DESKTOP
TABLET (max. 1024px)
MOBILE (max. 640px)
Return to Top
Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

Weekend listening: Liszt piano transcriptions of Beethoven symphonies seeded by need to pay an artist

By John Terauds on May 19, 2012

The Beethoven monument, in Münsterplatz, Bonn.

So what, exactly, prompted Franz Liszt to transcribe Ludwig van Beethoven’s symphonies for the piano?

Alan Walker, Canadian Liszt expert and emeritus professor at McMaster Univerisity, suggested to the Miami International Piano Festival a few days ago that the seed came in a major financial commitment connected to Beethoven.

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds
The unveiling of the Beethoven monument on Aug. 12, 1845.

The pianistic rock star had, in 1839, offered to pay for the bulk of a monument to honour Beethoven’ 75th anniversary, in 1845. The only way he could afford it would be to give as many concerts as he possibly could.

In the aftermath of giving 1,000 concerts and recitals over the next seven years, Liszt became intensely focused on how to render as many symphonic colours and textures as he could on the piano — an instrument that was still evolving at the time. Liszt’s teacher Carl Czerny had already created transcriptions of the nine symphonies. But Liszt wanted to do more than just present a general summary of the music for two hands.

Walker’s hour-long lecture is laced with interesting insights into Liszt’s life and work. About 22-1/2 minutes in, the lecturer sets up a series of recorded comparisons between Beethoven’s orchestrations and Liszt’s transcriptions (not paraphrases, which are fantasies based on the original material).

The talk was a prelude to a massive recital at Miami’s Colony Theatre tomorrow (the festival’s website is not very helpful, but you can check here).

The talk is a great way to spend an hour, taking in a bit of history, lore as well as music.

As a prelude, here is Glenn Gould giving us the opening movement of the Fifth:

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds

John Terauds, the founder of Musical Toronto, is currently a Divinity student at University of Toronto and a church music director. He joined the Toronto Star in 1988, was the classical music critic from 2005 to 2012, and continues as a freelance critic for the paper. He is the co-author of Roy Thomson Hall: A Portrait, a book written with Toronto Star Colleague, William Littler.
John Terauds
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300
comments powered by Disqus

Ludwig Van Toronto

THE SCOOP | Ottawa’s Music and Beyond Baby Video Goes Viral

By Michael Vincent on January 9, 2018

Last week, Mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta and violist Marina Thibeault performed Brahms’ lullaby "Geistliches Wiegenlied" on stage in Ottawa while holding a seven-month-old baby. This is what happened.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_high_590x300

SCRUTINY | Salute to Vienna A Musical Welcome To 2018

By Joseph So on January 3, 2018

Toronto's Salute to Vienna tradition endures with popular opera/operetta arias, elegant waltzes and rousing polkas, elegant classical ballet, swanky ballroom dancing, and as many corny jokes from the maestro as one can bear. What’s not to love?
Read the full story Comments
Share this article

THE SCOOP | COC 2018-19 Season Features Big Names And A World Premiere

By Joseph So on January 17, 2018

Well, it’s not happening this year, folks! For whatever reason, we are back to a season announcement via a press release.
Read the full story Comments
Share this article
lv_toronto_banner_low_590x300
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700
lv_toronto_ssb_atf_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_high_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_mid_300x300
lv_toronto_ssb_low_300x300
lv_toronto_tsb_high_300x700
lv_toronto_tsb_low_300x700

We have detected that you are using an adblocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we earn by the advertisements is used to manage this website. Please whitelist our website in your adblocking plugin.