Liszt’s reputation as the supreme pianist of the 19th century, and possibly of all time, has overshadowed many of his other achievements. It is less known, for example, that Liszt both championed the music of other composers and transcribed their works for the piano. Among his vast output in this area are notable transcriptions of Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony, Schubert’s lieder, Rossini’s Overture to William Tell, and excerpts from Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique.
After Liszt’s retirement from the concert stage in 1847, his attention turned increasingly to composition. His admiration for the music of Richard Wagner led him to promote Wagner’s operas as well as to compose piano transcriptions from many of them. The present volume presents all fifteen of these compositions, dating from 1848 to 1882. Full of familiar melody and brilliant pianism, they are masterful transformations of Wagner’s great opera themes into unforgettable music for the piano. The compositions included Fantasy on Themes from Rienzi; Spinning Chorus from The Flying Dutchman; Overture to Tannhäuser; Recitative and Romance “Evening Star” from Tannhäuser; three more pieces from Tannhäuser and Lohengrin; Pilgrim’s Chorus from Tannhäuser; Isolde’s Liebestod from Tristan and Isolde; “Am Stillen Herd” from Die Meistersinger; Valhalla from Der Ring des Nibelungren; and Solemn March to the Holy Grail from Parsifal.
This Dover edition, published under the auspices of The American Liszt Society, reproduces the pieces from a rare Russian critical edition of Liszt’s work. Russian text on the music page has been translated into English especially for this edition, while Liszt scholar Charles Suttoni has provided a perceptive introduction discussing Liszt’s transcription in general and those of Wagner’s music in particular.
These scores are not readily available in any other one-volume series. This Dover edition brings them together in a convenient low-cost format for students, pianists, music lovers — all who delight in brilliant, idiomatic translations of orchestral language into that of the piano.