Performing the Characters, Characterization in Rigoletto Paraphrase Essay

————————————————- Performing the Characters: 3 interpretations of Verdi-Liszt’s Rigoletto Paraphrase ————————————————- Featuring Li Yundi, Maciej Pikulski and Leslie Howard Evan Asava Aree Table of Contents List of Figures:3 List of Tracks:4 Chapter 1: Introduction5 1. 1 Rigoletto: Opera by Verdi5 1. 2 Rigoletto: Piano Transcription by Liszt6 Chapter 2: Characters in Rigoletto8 2. 1 The Duke8 2. 2 Maddalena9 2. 3 Gilda9 2. 4 Rigoletto9 Chapter 3: Analysis10 3. 1 Characterization10 3. 1 Characterization in Rigoletto Paraphrase10 3. 1. 1 Character 1: The Duke10 3. . 2 Character 2: Maddalena16 3. 2. 3 Character 3: Gilda21 3. 2. 4 Character 4: Rigoletto25 Chapter 4: Conclusion28 Chapter 5: Bibliography30 Books:30 Websites:32 DVDs:33 Sound Recordings:33 Appendix A: Interview with Kenneth Hamilton34 Appendix B: Biographies of Performers ……………………………………………………………. 36 List of Figures: Figure:| Description:| 3. 1| Li Yundi’s interpretation of the Duke’s solo| 3. 2| Comparison of actual score and Li Yundi’s interpretation | 3. 3| Maciej Pikulski’s Interpretation of the Duke’s solo| 3. 4| Maciej Pikulski’s 2nd representation of the Duke theme| 3. | Leslie Howard’s Interpretation of the Duke Theme| 3. 6| Leslie Howard’s Interpretation of Line 3| 3. 7| Original Score compared to Li Yundi’s Interpretation| 3. 8| Pikulski’s rendition of Maddalena’s theme| 3. 9| Pikulski plays Maddalena’s 2nd theme| 3. 10| Howard’s consistency in expression of Maddalena’s theme| 3. 11| Comparison of Vocal score, Transcription and Li Yundi’s interpretation| 3. 12| Pikulski’s interpretation of Gilda’s Theme| 3. 13| Leslie Howard’s Interpretation of Gilda’s theme| 3. 14| Li Yundi’s Interpretation of Rigoletto’s Theme| 3. 15| Maciej Pikulski’s Interpretation of Rigoletto’s Theme| List of Tracks:

No. | Description:| Duration:| 1| Li Yundi Duke Theme| 0:10| 2| Li Yundi Duke Theme (2)| 0:05| 3| Maciej Pikulski Duke Theme| 0:10| 4| Maciej Pikulski Duke Theme (2)| 0:05| 5| Leslie Howard Duke Theme| 0:10| 6| Leslie Howard Duke Theme (2)| 0:10| 7| Li Yundi Maddalena Theme| 0:06| 8| Maciej Pikulski Maddalena Theme| 0:10| 9| Maciej Pikulski Maddalena Theme (2)| 0:05| 10| Leslie Howard Maddalena Theme| 0:10| 11| Li Yundi Gilda’s Theme| 0:17| 12| Opera Gilda’s Theme| 0:15| 13| Maciej Pikulski Gilda’s Theme| 0:20| 14| Leslie Howard Gilda’s Theme| 0:20| 15| Li Yundi Rigoletto Theme| 0:12| 16| Maciej Pikulski Rigoletto Theme| 0:20| 7| Rigoletto Opera| 4:19| 18| Li Yundi Rigoletto Paraphrase| 6:27| 19| Maciej Pikulski Rigoletto Paraphrase| 6:43| 20| Leslie Howard Rigoletto Paraphrase| 7:43| Chapter 1: Introduction 1. 1 Rigoletto: Opera by Verdi Rigoletto was composed in 1851 in the middle-late period of Verdi’s life. It is a story about a court jester, in his bid to protect his own daughter, goes all out to take revenge for her by hiring an assassin Sparafucile, but ironically fails by killing his own daughter instead. This essay will focus on the famous quartet (bella figlia dell’ amore) from Act III Scene 1, which Liszt based his operatic transcription on.

We will write a custom essay sample on
Performing the Characters, Characterization in Rigoletto Paraphrase Essay
or any similar topic only for you
Order now

In the quartet, the Duke flirts with Maddalena and Maddalena half-hearted repels his advances while Rigoletto and Gilda comment from the outside about the Duke’s dishonesty. It turns out that Maddalena herself enticed the Duke to the inn and the Duke is prepared to offer marriage. Here the Duke’s effusions, Maddalena’s superficial sentiments about the Duke, Gilda’s anxiety and Rigoletto’s anger unite in the quartet and it is the simultaneous representation of these characters vertically and within a regular, almost classical design that makes this quartet famous.

Another intriguing element is that all 4 characters are expressing their emotions at the same time though not in the same place together. In this quartet, each individual is sharply characterized from each other, where the duke is characterized by soaring phrases (because he is seductive), Maddalena by staccato semiquavers, Gilda by legato semiquavers with rests like sobs or by a drooping line and Rigoletto by a static slow moving line, highlighting his grimness. The personalities of the characters will be introduced at a later stage. 1. Rigoletto: Piano Transcription by Liszt This operatic transcription was one of the most popular of Liszt’s piano reductions and represents a fine balance between technical virtuosity and expressivity. Liszt takes only material from the quartet in Act III Scene 1 and takes turns to feature each character as much as possible. He starts off the piece with a prelude taken from Maddalena’s part, leading into an extended tenor solo by the Duke, where the quartet officially begins. Maddalena’s part then enters, followed by Gilda’s consternation.

Here, due to the limitations of the piano as a solo instrument, he only displays one significant melody line each time, accompanied by rapid runs or simple chords. The accompaniment is generally plain to bring out the melody line, a feature that Verdi was most famous for. Each time the melody is repeated, the melody line is more heavily embellished as the texture becomes thicker. In addition, he subtly manipulates the themes in the quartet to cover a wider spectrum of emotions as well as the melodic richness in Verdi’s music.

In this particular scene though, Verdi’s music portrays “innocence, deceit, treachery and disappointment, but in a less grim manner, focusing more on dramatics. ” Eventually at the end, he finishes off with a brilliant coda of much technical prowess, consisting of rapid octaves, which is of much fun, but rather lacking in depth, hence this paper will only focus on the melodic aspects of the piece, taking into account the interpretation of the characters by the performers with the operatic performances serving as a reference point for performance practice.

This is to serve as a benchmark for comparison as well as a possible understanding to the performers’ intentions in playing different segments of the piece in different or similar ways. Chapter 2: Characters in Rigoletto The characters in Rigoletto are described as such to provide an important framework for future analysis and understanding of interpretations of characters in Rigoletto Paraphrase. For the sake of clarity, the description of characters will focus mainly on the quartet scene in Act III where the Duke, Maddalena, Gilda and Rigoletto unite in expressing their contrasting feelings.

Main personalities of each character will be covered but to a lesser extent. 2. 1 The Duke In this scene, the Duke is the protagonist who tries to seduce Maddalena, a housemaid, much to Gilda’s dismay, whom the Duke had previously professed his love to. The Duke is a rather inconsistent character. He is as fickle as the women he mocks. In his soliloquy, he doesn’t love Gilda as he longs for a kind of idealized Great Love. His momentary tenderness is in character though a little unreal. Ultimately, the Duke is a superficial character.

Even in his only moment of sincerity, he is forgotten the moment he knows that there is a girl there. He is not a nice man because he is a product of position and the time – he manages to get everything he wanted. 2. 2 Maddalena Maddalena, the sister of the assassin Sparafucile, is the object of the Duke’s pursuit. She initially withdraws herself from the Duke’s advances but then falls to his charms. The soaring staccato semiquavers represent someone who tries to snub the Duke as seen from her lyrics. Her attitude is one of seductive earthiness together with energy and physicality and this defines her in this quartet. . 3 Gilda Gilda has a very strong personality but yet she is a contradictory character, like all characters of Rigoletto. She is a sweet candid and innocent girl in the 1st act, but then transforms into a true daughter of Rigoletto, showing the same passion and dramatic feelings as her father. Even in the end, she shows how strong her feelings are for the Duke and gives her life for the Duke in the end. 2. 4 Rigoletto Rigoletto is an extremely complex character in Rigoletto. He can be in turn heartless, loving, vengeful, petty, noble and protective all in one.

A father, widower and court jester, he is often a very grim character and in the quartet, Rigoletto plays a small but significant role in adding to the emotions of Gilda by passing comments such as “He was lying” and “He betrayed you…” A highlight of his part would be the static melodic line that features his churlishness. Chapter 3: Analysis 3. 1 Characterization 3. 1 Characterization in Rigoletto Paraphrase 3. 1. 1 Character 1: The Duke * Li Yundi Li Yundi here presents an interesting interpretation where he strives to strongly differentiate each character through agogics. He lingers on notes that are deemed most important to him.

It can be seen where he takes more time on the word “Bella” from the first line “Bella figlia del amore”, which means beautiful. This seems to be in line with the Duke’s affectionate behaviour in the beginning. Figure 3. 1 shows the slight tempo deviations Li Yundi makes to try to bring out that effect. Figure 3. 1: Li Yundi’s interpretation of the Duke’s solo. Track 1: Li Yundi Duke theme However, he puts in his own interpretation in the third line where the score indicates “piu appassionato” and then “cresc. molto” which means passionate and much crescendo. He does the opposite and does a diminuendo when it says “cresc. olto”, indicating that he might have wanted to show a more delicate side. This is a little ironic though as the Duke here is saying that “Thee I treasure all above” – The traditional Italian operatic way of expressing that phrase would imply having full of bravura as well as to crescendo to the top to show passion. Moreover he halts at just slightly before the marcato to create a sense of drama in the music. These are as shown in Fig. 3. 2 Figure 3. 2 Comparison of actual score (top) and Li Yundi’s interpretation (above). Track 2: Li Yundi Duke Theme (2) * Maciej Pikulski Pikulski here creates a vastly different interpretation to Li Yundi.

He shows a more subdued side to the Duke as seen where he treats the music with a softer dynamic throughout yet still maintaining a singing tone. His tempo is constant and little rubato is used. He also does a little swelling in the melody and emphasizes on the D flat, essentially on the word “lady”. Fig 3. 3 shows a representation of how he did it Figure 3. 3 Maciej Pikulski’s Interpretation of the Duke’s solo. Track 3: Maciej Pikulski Duke Theme However the validity of this interpretation could be argued where Liszt himself said that “You must play the first theme exactly the way a stupid enor goes in for it, full of fervor. ” and that the theme is to be played with a very big tone. This vastly contrasts with what Pikulski has offered but yet, Liszt’s main concern lay in musical characterization and communication and he encouraged the more talented pupils to put in their own ideas into virtuoso works, so this remains disputed. In spite of this, he seems to have a bolder interpretation of the Duke in the later section when the Duke repeats himself again. His tone is firmer and a faster tempo is being used, perhaps trying to show that the Duke is being more confident now.

Figure 3. 4 Pikulski’s second representation of the Duke theme. Track 4: Pikulski Duke Theme (2) * Leslie Howard Here, Howard appears to adopt a calmer approach, utilizing very subtle rubato and minimal dynamic inflections in the opening Duke theme. An illustration of this manipulation is as seen below (Fig. 3. 5). Figure 3. 5: Leslie Howard’s Interpretation of the Duke theme. Track 5: Leslie Howard Duke Theme Liszt had once mentioned that “a certain flexibility of tempo is required; metronomic playing will not suffice”, suggesting that Howard is not playing the way Liszt wanted.

Perhaps Howard wanted to showcase a more restrained Duke and focus on shaping the melody instead, emphasizing on the last 3 notes more than the rest. In libretto, this emphasizes on ‘amore’, which makes sense since it means fairest. The subtle agogics on the last 3 notes attempts to bring out a feeling of yearning yet maintaining a pulse. In addition, in the 3rd line of the score (Fig. 3. 6) – the same section as Li Yundi’s analysis, he doesn’t follow the score exactly by doing a crescendo, but not ‘molto crescendo” and slowing down as he reaches the top. Figure 3. 6: Leslie Howard’s Interpretation of Line 3.

Track 6: Leslie Howard Duke Theme (2) Yet again, he slows down as the music reaches a slight climax with the Duke singing “…pal-pi-tar! ”, which means palpitate. Thus, it could be argued that here, Howard’s emphasis was more on the subtle nuances of the libretto rather than the drama as proposed by Liszt, which would interest listeners who have prior knowledge of the opera. 3. 2. 2 Character 2: Maddalena * Li Yundi Li Yundi’s interpretation of Maddalena is a lively one and a little frivolous-like with the slightly slurred staccato treble clef semi-quavers coupled with the straight tempo, which gives it a waltz-like feel.

Figure 3. 7 shows his interpretation as opposed to the original score Figure 3. 7 Original Score (Top) compared to Li Yundi’s Interpretation (Above). Track 7: Li Yundi Maddalena Theme This depiction seems rather valid as with reference to the Gollerich diaries, Liszt wanted the semi-quavers to be “short and jesting, wanton, coquettish” and Li Yundi brings this out jokingly and flirtatiously. Even in comparison with the opera, Li brings out the energy and physicality of Maddalena, which appears to be in character. * Maciej Pikulski Pikulski’s interpretation seems to adhere to the score rather closely.

This is evident in the full pedaling of the entire bar as well as for the other sections when her parts appear and also for the melody where the semi-quavers are all joined up in one long legato line. Figure 3. 8 demonstrates this: Figure 3. 8 Pikulski’s rendition of Maddalena’s theme. Track 8: Maciej Pikulski Maddalena Theme This interpretation though does not have the frivolous nature of Maddalena. Instead, it shows a more serious side. However, taking into considerations about the performer, it does not seem he intended to feature the character as it is.

Looking at the big picture, it seems he wanted to show a contrast between sections rather than a contrast between characters. This can be substantiated with the next time he features Maddalena as seen in Figure 3. 9, where he plays the theme almost twice as fast than before: Figure 3. 9: Pikulski plays Maddalena’s 2nd theme. Track 9: Maciej Pikulski Maddalena Theme (2) In the most pianistic sense, this would represent a build up to the climax later on in page 14 of the score, but shows little character unfortunately. * Leslie Howard

Howard’s interpretation is a similar to that of Pikulski’s in terms of dynamics, phrasing and pedaling so I shall focus on the consistency of characterization. It appears that in the 2 times Maddalena’s theme appears, he plays it almost exactly the same way. This is perhaps due to the impressionistic feel Liszt wanted the piece to have and thus Howard may have wanted the characters to be represented equally as these 2 sections have similar moods. Figure 3. 10 shows the consistency in expression: Figure 3. 10: Howard’s consistency in expression of Maddalena’s theme.

Track 10: Leslie Howard Maddalena Theme However, I feel that it does not offer enough contrast from the different melodies that were showcased and probably a change in personality would have made the partitions between characters more interesting. 3. 2. 3 Character 3: Gilda In this transcription as well as the quartet, Gilda was given two melodies as displayed and the general feeling was one of betrayal as her love for the Duke is betrayed by the Duke’s infidelity. * Li Yundi Area in Focus The main interest lies in not the first melody but rather the second melody as the climax starts to build up.

Figure 3. 11 shows a comparison between the vocal score, the transcription and his interpretation. Figure 3. 11: Comparison of Vocal score, Transcription and Li Yundi’s interpretation. Track 11: Li Yundi Gilda Theme. Track 12: Opera Gilda’s Theme As seen, Li Yundi appears to be true more to the spirit of the vocal score, where he seems to imitate the musical notations on the vocal score, ignoring pedal markings to allow for the accented slurs that bring out Gilda’s dramatic character, making this interpretation quite a satisfying one. * Maciej Pikulski

Pikulski’s interpretation is a rather clean one as exemplified by the absence of pedaling. His staccato treatment of the waltz-like accompanying figure gives Gilda a rather light-hearted feel. Moreover, he doesn’t seem to take into account the “con somma passione” as indicated into the score with few dynamic inflections. Figure 3. 12 shows this. Figure 3. 12 Pikulski’s interpretation of Gilda’s Theme. Track 13: Maciej Pikulski Gilda Theme A possible motivation behind this could be that he wanted to contrast with the future sections of the piece where the drama unfolds much more as seen in the later section of the track.

Coming from a pianistic point of view, this seems valid, but if one listens to this section of the opera, one can tell that this is the climax of the quartet and is essentially the culmination of the previous drama that has unfolded. His interpretation is contentious but may make more pianistic sense than playing the segment at the same manner all the way. * Leslie Howard Howard appears to be the truest to the score here, by following most of the dynamics, pedal as well as expression markings indicated.

In particular, he appears to imitate the anxiety exhibited by Gilda as shown in the slight constant acceleration in her melody. Furthermore, the use of accents on the strong beats when the usual notation was on the 3rd semi-quaver beat makes it rather intriguing. His representation is as shown in Figure 3. 13 Figure 3. 13: Leslie Howard’s Interpretation of Gilda’s theme. Track 14: Leslie Howard Gilda’s Theme Though Liszt did not stress fidelity to the score that much in his piano transcriptions, one must remember that the circumstances behind this recording dictated his pianistic decisions.

The Liszt project could have caused him to follow the score a little more closely than most would, as this was a large-scale project that required him to represent Liszt most “correctly”. Thus, the introduction of his ideas into this transcription is most remarkable. 3. 2. 4 Character 4: Rigoletto For Rigoletto, he played a lesser role in this quartet with incidental interjections, but his general attitude was a rather forbidding one, in an attempt to coax his daughter Gilda out of her disappointment with the Duke’s flirtatious behavior.

As mentioned earlier, his tunes are characterized with a slow moving static line, thus, due to his cameo role, this section will be a shorter one. * Li Yundi His execution of this section is interesting as it involves an accelerating and then halting of time towards the end of each phrase, often coupled with a crescendo as well as an accelerando, as illustrated by Figure 3. 14 Figure 3. 14: Li Yundi’s Interpretation of Rigoletto’s Theme. Track 15: Li Yundi Rigoletto Theme Li Yundi’s rendition brings out the static line wonderfully like an interjection.

The ritardando shows the grimness as he reaches the top of the line and the accelerando gives way to the Maddalena’s theme that follows ahead, creating an interesting call-and-response. * Maciej Pikulski Pikulski here offers a more slow-moving line than Li Yundi due to his choice of a slower tempo but it appears that he is attempting to just bring out the melody line without an attempt at characterization. This is seen where he does not do anything different or special with the melody, but rather, follows the score and brings it out where appropriate. Figure 3. 15 shows his interpretation. Figure [ 1 ]. 5: Maciej Pikulski’s Interpretation of Rigoletto’s theme. Track 16: Maciej Pikulski Rigoletto Theme This could be seen as an attempt to bring out the characters in a more balanced fashion rather than showing preference to one character. Thus this would be appropriate in the context of a quartet. * Leslie Howard Howard’s interpretation yet again shows a more pianistic sense over operatic sensibility. He places Maddalena’s melody of greater importance over Rigoletto’s and thus his section is not that audible. He might have wanted to bring out only the important parts for the listener to listen out for and ade Rigoletto’s melody an accompanying figure by playing it at a softer dynamic level. Chapter 4: Conclusion From the above analysis, it could be seen that there were various points of contention, i. e. “Fidelity to the score” vs. “Personal interpretation”, “Pianistic sense” vs. “Operatic sensibility” as well as “Characterization vs. Transcriptions”. From the comparisons of the three interpretations, one would be able to discover the little nuances in the music that uniquely showcase the personalities of each character, thus creating an extra dimension to operatic paraphrases.

This unconsciously creates a satisfying aural experience. What can be seen though is that from various angles, for a refreshing interpretation, these pianists have exhibited a balance between a strict rendition of the score vs. a person touch to the music, an imitation of the operatic style vs. a pianistic style to suit the audience more, especially those who don’t know the opera beforehand. Li Yundi could be said as one who portrayed these characters the most colourfully through the change in personality via rubato, dynamics, accents, pedaling etc. and as such could be said to have followed the theatrical element of the opera.

More importantly, he was able to bring out each character vividly to create the impression of an actual conversation taking place. Leslie Howard, being the exponent in Liszt’s music, having recorded every single composition by Liszt, appeared to follow the score the most closely and thus would serve as a reference point for pianists who wanted to know the pianistic sense of the music much better and have a better representation of the piece. Maciej Pikulski, on the other hand, offers an amalgamation of the two, combining both the theatrical element as well as a degree of faithfulness to the score.

He represents an individual who incorporates this into his live playing. Thus, this raises a question. How one should approach an operatic transcription such as Rigoletto Paraphrase? To answer the first question, your intention is very important. If you are playing for people who have listened closely to the original opera, then in portraying the characters, you would have satisfied or even given greater meaning to “bringing the opera to the everyday home”, leading to a flavourful and meaningful performance. On the other hand, if your intent is to display great technical bility, then the characters would be of least importance to you. Ultimately, it can be seen that piano transcriptions are not merely a showpiece. In one of Liszt’s lesser technically demanding pieces, there is more room for expression and more importantly, a dialogue between the four characters, making a transcription more than just what it is – To wow and to impress. It is truly a work that brings the opera to the everyday household and these 3 pianists bring about the possibilities one can do with a transcription. Total Word Count: 3131 Words Chapter 5: Bibliography Books: 1. Saffle, Michael.

Franz Liszt: A research and Information Guide. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2004. Print. 2. Searle, H. The Music of Liszt. London: 1954. 155-95. Print 3. Saffle, Michael. Franz Liszt: a Guide to Research. New York, 1991. Print. 4. Westerby, H. Liszt, Composer, and his Piano Works. London, 1936. Print. 5. Walker, Alan. Franz Liszt: the Man and his Music. 1st ed. London, 1970. Print. 6. Kentner, Louis. The Interpretation of Liszt’s Piano Music, 202–20 7. Hopkins, Anthony. Understanding Music. 1st ed. London: J. M. Dent and Sons Ltd, 1979 8. Hamilton, Kenneth. The Cambridge Companion to Liszt, Ed.

Kenneth Hamilton. London, Cambridge University Press. 2005. Print. 9. Gollerich, August. The Piano Master Classes of Franz Liszt, 1884 – 1886: Diary Notes of August Gollerich, Ed. Richard Louis Zimdart, Indiana University Press,1996 10. Hamilton, Kenneth. After the Golden Age, Romantic Pianism and Modern Performance. USA, Oxford University Press, 2008 11. Dixon, Simon. “Automatic Extraction of Tempo and Beat from Expressive Performances. ” Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (2001): n. pag. Web. 27 Nov 2009 12. Fryer, Bethan. “Rigoletto: Welsh National Opera, Cardiff, 25th June 2010. Opera Brittania, 01 July 2010. Web. 3 Jul 2010. 13. Mc Auley, Gay. “Performance Analysis: Theory and Practice. ” Centre for Performance Studies, University of Sydney (1998): n. pag. Web. 15 Nov 2009 14. Le Sueur, Richard. “Rigoletto Paraphrase. ” Classical Archives, Allmusic (2010) : n. pag. Web. 3 Jul 2010 15. Le Sueur, Richard. “Rigoletto. ” Classical Archives, Allmusic (2010) : n. pag. Web. 3 Jul 2010 Websites: 1. Title:  From Orchestra to Piano: Major Composers as Authors of Piano Reductions of Other Composers’ Works Author(s):  Marc-Andre Roberge Source:  Notes, Second Series, Vol. 9, No. 3  (Mar. , 1993), pp. 925-936 Publisher(s): Music Library Association Stable URL:  http://www. jstor. org/stable/898925 2. Title:  Liszt Research Since 1936: A Bibliographic Survey Author(s):  Michael Saffle Source:  Acta Musicologica, Vol. 58, Fasc. 2  (Jul. – Dec. , 1986), pp. 231-281 Publisher(s): International Musicological Society Stable URL:  http://www. jstor. org/stable/932816 3. Title: Arrangements and Transcriptions Author(s): Evlyn Howard-Jones Source: Music ; Letters, Vol. 16, No. 4 (Oct. , 1935), pp. 305-311 Published by: Oxford University Press

Stable URL: http://www. jstor. org/stable/728727 (doesn’t have to go in) DVDs: 1. Levine, James, Dir. Rigoletto. Perf. Domingo Placido, Macneil Cornell, Cotrubas Ileana, Deutsche Grammophon, Universal Music: 1977, DVD Sound Recordings: 1. Weaver, William. The Trials of Rigoletto. West Germany: Deutsche Grammophone, 1989. Print. 2. Verdi, Guiseppe. Rigoletto: Opera in three acts. Francesco Maria Piave. Luciano Pavarotti. Orchestra e coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna. Cond. Riccardo Chailly. Appendix A: Interview with Kenneth Hamilton Interview with Kenneth Hamilton. Date: 8 April 2010.

Venue: Temasek Junior College Question 1: Rigoletto Paraphrase has often been dismissed as merely a showpiece and is really much fun but without depth. Would you agree with this statement? Response 1: Liszt stamped his own style onto Verdi’s music as seen in his 3 paraphrases: Il Travatore, Rigoletto and Ernani. Rigoletto was the 1st one in which he changed up the piece not so much in terms of harmony but also in terms of the actual tune itself. For example he adds a sixth note in the melody to adapt to the changing harmonies, he also adds runs in the right hand to create an impressionist feel.

I wouldn’t say it has no depth but it was rather more of a showcase of how Liszt could incorporate his own style into piano transcriptions rather than merely just transcribing the piece alone. Question 2: Would you think faithfulness to the score is paramount in Liszt’s music? I read in your book that Liszt’s performance directions have to be interpreted in the context of the piece and its intended musical effect. Does that mean that you can differ from the score, provided that you answer the two segments above? Response 2: In fact, fidelity to the score was not encouraged (Li Yundi) in Liszt’s paraphrases during his time.

His students were advised to deviate from the score. The Henslet edition is the most advised as because Liszt was playing, he transcribed every single inflection in his music and would be the most representative of Liszt music. Question 3: I recalled that from the Gollerich Diaries, Liszt instructed a lady to play the beginning of the Duke’s theme like a “stupid tenor, full of fervor”. Why is this so? Response 3: You must remember that in the olden times, tenors were regarded to be very stupid. They had very little vocal education and only blossomed when they realized they had a good voice (which was often very late).

Thus when they did realize they had a good voice, they started on a singing career and the voice of their tone was often very loud and brash. Such was the attitude towards tenors. Appendix B: Biographies of Performers Li Yundi Born in China, Li Yundi is at the forefront in piano interpretation. A winner of the International Liszt Piano Competition in 1999 and the youngest winner of the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in 2000, he has been enthusiastically acclaimed at music venues all over the world for his phenomenal technique and astounding, masterful performances.

His second album, of works by Liszt, was released in 2003 to widespread acclaim, consisting of works such as Rigoletto Paraphrase and Piano Sonata in B minor. Now he plays in over 60 recitals a year and most of them have earned rave reviews from critics all over the world. Maciej Pikulski Maciej Pikulski is a Polish pianist renowned as a chamber musician of Romantic music and is a much sought after accompanist. Though better known for his accompaniment skills, his chamber performances were often praised for his ‘poetic sensitivity’ and a ‘powerful technique’.

Pikulski is also known for his “highly refined, light and poetic sound and sensation”. He was chosen for these qualities that shows extraordinarily in his performance of Rigoletto Paraphrase, where an appropriate balance of technical control and musicality is evident. Leslie Howard The only pianist to record the complete works for piano solo of Franz Liszt, Leslie Howard has been described as “a master of a tradition of pianism”.

Critics acclaim Howard as the “finest living exponent of Liszt”, having a “formidable intellectual grasp of the music”. Howard is the President of the British Liszt Society for over 21 years and has been awarded the American Liszt Society’s Medal of Honor. Howard is also frequently invited to be a jury of music competitions such as the International Franz Liszt Piano Competition. As such, he was chosen for his deep knowledge in the works of Liszt and he would definitely have a unique interpretation of Liszt’s works.


Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out