Weekend Concert Series

Christopher Taylor, piano

Beethoven/Liszt Symphonies Project, Part I

Sunday, March 22, 2020
1:30 - 3 pm
Calderwood Hall

This Weekend Concert has been canceled. If you have any questions, please contact the Box Office at 617 278 5156.


Ludwig van Beethoven (arr. Franz Liszt), Symphony No. 1 (1800/1864)
Ludwig van Beethoven (arr. Franz Liszt), Symphony No. 2 (1802/1864)

This is the first installment of Christopher Taylor’s traversal of Liszt’s ear-opening transcriptions of all nine of Beethoven symphonies, which will span the Winter/Spring and Fall 2020 seasons.

Isabella Stewart Gardner idolized Beethoven. The life mask of the composer (below) is still on view at her Museum. To celebrate the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth, pianist Christopher Taylor will scale the Everest of piano literature, works Vladimir Horowitz called simply "the greatest works for the piano."

She was also a great admirer of Liszt, and was in fact travelling to meet with him when he died suddenly. Gardner attended his funeral, supported his grieving family, and cast the first shovel of earth onto his coffin. These astounding transcriptions by Liszt are not fantasias on the original material but rather scrupulously faithful avatars of Beethoven's original scores. They provide a laser-sharp look inside the workings of the music, illuminating their structures as if lit from within. This is the ideal way to hear Beethoven's seismic masterworks in a completely fresh way.

The series begins with Beethoven’s first two symphonies, works that split open the doors of the 19th century.

Life Mask of Ludwig van Beethoven

Copy after Franz Klein (Austrian, 1779-1840), Life Mask of Ludwig Van Beethoven, after 1812

Lock of Franz Liszt's Hair

Lock of Franz Liszt's Hair in a Box (German), about 1886

The Museum thanks its generous concert donors: Fitzpatrick Family Concert; James Lawrence Memorial Concert; Alford P. Rudnick Memorial Concert; Marie Louise and David Scudder Concert; Wendy Shattuck Young Artist Concert; and Willona Sinclair Memorial Concert. The piano is dedicated as the Alex d’Arbeloff Steinway. The harpsichord was generously donated by Dr. Robert Barstow in memory of Marion Huse, and its care is endowed in memory of Dr. Barstow by The Barstow Fund. The Museum is also supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which receives support from the State of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts.