Talk:Late works of Franz Liszt
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This page seems to be organized in Liszt's deconstructivistic spirit. Anyone who's in for the job of trying to sort things out is a hero of great means. By the way, anyone who's helped to creat this article deserves a big thanks, it's very good and interesting, but disorienting. -Trrg —Preceding unsigned comment added by 126.96.36.199 (talk) 01:01, 5 April 2010 (UTC)
New category: formal?
I feel that a "Formal" category should be added to Liszt's other innovations. All but one of the present categories concern pitch (Tonality, Chord structure, Harmony and Scales and Modes). This change would also necessitate rewriting the "Economy of means" section.
The reason for this stems from the references in the "Economy of means" section to Liszt's apparent abandonment of pieces partway through, as in the Mephisto Polka described in the article. This practice surely warrants a separate category every bit as much as the other four. Other examples might be Unstern, which dribbles off into nothing, as does Schlaflos - Frage und Antwort. Another formal innovation was his bipartite construction of short pieces, in which an "experimental" first half is followed by a "normal" second that deliberately exploits banality and repetition, with little or no reference to the music of the first half, and consisting largely or entirely of common chords, often hammered out fortissimo. It's almost as if the two halves belong to different pieces. Unstern is a partial example; another is Ossa Arida. This would be fine if the sections were much longer, independent movements in a larger work, but I can't think of a single precedent for applying this procedure to a three-minute piece.
The use of deliberate banality is exemplified by Qui seminant in lacrimis, which also uses chromaticism to destabilise any feeling of key rather than referring to it. However, this reference to deliberate banality is only my observation - which, strong as it may be, I can't find a published reference to, although it seems to me one of the most forward-looking of his many advances. Perhaps it can be seen as tying in to the depression (and disillusionment?) mentioned further down the article.
His use of dissonance probably also requires a separate heading, with special reference to simultaneous and unprepared false relations such as the A#/A natural that occur at the beginning of Csárdás Obstinée and the various versions of La Lugubre Gondola (A flat / A natural and E flat / E natural), as well as his use of ostinato figures underlying changing upper lines heedless of the resulting clashes - the same "László Teleky" mentioned in the article serves as another example of this, as does Nuages Gris, albeit in a more limited way (repeated B flat - A in the bass over semitonally descending augmented triads in the right hand). He systematises the use of dissonance as early as 1860 with the melodrama Der Traurige Mönch (should this also be mentioned in the "Scales and modes" section?). Whole tone harmony entails any three-note close position chord other than two augmented triads being dissonant. Liszt handles this inherently dissonant harmony with perfect assurance, juxtaposing it with tonal sections in E minor. Conventional tonality is thus no longer assumed as the means of organising pitch; rather, it's just one resource among several possible ones that Liszt can use for his own purposes.