30 Nov 2019

History through the Piano: Chopin and Liszt - The Romantics

From The Sunday Feature, 7:00 pm on 30 November 2019

piano Photo: Creative Commons

In this series of History through the Piano John Drummond looks at famous pieces of piano music as windows into the world in which they were created. A composer cannot help but reflect the world he lives in, his understanding of life, his values and his beliefs.

This episode features two Romantic works. They are both night-pieces: Chopin’s Nocturne in E flat Op 9 No 2 and Liszt’s Liebestraum No 3 in A flat, each piece composed by a virtuoso pianist who knew how to work with the exciting sonorities of the latest developments in piano technology.  

These two night pieces show us that composers and listeners in the nineteenth century valued music for its ability to engage our inner selves. In both of them, music stimulates our imaginations to engage with what Keats called ‘the holiness of the heart’s affections’. This isn’t a music of ideas, but a music of feelings. In the Chopin Nocturne night falls and we lose our sense of time and space, being carried along on a stream of melody which draws us to itself. In the Liszt Liebestraum the musical sounds expand to fill and transform our sense of what is possible.

Music Details:

CHOPIN: Nocturne in E flat Op 9 No 2 - Pascal Amoyel - Calliope CAL 93512

LISZT: O lieb so lang du lieben kannst - Diana Damrau & Helmut Deutsch - Virgin 0 709 28

LISZT: Liebestraum No 3 - Jean-Yves Thibaudet - Dal Segno DSPRCD 061

Franz Liszt

Franz Liszt Photo: Wilhelm von Kaulbach, Public Domain

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