Magazine article Musical Opinion

Liszt Discovery Day

Magazine article Musical Opinion

Liszt Discovery Day

Article excerpt

Wigmore Hall

During the past dozen years or so, the Wigmore Hall has changed subtly with regard to the nature of some of the events one may encounter there, and the Liszt Discovery Day, held on October 8, marking - of course - the bicentenary of the master's birth, is one such innovation, of the kind one would not have seen at the Hall several decades ago.

If one man knows everything there is to know about Liszt's piano music, it is Leslie Howard, President of the Liszt Society, and he was the guiding force behind this remarkable exploration of some of the composer's lesser-known works: lesserknown, in the sense that - the Wigmore Hall being what it is, in terms of size -Liszt's output included just about every known genre (there is even one very early opera), it was that very rarely-heard chamber music, vocal music and music for piano duet occupied the entire day, the second Saturday in October, which was given over to the composer.

Rightly so, it was Dr Howard who opened proceedings with the first of three talks on Liszt - a sensible general introduction to those who may still harbour uncertainties with regard to this composer. What was so encouraging was the large turnout for this 'Discovery Day'. It was a very rare opportunity to hear some of Liszt's chamber music - for cello and piano, for violin and piano and for piano trio - more than well performed by Tristan Lee, piano; Joris van den Berg, cello and Eva Thorarinsdottir, violin. Rather than being completely new works for these various instrumental combinations, what we heard were effective recompositions -in some cases, doubtless extensive - of music more familiar in other guises, yet comprehensively imagined in the new formats as to reveal the music in fresh guises, La lugubre gondola especially. …

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