Showdown: Liszt vs. Enescu

The Contestants:

Franz Liszt

Liszt

Franz Liszt was the greatest pianist of his generation, a renowned composer, and one hell of a nice guy.  His contributions to the symphonic poem influence composers to this day.  They just renamed the Budapest Airport after him.

Georges Enescu

Enescu

George Enescu was a composer, conductor, violinist, and explorer of folk music.  The list of his violin students is mighty impressive (Menuhin, Grumiaux, Haendel, Ferras).  The village in Romania where he is born is now called George Enescu.

The Rep:

Rhapsody!

Rhapsody!

A Rhapsody is an episodic, free-flowing work that does not necessarily adhere to any formal structures.  It is a favorite compositional style of the Romantic period, as unrequited love and tragic heroism also do not follow any formal structures.

The Showdown:

Liszt wrote 19 Hungarian Rhapsodies for piano, six of which were arranged for orchestra by Franz Doppler with revisions by Liszt himself.  The most famous of the bunch is the Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2.  Enescu wrote two Romanian Rhapsodies for orchestra, the Romanian Rhapsody no. 1 being the more popular one.  This will essentially be a BCS-type clash between #1 and #2.  Continuing in the spirit of the BCS, Alfven’s sublime Swedish Rhapsody #3 has legitimate complaints about its omission from the contest and may file an antitrust lawsuit. Continue reading

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Eivind Gullberg Jensen is the worst conductor in the universe: UPDATED!

Eivind Gullberg Jensen

Josh Brolin has a Norwegian twin sister?

Normally I find it a good idea to try and come up with some kind of catchy title if I’m writing an opinion piece.  Sometimes it uses a metaphor, sometimes it uses a pun, sometimes it uses an obscure “Big Lebowski” reference, but it’s always meant to bring a touch of mystery to the actual substance of what was written.

In this case, however, I could think of nothing remotely interesting or competent to say.  It is not unlike the conducting of Eivind Gullberg Jensen in that respect. Continue reading