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As a composer, teacher and pianist, Franz Liszt (1811-1886) developed new methods in his compositions - both imaginative and technical - which left their mark upon his progressive concepts and procedures. He also developed the method of "transformation of themes" as part of his revolution in form, made radical experiments in harmony and invented the orchestral symphonic poem.

Liszt was himself one of the greatest virtuosi on the pianoforte; he fully understood the instrument's potential and perceived its capabilities in full which he never failed to exhaust in his compositions. In the works of Franz Liszt we find an example of a composer writing almost exclusively for the piano. The smaller-scaled piano works, such as his numerous études and assorted short pieces with poetic names are among the most significant.

The Rhapsodies reflect the characteristics, the temperamental extremes of melancholy and lightness of spirit of the Hungarian gypsy. The first fifteen of these pieces were composed for piano and published around 1848. The most popular six were orchestrated by Franz Dopler. They are characterized by accentuated rhythms and ornamental passages which almost suggest improvisation.

Notes by Ileen Zovluck. © 2000 Columbia Artists Management Inc.