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Thread: SS 30.06.18 - Liszt "Dante Symphony"

  1. #16
    Senior Member Haydn man's Avatar
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    0619DE62-3B91-416F-80A6-B08529FBB3EA.jpeg
    Found this version and will give it a try
    Listen to me when I'm talking to you boy!

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by realdealblues View Post
    Another weekend is here and another Symphony is up for your enjoyment. This week it's Hungarian composer Franz Liszt's Dante Symphony. There is some argument about it being a true symphony but such is life. I haven't heard this one in quite a while so I'm looking forward to giving it a spin.

    I'll be listening too:
    Attachment 105156
    Jesus Lopez-Cobos/L'Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
    Not one of the greatest of fans of this one but its the same (rather dusty) version for me too, RDB.

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  5. #18
    Senior Member Weird Heather's Avatar
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    I have the Berlin Philharmonic/Barenboim recording. I enjoy large, expansive orchestral pieces like this one. It is strange that Liszt is somewhat neglected these days, especially considering how influential he was in his day. Around the middle of the 20th Century, this wasn't the case - some of his compositions even found their way into the popular culture (i.e. in cartoons), and he was sufficiently well known for Spike Jones to parody his music. Nowadays, although recordings are widely available, Liszt doesn't seem to be performed as frequently in concerts as in earlier decades - I can't even remember the last time I heard any of his music live. The Dante Symphony might not be his greatest or most influential work (although it has its fans), but it would be impressive to hear it in concert. I hope the opportunity comes along one day.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    I’ve always had trouble with Liszt’s larger-scale orchestral works. They simply don’t hold my attention. So this time I tried a three-pronged approach: First, I listened to Barenboim and the Berliners on YouTube:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hko1TNkgUUE

    Second, I followed the story line by watching the Gustav Doré illustrations of The Divine Comedy that accompany Barenboim’s performance. Liszt himself planned early on to have performances accompanied by a “slide show” of such illustrations, though he later dropped the idea.

    Third, I followed the musical analysis in Wiki’s extensive entry on the symphony, which ties the various musical themes to the story line. There are lots of easy-to-follow score excerpts to help.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dante_Symphony

    So, page-hopping like crazy, I made it all the way through with my attention more or less intact. While this will probably never be my cup of tea, it’s easy to appreciate Liszt’s ambition and skill and the amount of work he must have put into the composition. At the same time, it seems more of a movie score than anything else, with little meaning or impact absent the story it tells. G.B. Shaw noted this, commenting that without the verbal description of what the work was “about”, it might as well describe the response to a house fire in London. He even supplied a fairly complete program for that in his book Bombardments!*

    It was fun hearing this, complete and attentively, for the first time. But I’m not real likely to do that again soon.

    *BTW you can get this very entertaining (and thick) book for a penny.

    https://www.amazon.com/Great-Compose...0654380&sr=1-1
    Last edited by KenOC; Jul-04-2018 at 06:20.


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  9. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weird Heather View Post
    Liszt doesn't seem to be performed as frequently in concerts as in earlier decades... The Dante Symphony might not be his greatest or most influential work, but it would be impressive to hear it in concert.
    You're right on the first statement. Other than the First Piano Concerto, his music rarely gets an outing. Les preludes, once so popular, is now on the fringes of the repertoire. The 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody I play and hear occasionally in one the various transcriptions.

    The 2nd statement: no, it doesn't make a better impression live. I heard it live a couple of years ago, and the only thing I remember about it was thinking, "good lord, will this ever end???". The Faust Symphony is much more interesting to hear live. I've enjoyed the Dante on record in the past, but I'm in no hurry to revisit it. I have Botstein, Conlon, Lopez-Cobos. But this one really plays the devil out of it:
    s-l500.jpg

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  11. #21
    Member Bill Cooke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbhaub View Post
    You're right on the first statement. Other than the First Piano Concerto, his music rarely gets an outing. Les preludes, once so popular, is now on the fringes of the repertoire. The 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody I play and hear occasionally in one the various transcriptions.

    The 2nd statement: no, it doesn't make a better impression live. I heard it live a couple of years ago, and the only thing I remember about it was thinking, "good lord, will this ever end???". The Faust Symphony is much more interesting to hear live. I've enjoyed the Dante on record in the past, but I'm in no hurry to revisit it. I have Botstein, Conlon, Lopez-Cobos. But this one really plays the devil out of it:
    s-l500.jpg
    Wow - sampled the opening of this recording on Spotify and immediately had to have it!

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  13. #22
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    I once posted my impressions about this Liszt symphony, coming at it with a literary approach rather than a purely musical one. I think Liszt well understood Dante's Commedia. At least that's what I suggest in the post:

    Current Listening Vol IV

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