Liszt, Solti 2022
This Week in Classical Music: October 17, 2022. Liszt, Solti and more. Of all the composers and musicians born this week, Franz Liszt is by far the most important. A great composer and, judging by the numerous ecstatic reviews left by his contemporaries, an even greater pianist, Liszt was born on October 22nd of 1811 in a small Hungarian village next to the border with Austria, both countries back then part of the Austrian Empire. We’ve written about Liszt many time and also published short articles on his piano cycle, Années de pèlerinage: Year One, Switzerland (Première année: Suisse), here, and Year Two, Italy (Deuxième année: Italie) here and Year Three, named just Troisième Année, here. Our library has about 250 different performances of Liszt’s works, many by young talented musicians, you can browse it here. Listen, for example, how 18-year-old Daniil Trifonov plays, live in concert, Liszt’s transcription of Schubert’s song Die Forelle.
Luca Marenzio, a fine composer of late Renaissance, was born on October 18th of 1553 or thereabouts in a village near Brescia. He served in courts of many notables – first, Cardinal Cristoforo Madruzzo; then, for a long time, Cardinal Luigi d’Este, son of Ercole II d’Este, Duke of Modena and Ferrara; then Cardinal Cinzio Aldobrandini, nephew of Pope Clement VIII; and finally, Ferdinando I de’ Medici, the Grand Duke of Tuscany. You can read more about Marenzio here. He was one of the finest madrigalists of his time; listen, for example, to this madrigal for four voices, Madonna, sua mercé, performed by the Mirandola Ensemble
Another Italian composer, Baldassare Galuppi, was also born on October 18th but a century and a half later, in 1706. During his lifetime he was famous for comic operas, which he wrote to the librettos by Carlo Goldoni. A Venetian, he spent time in European capitals, Vienna, St. Petersburg and London. One of his piano sonatas (no. 5 in C Major), which is often played in music schools, was made famous by Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli. He also wrote a fine mass, Messa di San Marco. Here’s the section Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris (Thou who sits at the right hand of the Father) performed by the Vocal Concert Dresden.
Finally, a round date: Georg Solti was born as György Stern into a Hungarian Jewish family on October 21st of 1912, 110 years ago, in Buda. One of the greatest symphonic and opera conductors of the 20th century, he led the Chicago Symphony from 1967 to 1991. Even though we have many samples of his art in our library, we’ve never written about him at length. We’ll do it soon, in the meantime, here’s Solti conducting Liszt: Le Preludes, in the 1992 live recoding from Salzburg, with the Chicago Symphony.
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