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The Life and Works of Franz Liszt  By  cover art

The Life and Works of Franz Liszt

By: Jeremy Siepmann
Narrated by: Jeremy Siepmann,Neville Jason,David Timson,Elaine Claxton,Laura Paton,Raphael Clarkson
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Publisher's summary

The life of Franz Liszt was as daring and spectacular as his music. Famed throughout Europe as the greatest pianist of the 19th century, he was one of the most original and prophetic composers who ever lived. Beautiful in youth, glowering in age, his high-profile love affairs were the talk of the town wherever he went and his generosity to young musicians was legendary. In this account of his epic life, actors’ readings combine with plentiful musical excerpts to paint a living portrait of a highly complex man.

The greatest surprise in this audio-biography of Franz Liszt is that, despite his reputation as a lion of the keyboard and one of the hugely popular superstars of his era, he was, in fact, a steady personality. As Jeremy Siepmann shows, for all Liszt’s pyrotechnics on the keyboard, and itinerant life, he did not succumb uninhibitedly to the temptations of his environment. There existed a deeply reflective strain within him, which is why and how he eventually transformed his public persona from the fabulous virtuoso to Abbé Liszt - as can be experienced in the readings from his letters and memories by Neville Jason.

©2003 Naxos AudioBooks (P)2003 Naxos AudioBooks

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Whetting Appetites for More

Those who find this introduction superficial may also find Alan Walker’s three-volume biography glib. Siepman is not trying to capture the ocean in a phial. But even a drop of ocean water reveals the whole, and this wonderfully observed, written and performed introduction to one if the towering personalities in music and world history satisfies because it gives us a glimpse of the whole while whetting our appetite for more. The music is well-chosen and beautifully played (Siepman identifies Myra Hess and Rachmaninov, if not other performers). Worthy of Liszt.

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Liszt

When I studied piano, I was always intimidated by the works of Liszt. My hands weren't big enough or strong enough to play such music. certainly a genius but I was right. I had long skinny piano fingers that would trip lightly over the keys.

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Medicore

. . . at best. Rather facile biographical details and little to no explication of the several Liszt musical works. Historically a bit shaky on facts (Beethoven's complimenting Liszt as a pianist after hearing a piece or two; Beethoven was entirely deaf by the time he 'might' have heard Liszt) often.

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