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Georg Solti / Iván Fischer

Liszt: Tone Poems; Hungarian Rhapsodies (2CD)

Having made revolutionary changes during the 1830s and 40s, in both piano performance and composition, Liszt was hardly less innovative in his relationship with the orchestra. He is generally credited with having created the genre of the symphonic poem, in which a narrative or extra-musical idea is depicted within a structural framework usually associated with an abstract symphonic movement. In 1974 and 1977, Sir Georg Solti recorded five of the composer's Tone Poems as well as the Mephisto Waltz No. 1 with the London Philharmonic and the Orchestre de Paris. With fabled 'Decca Sound', these recordings have been much sought after by collectors. Recently reissued in the (limited) Liszt Edition, they are now made available generally as a 2CD set.

The coupling is a much-praised version of the Liszt Hungarian Rhapsodies, in orchestrations by both the composer as well as Doppler, by Ivan Fischer, considered one of the most important conductors of our time. The interpretations were unforgettably described by Gramophone, on their first appearance, as `frisky as foals and as flavoursome as goulash'. Even though he grew up in a family in which German was spoken, and although he left Hungary at a young age, Liszt regarded himself as a Hungarian, and he took considerable pride in that fact. Nevertheless, Liszt and Hungary did not always understand each other. He promoted the idea that Hungary's true national music was the music of the Gypsies, not realising that many of the melodies played by Gypsy bands were in fact composed (but not written down) by Hungarian landowners whose families did not appreciate Liszt's mis-attributions - particularly because the Gypsies were not highly regarded in Hungary. This, however, does nothing to diminish the popularity of the Hungarian Rhapsodies, six of which were orchestrated in conjunction with Franz Doppler, a flute virtuoso and a composer in his own right who met Liszt in 1854 and began orchestrating several of his rhapsodies three years later.

CD 1
Les Préludes
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Sir Georg Solti

Von der Wiege bis zum Grabe · Mephisto Waltz No. 1

CD 2

Tasso: Lamento e trionfo
Orchestra de Paris
Sir Georg Solti

Hungarian Rhapsodies Nos. 1-6
Budapest Festival Orchestra
Iván Fischer