Cameras are rolling on the new seasons of San Diego OperaTalk! and San Diego Opera Spotlight. Stay tuned in the coming months for an interesting and informative look at some of your favorite works.
Creative Director Cecil Lytle reflects on the importance of Franz Liszt and celebrating his bicentenary. 2011 is the occasion of the 200th birthday of one of the most enigmatic and influential artists of the 19th century, Franz Liszt (1811-1886). Love and hated throughout most of his life, Liszt knew, shaped, and supported every emerging arts […]
Creative Director Cecil Lytle reflects on the importance of Franz Liszt and celebrating his bicentenary.
2011 is the occasion of the 200th birthday of one of the most enigmatic and influential artists of the 19th century, Franz Liszt (1811-1886). Love and hated throughout most of his life, Liszt knew, shaped, and supported every emerging arts and political movement of his era. By the age of nine, young Franz Liszt was praised about across Europe as the second Mozart. However, not content with the fleeting fame of the prodigy, he sequestered himself to develop upon the foundational training he received from the greatest piano pedagogue in Europe. Carl Czerny. During a long ten-year pilgrimage across Europe, he developed what he called a “transcendental technique’ for playing the piano. Consequently, he composed and performed a piano music that reinvented conventional pianism as well as the physical and kinetic relation of the body to the piano. In his compositions and performances, no longer would music be simply two dimensional (melody and accompaniment) but enhanced to incorporate 3 or 4 dimensions of activity at the piano. His celebrated Paganini Etudes (1851) and Transcendental Etudes (1852) soon became the mainstay of the piano repertoire and altered the way other composed music for the piano.
Franz Liszt was the most celebrated pianist of his generation and most innovative composer of the century. Chopin commented that, “I should like to rob him of his way of rendering my own Etudes.” Indeed, through his worldwide tours, Liszt made Chopin and his music a household name. Clara Schumann spoke often of his extraordinary capabilities as a pianist; although she and her famous husband, Robert, along with Johannes Brahms, also criticized his compositions as shallow and showy. Liszt and his cohorts thought of themselves as providing the, Music of the Future.” This rivalry immediately spilled into the press and, even today, divides opinion in the concert halls, and in the major conservatories of Europe and the United States.
During the period he was Kapellmeister Extraordinaire at Weimar (1849-1858), Liszt championed the new music and composers of the day, especially Richard Wagner and his controversial operas. Their relationship began in Paris in the 1830s and continued until their deaths in the 1880s. Liszt’s surviving daughter, Cosima (1844-1930), was the source of both immense joy and heartbreak to him. In 1857, Cosima had married his most celebrated student, Hans von Bülow (1830-1894), bore him two children before beginning and adulterous relationship with Richard Wagner who depended almost entirely on support from her famous father. Their ménage à trios was the worse kept secret in Europe and part of the amazing history of “Mad King” Ludwig, opera, and Franz Liszt. Surviving well into the 20th century, Cosima Liszt maintained Bayreuth as a monument to Wagner and participated in the rise of anti-semitism of the Nazi Party in Germany.
Reconstructing the story of Franz Liszt is made difficult by the man himself. Although born in a borderland region between Austria and Hungary, Liszt declared himself “Hungarian” at an earlier age, although his mother-tongue was German, not Hungarian. By age 11, he was recognized as the greatest prodigy since Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and had moved to Paris with his family to pursue fame and fortune as a concert artist. He did not return to Hungary until thirty years later. He was the first artist to make world tours and at the age of 35 discontinued the life of the concert artist to devote himself to conducting the avant garde music of the day.
In 1865, Franz Liszt journeyed to Rome to take Minor Orders and became a Holy Roman Abbé. As such, he spent his final thirty years in the ministry of music composing a great many religious works for choral ensemble, piano, and orchestra. Many of these late works pushed the boundaries of music. Indeed one of his penultimate works was title, Bagatelle Without Tonality (1883) and inspired the revolution in atonal music led by Arnold Schoenberg in the 20th century..
The 2011 bicentennial is our opportunity to celebrate the life and music of the most remarkable figure in Romantic music. Our film series, The Nature of Genius: Franz Liszt will be part of the international celebration of bicentenary of Franz Liszt.
– Cecil Lytle
Click here to download a PowerPoint presentation about The Nature of Genius project.
Join UCSD-TV as we go behind the scenes of the world premiere of “Lilith.” Hear from playwright Allan Havis and composer Anthony Davis about how this new adaptation made its way from the page to the stage. Look for Making “Lilith” early this Sp…
Join UCSD-TV as we go behind the scenes of the world premiere of “Lilith.” Hear from playwright Allan Havis and composer Anthony Davis about how this new adaptation made its way from the page to the stage. Look for Making “Lilith” early this Spring.
(Press Release) For most people, memories of summer camp revolve around lawn sports, swimming and mosquito bites. But for a diverse group of musically inclined students– ranging in age from 14 to 70+ – summer camp means days packed with workshops on jazz and nights filled with performances by renowned jazz musicians. Welcome to UC […]
(Press Release) For most people, memories of summer camp revolve around lawn sports, swimming and mosquito bites. But for a diverse group of musically inclined students– ranging in age from 14 to 70+ – summer camp means days packed with workshops on jazz and nights filled with performances by renowned jazz musicians. Welcome to UC San Diego Jazz Camp, now the subject of a documentary premiering September 25 at 8pm on UCSD-TV.
This original UCSD-TV documentary explores the innovative and immersive combination of group courses, master classes, ensemble workshops, private lessons, jam sessions, and faculty concerts that make UC San Diego Jazz Camp such an unforgettable experience for students and faculty alike. Directed by UCSD-TV’s award-winning producer John Menier, the half-hour program chronicles the camp’s June 2009 session — its seventh annual edition and the first one to be held in UCSD’s pristine new music building. In addition to the broadcast premier, the program will be available for viewing and podcast downloading at http://www.ucsd.tv.
UC San Diego Jazz Camp, a five-day summer program operated by UC San Diego Extension, offers intermediate to advanced level musicians ages 14 to adult a unique journey into the diverse world of jazz, breaking down the boundaries between “inside” and “outside” and encouraging students to experience jazz as a broad spectrum of options for musical expression. The students work closely and creatively with an extraordinary faculty of leading jazz improvisers and educators, including alto saxophonist Charles McPherson, pianists Mike Wofford and Geoffrey Keezer, drummers Willie Jones III and Gerry Hemingway, and UCSD Music professors Anthony Davis, Mark Dresser, and David Borgo. More information is available at http://jazzcamp.ucsd.edu/.
Jazz Camp Director Dan Atkinson commented, “The UC San Diego Jazz Camp has become one of the leading summer jazz workshops in the country, giving the camp’s students a rare opportunity to study with some of the world’s leading jazz artists. We are very pleased to be able to share some of the excitement of the camp experience through this documentary program on UCSD-TV.”
Watch the Entire Program: