(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Close Encounters With Music celebrates the 200th anniversary of Franz Liszt’s birth with Lisztomania! at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Sunday, December 4, 2011, at 2 p.m. The performance showcases Liszt’s compositional style as well as works by his friends (Saint Saëns) and polar opposites (Mendelssohn).
Fan mania and the cult of celebrity had their roots with Franz Liszt, sex symbol and showman extraordinaire – the original classical-music rock star. He was the first to position the piano facing the audience, assuring the full effect of his expressions and flowing curls. Woman swooned, tore his clothing and vied for a lock of his hair.
Keyboard innovator and a powerful genius whose compositions blazed the way for impressionism, Romanticism, and atonality, Liszt is regarded as the greatest pianist of all time. He hypnotized audiences at his thousands of concert appearances. Dubbed a “piano god,” he made the instrument sound like an entire orchestra. His playing reached such a frenzy that pianos were destroyed in the process.
An energetic portrait will emerge in this program: Liszt’s pictorial piano solo works, including St. Francis of Assisi Walking on the Waves, La Lugubre Gondol and Les jeux d’eau a la Villa d’Este; Camille Saint-Saëns’ Rondo Capriccioso (one of the many composers Liszt generously promoted) and Felix Mendelssohn’s C minor Piano Trio #2 (Liszt’s ideological rival of “abstract music”).
Four recently published works for cello and piano, transcribed by Liszt himself, with acclaimed interpreter Jeffrey Swann, will be presented. The concert features Jeffrey Swann, piano; Yehonatan Berick, violin; and Yehuda Hanani, cello.
Tickets, $40 (Orchestra and Mezzanine) and $30 (Balcony) include an After Glow audience reception on stage. They are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, 413.528.0100. For further information visit Close Encounters With Music or call 800.843.0778.