Franz Liszt: The Transcendental Etudes PAL
F. Liszt The Transcendental Études (S.139) complete audio and video recording by D.E. Okonsar.
The Etudes d'Execution Transcendente are fully original compositions, not transcriptions or arrangements. The series which makes the foundation on all piano music which has been composed afterwards, gets its final aspect in 1851.
As early as 1826, when he was fifteen, Liszt started "Etudes pour le piano-forte en 48 exercices dans tous les tons majeurs et mineurs". They are actually didactic exercises in the spirit of a Cramer or Czerny. Twelve of them were finished and published. In 1837 Liszt was in quest of expanding the piano technique to new territories and started to rework on this early attempt. He kept the initial thematic material and rewrote them including amazing and incredible new technical "tour de forces".
However it would be erroneous to see in this series of Etudes just a showcase for pianistic virtuosity display. The composer was then immersed into romantic poetry and literature. Many of the Etudes then got a suggestive title which refers to a piece of literature. As such, these Etudes are, according to Claude Rostand, "the first state of an embryo which will evolve into the core of the programme-music."
The tonal succession of the Etudes are remarkable too. They move as tonic, relative, sub-dominant. That makes a descending scale by thirds: C - A - F - D - B-flat ... a feature which is going to be seen in many of Wagner's "original" harmonic progressions.
Even though mostly heroic in character, the Transcendental Etudes (S.139) by Franz (Ferenc) Liszt cover the entire spectrum of feelings translated for the piano. They can be extremely delicate, tender, impressionist as well.
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