Yesterday I mentioned that it was Franz Liszt who invented the solo piano recital, and that the frenzied reactions of Liszt’s audiences became known as “Lisztomania,” or “Liszt fever.” But I don’t want you have the impression that Liszt’s recitals were all virtuoso flash and little substance. Liszt had an enormous repertoire—he certainly played his own showpieces, but he also played pieces by all the great composers of the day and by those he called the “classics,” including many works of Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. And by all accounts he played these pieces wonderfully. Felix Mendelssohn, for example, once said, “I have never seen a musician whose feeling for music filled him to the very finger-tips and flowed directly out from them, as it does with Liszt.”
And even Johannes Brahms, whose own style of piano playing was apparently the polar opposite of Liszt’s, was once heard to say, “Whoever has not heard Liszt cannot even speak of piano playing.”
This has been A Minute with Miles – a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.