I fell in love with Liszt, before even knowing who he was, thanks to a cartoon – Woody Woodpecker (I think) in which they were moving a piano down a mountain while Woody played it – the truck went out of control while he was playing & with each turn the keyboard would get more splayed out & the music wold get more frantic. The piece was the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=23&v=R1laz-7C2KM
Over the years I have built up a fair collection: Rhapsodies for Orchestra; Orchestral Works: 7 cds; Hungarian Rhapsodies complete; Spanish/Rumanian Rhapsodies; Opera Transcriptions; Thiollier: Sonata/Mephisto; Beethoven Transcriptions; an Mp3 collection: Peter Katin/ Yudina/Johannsen/ Vazaonyi/ with Beethoven’s Music for Two Piano.
At first I has assumed Liszt only wrote piano music & only those Rhapsodies & of course the Mephisto Waltz. So finding his orchestral works was most welcome though it doesn’t have the over-the-top energy of his piano music. Then I came across his transcriptions of operas & of Beethoven’s symphonies. What better combination is there than Beethoven & Liszt: both over-the-top romantics & in Liszt case, pyrotechnic show-offs.
I had some of these as lps to cds transfers: Peter Katin & Balint Vazsonyl – were favourites of mine that I decided to see if I could replace my originals & found them both on iTunes. The Vazonyl take on the Hungarian Rhapsodies was the first I’d heard & remains my favourite for its attack. In searching these out I came across a set of his work for organ! Sweet, sonorous & more meditative than I had expected Liszt to be.
I never heard his name pronounced when I first discovered him so I would say it as Lizzt – a friend of mine who studied music didn’t know who I was talking about then pointed out that the z is silent. Same with Chop-in 🙂
‘I’m looking for a CD by Los Grasios.’
The clerk typed the name into the computer. ‘Is that l-o-s ?’
‘I think so.’ I had seen their video on TV a few nights before. Grazing from channel to channel, hoping to find something to hold my interest. It was the Latino network. The group was four dark swarthy adult males – a rarity in pop anywhere it seemed to me – and the song full of energy in a language I didn’t understand. I’d scribbled the name down when it flashed on the screen at the end of the video.
‘Nope. Not here. Let’s try l-a-s. Nope. Anything else to go on?’
‘The song was called Fortunata or Fortunatosa. Something like that.’
The clerk tapped that in. ‘Hmmm. Looks like we have lots to choose from now. Was it Fortunate Adam?’
“Fortunate For Me?”
“Fortunate Son? Fortunate Sunrise? Fortunate In Love? Fortunate Sea? Fortunate Moon? I See a Fortune in Your Eyes?’
‘No to all of those.’
‘There are nearly 200 numbers with Fortune something in the title. Should I go through them all?’
‘No. I was just joking. Now, you are sure of the name?’
I took out the paper I had dashed the name on and passed to the clerk.
‘Hmm. Let’s try Los Girios. You a fan of Latino music?’
‘Well! Looks like we have a hit. Hijo Afortunado’
I followed her to the far end of store to the South American aisle.
‘Here it is.’ she pulled out a couple of CD’s by the band and looked at them. ‘Looks interesting. Not the usual stuff people want here. If you like these guys you may enjoy Mercedes Sosa.’ She handed me the cds.
‘Yes, this is them. How do you know Sosa is similar?’
‘Just a stab. She sings on one of the cuts with them, and she is huge. Out sells Eglasias.’
November 15: Hot Damn! It’s a Queer Slam – 8p.m. – Buddies In Bad Time Theatre, Toronto
October 5/6/7 – Gratitude Round-Up
October scary poetry every Wednesday & Thursday
June – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C. capfireslam.org
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