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The Liszt Bicentennial Project

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In 2012, Mr. Salman celebrated the Liszt Bicentennial with five recitals in Seattle, as well as single recitals in a number of other cities.

In honor of Liszt’s 200th birthday and his legacy to the music world, Mark Salman offered programs of works by Liszt ,as well as composers who influenced him or were influenced by him. In homage to Liszt’s efforts to disseminate music throughout Europe through his extensive concert tours, Mr. Salman in particular performed in small to medium sized cities where audiences rarely have the opportunity to hear the great solo piano repertoire in live recitals. To draw attention to Liszt’s own charitable work, some recitals were dedicated as partial benefits for a local cause or charity.

Franz Liszt was one of the pivotal figures of the 19th century. His extraordinary range of accomplishments has never been fully understood or appreciated even up to the present day. The composer of over 1000 works in all genres, the originator of modern piano technique, the inventor of the solo piano recital, one of the principal contributors to modern conducting technique, he was the most audacious, innovative, original and radical composer of his day. His works, more than those of any other composer, lead directly into the 20th century.

Liszt is still considered the greatest pianist in history, performing more than 1000 concerts from one end of Europe to the other, from Portugal to Ireland, to Moscow, and as far afield as Constantinople. He was also an extraordinary human being, performing only for charity for the last 40 years of his life. He regularly used his immense fame and prestige to help less well-known composers and through his master classes taught hundreds of the next generation of young pianists for free.

Program I – Liszt’s Origins

Friday, January 27, 2012

Featuring: Beethoven’s “Hammerklavier” Sonata; Schubert’s “Wanderer” Fantasy; Harmonies poétiques et religieuses (1834)

A program of works that influenced and inspired Liszt in his early artistic development during the 1820's, including the work in which Beethoven exploded all previous musical conventions, the "Hammerklavier" Sonata, and Schubert's "Wanderer" Fantasy, one of the first examples of the new romantic instrumental virtuosity. Also on the program will be Liszt's early "Harmonies poétiques et religieuses" , an improvisatory and poetic work from 1834 which begins and ends in no key.

Program II – Liszt’s Virtuoso Years


Sunday, February 12, 2012

A concert organized in the style of a performance from the 1840s, featuring: “Malediction” Concerto, with Seattle Conservatory Young Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra; the “Norma” Fantasy; “Dante” Sonata; and other works.

From 1838 until 1847, Liszt toured constantly throughout Europe, setting the precedent for the modern concert career. The typical concert of the 1830s and 40s was something of a variety show, often featuring an orchestra, assisting artists performing solos, and even dramatic recitations, as well as the featured performer. The atmosphere was informal, with the artists mixing with the audience between pieces and often speaking to the audience. Liszt gradually moved away from this type of program over the course of his tours, doing away with assisting artists and inventing the solo recital, though the informal nature of the artist’s interaction with the public lasted through the later 19th century.

Program III – Liszt’s Weimar Period


Friday, March 2, 2012

Featuring: B Minor Sonata; Scherzo and March; Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen Variations; Funérailles.

In 1848, Liszt retired from concert touring and settled in Weimar, Germany, building it into one of Europe's cultural centers. As director of the court orchestra, he promoted many new works by the great composers of the day that would otherwise have not been heard. During his 12 years in the city, he composed many of his greatest works.

Program IV – Liszt and the 20th Century


Friday, April 6, 2012


Featuring: Unusual late works by Liszt; Busoni's “Fantasia Contrapuntistica”; and Schoenberg

Consistently throughout his life, Liszt was the most experimental composer of his time. In his final works, he breaks from traditional tonality, anticipating composers of the 20th century both harmonically and in their harsh emotional world. The program features a number of these works, as well as pieces influenced by Liszt - Busoni's rarely heard Fantasia Contrapuntistica and Schoenberg.

Program V – Liszt Encore


Friday May 4, Seattle, WA

Sunday May 6, Bellingham, WA

Featuring: the complete Transcendental Etudes

The greatest pianist of his day, Liszt explored every facet of the instrument's capability, developing virtually every technique exploited by later composers. A landmark in the history of pianism, The Transcendental Etudes sum up Liszt's achievements in inventing modern piano technique. Rarely heard as a set, the twelve pieces make up an incredibly diverse, dramatic and poetic single work, transcendent in their emotional scope as well as their difficulty.

liszt in his 20s - b&w.jpg
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