City Research Online

Virtuosity in Liszt's Late Works

Loya, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-9156-2804 (2020). Virtuosity in Liszt's Late Works. In: Doran, R. (Ed.), Liszt and Virtuosity. . New York: University of Rochester Press. doi: 10.1017/9781787448667


Liszt’s late style is famous for sparse textures, compact and repetitive phrases, dissonance, borderline post-tonality and general oddness. It is largely a small group of miniature piano works that have sealed this particular reputation for enigmatic, intransigent, and prophetic “lateness.” Moreover, it is a lateness that is invariably constructed as a modernist antithesis to the perceived crowd-pleasing exuberance of Liszt’s virtuoso years, as seen in aesthetic and biographical discussions from Dahlhaus (trans. 1989; 1991) to Walker (1997), and as reinforced in the analytical literature. Thus, despite a recent tendency to theorize a plurality of late styles (McMullan and Smiles, 2016), Liszt studies have yet to catch up, and virtuosity in Liszt’s late works remains a particularly undertheorized area. As part of an ongoing project provisionally entitled Liszt’s Late Styles, this paper examines how the lateness discourse has marginalized virtuosity and through a few case studies, focusing especially on Hungarian Rhapsody No. 19 (1885) and the Aida “transcription” (1879), it looks at what “late virtuosity” might mean in formal and generic terms. This, in turn, puts the usefully imaginative but highly problematic concept of “late style” to a further test.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: To be published by University of Rochester Press.
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
[thumbnail of Virtuosity in Liszt’s late works_pre-published version.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible due to copyright restrictions.


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