NOTE: Some of the pieces and information here are contained in a previous posting titled: Totentanz
Liszt – Devil or Angel. That was him and his music. Througout his life he was focused on the “seeming”! two extremes. Love/Light/God – Evil/Devil/Death. (Eastern/Oriental philosophies might argue: Two sides of the same coin)
His compostitions of a spiritual, meditative or romantic nature, (including “Passionate” Romantic, as in the piece below: Un Sospiro) have few equals in the annals of Great Composers.
Un Sospiro (meaning a sigh – probably not a title Liszt himself applied to this piece)
Madmen of the Piano (*and the piano’s supreme emotional power – Inspired by, and dedicated to Tam from Retravision in Byron Bay, because he just loves the wild piano stuff! )
Liszt, Chopin and Rachmaninoff
(*Yes indeed … there are lots of other ‘Madmen Pianists’ – but these guys take the cake)
I was thinking the other day – What instruments convey the most ‘intensity’? Drums? Electric guitar (ala Jimmy Hendrix!) … maybe the Sax? (John Coltrain)
For me it’s the piano. Done by the “Masters.”
Here are some intense pieces; some supremely difficult to play: Pieces that blend that ‘wild’ quality – with emotional glory!
Sorry Tam! I didn’t do what I originally intended; which was to introduce only the purely ‘berserk’ numbers. I know you love ‘em … but hey – I might lose listeners!
Dear listener – if these pieces move you, click on the Title on the right, “My Personal Bias” You’ll find gorgeous piano pieces without as much intensity.
Chopin Ballade #1
Rachmaninoff prelude in G Minor (played by “THE Piano man” – no .. not Billy Joel !! but The Big H – Horowitz)
Rachmaninoff prelude in g- minor Vladimir Horowitz-piano
Chopin Fanstasie Impromptu in C sharp minor
Liszt hungarian rhapsody no-2
Here’s another one. This piece is often mentioned in the “hardest to play” category. It is surely “Intense”!
Islamey an Oriental Fantasy by Mily Balakirev. And here’s what a critic said:
Despite some dismissal that the work is merely a showpiece, Islamey has had a lasting impact on piano solo music; Ravel once remarked to a friend that his goal in writing Gaspard de la nuit was to compose a piece that was “more difficult than Balakirev’s Islamey.”
UPDATE: Be sure to read the comment from Emiellucifuge .. and my response.
It’s fascinating to compare “Transcriptions” of one great composers work, with the “original.” Here are just two examples: Liszt on Beethoven and Chopin on Mozart.Beethovens’ 5th Symphony – first movement. Yeah .. yeah – I know. We’ve all heard it a million times! Still interesting to see what Liszt did with it.And here’s Liszt. I just can’t see the point! To “render” such a masterwork and not really do anything with it. I don’t think it’s the pianist at fault (Glenn Gould) … just wondering why Liszt bothered.
liszt transcription of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony Alegro-con-brio
And then Chopin gives his interpertation on Mozart.
First here’s Mozart’s La di darem la mano from Don Giovanni
la ci darem la mano
Then here are 4 variations Chopin composed for it. At least he did something with the theme! … played around a bit with it!
I read recently that Liszt has been a key inspiration to some of the heaviest heavy metal bands around! To portray ‘evil’, the devil and/or death itself seems to be the goal of a sub genre of heavy metal. To my ear – THIS is evil/death/devil done to perfection! Liszt can be ethereal, angelic and spiritual … or dredge up the spirit of dread. I mean if this isn’t the Devils’ theme song! Not surprisingly his life reflected this fascination with the seeming opposites of good and evil. **this is just the first few moments of a 16 minute plus piece ** *
PS – Totentanz:Dance of Death, also variously called Danse Macabre (French), Danza Macabra (Italian and Spanish) or Totentanz (German), is a late-medievalallegory on the universality of death: no matter one’s station in life, the dance of death unites all. La Danse Macabre consists of the personified death leading a row of dancing figures from all walks of life to the grave—typically with an emperor, king, pope, monk, youngster, beautiful girl, all skeletal. They were produced to remind people of how fragile their lives were and how vain the glories of earthly life were. Its origins are postulated from illustrated sermon texts; the earliest artistic examples are in a cemetery in Paris from 1424.
Totentanz by Franz Liszt
Franz starts off a bit bombastic, but then lead us into some truly Trancendent piano. The “climax” particularly (* this piece is part of what launched me on my Classical Music quest *)