Homage to Liszt : for the 200th birthday of Liszt Ferenc
by Michael Kieran Harvey (2011)
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My own Homage to Liszt was a work for percussion and piano I wrote for Eugene Ughetti and myself to perform in a concert at ANAM in 2011, the year of Liszt's bicentennial, along with performances of Humphrey Searle's 1951 sonata (also a homage to Liszt and premiered at London's Wigmore Hall by my teacher Gordon Watson in that same year) and Liszt's favourite Beethoven sonata, the so-called Hammerklavier opus 106. Homage to Liszt is in six sections, the musical material of which is in some way related to Liszt with the exceptions of the Prologue and Epilogue, which are jazz-derived bookends, as if looking back at Liszt from the 21st century. The work is scored deliberately for a combination Liszt would not have considered during his day - the anti-rubato nature of so much 21st century music would be a curious development for his sensibilities.
This Homage is a work of genuine admiration, gratitude, humour and barefaced plagiarism in memory of the great Ferenc Liszt. It is in four sections - Ballade (based on Liszt's favourite interval, the diminished fifth, alternating with stacked fifth chords); Waltz (a re-imagining of his Transcendental etude no.11); Csardas (a frenetic Hungarian peasant workout); and Consolation (which in the melody uses a 12-tone serial note-row as did Liszt's later work) - introduced by a be-bop-influenced Prologue (in a 7 across 8 beat "Gaussian clock" cycle).
The version for solo piano was presented at a concert in the Conservatory of the Hobart Botanical Gardens on 2nd April 2017 honouring the 90th birthday of the great environmentalist Peter Cundall, to whom the work is dedicated. A version for solo piano and poet (Arjun von Caemmerer) was presented at a concert in the Hobart Town Hall honouring Peter Cundall. The version for violin and piano is inspired by the collaboration between Harvey, Arjun and Emily Sheppard.
Instrumentation: Piano, drumkit with crotales.
Duration: 7 min.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Peter Cundall
Commission note: Commissioned by Arjun Von Caemmerer.
The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Progrock, Zappa, Liberace.
Performances of this work
2 Apr 17: Conservatory, Hobart Botanical Gardens. Featuring Michael Kieran Harvey.
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