September 2001Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

index page/ monthly listings /Sept01/

Franz LISZT An introduction in words and music Written and narrated by Jeremy Siepmann with excerpts from the composers music NAXOS 8.558005-06 2 CDs[2:35:52]



Regular visitors to Film Music on the Web will recall that, in 'Curio Corner', we often used to have a feature called "If Only They Had Written for Films" (which we hope to revive in the not too distant future) in which we looked at the music of 19th and 20th centuries Late Romantic composers whose music had a definite dramatic and atmospheric qualities - i.e. 'filmic' music.

One of the giants of 19th century Romantic music was Franz Liszt who was one of the greatest progressive pianists of the era and an equally progressive composer. His music has been used in countless films (Mephisto Waltz - with original music based on the Liszt work by Jerry Goldsmith, was just one of these and Sir Dirk Bogarde starred as the composer in the biopic, Song Without End).

Adventurous film music fans and classical music lovers should welcome this splendid production - an ideal introduction to the life and music of the colourful musician that was Franz Liszt. The two CD contain excerpts from a representative cross section of the composer's instrumental and orchestral works including La Campanella, Symphonie fantastique and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6; together with a spoken commentary on Liszt's life story and music written and read by noted musicologist, Jeremy Siepmann with Neville Jason as Liszt. This commentary is also printed in the very full book that accompanies the CDs. The book also includes: historical background notes, and essays - 'Liszt and the Romantic Century'; and 'Liszt's Major Works and their Significance.' There is also a very useful graded Listening Plan, further reading recommendations, a calendar of Liszt's life and a discography.

This wonderful educational tool is just one of a series now being released by Naxos. Other Naxos Life and Works productions available include Chopin and Beethoven.

Excellent value.

Ian Lace

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