Music: Henry Charles Litolff - Concerto Symphonique No. 4 In D Minor - Complete - Data - Images

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Litolff - Concerto Symphonique No. 4 In D Minor

Gerald robbins, piano - Monte Carlo Opera Orchestra, Edouard Van Remoortel conductor
I. Allegro con fuoco
II. Scherzo : Presto 12:53
III. Adagio religioso : Cantabile 19:54
IV. Finale : Allegro impetuoso 26:28

 Litolff - Concerto Symphonique No. 4 In D Minor
In 1854 the piano virtuoso and composer Henry Litolff made a visit to Wiemar to see Franz Liszt who was acting kappelmeister there, and the two struck up a friendship of kindred spirits. Liszt had this to say about Litolff's Concerto Symphonique No. 4 that was shown to him while still in manuscript form:

    "[Litolff's] Fourth Symphonic concerto is a remarkable composition...there is certainly something winged in his [playing]"

Liszt returned the visit to Litolff in Brunswick (Braunschweig in German) where Litolff ran a music publishing house and was a leader of the local music scene. The friendship grew and Litolff invited Liszt back to Brunswick to participate in a music festival he had organized there (he also invited another of his friends Hector Berlioz), where Litolff played Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 1 in E-flat Major in concert, as well as his own Concerto Symphonique No. 4.

It has been said that the sincerest form of flattery is imitation. While Liszt's First Piano Concerto certainly is
not a carbon-copy of Litolff's, it does have some similarities. Both have four movements instead of the customary three, in each case the additional movement is a scherzo. Even the notorious (at the time) addition of a triangle to the Liszt scherzo was first done by Litolff. Perhaps the greatest sign of admiration for Litolff's concerto was the dedication Liszt gave to Litolff of his First Piano Concerto.

Litolff was a man afflicted with wanderlust until his later years. He moved away from his native England when he was seventeen, lived in Paris, Warsaw, Brunswick, and traveled all over Europe playing the piano and composing. He was also married four times, and with his fourth wife ended his days in a suburb of Paris. 
The concerto is in four movements:

I. Allegro con fuoco -  The movement begins with a loud chord from the full orchestra followed by a short cadenza for piano. The strings play a quiet short section that leads to another loud chord for full orchestra, cadenza from the piano, and quiet section from the strings which leads to the full orchestra stating the theme that is the basis of the entire movement. The piano writing is virtuosic, sometimes being of a thematic nature and sometimes being an elaborate accompaniment to the orchestra.  The music is passionate, dramatic and is truly written as a symphony for orchestra and piano obbligato.

II. Scherzo - Presto -  This is the one piece by Litolff that is most often heard on recordings and in concert halls. The music is Mendelssohnian and includes a part for piccolo and triangle, the first time either were used in a piano concerto. The orchestra and piano have a rhythmic and rapid dialog in the scherzo, while in the trio  the orchestra plays more subdued  music, but the piano keeps interrupting the calmness with the jauntiness of the scherzo until it wins out and the scherzo is repeated. A short coda has the piano play rapid  interlocking chromatic octaves before the orchestra and piano end the movement with staccato chords.

III. Adagio religioso - Cantabile - The piano solemnly begins the movement, followed up by the horns playing the lyrical theme. The piano enters once again and plays a variant of the opening theme. The horns are accompanied by the piano as they repeat the theme. The theme drifts in and out as the piano plays runs and arpeggios.  The music reaches a climax as the theme is played again by the horns. A swell from the orchestra and piano accompanies the horns as they play a fragment of the theme. The movement ends quietly with muted strings and broken chords in the piano.

IV. Allegro impetuoso - As in the first movement, Litolff uses one theme as the inspiration for most of the movement, and this one theme is related to the motif in the first movement. This gives the entire work a cohesiveness that is more easily felt than explained. There is a short fugato treatment of the theme later in the movement for orchestra alone as the piano is quiet for a rather long stretch for a concerto. But with such difficulties throughout this concerto, a short break for the pianist isn't all bad. The piano plays all manner of figurations of tremendous difficulty. The piano plays bristling octaves and figures as it moves towards the coda that turns the music to a majestic close in the major mode.


Henry Charles Litolff (5 February 1818[1] – 5 or 6 August 1891) was a piano virtuoso, composer of Romantic music and music publisher. He became a prolific composer, although he is now known mainly as the founder of the Litolff Edition of classical and modern music. He died at Bois-Colombes near Paris.


    This section contains close paraphrasing of a non-free copyrighted source, (Duplication Detector report). Ideas in this article should be expressed in an original manner. More details may be available on the talk page. (February 2015)

Litolff was born in London, the son of a Scottish mother and an Alsatian father. His father was a violinist who had been taken to London as a prisoner after being captured while fighting for Napoléon in the Peninsular War.

He began his musical education under his father, but in 1830, when he was twelve he played for renowned virtuoso pianist Ignaz Moscheles, who was so impressed that he gave him free lessons starting that same year. Litolff began to give concerts when he was fourteen. His lessons with Moscheles continued until Litolff eloped in 1835, at the age of 17, to Gretna Green, to marry 16-year-old Elisabeth Etherington. The couple moved to Melun, and then to Paris.

He separated from Elisabeth in 1839 and moved to Brussels,[2] and around 1841 moved to Warsaw where he is believed to have conducted the Teatr Narodowy (National Theatre) orchestra. In 1844 he travelled to Germany, gave concerts and taught future great pianist-conductor Hans von Bülow.[3] The following year, he returned to England with the idea of finally divorcing Elisabeth; but the plan backfired and he ended up not only heavily fined but imprisoned. He managed to escape and flee to the Netherlands, however.[n 1] He became friends with music publisher Gottfried Meyer and, after Meyer's death, married his widow Julie in 1851 (after finally being granted a divorce from Elisabeth as a new citizen of Brunswick). This second marriage lasted until 1858, when he divorced her and once again moved to Paris.


Main article: List of compositions by Henry Litolff

His most notable works were the five concertos symphoniques, essentially symphonies with piano obbligato. The first one, in D minor, is lost; the others (which, though not regularly heard in the concert repertoire, are all available in modern recordings) are:

    Concerto Symphonique No. 2 in B minor, Op. 22 (1844)
    Concerto Symphonique No. 3 in E-flat major, Op. 45 (c. 1846)
    Concerto Symphonique No. 4 in D minor, Op. 102 (c. 1852)
    Concerto Symphonique No. 5 in C minor, Op. 123 (c. 1867)

The only one of Litolff's compositions still performed at all regularly is the somewhat Mendelssohnian scherzo from the Fourth Concerto Symphonique, although his music was admired by Franz Liszt and he was the dedicatee of Liszt's own First Piano Concerto.

Litolff's Drame symphonique No. 1 Maximilien Robespierre, Op. 55, was one of the works conducted on Christmas Eve 1925 by Yuri Fayer at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow to accompany the world's first showing of Sergei Eisenstein's film Battleship Potemkin.[4]

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Henry1 Charles Litolff (Londres, 6 de febrero de 1818 - Bois-Colombes, 6 de agosto de 1891) fue un pianista y compositor romántico, fundador de la editora musical Litolff, muy importante para la difusión de autores clásicos y contemporáneos.


Hijo de alsaciano y escocesa, su padre, violinista y soldado en las tropas napoleónicas, había llegado a Londres preso tras la Guerra de la Independencia Española. Con doce años tocó para Ignaz Moscheles, quien quedó impresionado por su talento y le tomó bajo su tutela, dándole clases gratuitas a partir de 1830. Desde los catorce años Litolff empezó a dar conciertos y recitales. Las clases con Moscheles continuaron hasta 1835, cuando Litolff, con diecisiete años, se fugó al pueblo escocés de Gretna Green para casarse con Elisabeth Etherington, una muchacha de dieciséis. La pareja se trasladó a Melun y después a París, donde Litolff obtuvo el patrocinio del constructor de pianos Jean-Henry Pape. El propio Pape consiguió que François-Joseph Fétis le ofreciera a Litolff un puesto de profesor en el Conservatorio Real de Bruselas. Tras abandonar a Elisabeth se instaló en Varsovia, donde fue director del Teatro Nacional.2 En 1844 viajó por Alemania, dio conciertos e impartió clase a Hans von Bülow. Regresó al Reino Unido con la intención de conseguir el divorcio, pero su plan fracasó y terminó en la cárcel y condenado a pagar una elevada multa. Abandonó el Reino Unido y embarcó hacia los Países Bajos. Hizo amistad con el editor musical Gottfried Meyer y consiguió la ciudadanía del ducado de Brunswick. Gracias a esto, pudo divorciarse de Elisabeth y, tras la muerte de Meyer, se desposó con su viuda, Julie. Este matrimonio duró de 1851 a 1858, fecha en la que se divorciaron y en la que Litolff regresó de nuevo a París.

Litolff y Liszt

La influencia y admiración mutua entre Franz Liszt y Litolff es evidente. Ambos músicos eran grandes pianistas y compositores. Se conocieron en 1840, mantuvieron amistad y Litolff se convirtió en defensor e intérprete de la música pianística de Liszt, quien le dedicó su Concierto para piano y orquesta n.º 1 en mi bemol mayor. Tanta fue su relación que algunos historiadores atribuyen a la influencia de Litolff el que Liszt denominara esta obra como concerto symphonique en la versión manuscrita de la partitura, aunque luego se ha demostrado que Liszt ya usaba este término con anterioridad a conocer a Litolff.3 En 1854 Litolff estaba en plena gira de conciertos y visitó a Liszt en Weimar, donde le enseñó su manuscrito del Concierto sinfónico n.º 4, que causó en Liszt gran impresión.4 Litolff invitó a Liszt a participar en los festivales de música que organizaba en Brunswick.

Obras orquestales

Los Conciertos Sinfónicos

Las obras principales de Litolff son los cinco Conciertos Sinfónicos para piano y orquesta, una suerte de sinfonías con piano solista. De ellos, sólo se interpreta con regularidad el Scherzo del Concierto n.° 4.

    Concierto Sinfónico n.º 1 en re menor. No se conserva íntegro y sólo quedan de él algunos fragmentos.
    Concierto Sinfónico n.º 2 en si menor, Op. 22 (1844)
    Concierto Sinfónico n.º 3 en mi bemol, Op. 45 (c. 1846)
    Concierto Sinfónico n.º 4 en re menor, Op. 102 (c. 1852)
    Concierto Sinfónico n.º 5 en do menor, Op. 123 (c. 1867)

Los Dramas Sinfónicos u Oberturas

Son unos poemas sinfónicos basados en acontecimientos históricos de carácter revolucionario que posteriormente fueron retitulados como oberturas.

    Drama sinfónico n.º 1 Maximilien Robespierre (Obertura Robespierre), Op. 55. Su título original fue El último día del Terror (Le dernier Jour de la Terreur, (c.1850-52). Fue una de las músicas que acompañaron al estreno de El acorazado Potemkin de Sergei Eisenstein, tocada en vivo por la Orquesta del Teatro Bolshói, dirigida por Yuri Fayer.5
    Drama sinfónico n.º 2 Los girondinos (Obertura trágica), Op. 80 (c.1850-52).
    Drama sinfónico n.º 3 Los güelfos (Obertura heróica), Op. 99 (c.1850-52).
    Drama sinfónico n.º 4 Canto de los belgas (Obertura dramática), Op. 101 (c.1850-52).

Óperas y operetas

    Salvator Rosa, 1845.
    Catherine Howard, 1847.
    Die Braut vom Kynast, grand opéra romantique basada en Ernst August Friedrich Klingemann, 1847.
    Rodrique de Tolède, ópera, 1860.
    Le Chevalier Nahal ou La Gageure du diable, opéra comique, 1866.
    La Boîte de Pandore, opéra bouffe en tres actos, con libreto de Théodore Barrière. Estrenada en el Teatro Folies-Dramatiques, el 17 de octubre de 1871.
    Héloise et Abélard, opéra comique, 1872.
    La Belle au bois dormant (estrenada en el Teatro del Châtelet, 1874).6
    La Fiancée du roi de Garbe (opéra comique estrenada en el teatro Folies-Dramatiques, París, 1874).7
    La Mandragore, drama lírico en tres actos. Libreto de M. Brésil, basado en Joseph Balsamo de Alejandro Dumas y Auguste Maquet. Estrenado en el Teatro de las Fantaisies-Parisiennes de Bruselas el 29 de enero de 1876.8
    Les Templiers, ópera en cinco actos y siete cuadros, con libreto de Jules Adenis, Armand Silvestre y Lionel Bonnemère. Estrenada el 25 de enero de 1886 en el Teatro de la Monnaie, Bruselas.7
    L'Escadron volant de la reine, opéra comique, 1888.
    Le roi Lear, ópera, c. 1890. Libreto de Jules y Eugène Adenis, basado en los textos de Raphael Holinshed y en la la obra teatral homónima de Shakespeare.9}

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Music: Henry Charles Litolff - Concerto Symphonique No. 4 In D Minor - Complete - Data - Images

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