for the piano #2: Beethoven vs. Liszt vs. Schumann

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The one ring to rule them all vs. the baddest man on the planet vs. the vicious uppercut you never saw coming

Poll Results

OptionVotes
Beethoven 14
Schumann 6
Liszt 4


five gone cats from Boston (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:21 (eight years ago) link

l i s z t

nakhchivan, Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:26 (eight years ago) link

then beethoven, for the last half-dozen sonatas and last three especially

schumann does aching lament and unbridled joy best of all

nakhchivan, Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:28 (eight years ago) link

I want to put liszt over all. what a fucking badass. but those late ones from beethoven like all late beethoven are like listening to God talking to Himself.

five gone cats from Boston (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:31 (eight years ago) link

Beethoven, this is a fucking no-brainer.

Matt DC, Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:33 (eight years ago) link

it is not a no-brainer

I'm probably voting Beethoven but both of these cats are in his company on the piano

five gone cats from Boston (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:34 (eight years ago) link

Okay that might have been harsh on Liszt. But it's still Beethoven.

Matt DC, Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:37 (eight years ago) link

those late ones from beethoven like all late beethoven are like listening to God talking to Himself.

― five gone cats from Boston (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:31 (6 minutes ago)

the one true god is a german god eh

nakhchivan, Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:38 (eight years ago) link

Schumann definitely had the worst hair. Liszt had the most fun.

Tom D (Tom D.), Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:38 (eight years ago) link

the one true god is a german god eh

I don't like it any better than you do but everybody knows what time it is when Beethoven shows up

five gone cats from Boston (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:40 (eight years ago) link

http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1490000/images/_1491963_ginola_300.jpg

Matt DC, Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:43 (eight years ago) link

Careful now, ladies (xp)

Tom D (Tom D.), Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:43 (eight years ago) link

Schumann

Le mépris vient de la tête, la haine vient du cœur (Michael White), Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:44 (eight years ago) link

give me a piano and Beethoven's sonata book on the desert island and I'd be happy.

skip, Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:44 (eight years ago) link

Feel kinda sorry for Bobby Schumann here, he might get a lot of sympathy votes

Tom D (Tom D.), Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:45 (eight years ago) link

a german god ~would~ probably spend a lot of time talking to themselves, wandering around endless celestial forests wearing a spiked prussian helmet and thinking up sonorous proclamations

nakhchivan, Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:46 (eight years ago) link

http://meganolan.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/pet_blog_2_8.jpg

am0n, Thursday, 3 March 2011 15:57 (eight years ago) link

These three plus Schubert are forever neck and neck for me. This is about as far from a no-brainer as it gets. Each one brings such a distinct brand of fire, too.

Beethoven = music as its own form of speech, free of semantic meaning yet filled with rhetoric, logical leaps, paradox, mockery. The orator of sound, never surpassed.

Schubert = to quote Einstein "something we don't understand is doing we don't know what". And to quote Jon Anderson "mountains come down from the sky and they stand there." Where did this sphinx shit COME from? The inscrutable truth.

Liszt = Prometheus + Coltrane. Of all these composers, the most utterly dependent on the imagination and soul of the pianist performing him. Also the one out of these four who you could swear is STILL ALIVE TODAY, the way this sort of energy field called Liszt can still reach across a century and vibrate the antennae of the receptive pianist or listener. He is a spell.

Schumann = the only Romantic whose cunning in music matched up to the literary tricksiness of the Romantic writers. The only 19c composer who I just could not fully appreciate until reading scholarly shit about. Schumann's piano music has the epiphany juice of a slim volume of Calvino shorts. But would I think so highly of him in a vacuum without reading the analysis? I don't know!

every man and woman is a sitar (Jon Lewis), Thursday, 3 March 2011 19:12 (eight years ago) link

what a great post!!!

five gone cats from Boston (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Thursday, 3 March 2011 19:45 (eight years ago) link

would do a lieder poll Schubert vs. Mahler vs. Brahms but in my experience Winterreise partisans might actually hunt down & kill anybody who voted for Mahler or Brahms, and not without reason

five gone cats from Boston (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Thursday, 3 March 2011 19:47 (eight years ago) link

yeah i'd vote any of these 3 over all the guys in the other polls

ciderpress, Thursday, 3 March 2011 19:47 (eight years ago) link

haaa at Liszt = Prometheus + Coltrane. that's great.

tylerw, Thursday, 3 March 2011 19:47 (eight years ago) link

ciderpress you'd vote Schumann over Chopin AND Debussy AND Ravel?

five gone cats from Boston (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Thursday, 3 March 2011 19:51 (eight years ago) link

tyler re: the coltrane part I was thinking of the dozens of epic-length 'operatic fantasies' Liszt composed for piano, wherein he basically does to the music of famous 19th century operas what great jazzmen do to showtunes, cosmic sheets of sound very much included. The Don Giovanni, Norma, Rigoletto, and Lucia fantasies are especially killer.

every man and woman is a sitar (Jon Lewis), Thursday, 3 March 2011 20:59 (eight years ago) link

You can tell they're things he improvised live a bunch of times and then noted down.

every man and woman is a sitar (Jon Lewis), Thursday, 3 March 2011 21:00 (eight years ago) link

yeah totally! I liked that description.

tylerw, Thursday, 3 March 2011 22:05 (eight years ago) link

xp oh i guess not... i think i just see 'beethoven' and 'lizst' written in one place and my brain goes into hyperbole mode

ciderpress, Thursday, 3 March 2011 22:31 (eight years ago) link

liszt

ciderpress, Thursday, 3 March 2011 22:32 (eight years ago) link

i can spell

ciderpress, Thursday, 3 March 2011 22:32 (eight years ago) link

Schumann, because I know his music best, and because he's the only one whose shirt I have

Dominique, Thursday, 3 March 2011 22:49 (eight years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Monday, 7 March 2011 00:01 (eight years ago) link

Abstain, I love these three composers for very different reasons.
I listen to the most Liszt, but play him the least

Odult Ariented Rock (Ówen P.), Monday, 7 March 2011 00:51 (eight years ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Tuesday, 8 March 2011 00:01 (eight years ago) link

this is pretty funny
www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=302

tylerw, Thursday, 17 March 2011 21:02 (eight years ago) link

three years pass...

pasted from noise board

I do love Liszt right now, just exclusively listening to some of his late piano pieces, circa 1881-86. The mood is almost all somber, mysterious or introspective -- and paying attention to the writing, is ahead of its time. The style most reminds me of Satie, using a kind of harmony that neither functions to do anything in particular (like resolving from one chord to another), or suggests a key/mode. Liszt appears to have been writing music where the notes involved were just that -- notes, to serve "pure" music, and in turn "pure" expressionism (or abstract expressionism, as in the case of painters doing the same thing with imagery and color in the 40s-50s). Lots of composers did this in music later, most notably Schoenberg and Stravinsky, though taking it further than Liszt did.

I just got a book on his late life, and expect I will branch out into other pieces from him soon.

Dominique, Thursday, 17 April 2014 19:18 (five years ago) link

lol and my response also pasted from noise borad

I would say the best flip side to the late piano works are the piano fantasias on opera themes. Especially try the Don Juan, Norma, and Les Huegenots ones.

Do the recordings of the late stuff you are listening to have the four Valses Oubliees? I am obsessed with these, they're as strange and surreal as Nuages Gris but in a chipper vein.

hundreds-swarm-dinkytown (Jon Lewis), Thursday, 17 April 2014 19:31 (five years ago) link

I don't think so, but am also noticing a lot of his pieces are retitled, or arranged to piano from songs or other pieces. This record is http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/al.asp?al=CDA66445

Dominique, Thursday, 17 April 2014 19:42 (five years ago) link

no it does not, listening to the mephisto waltz no.1 now, and haven't heard before. Yeah, this is pretty awesome -- spritely! But just from the opening, you can tell this isn't music based on tonality, at least exclusively.

Dominique, Thursday, 17 April 2014 19:56 (five years ago) link

Try mephisto 3 and valse oubliee 3. They are in volume one of the Hyperion series.

hundreds-swarm-dinkytown (Jon Lewis), Thursday, 17 April 2014 20:08 (five years ago) link

four months pass...

xelab mentioned the boulez/barenboim edition of the liszt piano concertos in another thread

for whatever reason i completed missed this but it is excellent and also includes a relatively rare recording (certainly rare by the standards of yr barenboim types) of one of the valses oublieés

Nothing less than the Spirit of the Age (nakhchivan), Saturday, 30 August 2014 23:35 (five years ago) link

Errr I never heard of this either. This is a new recording on DG or somesuch?

This would be the only example I know of boulez conducting liszt other than live captures of him doing the Legend of St Elizabeth oratorio during his ny Phil tenure...

Which oubliee? Would love if you said #3.

before you die you see the rink (Jon Lewis), Sunday, 31 August 2014 00:35 (five years ago) link

The latest cliched piano classic I've been rediscovering through my daughter is the Moonlight Sonata, so amazing.

'arry Goldman (Hurting 2), Sunday, 31 August 2014 01:57 (five years ago) link

'A flower between two abysses' said someone or other

before you die you see the rink (Jon Lewis), Sunday, 31 August 2014 02:51 (five years ago) link

Hard piece to make tell. My favorite by far is rudolf serkin for that.

before you die you see the rink (Jon Lewis), Sunday, 31 August 2014 02:52 (five years ago) link

apparently lizst said that

'arry Goldman (Hurting 2), Sunday, 31 August 2014 02:55 (five years ago) link

I'm giving the Barenboim 8/14/23 on EMI a first listen now, great so far.

'arry Goldman (Hurting 2), Tuesday, 2 September 2014 15:33 (five years ago) link

here's a neat thing about that sonata: beethoven's pedal markings for the first movement are pretty much unplayable with the overtone-rich long-toned modern concert grand. He indicated that the sustain pedal should be depressed pretty much the whole movement. On a modern piano this results in a total mess. But on a historical fortepiano you can follow his pedal indications and it sounds really cool. Look up Malcolm Bilson's recording.

before you die you see the rink (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 2 September 2014 15:45 (five years ago) link

My favorite discs of the big name beethoven sonatas are the R Serkin and Ivan Moravec ones. Both of them play those three. They are pretty much polar opposites style wise: gruff, craggy, rhetorical vs pearlescent, sparkling, almost hypnagogic clarity

before you die you see the rink (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 2 September 2014 15:48 (five years ago) link

one month passes...

http://i.imgur.com/3r5ZgWu.jpg

this is highly recommended

the final twilight of all evaluative standpoints (nakhchivan), Tuesday, 21 October 2014 00:01 (four years ago) link

I'm going to finally have a decent pair of speakers in my office as of tomorrow, I'll keep an eye out for that Liszt disc

The Complainte of Ray Tabano, Tuesday, 21 October 2014 01:09 (four years ago) link

That is one of the great 'mixtape' style liszt recitals. See also the disc arnaldo Cohen recorded as volume 1 in Naxos complete Liszt series.

a drug by the name of WORLD WITHOUT END (Jon Lewis), Tuesday, 21 October 2014 12:54 (four years ago) link

jon i dont think i heard this before but the cohen album is indeed excllent

the final twilight of all evaluative standpoints (nakhchivan), Friday, 24 October 2014 04:26 (four years ago) link

Yup. Such a cool mix of the demonic-fiery and the demonic-twilit. Cohen is or was last time I checked the chairman of the British liszt society

a drug by the name of WORLD WITHOUT END (Jon Lewis), Friday, 24 October 2014 15:18 (four years ago) link

three months pass...

I'm inclined to agree with András Schiff when he describes the second movement of this as one of the wonders of mankind.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccyHT1sFmsg

Freedom, Friday, 6 February 2015 10:56 (four years ago) link

Yep there are a good dozen movements from late beethoven that I have to write off as miracles (current fave: the concluding fugue mvmt of op 110)

I've never found a wholly satisfying recording of op. 111/i. I largely think the Schnabel quote about the sonatas being too great to be performed is bs but maybe it applies to this mvmt. There's def some kind of 'haptic gap' thing going on, the pianist's performance and my experience as a listener always fall short of what I can sense is really going on.

a drug by the name of WORLD WITHOUT END (Jon Lewis), Friday, 6 February 2015 23:20 (four years ago) link

two years pass...

listening to Eric La Sage's recording of some of the later-era Schumann music for the yutes (die jugend) -- not sure I will ever get tired of this stuff. Schumann has a favorite phrasing, almost like a 2 bar joke, followed by a 2 bar punchline, which for whatever reason, didn't hit me on the head until today. Now, I hear it all over his music, and although that kind of rigid symmetry could be annoying, with him, it's a very comfy up-down-up-down.

Dominique, Wednesday, 8 November 2017 16:33 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

might start figuring out what the deal is w/ schumann

j., Tuesday, 10 September 2019 18:24 (one week ago) link

Leif Ove Andsnes's EMI disc with the 1st Piano Sonata and the Fantasie did it for me. Especially the latter.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 20:00 (one week ago) link

Highly highly recommend reading the Schumann parts of Charles Rosen’s The Romantic Generation, never has writing about music unlocked a specific composer so well for me

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 10 September 2019 22:49 (one week ago) link

Beethoven has too many stone-cold classic piano moments to be denied, his best work is head-and-shoulders above the other two composers. That said, there is A LOT of it, and a lot of it just doesn't float my boat. The most annoying thing he does is when he goes V-I! V-I! V-I-V-I-V-I! and other variants of a similar aesthetic, this kind of over-insistence; this is what keeps me from truly adoring this composer. I love Waldstein, though.

Liszt I'm not especially familiar with, the piano pieces I know are somewhat trifling in an appealing way, or saccharine in quality. I don't know the major works at all and I'd be interested in recommendations.

Schumann is very, very curious indeed. I play Fantasiestucke at home pretty regularly, and I'm taken aback at how the most marvellous writing can suddenly detour into bizarre babbling. "Aufschwung" in particular has the greatest first two pages in the piano repertoire and then the most banal B-section I could imagine, which trails off into this over-long sinister bore of a section that I have always attributed to "this is where the composer got drunk".

Chopin mops the floor with all three of these guys, he is the greatest of all the piano composers and there is no disputing it. I would even tentatively rate Ives higher than Beethoven for Concord alone, it's my favourite piano piece of all time, except for the fact that it is unapproachably difficult (at least, to me).

flamboyant goon tie included, Tuesday, 10 September 2019 23:05 (one week ago) link

Liszt I'm not especially familiar with, the piano pieces I know are somewhat trifling in an appealing way, or saccharine in quality. I don't know the major works at all and I'd be interested in recommendations.

The late pieces are where it's at. Cédric Tiberghien's Années de pèlerinage, troisième année & other late works, which came out earlier this year, makes for a solid primer, but my single most cherished Liszt piano recital may well be Krystian Zimerman's for DG, featuring the Piano Sonata, Nuages gris, La lugubre gondola, Funérailles and La notte.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 11 September 2019 09:51 (one week ago) link


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