✓ in stock
Centaur Records, Inc.
10 April 2015
If you would open any biography of Franz Liszt, you would probably mostly read about his disquiet life as a piano virtuoso, his passionate love life, and the return to his catholic roots at the end of his life. Although all of this might be true, it only scratches the surface of his comprehensive musical personality. Liszt was a pianist, conductor, teacher and organiser, but above all he was a composer of a voluminous, capricious body of work. Even though his piano works formed his core business, he gave rise to the symphonic poem, got rid of the organ's stuffy appearance, and reinvigorated the oratorio. Moreover, with his piano transciptions of Bach's organ works and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, he was an advocate of both old and new music.
Together with his son-in-law Richard Wagner, he was in the forefront of the Romantic movement and anticipated the musical revolutions of the early 20th century with his new composition techniques.
Claude Debussy was a French composer. He and Maurice Ravel were the most prominent figures associated with impressionist music, though Debussy disliked the term when applied to his compositions. He was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1903. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and his use of non-traditional scales and chromaticism influenced many composers who followed.
Debussy's music is noted for its sensory content and frequent usage of non-traditional tonalities. The prominent French literary style of his period was known as Symbolism, and this movement directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant Among his most famous works are his Clair de Lune, his Three Nocturnes and his orchestral piece La Mer.
Together with Gustav Mahler, Hugo Wolf can be considered as one of the greatest composers of Late Romantic lieder. Both of them followed the tradition of Schubert and Schumann, but intensified the gerne with Wagner's techniques of text declamation and harmonic development. What makes Wolf's song cycles special, is the fact that often they are devoted to a single poet, like in his Mörike-Lieder (1889), Eichendorff-Lieder (1889) en Goethe-Lieder (1890). For each cycle, he spent a considerable time studying the text to create the best matching music. His accomodation of musical structure, harmonic subteties and pianistic texture are all inseperable from the lyrics. Partly due to his psychological sophistication his songs can be heard as miniature operas.
Even though he did start writing on several full-fledged operas, it never became a true succes. Only his opera Der Corregidor (1896) was completed. Things went downhill from there. In 1897, Wolf had a nervous breakdown as a consequence of a syphilis infection he had since his teens. After a failed suicide attempt, he was admitted to a clinic in Vienna. The somber Michelangelo-Lieder (1898) would become his last completed composition. Wolf died in 1903, three weeks before his 43st birthday.