Franz Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 2. If I had to use one phrase to describe this wonderful masterpiece, I’d say it is a “concert of contrast.” Everything in this concerto has an opposite. If part of it sounds soft and lyrical, just wait and you’ll be treated to a forceful, military march-like section. If it’s quiet, don’t worry, it will get very loud very soon. If it sounds gentle and bright, don’t get used to it; deep darkness lies just a few notes away. There is love and of course devilish hate here, too.
This roller coaster of contrasts has its purpose: It is there to reach into your soul, turn it upside down, and squeeze every possible ounce of emotion out of you. The roller coaster of contrasts is life! Life without contrasts would be bland and boring. Contrasts are what make us appreciate what we have (and what we might have, and what we have lost). We would not appreciate the beauty of sunrise without the darkness of night. Pain is there for us to value the scarcity of joy. And love is there when we transcend blindness of indifference. It is impossible (speaking from personal experience) to listen to this concerto and not be deeply impacted by it.
P.S. I didn’t actually mean to get carried away, but I’ve been listening to this concerto all day long, and it stirred up so much emotion in me that you got the above.
Khatia Buniatishvili – beautiful performance, though I am not sure I can be totally objective here
Barenboim and Boulez