Monday, October 31, 2011

To the 200th anniversary of F.Liszt

This month I devoted myself to playing Liszt’s music and thinking of him as he was born in October, 200 years ago. I was glad to perform in France and Germany, where Liszt lived at various times and achieved so much as a musician.

It was so nice to be back in Angoulême, where I played in 2005 and 2006. The official pianos of the festival have been  provided and maintained by Mr.Gérard Fauvin. He looks and talks like a comedian (what a joyful character he's got!), and it's been always a pleasure to work with him.  He kindly wrote an article about me and my recital in his blog (in French).

I was also honored to play at the Hungarian Institut in Paris on the occasion of the Liszt anniversary, and even more honored to replace Mr.Georg Sava (a
Romanian pianist and professor at the Berlin Hans Eisler Music School) for the special concert on the birthday of Liszt in the Schloss Ribbeck!
Ribbeck is about 50km away from Berlin, and the concert was scheduled at 4pm, so I decided to make a day trip with a couple of friends by car. It was a lovely weather, and we enjoyed being in the beautiful and peaceful place!

Schloss Ribbeck

a tree colored by the sunshine, in front of the castle

On the 27th, I visited one of the most important cities for Liszt, Weimar, for the first time. I arrived Weimar at 1pm and took a train at 9:30 pm, so it was quite hectic but meaningful to me.

First I went to VillaAltenburg, where Liszt and Carolyne von Wittgenstein lived together between 1848 and 1860, and Liszt composed a number of his major works. It is also the place, where the « unreasonable agreement » was made between Carolyne and her husband, Russian officier, Prince Nicolas von Wittgenstein in 1852. (In my opinion, this occurrence must have provoked Liszt to compose « Ab Irato »)
It was inspiring to be in the room, where Liszt used to work and play the piano.  They were also exhibiting some valuable documents about Liszt such as manuscripts of his sketches. The Villa was open until 31st of October, so I was lucky to be there in time!

Then I visited Schlossmuseum, Schiller-Museum and Liszt Haus. The Shlossmuseum had an exhibition of antique pianos from 18th, 19th century) and the Schiller Museum had a wonderful exhibition of Liszt. I thought that by visiting this exhibition anyone could understand Liszt's life and appreciate how great he was . I was specially fascinated to see all the gifts that Liszt was offered after giving concerts. As I had read the stories in his biography, I recognized some of them (medals, jewelry, often sculptures of Liszt's face!).

Taken in front of the Schlossmuseum
Liszt house was a revelation to me; the size is even less than half of Altenburg, and apparently he used only the upper floor (he lived partly between 1869 and 1886). Everything seemed so simple and it confirmed that Liszt was a humble man. There was his piano (Bechstein), and they do occasionally concerts, but sadly I was not allowed to play on it. 

I then ran to the Musikhochschule to hear the second round of the Liszt Piano Competition. I heard three pianists who played different programs and showed individual interpretation of works by Liszt, Haydn and Michael Jarrell (commissioned piece).

I was fulfilled with my day and took the train, then I realized I made a big mistake...

I left the big poster of Liszt portrait in a Turkish fast food restaurant! 

 (- -') sigh...