Friday, February 22, 2008

Liszt's b minor sonata

Liszt’s B minor sonata was written in 1853. It was dedicated to R. Schumann, in return for Schumann’s dedication of his Fantasia Op.17 to Liszt. The B minor sonata dates from Liszt’s Weimar period, the years of his greatest productivity: 12 symphonic poems, the Faust and Dante symphonies, a number of piano works and numerous transcriptions. Unlike the symphonic poems, the sonata is not specifically literary or pictorial in inspiration, but Liszt used the same method-transformation of themes- to create the superficially thin melodic content into a big rich and dramatic depiction.
The whole of the one-movement sonata is constructed from four sections with a large sonata form structure. Allegro is exposition, Adagio and Fugue are in development section, and Allegro is recapitulation. In using this structure, Liszt was influenced by Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasie, a work he greatly admired. The main theme that in one context sounds menacing and violent, and later transformed into a beautiful melody. This technique helps to bind the sonata’s spreading structure into a single unit. The sonata is almost 30 minutes long, and it is a real challenging for performer to develop and achieve the whole sonata into a cohesive unit.

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