Franz Liszt

Hungarian Rhapsody, for piano No. 12 in C sharp minor (aka "No. 2"), S. 244/12 (LW A132/12)

    Description by Adrian Corleonis

    As a prodigy who blossomed into perhaps the most charismatic performer the world has known, Liszt had been before the European public, garnering phenomenal fame, for nearly two decades when he returned to Hungary in December 1839. He'd just turned 28 -- tall, slender, strikingly handsome, his features suffused with a delicate pâleur beneath an abundant mane of dark hair. His countrymen welcomed him as a proto-national hero -- Hungary chafed under Austrian domination. A benefit concert in the Hungarian National Theatre on January 4, 1840, was met with such delirium that Liszt, in national costume (per a famous portrait by Miklós Barabás), returned to the stage to play the Rákóczi-March, the Magyars' anthem, provoking a tumultuous ovation in the midst of which a party of Hungarian nobles approached to present a jewel-encrusted "sword of honor" inscribed "To the great artist Ferenc Liszt, for his artistic merit and for his patriotism, from his admiring compatriots." Given such a stupendous reception, it is little wonder that Liszt, on native ground, should wish to divine the song of the earth, so to speak. The awakening of childhood memories led him to a Gypsy encampment where he drank in, again, their improvised, highly ornamented, dramatically inflected art couched in the shrilling sweetness of violins and the clanking eloquence of the cimbalom, swinging pendulum-like from sensual melancholy to frenzied gaiety. Liszt's stay in Hungary, which held him through the winter, was preoccupied with transcribing what he perceived, with Romantic fervor, as fragments of collective genius, or Zigeuner-Epos. This material was tirelessly worked over for piano through the 1840s and into the 1850s, first in the series of Magyar Dallok and Magyar Rhapsodiák, and recomposed in the familiar series of 15 Hungarian Rhapsodies, to which he added four original rhapsodies in the 1880s. The compelling spontaneity of Gypsy improvisation, which Liszt took infinite pains to notate, obscured the fact that Gypsies are magpies, appropriating what they hear to transform and meld it with their own strains -- and a great deal of what Liszt's Gypsies heard was popular music. Thus, the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 12 -- also well known as No. 2 of the six rhapsodies Liszt orchestrated -- opens starkly with two themes from a czárdás by Márk Rószavölgyi worked to a dark grandeur to give way in sparkling hijinks to turns on a theme by Béni Egressy, spiced with numerous melodic oddments that may be Liszt's own, to make one of Liszt's most popular, colorful -- and corniest -- works.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2016 Sony Classical / Sony Music Distribution 88875032272
    2016 Sony Classical 88875183392
    2015 Pavane / Pavane Records ADW 7570
    2015 APR (Appian) APR 6016
    2014 APR (Appian) APR 7401
    2013 Apex 2564644430
    2013 Satirino / Satirino Records SRO 131
    2013 Broken Audio BRAU 0996
    2013 Berlin Classics 0300540BC
    2013 Pilfink Records JJVCD 115
    2013 APR (Appian) 6013
    2013 Decca 4785751
    2013 Decca B001898702
    2013 Decca
    2013 Decca
    2012 Akedem Records
    2012 Brilliant Classics 94397
    2012 Entertainment Group 11903
    2012 Piano Classics PCLM 0041
    2012 Blue Griffin Recording BG 267
    2012 Brilliant Classics 94357
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099967870820
    2012 Sony Classical 88691912562
    2011 Warner Classics 69284
    2011 RCA Red Seal 886919369120
    2011 Gramola GLA 98932
    2011 Capriccio Records C7090
    2011 Warner Classics 2564672554
    2011 Haenssler 98625
    2011 Arts Music 477578
    2011 Sony Classical 8869784019
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4779014
    2010 Time/Life Music 26086
    2010 Testament 1445
    2009 Berlin Classics 0149572
    2009 Mansion Records 5167
    2009 Brilliant Classics 9014
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 EMI Classics 35732
    2009 EMI Classics 2357332
    2009 EMI Classics
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Music & Arts 1234
    2009 Sony Classics 8869742200
    2008 Medici Arts 29-2
    2008 DG Deutsche Grammophon 00440 073 4402
    2008 UT3 Records / Zebralution
    2008 Virgin Classics 562458
    2008 Dal Segno 021
    2008 Audiofon 72070
    2008 Decca 001066500
    2007 Classic Mania 93320
    2007 Ivory Classics IC77001
    2007 DG Deutsche Grammophon 4776162
    2007 DG Deutsche Grammophon
    2007 Oehms Classics 575
    2007 Dal Segno 033
    2007 Universal Distribution 4429497
    2006 Doremi Records 7743-5
    2006 APR (Appian) 7040
    2006 Doremi Records 7870
    2005 DG Deutsche Grammophon 000582727
    2005 Virgin Classics 562481-2
    2005 APR (Appian) 5643
    2004 APR (Appian) 7039
    2004 Biddulph Recordings LHW044
    2004 Universal Music Division Decca Records France
    2003 Forlane 16819
    2003 Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 352
    2003 Naxos 8110769
    2003 Angelok 1 8801
    2002 Hungaroton 32131
    2002 Decca 470257
    2002 Camerata Records 28CM608
    2002 Decca 472589
    2001 EMI Music Distribution 67555
    2001 Forlane 7
    2001 Rca Red Seal 63031
    2000 Sonora 22561
    2000 EMI Music Distribution 69003
    2000 DG Deutsche Grammophon 469676
    2000 APR (Appian) 5622
    2000 Danacord 338-339
    1999 The Piano Library 251
    1999 The Piano Library 265
    1999 Philips 456871
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 68963
    1999 Nimbus 8818
    1999 Philips 462232
    1999 Philips 454987
    1999 Philips 456919
    1999 Philips 456814
    1999 Cambria 1410
    1999 Pearl 9962
    1999 Lifestyle Classics 1758
    1999 RCA Red Seal 63000
    1999 BMG 7432163471
    1999 Pearl 9011
    1998 Marston 53002
    1998 Marston 52007
    1998 Nimbus 8814
    1998 Philips 456856
    1998 Historical Piano 057
    1998 Intersound 3622
    1998 Koch Discover International 920499
    1997 RCA Victor Red Seal 74321467252
    1997 Philips 456403
    1997 Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 621
    1997 Sony Classical 62691
    1996 Quintessence 2107
    1996 Sony Classical 62366
    1996 APR (Appian) 5514
    1995 Madacy 7680
    1995 VAI Audio 1047
    1995 Pearl GEMMCD 9201
    1995 London 444851
    1995 Decca
    1995 DG Deutsche Grammophon 445562
    1994 Mercury 434340
    1994 Nimbus 7701
    1994 RCA Gold Seal 61860
    1994 Laserlight 15848
    1993 Russian Disc 10021
    1993 London 410257
    1993 DG Deutsche Grammophon 439520
    1993 Pearl 9943
    1992 Pearl IF 2000
    1992 Pearl GEMMCDS9972
    1991 Sony Classical 46437
    1988 Otello 1012
    Pearl 9132
    RCA 60523
    Fonoteca 961113
    Ivory Records 72004
    Isophon 90681
    Mk 418018
    Mezhdunarodnaya-Kniga 418018
    Fone 9012
    Fone 9007
    Virgin 59646
    Activ 503037
    Virgin 61757
    Fonoteca 960407
    Fonoteca 960404
    Arkadia 113
    Decca 467801
    EMI Music Distribution 7473702
    MCA 10393
    Manchester 115
    Vox 8718
    Musical Heritage
    Pearl 9860
    Klavier Records 11075
    Par Excellence/St. Clair 24382
    Pearl 0146
    IMP Classics 1051
    DG Deutsche Grammophon 435028
    The Piano Library 267
    Vox 5139
    APR (Appian) 7007
    Vox 7210
    Sony Music Distribution 23062
    Vladimir Krainev International 22
    The Piano Library 203
    Sona Shaboyan
    Olympia (Classical/Jazz)