Liszt wrote some of the most advanced music of his day, yet revered many of his more conservative contemporaries, and predecessors like Bach, Beethoven, and Schubert. Much of his music is unique in conception, yet he wrote reams of transcriptions, paraphrases, and arrangements of other composers' music as well, so his piano transcription of Bach's organ Fantasy and Fugue in G Minor makes a fitting opening on an otherwise all-Liszt recital. The range of emotional expression in his music covers the entire gamut, from deeply introspective musings like the Nuages gris to diabolical outpourings of searing intensity like the first Mephisto Waltz. Both extremes, and much in between, will be heard at this concert.
Garrick Ohlsson's program falls neatly into two parts: large-scale arrangements before intermission; mostly shorter works, all originally for piano, after intermission. The latter group spans Liszt's entire compositional career, from the "Feux follets" (whose earliest origins date back to his teenage years) to the late pieces composed shortly before his death in the early 1880s.