Liszt – is this the best available version?

Last evening I ran the usual orchestral version of HR#2 but it would be remiss to let the piece go by without mention of the debate over which version is better – that of Valentina Lisitsa or Adam Gyorgy’s.

After listening to [and watching] both, seems to me that this below is the definitive. Someone wrote, of VL’s version, that she is assuredly virtuoso but somehow, she was all about demonstrating that, going at breakneck speed … because she could. It became about her … or so it seemed.

Someone else pointed out errors but so did one critic about AG’s – how anyone could play an interpretative piece such as this without at least a couple of question marks is a pointless thing to chide IMHO.

Someone else wrote that Liszt was a sadist … or else on drugs, insane or a genius. Actually, VL’s version may well be closer to the spirit of Ferenc himself:

“Before Liszt, it was considered almost in bad taste to play from memory,” Hough explains. “Chopin once chided a student: It looked almost arrogant, as if you were pretending that the piece you were playing was by you. Liszt saw that playing the piano, especially for a whole evening in front of an audience, … was a theatrical event that needed not just musical things happening but physical things on the stage.”

Purists may well dismiss Liszt for this:

Liszt deliberately placed the piano in profile to the audience so they could see his face. He’d whip his head around while he played, his long hair flying, beads of sweat shooting into the crowd. He was the first performer to stride out from the wings of the concert hall to take his seat at the piano.

He was perhaps the Andre Rieu of performances, with added virtuosity. There’s also a case for saying he was touched by the dark side, especially the experiments in atonality.


Oh and while we’re still here, try this little number:

4 comments for “Liszt – is this the best available version?

  1. dearieme
    October 11, 2017 at 21:11

    That Campanella was tremendous.

  2. james wilson
    October 12, 2017 at 05:50

    It was Paganini who lit up young Liszt’s world, musically and theatrically.

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