excerpt from 'Music-Study in Germany: The Classic Memoir of the Romantic Era' pp. 251-252 (439 words)

excerpt from 'Music-Study in Germany: The Classic Memoir of the Romantic Era' pp. 251-252 (439 words)

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Music-Study in Germany: The Classic Memoir of the Romantic Era

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This week has been one of great excitement in Weimar, on account of the wedding of the son of the Grand Duke. All sorts of things have been going on, and the Emperor and Empress came on from Berlin. There have been a great many rehearsals at the theatre of different things that were played, and of course Liszt took a prominent part in the arrangement of the music. He directed the Ninth Symphony, and played twice himself with orchestral accompaniments. One of the pieces he played was Weber's Polonaise in E major, and the other was one of his own Rhapsodies Hongroises. Of these I was at the rehearsal. When he came out on the stage the applause was tremendous, and enough in itself to excite and electrify one. I was enchanted to have an opportunity to hear Liszt as a concert player. The director of the orchestra here is a beautiful pianist and composer himself, as well as a splendid conductor, but it was easy to see that he had to get all his wits together to follow Liszt, who gave full rein to his imagination, and let the tempo fluctuate as he felt inclined. As for Liszt, he scarcely looked at the keys, and it was astounding to see his hands go rushing up and down the piano and perform passages of the utmost rapidity and difficulty, while his head was turned all the while towards the orchestra, and he kept up a running fire of remarks with them continually. "You violins, strike in sharp here." "You trumpets, not too loud there," etc. He did everything with the most immense aplomb, and without seeming to pay any attention to his hands, which moved of themselves as if they were independent beings and had their own brain and everything! He never did the same thing twice alike. If it were a scale the first time, he would make it in double or broken thirds the second, and so on, constantly surprising you with some new turn. While you were admiring the long roll of the wave, a sudden spray would be dashed over you, and make you catch your breath! No, never was there such a player! The nervous intensity of his touch takes right hold of you. When he had finished everybody shouted and clapped their hands like mad, and the orchestra kept up such a fanfare of applause, that the din was quite overpowering. Liszt smiled and bowed, and walked off the stage indifferently, not giving himself the trouble to come back, and presently he quietly sat down in the parquet, and the rehearsal proceeded.

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excerpt from 'Music-Study in Germany: The Classic Memoir of the Romantic Era' pp. 251-252 (439 words)


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