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Liszt - Fantasy On Motifs From Beethoven's Ruins Of Athens

February 24, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 183

Liszt was a tireless champion of Beethoven and his music. He was the first pianist to play the late piano sonatas, he gave a series of concerts where all the proceeds went to the cost to erect the Beethoven commemorative statue in Beethoven's birthplace of Bonn. The Ruins Of Athens Fantasy on the incidental music Beethoven wrote for the play of the same name by playwright August von Kotzebue. Beethoven's work was written in 1811 in Pest, Hungary for the dedication of a new theater there.

Beethoven's original music was comprised of eleven musical numbers for the play The Ruins Of Athens by August von Kotzebue. Liszt uses three of these numbers for his fantasy. Liszt wrote three versions of this fantasy; for piano solo, for two pianos, and for piano and orchestra.

Liszt begins the fantasy with an introduction that uses material from a March and Chorus section from the original music. The introduction is for orchestra only, and is brief. The second part begins with the solo piano loudly making an entrance and the theme of the first part is replaced by the whirling dervish music of the original. After the initial statement of this theme, the orchestra joins the piano. The third part is the Turkish March taken from the original. It is slowly introduced by piano and various instruments before it is given full voice. There is a short return of the preceding themes, and the work ends.

Liszt was one of the best sight-readers ever known. He could take a piece of music he had never seen and play it perfectly at sight. He could reduce orchestra scores to the essence of the music and play them at the piano. Liszt's first playing of a new piece of music was usually the most faithful to the printed notes. After that, he was forever tinkering with other composer's music as well as his own. This musical tinkering no doubt lead to his many transcriptions, and lead to things like the Ruins Of Athens Fantasy. But it also must be remembered that piano versions of great works were sometimes what made the work well known. The expense of an orchestra has always been great, no less so in Liszt's time, and to be able to hear a new orchestral work was a luxury many listeners did not have. Liszt himself made Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique more well known when he would play his piano solo version of it in recital. As it had been many years since Beethoven's original music had been heard, Liszt no doubt wanted to expose the listener to what he considered some of the best parts of it. Liszt was a man inspired by other composers music in many ways. The use of another composer's tunes can be a sign of respect, and with Liszt's known regard for Beethoven's music, he no doubt thought the same.

Visit Musical Musings for thoughts and impressions about musicians, composers and their music. http://muswrite.blogspot.com/

Source: EzineArticles
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