Liszt's Greatest Works
Piano virtuoso who redefined keyboard music while developing new genres such as the symphonic poem.
(1811 - 1886)
Etudes d'exécution transcendante Nos 1-12
Dazzling compendium of keyboard techniques that pushed contemporary pianos and pianists to the limit, although such evocative titles as 'Vision' were added later.
Hungarian Rhapsodies Nos 1-19
Gripping miniature melodramas, featuring exuberant emulations of the cimbalom, 'rubato' violins, and the driving, syncopated rhythms of gypsy music.
Hungarian Rhapsodies Nos 1-6
Hugely popular orchestral transcriptions of Liszt's keyboard miniatures. By the end of his life he had grown so weary of them that he forbade his pupils to play them to him.
La lugubre gondola
Deeply introspective piano work that started out as a premonition of his son-in-law Richard Wagner's death and became a memorial following the composer's demise just a few months later.
Mephisto Waltz No.1
Piano showpiece in which a bored Mephisto seizes a violin, plays havoc with the local band's bland waltz tune, and encourages the assembled to indulge in a ravenous orgy.
Piano Sonata in B minor
Epic Romantic sonata in which introspective passages of exquisite refinement are contrasted with outbursts of coruscating technical bravura.
A Faust Symphony
Initially drafted in just two months but drastically revised over the following six years, Liszt chose to portray Goethe's Faust as a burnt-out scholar compelled to feast on carnal pleasures.
Piano Concerto No.1
Technically demanding concerto that welds piano and orchestra together in a dramatic series of meditations on a theme of which Liszt enigmatically declared 'None of you understands!'
Piano Concerto No.2
Cast as a single continuous structure, Liszt's 'Concerto symphonique' is a sequence of magical transformations of the same musical motif.
Horrific scenes during the Paris cholera epidemic of 1832 inspired Liszt to use the Dies Irae chant in a number of works, most notably the Totentanz for piano and orchestra.