Donizetti’s music in Liszt’s elaboration.
The aim of the article is to analyze Franz Liszt`s piano interpretations that constitute excellent operatic transcriptions and reminiscences from the operas of Gaetano Donizetti. There are seven piano works based on six of Donizetti’s operas. Among them bar-for-bar transcriptions of particular fragments as well as masterly syntheses of many musical themes. We try to argue that Donizetti was an inspiration for Liszt and that the Hungarian composer was not only an eminent connoisseur and admirer of bel canto, . He also made an important contribution to the rediscovery of Italian opera. These transcriptions are an excellent example of a sincere tribute from one great composer to another. They highlight some of the treasures among Donizetti’s compositions, as well as the talent of the author of the transcriptions.
Popularity of Donizetti’s music
It is a truism to say that the works of Gaetano Donizetti celebrated the triumph of the most prestigious opera houses in the fi rst half of the 19th century. The master from Bergamo became the most popular opera composer after Bellini’s premature death (1835), and after the end of Rossini’s operatic activity. His more than 70 works for the stage included three genres of Italian operas, seria, semiseria and buffo, and the French grand opéra and opéra comique. The popularity of Donizetti’s works is confirmed by the numerous interpretations and transcriptions of themes from his operas. Among the composers performing such variations, fantasies, and extracts were such instrumental virtuosos and competitors of Liszt as Sigismond Thalberg, the German pianist Charles Voss, the Spanish clarinetist Antonio Romero, and Richard Wagner.
Liszt point of view on lyric Opera
Johannes Brahms said: ‘Whoever really wants to know what Liszt has done for the piano should study his old operatic fantasies. They represent the classicism of piano technique.’
An analysis of Liszt’s interpretation of Donizetti’s operas shows that the Hungarian composer was not only an eminent connoisseur and admirer of works for the stage, but also contributed to the rediscovery of many operas. It is difficult to disagree with the opinion that his compositions helped to rescue many masterpieces from undeserved oblivion, in particular those by Donizetti, Meyerbeer, Auber and Bellini. We can thus concur with Allan Walker’s claim that Liszt’s transcriptions were a sincere tribute from one great composer to another. Anyway Liszt did not confine himself to Donizetti compositions but spread his interest fo italian opera and opera as a whole to verdi (Trovatore, Rigoletto, Aida….) , Bellini, Gounod, Meyerbeer, etc.