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January 4, 2019

jfl #morninglistening to #Holmboe #concertos at last! …

#morninglistening to #Holmboe #concertos at last! W/@NorrkopingSymph on @dacaporecords
A @surprisedbeauty composer & another stupendous @DanishDenise cover!
#classicalmusic #classicalcdcollection #classicalmusiccollection #20thCenturyMusic #SurprisedByBeauty #noFilter #DanishMusic #VagnHolmboe

from Ionarts

Which is your favourite piece by Franz Liszt?

Franz Liszt


Lang Lang

Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6

My favourite piece to perform by Liszt is the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6. I started to play this piece at a very early age (around 10 years old) and it really helped me to build confidence at the keyboard.

It helped me enormously with my technique, especially because of the famous octaves, and is a good way of teaching students how to play rubato (in the middle section).

I think it is extremely important for young artists to learn these skills, particularly when performing Liszt. It taught me a key and invaluable lesson – how to make a difficult piece feel and sound easy. This work has stayed with me for years and even after all this time, I never ever tire of it.



Stephen Hough

Sonata in B minor

Liszt’s B minor Sonata is, I think, one of the greatest works of the 19th century, and probably the one work in which he completely fulfilled the potential of his youth. It’s an exploration of human experience, a mountain, an ocean. And yet it’s interesting that Liszt, who gave poetic titles to most of his music, simply calls this one ‘Sonata’.

The work holds together so well that giving it a title would perhaps have limited it. Anybody can press the keys of the piano and make it sound, but this piece is difficult because you need to keep the tension of the architecture.

A performance of it has to have two things: it has to sound like you’re improvising, but also feel like every single bar is inevitable. I can only compare it to a great novel or play, in which everything is a surprise but when you look back at the end, everything seems to fit.



Khatia Buniatishvili

Mephisto Waltz No. 1

I would say the Mephisto Waltz No. 1 has most inspired me as a pianist. People often think it’s just about virtuosity, but actually he tells a strong story. That’s difficult to do in a ten-minute piece, but Liszt does it here.

Based on Lenau’s Faust, it’s set in the Dorfschenke, a village inn where there’s a wedding. Mephisto plays the violin – a waltz – while Faust starts to dance with Gretchen. It’s an emotional, rather than erotic, love story, though there’s also this dark Mephistophelian side. Of course the piece is difficult to play but for me it’s all about emotion and telling a story.

s a pianist, Liszt took a lot of risks and in his music there are always huge jumps between registers. But you have to play Liszt without fear, and with total freedom. With Liszt the power doesn’t come from totally clean, planned playing but from the crazy and diabolic.



Jean-Yves Thibaudet

Deux Légendes

In general, the image people have of Liszt is loud, fast, bombastic, virtuosic and pyrotechnical. There is a lot of that, it’s true, but he was a much deeper composer than that.

The Deux Légendes (St François d’Assise: la prédication aux oiseaux and St François de Paule marchant sur les flots) show Liszt as a poet and are incredibly powerful spiritually, too. When you play them in concert, you find that there is something completely magical that happens every time.

For me, St François d’Assise is like time is completely stopping – plus you have all those incredibly beautifully written birdsongs and the trills and tremolos: very difficult to render, but incredibly touching and moving, and inspiring to play. St François de Paule is also very intense and very powerful.

It also shows the orchestral side of Liszt on the piano – he had a mastery of transcribing the orchestra to the piano and you really find that here.



Marc-André Hamelin

Sonata in B minor

I’d have to say the B minor Sonata has most inspired me, because it’s Liszt’s towering achievement, in any form. He broke so much ground with this piece; it’s a fantastic piece of architecture and the ideas have such quality and depth.

There’s been so much debate as to whether it’s one, three or four movements, yet it’s incredibly cohesive. It seems, well, the best word I can come up with is ‘inevitable’. I like to think that, in a good performance, the listener should be aware, at least instinctively, of how long the piece will last and what’s likely to be said or expressed. It’s very much like telling a story.

Some pianists, unfortunately, seem to treat it as a virtuoso vehicle first and foremost. Some listeners, too, I think. But to me thinking of it like that is like tearing a page off a Gutenberg Bible and using it to wrap carrot peelings.



Martin Roscoe

Sonata in B minor

The B minor Sonata is Liszt’s most complete work for piano. You sometimes feel in other pieces that – inspired though they might be – there are slightly weaker passages or extraneous notes that don’t fulfil a genuine musical purpose, but no one could ever say that about the Sonata.

As a player, it offers huge challenges: at almost 30 minutes without a break, there’s a lot of stamina needed; you have to try to keep an overview of the whole piece so you don’t lose its shape or narrative; and, of course, you have to display a spectrum of emotions that ranges from the spiritual to the demonic.

It’s a work I’ve played for almost the length of my career. Recently, I played it at my own festival, and felt it was one of my best performances. It was great to know that, at 58, I can still play that piece!



Louis Lortie

Années de pèlerinage

I’ve been studying and playing the Années de pèlerinage a lot this year. From the Troisième Année, the ‘Jeux d’eau à la Villa d’Este’ has struck me as being so incredibly adventurous. This piece really heralded 20th-century pianism – all the pianistic ideas of Ravel, Debussy and Messiaen are already present here.

The fluidity of the pianistic style of it didn’t exist before, and it also must have sounded almost shocking at the time as it has so little feeling of functional harmony. It is tonal, but even the relationships between dominant and tonic are blurred. Liszt loves to add so many tones – an added sixth, a seventh, a ninth – to the chords so they always sound suspended, which is one of the tricks of Impressionism.

Technically it is challenging due to the fact that you have to barely touch the keys – on a modern piano it’s really difficult to get the fluidity and transparency that you want in all the tremolandos that accompany the main theme. It’s such a wonderful piece, though. I’m always in awe of it when I play it.


Leslie Howard


It’s an easy choice: Liszt’s oratorio Christus is simply the best piece of music he wrote. I get inspired as a musician, and then play the piano. Fortunately, though, he did arrange four numbers from it for solo piano, and I’ve been lucky enough to conduct the whole thing. I think it’s far and away the best Romantic oratorio, and it’s criminal that it’s little known here.

Wagner went to the first performance, and he stole bits of it for Parsifal – he also used bits of Liszt’s The Bells of Strasbourg Cathedral. If I had to pick one inspirational piece from Christus as far as the piano goes, it’s the ‘March of the Three Holy Kings’.

It’s kind of a symphonic poem in itself and the piano version is beautifully done. When Liszt does piano versions of orchestral pieces, like his Beethoven Symphony arrangements, he manages to get the spirit and sound absolutely right.



A guide to Franz Liszt

Review: Liszt Sonata in B Minor (Hamelin)

Review: Liszt Piano Works (Hough)


Wishing a very happy birthday to my dear friend Michael Stipe of R.E.M.!

via The Real Mick Rock

Mathematician and early minimalist composer Dennis Johnson has died

via The Wire: Home

George Gershwin

Donald Macleod explores the life and music of George Gershwin.

When a second-hand piano was hoisted through the window of the Gershwin family’s Lower East Side apartment, a window was quite literally opened onto a new world. Donald begins by looking at Gershwin’s early and lifelong love of the instrument. For many, he was the foremost composer of the “jazz age” and it’s through jazz-inflected interpretations that his music has reached its widest audience. Next, Donald tells the story of Gershwin’s excursions in the concert hall. He may have been the toast of Broadway, but his attempts to move musically out of the theatre district and into the hallowed portals of the city’s concert halls were, despite some successes, constantly frustrated and a source of disappointment to him. To end, Donald charts George Gershwin’s final years, partly spent in a ramshackle beach cottage on Folly Island in South Carolina. His memorable musical experiences with the local Gullah people eventually inspired his magnum opus, the opera Porgy and Bess.

Music featured:
That Certain Feeling
Three Preludes
Piano Concerto in F
Has Anyone Seen Joe
The Real American Folk Song
Fascinating Rhythm
Embraceable You
I Got Rhythm
I Got Rhythm Variations
Someone to Watch Over Me
Rhapsody in Blue
Second Rhapsody
American in Paris
Strike Up the Band Overture
Cuban Overture
My Man’s Gone Now
I Got Plenty of Nothin’
Bess, You Is My Woman Now
It Ain’t Necessarily So
I Loves You Porgy
Catfish Row Suite

Presented by Donald Macleod
Produced by Martin Williams

For full tracklistings, including artist and recording details, and to listen to the pieces featured in full (for 30 days after broadcast) head to the series page for George Gershwin:

And you can delve into the A-Z of all the composers we’ve featured on Composer of the Week here:

from Composer of the Week

loquearde Crate Minds: El Marchante

As most of our readers know, Crate Minds is a recurring series where we highlight Sellers from all over the world with a spotless trajectory at Discogs. Today we have the pleasure of introducing you to El Marchante. With more than 15,000 items for sale, El Marchante specializes in Latin music and it’s a well-beloved Discogs seller among the community. Taking all of this into account, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to ask a few questions that will make you fall in love. It went like this:

What’s the name of your shop?

El Marchante.

How long have you been selling as El Marchante on Discogs?

We started selling records since we joined Discogs, on October 24, 2015. Only 3 years ago.

How did you get into selling records?

We started selling books about history, art and literature mainly. As you know the book business has always been intimately linked with music, and it was only a matter of time before entering the wonderful world of vinyl.

What is your favorite record store right now? Why?

Our favorite store is undoubtedly El Marchante. We believe it’s the online store of Latin music with the best deals on shipping, and also with a constant inventory renewal, but we cannot deny that we admire and respect all the vinyl stores in the Caribbean that have survived over the years.
EL MARCHANTE Discogs Record Seller

Do you have a story that you’d like to share about record selling? Please tell us!

Perhaps the most curious story is not about us, because we are too young. Our customers constantly share stories with us.
Each meeting is a journey through time, we have heard when the first Venezuelan salsa orchestras were formed, or how were those emblematic concerts like Queen, The Jackson 5 or Fania All Stars in El Poliedro de Caracas. Buying records has been a real school for us.

What is your favorite record of all-time?

That’s an easy one! Juan Gabriel En El Palacio De Bellas Artes.

What is the most valuable item you’ve ever sold?

A real album of Guaguancó from Venezuela: Los Supremos.

What does your own record collection look like?

Our collection is quite small, it’s based on all the signed records that we have.

What has been your best record find?

We have several “best record finds” (laughs). The first moment was when we got a personal collection of salsa and Caribbean music that gave us the necessary impulse to start our store, but perhaps we say it sentimentally. Definitely, our best purchase was that of almost 100,000 records of an abandoned record label.

What is your number one tip for buyers and/or sellers on Discogs?

For sellers, please inform and contribute to the Database, your business will really improve. For buyers, understand that behind each online store on Discogs (especially Discogs) there are people of flesh and blood who love what they do, but they can also be wrong, be tolerant. It seems obvious, but the best advice for sellers and buyers is to be patient.

Find your new favorite record among El Marchante on Discogs.

The post Crate Minds: El Marchante appeared first on Discogs Blog.

from Discogs Blog

jfl #morninglistening to #Brendel’s #LvB #op111 on…

#morninglistening to #Brendel’s #LvB #op111 on @deccaclassics:
For comparison with Till Fellner/Maurizio Pollini (@ClassicsToday review)
#classicalmusic #classicalmusiccollection #classicalcdcollection #solokeyboard #pianosonatas #LudwigVan #Beethoven #pianosonata #AlfredBrendel #ludwigvanbeethoven #opus111

from Ionarts

On this Day January 04, 2006

The house where
Johnny Cash lived for 35 years was bought by
Bee Gees singer Barry Gibb. The rustic house near Nashville, Tennessee went on the market in June 2005 with an asking price of $2.9m (£1.7m). Gibb said he planned to preserve the house to honour the Cash memory. Unfortunately Gibb’s ownership of the house was short-lived. In April 2007, the house burned to the ground.
Gibb was having the house renovated when a flammable spray sealer caused fire to break out during construction.

from This day in music

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