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Cross-Posted at THE DAILY MUSIC BREAK, the site that features good music regardless of era or genre. Visit for the music -- and a free daily or weekly email of links.

Above is Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 1 performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Iván Fischer. Oszkár Ökrös plays the incredibly cool instrument at the beginning, which is a cimbalom. The performance, according to the YouTube notes, was on October 24, 2009.

Liszt obviously was incredibly creative -- except when it came to naming his pieces. Below Adam Gyorgy plays Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.

Here are the starts of two bios. First, from

Franz Liszt was born on October 22, 1811, in Raiding, Hungary. His father, a multi-instrumentalist, taught him to play piano. By the time Liszt was 9 years old, he was performing in concert halls. As an adult, he toured extensively throughout Europe. He had an affair and children with Marie díAgoult, and later lived with Princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein. By his death, he had written more than 700 compositions. Continue Reading...
And from Classical Net:
Franz Liszt (October 22, 1811 - July 31, 1886) was a major figure in 19th-century music, an innovator in the way he combined a fierce and unquenchable creative fire with a fully developed connoisseur's appreciation of both the music of contemporary composers and of giant figures from the past. Continue Reading...

Originally posted to cweinsch on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:15 AM PST.

Also republished by An Ear for Music.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eowyn9, ExStr8, john07801, deben

    Please visit The Daily Music Break for some good music.

    by cweinsch on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 07:15:38 AM PST

  •  Clara Schumann called him (0+ / 0-)

    A great showman, but also an incomprehensibly gifted musician, flamboyant and also sensitive.

    Don't remember where I got this description from, but I like it:

    In 1844, at the height of Liszt’s career as a pianist, a lover of Bach in Montpellier, Jules Laurens, reproached him with his charlatanry, and then asked him to play his famous arrangement for the piano of Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in A Minor for organ:

            “How do you want me to play it?”

            “How? But . . . the way it ought to be played.”

    “Here it is, to start with, as the author must have understood it, played it himself, or intended it to be played.”

    And Liszt played. It was admirable, the perfection itself of the classical style exactly in conformity with the original.

    “Here it is a second time, as I feel it, with a slightly more picturesque movement, a more modern style and the effects demanded by an improved instrument.” And it was, with these nuances, different . . . but no less admirable.

    “Finally, a third time, here it is the way I would play it for the public—to astonish, as a charlatan.” And, lighting a cigar which passed at moments from between his lips to his fingers, executing with his ten fingers the part written for the organ pedals, and indulging in other tours de force and prestidigitation, he was prodigious, incredible, fabulous, and received gratefully with enthusiasm.

    There's also a lovely description written by Liszt himself of the the evening he visited Chopin.  If I remember, it's from Lizst's "Life of Chopin," and he described the artist's studio:   Candles... Walls receded in shadow... A pool of light spilled on the floor around the piano... Liszt was capable of writing quite beautifully.

    Sunday mornings are more beautiful without Meet the Press.

    by deben on Fri Dec 21, 2012 at 08:56:38 AM PST

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