Les Preludes and Hamlet represent the pianist's symphonic poem. (Gmoser 72) Liszt also left his mark on operatic paraphrases for solo piano.
Compared to the other composers, who were writing flashy introductions, Liszt's paraphrases and fantasies on operas were a "bolt of lightening against the flicker of a candle. He threw themes together in a contrapuntal melange; he changed harmonies; he exploited to the utmost every technical resource of his pianistic genius" (Schonberg 204). It seemed that there was no aspect of music in which Liszt could conquer.
Liszt's influence in the musical community was far-reaching in that his style and techniques touched all types of people. Goulding believes that the pianist's "most significant involvement in the music of others was in the career of Wagner" (Goulding 244). However, his contributions cannot stop there. Liszt was responsible not only for involvement with music but the evolution of music. For instance, the model piano recital was created by Liszt. He was the first to play programs from memory and the first to play the whole keyboard repertory from Bach to Chopin. (245). Another interesting characteristic about Liszt was how he played the piano. Schonberg maintains that before Liszt, pianists kept their hands close to the keyboard, playing from wrist and fingers rather than from arm or shoulder" (Schonberg...
Liszt established "once and for all the genre of the bravura pianist, the pianist who would haughtily come out, cow the audience, lift hands high, and assault the instrument" (197). As a piano teacher, Liszt's reach went far. He "turned out two generations of epigones, all of whom spread the style and the teachings of the master all over the world" (Schonberg 203). Von Bulow, Tausig, Menter, Rosenthal, Reisenauer, Siloti, and Stavenhagen were all products of Liszt's style. Here we see a composer that is secure in his presence as a performer and proud of his technique.
Franz Liszt was a musical mastermind of his time and it seemed that there was nothing he could touch that would not turn to musical gold. He learned piano at a young age and was considered a genius. He prove this theory true with his involvement not only with the piano but all aspects of music that allowed him to open the minds of thousands and challenge some of the very basic ideas associated with music.
Gmoser, Lulu. Great Composers. New York: Smithmark Publishing. 1997.
Goulding, Phil. Classical Music. New York: Ballantine Books. 1992.
Schonberg, Harold. The Lives of the Great Composers W.W. Norton and Company 1997.
Walker, Alan. Franz Liszt. Grove Music Online. http://www.grovemusic.com Site…
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