Frederic Chiu plays Liszt -
and ROBERT ANDERSON listens
'... magical sonorities and supersonic speeds ...'
Bursting its banks by the Danube in March 1838 and the disastrous flooding
of the low-lying right-bank city of Pest were major factors in Liszt's resuming
his staggering virtuoso career and the break with Marie d'Agoult, mother
of his three children, including the formidable Cosima, who was to stir
as much scandal as Marie and eventually dominate the sacred mount at Bayreuth.
While in Italy, Liszt gave recitals in Milan, where he never established
friendly contact with the inhabitants and was once asked to extemporise
on the subject of the railway station. But it was there he was inspired
by a Raphael in the Brera Gallery, The Marriage of the Virgin, to
write 'Sposalizio'. A sculpture was the source of 'Il penseroso', The
Thinker by Michelangelo, who ponders the tomb of Lorenzo de' Medici
in Florence. The contemplative and thoughtful piece shows Liszt at his most
serious and attractive [listen -- track 2, 1:38-2:56].
Copyright © 18 December 2002
Robert Anderson, London, UK