Piano Concerto No. 1 (Liszt)
Franz Liszt composed his Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat major, S.124 over a 26-year period; the main themes date from 1830, while the final version dates 1849. The concerto consists of four movements, which are performed without breaks in between, and lasts approximately 20 minutes. It premiered in Weimar on February 17, 1855, with Liszt at the piano and Hector Berlioz conducting.
The main themes of Liszt's first piano concerto are written in a sketchbook dated 1830, when Liszt was nineteen years old. He seems to have completed the work in 1849, yet made further adjustments in 1853. It was first performed at Weimar in 1855, with the composer at the piano and Hector Berlioz conducting. Liszt made yet more changes before publication in 1856. Béla Bartók described it as "the first perfect realisation of cyclic sonata form, with common themes being treated on the variation principle".
The concerto consists of four relatively short movements:
- Allegro maestoso
- The orchestra introduces the main theme of the piece with a powerful motif. The piano then comes in with an octave passage, spanning 4 octaves. It is said that the main theme was set to the words "None of you understand this, HAHA" (German: “Das versteht ihr alle nicht, haha!”) to deter any criticism from critics who did not like the piece's originality. 
- A quiet duet is formed between the piano and the clarinet in a quiet and peaceful passage, yet this is soon taken over again by the main theme.
- Quasi adagio
- The cello and double bass introduce the Adagio section in a serene, unison cantabile, before the rest of the string section joins. Again, however, the cellos and double bass descend before the piano joins, in una corda. The piano uses the string theme and develops it further. The section reaches a climax where a strong fortissimo is played followed by a descending diminuendo scale.
- After a slight pause, the whole orchestra joins, again playing the same theme. Then a cello plays the theme while the piano answers quickly and hurriedly. This develops into a passage where the woodwind section is playing a new theme while the piano is playing decorations in the upper register. The passage is ended by the piano.
- Allegretto vivace - Allegro animato
- The triangle starts the movement with a string quartet following it. Next, the piano plays the same theme, yet develops it further. This occurs over the whole movement, however previous themes from the last two movements are re-introduced and combined together to give this concerto its unique form.
- The movement ends in the same way as the first movement began, with a blistering piano passage ending in a F-minor chord.
- Allegro marziale animato
- A descending E-flat scale is played before the orchestra plays the slow decorated theme that the woodwind section played in the previous movement, but brass is used to decorate the melody.
- The movement continues bringing all the themes out at different times and combining them.
- In the final few passages, a new chromatic theme is introduced where the piano is playing semi-quavers and tripleted quavers at the same time, an exercise in polyrhythm.
- The piece is finished in the bravura style Liszt is famous for. The orchestra alone has the last several notes..
This concerto is scored for a Romantic orchestra and calls for the following:
- Solo Piano
- Franz Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 Analysis and description of Franz Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E Flat Major
- Piano.ru - Sheet music download (2 piano reduction)
- Piano Concerto No. 1: Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project