Stephen Hough’s ultimate playLiszt

Romantic rockstar

Pianist Stephen Hough lifts the lid on one of Liszt’s most famous works

One of Amphio’s most popular classical music apps is The Liszt Sonata, a detailed exploration of one of the Romantic composer’s most famous works, his Sonata in B minor. The app features exquisite performances by the renowned pianist and Liszt expert Stephen Hough, who also lifts the lid on the work’s structure and context in a series of interviews in the app’s ‘book’ section.

So when we got the opportunity to share some of the app content for free, you can bet we leaped at the chance! We’ve taken the opportunity to construct a rather lovely playLiszt, which we hope you’ll enjoy on YouTube and of course, here on Classical Music Reimagined. Enjoy.

Video one: Who was Franz Liszt?


The pianist and Liszt expert Stephen Hough explains what, in his view, made composer-pianist Franz Liszt THE greatest musician of the 19th century.

Video two: why did Liszt turn to composing?


For many people, the name ‘Franz Liszt’ conjures up images of a flamboyant, womanising virtuoso. But at the end of the 1840s, the 35-year-old Liszt gave up concerts, moved to Weimar and decided to become a serious composer. Stephen Hough explains how a meeting with a princess changed everything for this great Romantic figure.

Video three: What makes Liszt’s Sonata in B minor a masterpiece?


Liszt’s Sonata in B minor is an extraordinary piece of music. Written in 1853 and first performed in 1857, it’s a passionate, emotional work that embodies the Romantic movement’s ideals of narrative and the lone, heroic artist. Here, Stephen Hough explains why the work continues to appeal today.

Video four: Why didn’t Liszt give his masterpiece a title?


Liszt gave many of his compositions fantastic, evocative titles: Faust Symphony, Transcendental Etudes, Mephisto Waltz… So how did his 1853 piano masterwork, Sonata in B minor, end up with such a nondescript title? Stephen Hough explains his theory.

Video five: What was the first performance like?

Stephen Hough explains the Kardashian-esque Romantic soap opera that preceded the premiere of Liszt’s Sonata in B minor.

Video six: How should it be played?


Stephen Hough shows how, handled correctly, Liszt’s Sonata in B minor appeals to both the head and the heart.

Amphio’s The Liszt Sonata app is available to download now from the app store. If you enjoyed these videos, check out this related article on Classical Music Reimagined. Franz Liszt: the Kanye West of the 19th century?
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