Joy­ful dis­cov­er­ies

A guide to the com­plete Liszt

BBC Music Magazine - - Leslie Howard -

When Leslie Howard be­gan his Liszt project in Oc­to­ber 1985, record­ing a disc of waltzes, he had lit­tle idea quite what a mam­moth un­der­tak­ing it would be­come. An ini­tial es­ti­mate of 48 discs proved to be wildly wrong, not least be­cause while Howard em­barked on record­ing the known Liszt works, more un­pub­lished pieces, drafts and al­ter­na­tive ver­sions were com­ing to light. By the time the project drew to a close in 1999, the tally was at 94 CDS and a bonus CD sin­gle. Then enough ma­te­rial for four fur­ther discs, ti­tled ‘new dis­cov­er­ies’, was found, in­clud­ing the 1848 Zige­uner-epos, three early drafts of the Troisième an­née de pè­leri­nage and the Con­certo sans or­chestre, which be­came the Se­cond Pi­ano Con­certo. These were in­cluded in the com­pre­hen­sive box-set re­leased in 2011, fea­tur­ing all 7,255 min­utes and 52 sec­onds of Liszt’s pi­ano mu­sic. And then… more! In 2017, Howard recorded his Liszt voy­age’s 100th disc, which has been re­leased this Septem­ber. It of­fers ‘first thoughts, al­ter­na­tive ver­sions and lost works’, in­clud­ing a sub­stan­tially dif­fer­ent first draft of the first Hun­gar­ian Rhap­sody.

On the long-liszt: the Hun­gar­ian was a pro­lific com­poser

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