Alexandre Plays Liszt on the CWR Concert Series in Cleveland
Liszt’s Piano Sonata in B minor, S. 178 was published in 1854 and dedicated to composer Robert Schumann. Perhaps one of the most analyzed and famed works for solo piano ever composed, the piece is monumental, unfolding in a single, uninterrupted 30 minute movement of music. Liszt presents 5 themes, 3 of which appear on the very first page of the score, with the other 2 emerging later. Throughout the course of the piece, Liszt subjects the themes to a series of transfigurations, turning even the darkest melody into something incomprehensibly beautiful. The sonata reaches moments of cataclysm, nostalgia, longing, love, and divinity. Much has been written about the inspiration behind this work, but an interpretation that stands out is that the piece is based on the German legend of Doctor Johannes Faust, a scientist who sells his soul to the Devil so that he can reunite once again with his beloved Margarita on earth. Others have theorized this sonata is the story of the Garden of Eden and the Fall of Man. Nevertheless, the spiritual energy behind this work is undeniable. The Sonata has stood the test of time as one of the great wonders of the piano literature and continues to be a favorite of perfromers and audiences worldwide.