Friday, March 30, 2012

I can top that…

In a world of superlatives it is easy to get caught up in a race for the best, the most extreme or when it comes to piano music; what is the most difficult to play.

Franz Liszt threw down the gauntlet with his compositions during his virtuoso years. His opera paraphrases are so difficult that most pianists that play Liszt ignore them and that is understandable, as they were always meant for a minority with the technical equipment and bravura to make them musical. When Liszt toured Russia the pianists in the audience found a new model and it wasn't long before they were striving to out Liszt, Liszt.

On the Piano this Sunday three knucklebusting pieces that have a common thread. First Liszt's Reminiscences of Don Juan, using themes from Don Giovanni of Mozart as a starting point and then whipping the pianist, the piano and audience into a frenzy. This work inspired Mily Balakirev to surpass these technical demands with his Islamey - Oriental Rhapsody and finally Maurice Ravel was looking to top that and most concede he did with this Gaspard de la Nuit.

Hear Ne plus ultra in music that stretches the bounds of what is possible on the Piano this Sunday afternoon at 5 on KPAC and KTXI.

host, Randy Anderson

1 comment:

paul said...

i'd guess ravel had the longest fingers