did not live to make.





For more about Simon Barere and his Remington recordings:

http://www.soundfountain.org/rem/rembar.html
This is available on APR5623, Volune 3 of APRs recordings of Simon Barrere's Carnegie Hall recitals

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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by John F » Thu Jan 05, 2017 7:12 pm

Good!
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by jbuck919 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:30 pm

Honestly, Garrett, the person known to both of us could play rings around you when he was still in high school. Music can take people in many directions. You are young enough still to have many possibilities, but I don't recommend attempting to become a virtuoso at this point.

There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:53 pm

Ricordanza wrote:While I admire you for your ambition, and I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm, my honest opinion is that you are on the road to disappointment. As my forum name suggests, I share your kinship for Liszt, and the B Minor Sonata is the Mount Everest of the Romantic piano repertoire. But like that mountain, it is much admired although few can climb it. If your technique at its prime was not good enough for this piece, is it realistic to believe that you can conquer it now?
Ha, no worries at all. Impossible to dampen my enthusiasm. And I'm really not trying to "conquer" the piece. It's not like I'm expecting to even remotely get it performance ready. It's all about the process, know what I mean? And hell, even after this first week my fingers are moving better. Brings me back to the ol' days!

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

IcedNote
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:58 pm

Thanks for all of the recording suggestions, gentlemen!

Ones I've listened to in the past few days (while I was accidentally locked out of CMG due to my own error):

- Arrau: Fantastic.
- Hamelin: Fantastic.
- Van Cliburn: Boo.
- Bolet: Good.
- Nojima: Very good.
- Gilels: Very good.

Plenty more to go through!

-G
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:59 pm

Is there a consensus on the Leslie Howard Liszt recordings? I found an hour-long talk (at the piano) he gave about it on YouTube. He obviously knows the piece very well, especially since he worked on the new Peters edition (which I have ordered). But how's his playing? I imagine a lot of people would look at his Liszt collection and say, "Uh...that's great...but no way he could play them all in a worthwhile fashion..."

Thoughts?

-G
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:05 pm

Holden Fourth wrote:So, go for it and remember that exercises can be very useful in improving/regaining your technical skills. There are plenty of musical exercises out there without having to resort to scales.
Sorry to hear about your hand issues. :(

Yeah, I know enough from my years of playing that I think I'll just create exercises based on the piece...and maybe look up ones when I find something particularly challenging. It's going to be a fun year. 8)

-G
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by Ricordanza » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:33 am

IcedNote wrote:
Ricordanza wrote:While I admire you for your ambition, and I don't want to dampen your enthusiasm, my honest opinion is that you are on the road to disappointment. As my forum name suggests, I share your kinship for Liszt, and the B Minor Sonata is the Mount Everest of the Romantic piano repertoire. But like that mountain, it is much admired although few can climb it. If your technique at its prime was not good enough for this piece, is it realistic to believe that you can conquer it now?
Ha, no worries at all. Impossible to dampen my enthusiasm. And I'm really not trying to "conquer" the piece. It's not like I'm expecting to even remotely get it performance ready. It's all about the process, know what I mean? And hell, even after this first week my fingers are moving better. Brings me back to the ol' days!

-G
Then go for it!

-H

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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:20 pm



Wow...this is awful. I don't know what score he was using....or why he chose to ignore so many markings if he had a good score. And his interpretation....ugh...so...chunky.

Does this surprise anyone? I don't know enough about the great performers to know their tendencies, affinities, etc.

-G
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IcedNote
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:17 am

Well, this is certainly a surprise. My favorite version thus far (and I've listened to about 15 performers):



You can tell she "gets it" with the opening octave.

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:08 pm

Re; Horowitz......

By 1977, Horowitz had already passed his great years, and was a decided miniaturist. He suffered from abominable stage fright, which had caused him to withdraw from public performance, but his comeback in 1965? caused a sensation, and was recorded by Columbia in Carnegie Hall. In the year following the Liszt Sonata you posted, Horowitz attempted Rachmaninoff III with Ormandy leading the NY Philharmonic, a concert recorded by RCA and released on LP, later on CD. Horowitz refused to rehearse, so Ormandy had to lead without preparation, and it shows in the harsh tone quality of the orchestra. Horowitz was so nervous that he made mistakes that had to be corrected with sessions after the concert: very sad.

Brilliant as a miniaturist, by then he was not up to the demands of larger forms.

If you'd like to hear more, I urge you to find a copy of the box set of his Carnegie Hall recitals. In spite of his later limitations, Horowitz (married to Toscanini's daughter Wanda) was truly a great pianist.

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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:48 pm

maestrob wrote:Re; Horowitz......

By 1977, Horowitz had already passed his great years, and was a decided miniaturist. He suffered from abominable stage fright, which had caused him to withdraw from public performance, but his comeback in 1965? caused a sensation, and was recorded by Columbia in Carnegie Hall. In the year following the Liszt Sonata you posted, Horowitz attempted Rachmaninoff III with Ormandy leading the NY Philharmonic, a concert recorded by RCA and released on LP, later on CD. Horowitz refused to rehearse, so Ormandy had to lead without preparation, and it shows in the harsh tone quality of the orchestra. Horowitz was so nervous that he made mistakes that had to be corrected with sessions after the concert: very sad.

Brilliant as a miniaturist, by then he was not up to the demands of larger forms.

If you'd like to hear more, I urge you to find a copy of the box set of his Carnegie Hall recitals. In spite of his later limitations, Horowitz (married to Toscanini's daughter Wanda) was truly a great pianist.
Ah, thanks for that! I knew he didn't perform in Russia for a long time, but I had no idea he took a long break from the stage in general.

-G
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by John F » Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:47 pm

I'll add that for many, Horowitz's 1932 recording of the sonata for EMI is his best, and a celebrated one. It's on YouTube. For me, Horowitz's characteristic piano tone is too bright for this emotionally dark music, beginning with the first two notes, and one reason why I value Simon Barere's performance is that he gets the expressive color of the music right.
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:02 pm

John F wrote:I'll add that for many, Horowitz's 1932 recording of the sonata for EMI is his best, and a celebrated one. It's on YouTube. For me, Horowitz's characteristic piano tone is too bright for this emotionally dark music, beginning with the first two notes, and one reason why I value Simon Barere's performance is that he gets the expressive color of the music right.
Thanks! I'll look the 1932 one up next. Also have the Barere in my queue. :)

-G
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:27 am

John F wrote:I'll add that for many, Horowitz's 1932 recording of the sonata for EMI is his best, and a celebrated one. It's on YouTube. For me, Horowitz's characteristic piano tone is too bright for this emotionally dark music, beginning with the first two notes, and one reason why I value Simon Barere's performance is that he gets the expressive color of the music right.
Alright, listened to both of those today:

- Well, the 1932 Horowitz is definitely more spirited than the later one I'd listened to, but there are certain sections where his interpretation still seems stilted. I don't know...just not my cup of tea.

- Really enjoyed the Barere, though! He seems to have internalized it better somehow. I know that may sound vague, but it makes perfect sense to me. :wink:

-G
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by Holden Fourth » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:35 am

IcedNote wrote:
John F wrote:I'll add that for many, Horowitz's 1932 recording of the sonata for EMI is his best, and a celebrated one. It's on YouTube. For me, Horowitz's characteristic piano tone is too bright for this emotionally dark music, beginning with the first two notes, and one reason why I value Simon Barere's performance is that he gets the expressive color of the music right.
Alright, listened to both of those today:

- Well, the 1932 Horowitz is definitely more spirited than the later one I'd listened to, but there are certain sections where his interpretation still seems stilted. I don't know...just not my cup of tea.

- Really enjoyed the Barere, though! He seems to have internalized it better somehow. I know that may sound vague, but it makes perfect sense to me. :wink:

-G
I'd be interested in what you think of the Cziffra. Don't expect the bravura type performance that is normally associated with his playing.

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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by John F » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:07 am

IcedNote wrote:Really enjoyed the Barere, though! He seems to have internalized it better somehow. I know that may sound vague, but it makes perfect sense to me.
I believe we've said essentially the same thing in our own ways.
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by jserraglio » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:17 am

In this list, check out Liszt:

Image

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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:30 pm

Haha! Oohhhh mmmyyyyy....

-G
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by jbuck919 » Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:52 am

[quote="IcedNote"]

Wow...this is awful. I don't know what score he was using....or why he chose to ignore so many markings if he had a good score. And his interpretation....ugh...so...chunky.

Does this surprise anyone? I don't know enough about the great performers to know their tendencies, affinities, etc.

-G[/quote's

Nothing about Horowitz can surprise me.


There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself.
-- Johann Sebastian Bach

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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by John F » Thu Jan 12, 2017 1:47 pm

I don't know how deeply you want to go into the Liszt sonata, but there's a short book about it by Kenneth Hamilton in the Cambridge Music Handbooks series which among other things goes into how Liszt and his pupils played the sonata when it was new. Liszt was no longer giving public recitals but he liked to play the sonata for his students and friends. There are verbal descriptions of his way with the music, and five pupils prepared editions of it: Emil von Sauer, Eugene d'Albert, José Vianna da Motta, Moritz Rosenthal, and Rafael Joseffy. Theirs and others' memories of Liszt's playing are assembled in a book titled "Liszt Pädagogium," published in 1902. None of these pianists actually studied the sonata with Liszt, but Sauer heard another pupil, Arthur Friedheim, play it in Liszt's presence. All lived well into the 20th century and the age of sound recording but none recorded the sonata.

Of course their editions reflect their individual interpretive approaches to the music; as Hamilton observes, it would have been pointless for these great pianists to put nothing of their own into their editions, which "would hardly have constituted value for money." But Liszt's own first edition is very scanty as to pedaling and other nuances, far more than his own autograph score. His pupils' editions, then may be closer to Liszt's playing.

The "Liszt Pädagogium" contains very specific points of interpretation, such as how the sonata's first two notes are to sound. Liszt was famous for his orchestral manner of playing, as to color and dynamics. The "Pädagogium" says those notes should sound like "muffled timpani strokes and not pizzicato strings as commonly played." I'd say that with Horowitz they sound more like clipped pizzicato, with Barere like the more resonant timpani.
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Thu Jan 12, 2017 8:35 pm

John F wrote:I don't know how deeply you want to go into the Liszt sonata, but there's a short book about it by Kenneth Hamilton
Read it years ago and actually reread it last week! He makes some very insightful comments. I'm currently digging through my old academic resources and figuring out if there are journal articles and whatnot that I want to read as well. So yes, diving full in!

-G
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by John F » Fri Jan 13, 2017 8:04 am

Another early recording, in fact the earliest, is by Alfred Cortot in 1929. I expected something special, from his grand 1937 recording of Liszt's Legend #2, "St. Francis of Paule Walking on the Waves":



But no, it's disappointingly small-scale and lyrical, as if Cortot were playing Chopin and not Liszt. If you're curious, it's here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5lQPhPbh-8
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Mon Jan 16, 2017 12:58 am

OK, so this performance is superhuman:



I read online that he did 76 takes before he got one he liked, although I wasn't able to find the original source. And who knows how many edits were made. But damn. This is some exceptionally clean and fiery playing. Now, I don't agree with some of his interpretations....but hats off anyway.

-G
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by John F » Mon Jan 16, 2017 5:46 am

For me, Zimerman's is a lightweight effort with excessive, aimless rubato, perhaps to make it seem more portentous. For example the fugue isn't a Mephistophelian parody as in other performances, as in the Faust Symphony, it's just tickling the ivories, all on the surface. Zimerman can't possibly have needed anything like that many retakes; he mostly plays it safe technically. Unless he kept changing his mind about how he wanted to interpret the sonata and had to start over from scratch repeatedly.

While I'm writing, it turns out that Rachmaninoff offered to record the Liszt sonata for RCA Victor and they turned him down. How could they?
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by maestrob » Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:45 am

Zimmermann takes some liberties, no doubt, but I found his performance rewarding. Nothing out of line or excessive, including rubato.

IcedNote
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:14 pm

John F wrote:[1)] Zimerman can't possibly have needed anything like that many retakes; he mostly plays it safe technically. Unless he kept changing his mind about how he wanted to interpret the sonata and had to start over from scratch repeatedly.

[2)] While I'm writing, it turns out that Rachmaninoff offered to record the Liszt sonata for RCA Victor and they turned him down. How could they?
1) Plays it safe? Really? That's the cleanest, crispest playing in the fast passages I've yet heard in my listening! And he's not slouching on the tempo to make it happen...

2) I'd read this, too. Seems unthinkable...

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

IcedNote
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Mon Jan 16, 2017 9:18 pm

If you want to hear an absolute travesty, look no further than this recording by Ivo Pogorelich (who I confess I'd never heard of). But I thought, "It's on DG...how bad could it be?"

Well, not only are the opening octaves all wrong, but he even goes as far as to pedal the entrance of the famous third theme! :shock: First time I'd heard someone do that (thank the gods). I'm afraid it doesn't get much better after that...



(I'm having so much fun with all of this. Good times.)

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

jserraglio
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by jserraglio » Tue Jan 17, 2017 3:27 pm

Brendel Japan 1985


Cyprien Karsaris France 1973, age 22


Les;ie Howard Talk

CharmNewton
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by CharmNewton » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:38 am

IcedNote wrote:
John F wrote:[1)] Zimerman can't possibly have needed anything like that many retakes; he mostly plays it safe technically. Unless he kept changing his mind about how he wanted to interpret the sonata and had to start over from scratch repeatedly.

[2)] While I'm writing, it turns out that Rachmaninoff offered to record the Liszt sonata for RCA Victor and they turned him down. How could they?
1) Plays it safe? Really? That's the cleanest, crispest playing in the fast passages I've yet heard in my listening! And he's not slouching on the tempo to make it happen...

2) I'd read this, too. Seems unthinkable...

-G
I saw Zimerman play Liszt Sonata in Chicago in 1988 (around the time of his recording) and the performance was very intense. I like his recording very much.

Another favorite recording is Naida Cole's on Decca. Very beautifully recorded too.

John

IcedNote
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Wed Jan 18, 2017 12:40 am

jserraglio wrote:vids
Watched the Howard talk the other week! It's the primary reason why I bought his edition for Peters as the score I'm working from. 8)

About to check out the Katsarsis...right....now....

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

IcedNote
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Wed Jan 18, 2017 1:21 am

IcedNote wrote:About to check out the Katsarsis...right....now....
Oof....not a fan of that... :? No idea what he was thinking with the tempos. So many odd changes! Kind of made me feel seasick. :cry: :wink: A bit out of control at times, too. And some voicings I didn't agree with, either. Oh well. Happy to hear the performance, though. :)

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

IcedNote
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Thu Jan 19, 2017 1:44 am

jserraglio wrote:Brendel Japan 1985
Ah, quite like that one! I question the way he puts a sense of urgency into the transformation of the famous third theme, but that's at least interesting to ponder as an interpretation. Sure wish the audio was better!

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

IcedNote
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Thu Jan 19, 2017 10:12 pm

CharmNewton wrote:Another favorite recording is Naida Cole's on Decca. Very beautifully recorded too.
Well that was quite something! By far the most faithful performance to the score. I also liked her experimentation with color; it paid off for her, especially for the last minute or two of the piece.

Thanks for the recommendation!

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

absinthe
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by absinthe » Sun Jan 22, 2017 4:16 am

Brave!

You'll need to be able to shake octaves out of your sleeve for the last section, Takes quite some endurance.

Actually I like Horowitz for the contrast he brings in the first section (thinking back to his earlier recording on 78s) like the cantando expressivo that starts around page 6.

I understand the situation a little. It took me a year to play one of his studies (Feux Follets) adequately. I still play it slower than any professional I've encountered, seeming more in the spirit of the lightness and feux-follet-ness of the intention - and without the sustaining pedal jammed down the whole time.

Funnily enough I tried to load it into soundcloud. They banned it as plagiarism claiming I was uploading Ashkenazy's performance. Eventually they concluded it wasn't. On the one hand I should be flattered. On the other I never liked Ashkenazy, had never heard him play it at that point. Mine turned out about 30 seconds longer. Besides, he uses too much pedal too. Easier to play with the pedal down. It blurs unevenness.

Best wishes with it.

.

IcedNote
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Re: 2017 & My Quest to Learn the Liszt Sonata

Post by IcedNote » Mon Jan 30, 2017 11:42 pm

I'm not too proud to post this! :mrgreen: One month in, and here's the first gnarly bit -- i.e. p2. :oops: :cry: :mrgreen:



I gotta tell you -- this has been a hell of a lot of fun already, mistakes and all!

-G
Harakiried composer reincarnated as a nonprofit development guy.

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