Friday, August 15, 2008

Hyphenated Names

There was a time with piano recital programs had many hyphenated names, like Wagner-Tausig, Beethoven-Liszt and Bach-Busoni. Even though we modern media types are used to hearing baroque music, even on ancient instruments, that wasn't the case in the late 19th century. Great musicians knew of Bach and his contributions, but how to share this music with an audience? The few harpsichords that survived were dilapidated antiques and the piano was considered better in every way so play baroque keyboard music on that. But, what about Bach's great organ works? There was no shortage of organists, but pianists wanted in on the act. It was Franz Liszt, the great transcriber that started the ball rolling by playing Bach's organ music in his concerts.

Later after an organ recital that the mother of one of Ferruccio Busoni's students suggested to the great pianist that he transcribe one of the works enjoyed during the concert for piano. Little did she know what she was starting. Now a days it is Busoni's transcriptions of Bach that are his most performed works.
The piano is the great imitator and can clip away harpsichord-like or fill a hall with its powerful bass like an organ, no wonder it is considered the universal instrument. On the Piano this Sunday Russian pianist Nikolai Demidenko plays the music of Bach through the transcriptions of Busoni and Liszt.

The Piano is heard Sunday afternoon at 5 on KPAC and KTXI.

host Randy Anderson

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