This month KZN audiences can enjoy Christopher Duigan performing a programme of music by the ultimate piano virtuoso, Franz Liszt (1811-86). Duigan’s programme includes a stellar selection of celebrated and dazzling compositions, including the popular Liebestraum, La campanella, Hungarian Rhapsody No 2, and Un sospiro, in a thrilling introduction to the life and music of the great Hungarian composer.
As regular Music Revival audiences will know, Duigan customarily laces his programmes with interesting anecdotal and factual content: ““As an 11-year old boy, Liszt was said to have received a 'kiss' of acknowledgement from Beethoven in Vienna. He was inspired by his contemporary, the French composer Hector Berlioz, to create a world of musical fantasy, and the Italian violin virtuoso Nicola Paganini urged him to dazzle with 'devilish technique', while his Polish associate Fredrik Chopin encouraged him to seduce the hearts and souls of his audiences with poetry for the piano.”
“Liszt took minor religious orders in later life, partially fulfilling his dream of becoming a priest. He rewrote major orchestral works including the nine symphonies of Beethoven for solo piano, and is said to have played them more effectively than any orchestra. He invented the 'piano recital' and established many of the norms of the concert experience still practiced to this day. This includes pianists playing the compositions of others from memory and turning the piano 'side-on' to the audience to enhance the acoustic propulsion of the piano. Apparently this was also so audiences could admire his noble profile. His concerts were a series of public triumphs, and he swept all of Europe before him (including touring Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Russia, England, France, Austria and Turkey) before retiring from concert life, aged 36. When asked why he hadn’t written the story of his life, Liszt famously replied, ‘Because I was too busy living it’”.
Duigan’s Liszt recital itinerary includes performances in a number of venues, including among others: Grace Hall, Ashton International College, Albertina Way in Ballito on Wednesday 22 August at 7pm; the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg on Sunday 26 August at 3pm; and St Agnes Church in Kloof on Tuesday 28 August at 7.30pm. Book at firstname.lastname@example.org or 083 417 4473 (SMS or WhatsApp preferred).