Rondeau fantastique sur un thème espagnol

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Rondeau fantastique sur un thème espagnol "El Contrabandista" S. 252 (Fantastic Rondo on Spanish theme "El Contrabandista") is a musical composition for piano solo by the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt. The piece was published in 1837 and was based on Manuel Garcia's popular opera song "Yo que soy Contrabandista" and was first entitled Opus 5 no. 2. This was probably the last piece that Liszt gave an opus number.

Although Liszt initially intended this piece as a bravura finale for his recitals, according to many reports, he failed to see this through, likely due to the piece not being a hit with the audience, possibly due to the countless repetitions.[1]


The fantasy is based on a short song for guitar, castanets, and soprano female singer. As with Liszt's other fantasies, it contains a complete exploration of the elements it contains, with a slow section in the middle. It explores a great quantity of effects, including chord tremolos and thirds along it, keeping a fast tempo and a deciso attitude within it.

The piece includes wide jumps, fast repetitive notes, arpeggios, and octaves at a breakneck tempo. La campanella's infamous skips, which are about two to three octaves, are two octaves shorter than some of the Rondeau's skips. The only person who was eager to play it live was Mikhail Pletnev, who nonetheless gave up, calling it "unplayable". Valentina Lisitsa has also performed and recorded her interpretation[2].


Rondeau fantastique sur un thème espagnol has been hailed as one of the most technically challenging solo piano compositions in the history of classical pianism. Nevertheless, on one occasion in 2013, Valentina Lisitsa performed the whole ten-minute piece from memory on a public upright piano in St. Pancras railway station.[3]

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