The Liszt Rhapsody

adapted/arr. Karl Hitzemann

October 22, 2011 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Franz Liszt, famed composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, and teacher from the Romantic period. As we did with "The Chopin Etude" (Music K-8, Vol. 20, No. 4), to help you observe this event we have created a song called "The Liszt Rhapsody." The introduction hints at several of Liszt's famous works (they're each noted on the piano/vocal score), and the lyrics, set to another of his well-known pieces, give brief facts and details about his life. It's a great way to launch a unit on Liszt, and/or music from the Romantic period. Classroom teachers might also be interested in music like this when discussing various aspects of the 19th century.

Franz Liszt had a long and varied career. Among his many notable compositions are his 12 symphonic poems (Liszt developed this musical form), two completed piano concerti (manuscripts to what some believe is a third Liszt concerto were recently discovered), several sacred choral works, and a great variety of solo piano pieces. Liszt was very well-known for his piano playing ability, and his concerts received the kind of attention you see at pop concerts today. He was the first pianist to perform the most difficult pianistic compositions without reading the music. He was also the first pianist to place the piano so that the audience could admire his magnificent profile! His presence and dramatic playing made him an international star of the stage.

The accompaniment for this song is written for piano and strings. It features adapted and slightly simplified versions of his original works. You can use the instrumental track on the recording for this issue, or, if you have a pianist who is able to play the accompaniment, it would make for a very exciting "live" performance. Note that the recorded accompaniment is not performed at a set tempo, but it ebbs and flows where you would expect it to. Once you and your choir have heard it a few times, it will become very familiar.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.