Franz Liszt

Rigoletto: paraphrase de concert (after Verdi), for piano, S. 434 (LW A187)

    Description by Robert Cummings

    Franz Liszt, an inveterate transcriber and recycler, was always willing to write music based on the themes of other composers, never concerned he would advance their reputation possibly at the expense of his own. Here, he fashioned a substantial concert piece after thematic material from one of the most dramatic moments in Verdi's opera, Rigoletto.

    The womanizing Duke of Mantua is romancing Maddalena, his latest conquest, at an inn. Outside, his bitter, hunchback court jester Rigoletto and Rigoletto's daughter Gilda, who is madly in love with the Duke, observe his infidelity to their utter dismay. Rigoletto intends to have a hired assassin kill the Duke. The Verdi music here depicts innocence and deceit, treachery and disappointment, but in a less grim manner, focusing more on dramatics.

    Liszt uses the famous quartet from this scene, "Bella figlia dell'amore" which comes in the final act shortly after the Duke's even more famous La donna è mobile aria. The composer deftly manipulates the themes in the quartet to encompass the range of emotions, as well as the melodic richness of Verdi's music. Actually, Liszt used a formula of sorts in his Verdi paraphrases (there are others, including Ernani and Il Trovatore), which was to write an introduction and coda to frame the scene, based, of course, on the thematic materials in the music. One essential aim of Liszt's Verdi forays was to write a showpiece well suited to the piano's sonorities and expressive range. To that end he succeeded.

    The theme which largely dominates here is first sung by Maddalena, and Liszt fashions his introduction from it. It has an air of both nonchalance and darkness in its gaiety. A second theme, typically Verdian in its melancholy, is also prominently used by Liszt. The colors are brilliant throughout, and the ending is virtuosic and attractive. This is much fun, though hardly deep music.

    Liszt completed the three aforementioned Verdi paraphrases in 1859 for a series of Berlin concerts given by Hans von Bülow.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 Bongiovanni GB 51942
    2017 Onyx Classics ONYX 4179
    2017 Genuin GEN 17452
    2016 Quartz QTZ 2113
    2016 Piano Classics PCL 0101
    2016 Camerata Records CMCD-15141/2
    2016 Camerata Records
    2015 Tactus TC 811290
    2015 APR (Appian) APR 7701
    2014 APR (Appian) 6014
    2014 Odradek ODRCD 309
    2014 RCA Red Seal 88843003502
    2014 Genuin GEN 14295
    2013 Warner Classics 697851
    2013 RCA Red Seal 88725484402
    2013 Elatus 49564
    2013 Brilliant Classics 94610
    2013 Tactus TC 811202
    2013 Deutsche Grammophon 4791302
    2013 Edition HERA HERA 2126
    2012 Victor Elmaleh Collection VEC 102
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099970490
    2012 Ionian Productions, Inc.
    2012 MSR Classics MS 1375
    2012 Telos Music TLS 141
    2012 Centaur Records 3160
    2012 LP Classics 1003
    2012 APR (Appian) APR 6010
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099908380
    2011 Warner Classics 2564674403
    2011 Warner Classics 674400
    2011 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099908216
    2011 EMI Classics
    2011 IBA [Idil Biret Archives] 8571286
    2011 Piano Classics PCLD 0017
    2011 Sleeveless SLV 1005
    2011 Dal Segno DSPRCD061
    2011 Naxos 855821415
    2011 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099909635
    2011 Lontano 2564690748
    2011 Delos DE 3412
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon B00156512
    2011 Brilliant Classics 94147
    2011 Challenge Classics CC 72526
    2011 Welspringe Productions WP011
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon 002894779525
    2011 Deutsche Grammophon
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099968582
    2010 ABC Classics 4764059
    2010 Dal Segno 051
    2010 Decca 4782374
    2010 Decca
    2009 Brilliant Classics 93900
    2009 Berlin Classics 0149572
    2009 EMI Classics 13251
    2009 Brilliant Classics 93786
    2008 Divine Art 25067
    2008 EMI Classics 217304
    2008 Philips 473742
    2008 Thorofon / Zebralution
    2008 UT3 Records / Zebralution
    2008 APR (Appian) 5667
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 4355912 GGA
    2008 Camerata Records 28130
    2008 Gramola 98820
    2007 Urania 4254
    2007 Dal Segno 033
    2007 Naxos 8557904
    2007 Berlin Classics 0186002
    2007 Dal Segno 017
    2007 EuroArts 2056748
    2006 Reference Recordings 908
    2006 Fabula Classica 1256
    2006 Palexa 501
    2006 Philips 473775
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 67906
    2006 Palexa 503
    2006 MSR Classics 1149
    2006 Reference Recordings 106
    2005 Cambria 1149
    2004 LML Music 181
    2004 Deutsche Grammophon
    2004 Arbiter ARBITER141
    2004 Deutsche Grammophon 000344902
    2003 Deutsche Grammophon 474423
    2003 enSayo 9742
    2003 Warner Classics
    2003 Deutsche Grammophon 000085102
    2001 Aura Classics 0411
    2001 Hyperion LISZT1
    2001 Musicians Showcase 1063
    2000 Sonora 22561
    1999 Philips 456847
    1999 The Piano Library 222
    1999 Pearl 9966
    1999 EMI Music Distribution 68963
    1999 Philips 456 805-2PM2
    1999 Philips 462232
    1999 Philips 456814
    1999 Philips Classics 432305
    1999 Berlin Classics 0093572
    1999 Aura Classics 0104
    1999 Ivory Classics / Ivory Records 70901
    1998 Four Winds 3006
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459 070-2GCC11
    1998 Deutsche Grammophon 459044
    1998 Arte Nova 30495
    1998 Koch Discover International 920499
    1997 Biddulph Recordings LHW014-15
    1997 Thorofon CTH 2230
    1997 Madacy 3708
    1997 Melodiya 33210
    1997 Philips 456 052-2PM2
    1997 Arte Nova 46502
    1996 Chandos 9471
    1995 APR (Appian) CDAPR 7023
    1995 Connoisseur Society 4187
    1995 Appian 7011
    1995 Decca
    1995 London 444851
    1995 Denon Records 78960
    1995 Hungaroton 31596
    1995 ASV 6109
    1995 APR (Appian) 5531
    1994 Hyperion 66861
    1994 Accord 201722
    1994 BIS 185
    1993 London 436736
    1993 Sony Music Distribution 48484
    1993 London 410257
    1993 Opal 9840
    1992 EMI Music Distribution 67366
    1992 Vox 5047
    Pearl 9396
    Warner Classics & Jazz 69785
    IM Lab 135
    Chuck Michaelson 000
    D'Note 1020
    Madrigal Audio
    P&P Classica
    Palexa 501
    Supraphon 110308
    Ermitage 405
    FSM Adagio 97724
    BNL Productions 112797
    Decca 467801
    Erato 45328
    Ensayo 3406
    All Russia
    Sony Music Distribution 52564
    PricewaterhouseCoopers 2001
    APR (Appian) 7013
    Melodiya 33230
    Music & Arts 615
    B&N 2435
    Denon Records 7332
    Dante 065
    The Piano Library 238
    Sona Shaboyan