BBC Music Magazine
A guide to the complete Liszt
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of 48 discs proved to be wildly wrong, not least because while Howard embarked on recording the known Liszt works, more unpublished pieces, drafts and alternative versions were coming to light.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.