#Classical365: 30 – Liszt Piano Concerto No.2

After my botched attempt at getting to hear a new piece of music on Day 30 of my year-long listening project, I end up coming up in time to catch the end of the first half of the RSNO’s concert from Usher Hall broadcast live on Radio 3.

Liszt’s second piano concerto is on the bill. I’m not sure how I feel about Liszt. His scores are fiendish for pianists to play: music written by a pianist with long fingers for himself to show-off with. Liszt’s music is always pleasant to listen to. It’s decorative, romantic-sounding and (in the case of the second piano concerto) has a breathtaking finish bound to send the crowd out of the auditorium feeling very pleased with themselves. It’s not shallow, but its not terribly demanding either. It feels like I’m being asked to marvel, but that I won’t be moved emotionally. I think I’d prefer to marvel because I’ve been moved emotionally.

I’m now approaching the end of the first month of the listening project. I’m a twelfth of the way through. So far its turned out to be a pleasure, even if the writing element is more demanding than I thought it would be. If the works aren’t planned, then there can be a sense of panic when I decide what I’m going to listen to. Unexpectedly, its changed how I approach using my time. I’m now more aware of how long this process takes and, as a result, am starting to think more ruthlessly about how I can use my writing time. Is this paying anything back? Where is the return on the investment? If I’m going to be spending 30-60 minutes a day writing, do I need to be spending a bit more time on different writing endeavours which might see a return?

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