Recorded on 02/14/2006, uploaded on 01/12/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
The second of Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies is one of his best-known works. Its familiar melodies were originally composed for solo piano in 1847 with an orchestral version following soon thereafter. The form consists of two sections: a slow, tuneful one and an exciting, brisk one that gets perpetually faster. CINCO
A bravura piece of the first class, the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 is certainly Franz Liszt’s most popular composition for the piano and one of the most recognizable pieces in all of classical music. Composed in 1847, it is a prominent example of Liszt’s nationalism, and the Hungarian folk music he heard as a child, which often came out in his music. It was an immediate success on the concert stage and Liszt soon produced an orchestral arrangement in collaboration with Franz Doppler, a flute virtuoso. Due to the overwhelming technical challenges of the piece, by the end of the 19th century it had become a sort of “unofficial standard” by which all pianists were to prove their mettle.
The Rhapsody is divided into two sections. A brief introduction, beginning deceptively in C-sharp major and with harmonies that foreshadow the latter section, opens the piece and establishes in heavy tones the melancholic tone of the first section—the Lassan. Slow and turning to the key of C-sharp minor, the Lassan begins solemnly with weighted accompaniment against which the melody seems to trudge slowly onward. Lighter moments arise, for example at the arrival of the relative major or in the capriccioso section that follows, but the weight of Lassan is never fully lifted and ends with introduction’s fanfare-like melody heard low in the bass. Shifting to the key of the subdominant, the Friska begins with its own prolonged introduction in F-sharp minor. Despite the minor key, it ushers in a feeling of gaiety and builds in excitement until the dance proper arrives in quick tempo and the key of F-sharp major. Perhaps the most familiar part of the Rhapsody, the Friska from this point on is a showcase of virtuosic pianism at its finest. The excitement slackens briefly at the end as the Lassan is momentarily recalled in the tonic minor key. Liszt then, quite exceptionally, offers the pianist the chance to improvise their own cadenza before the Prestissimo coda brings the piece to a breathtaking close with exhilarating octaves and triumphant final chords. Joseph DuBose
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
We at classicalconnect.com believe that classical music is a necessity of life. It is our pleasure to be your virtual concert hall and bring you this performance.
Copyright 2008-2010 Classical Connect, LLC