Classical Music | Piano Music

Franz Liszt

Transcendental Etude No. 8 "Wilde Jagd"  Play

Jonathan Levin Piano

Recorded on 10/29/2015, uploaded on 10/29/2015

Musician's or Publisher's Notes


Taking shape as early as 1826, when Franz Liszt was only fifteen years of age, the twelve pieces of the Études d’exécution transcendante (Transcendental Etudes) took a quarter of a century to be crafted into their final form. The original twelve etudes, written by the youthful Hungarian, were titled Étude in douze exercices (Studies in Twelve Exercises) and were intended to be the first in a much larger set of 48 total etudes. However, the remaining pieces never materialized. Liszt then revisited the etudes and produced revised versions in 1837 under the title of Douze Grande Études(Twelve Great Studies). In 1851-52, he returned to the etudes once again and fashioned them into their final form. Liszt removed some of the difficulties, including stretches larger than a tenth, to accommodate pianists with smaller hands and less technical skill. This final set Liszt dedicated to his former teacher, Carl Czerny.

 The eighth etude Liszt titled Wilde Jagd, or “Wild Hunt,” a reference to ancient folk myths in many countries of a supernatural hunt, often led by a deity or the spirit of a legendary hero. Liszt’s portrayal begins in wild fashion with impetuous octaves answered by dramatic chords in a galloping rhythm. These motifs, along with a sweeping ascending run spanning a fifth, make up the etude’s first theme. At its conclusion, the first theme is answered by a more melodic second theme in E-flat major, derived from the material of the first and imitating in stereotypical fashion the sounds of hunting horns. The second theme is followed by an episodic section in which a new, but still related, melody emerges accompanied by ethereal arpeggios, portraying quite vividly the paranormal state of the hunt and the riders hovering eerily above the ground in pursuit of their prey. Assuming a quasi-sonata form, the motives of the first theme return in the tonic key of C minor but quickly depart again, leading to a climatic return of the second theme in C major. From there the coda commences, relying mainly on episodic theme heard earlier and leads the piece on to its furious end.      Joseph DuBose


Transcendental Étude No. 8 Wilde Jagd (5’)                                                                          Liszt

Franz Liszt has played a tremendous role in the development of music and piano playing in general and for me has always been a main stay and inspiring force in my development as a pianist.  Wilde Jagd comes from a set of 12 works called the Etudes of Transcendental Execution. These works were a 25-yearlong labor of love for Liszt. Through many transformations, he joined Frederic Chopin in elevating the genre of the study, taking it out of the practice room and into the concert hall. Basically everything that makes Romanticism great is captured in this scintillating miniature – technical fireworks, lush lyricism, a loose narrative quality containing a ‘hunting’ (horn call) theme replete with ‘roars’ – in general a tour de force of technical and musical tricks pushing the piano and the pianist to the limits of physical and expressive ability.     Jonathan Levin