Music department presents concerts to celebrate 200th birthday of Franz Liszt

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February 8, 2011

The College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University music department presents Lisztomania, a special concert to celebrate the 200th birthday of Franz Liszt, at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, in the Saint John's Abbey Church, Collegeville.

The concert is free and open to the public.

The program will be repeated at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, at the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis (Hennepin and 16th Street). A free-will offering will be taken.

This special event will explore Liszt's more contemplative and experimental approaches. The composer's Missa Choralis for mixed chorus and organ will be performed by the CSB/SJU Chamber Choir under the direction of Axel Theimer. Solo organ works, Evocation a la Chapelle Sixtine... and Einleitung (Introduction), Fuge und Magnificat aus der Symphonie zu Dante's "Divina Commedia" will be the large solo organ works performed. Some short atonal piano pieces transcribed for organ will also be heard. Organists will be KR Kasling and Matthew Anderson.

Lisztomania is a term coined by 19th century German poet Heinrich Heine to describe the flamboyant concert life Liszt assumed for part of his career - complete with processions in his honor when entering a city, perfumed gloves tossed to audiences and more. However, Liszt also had a deeply religious and contemplative side, which provided great solace particularly when the loss of two of his children devastated him. Finally, Liszt was a very forward-looking composer in much of his oeuvre, anticipating 20th century musical techniques over half a century in advance. Atonality, proto-impressionistic techniques, dissonant harmony, experiments with form were all present from the 1850's on.