Franz Liszt ended his B minor Sonata in 1853 with a long reflective reminiscence from its slow middle movement.

In his later years, he no longer seemed satisfied with this, for he left behind a whole series of sketches for a different ending to this fiery virtuoso concert piece, now recognised as a world-class masterpiece. Liszt's sketches, however, remained somewhat indifferent and little elaborated. It is striking, however, that he clearly wanted to use the diabolically impressive main theme underlying the work and its knocking motif that follows it. From my own concert experience, I know that, of all things, after this overwhelmingly pianistic sonata, the applause, in contrast to other similar works, always starts with a certain hesitation, even though one has played one's heart out, and I would wager that the master himself experienced this a hundred times and that his recent sketches were intended to remedy this. Incidentally, planning the public impact of such a huge project has nothing whatsoever to do with "superficiality". It is an "architectural" question, and although the original sonata conclusion is full of poetry, it distracts so much from the thunderously overwhelming final octaves that actually conclude the work that the listener must feel his enthusiasm as sacrilege after the following Adagio ending. I have therefore taken Franz Liszt's suggestion seriously and given the sonata a new ending, authorised by the composer's drafts. I don't know exactly whether I should be ashamed of the fact that the applause now immediately erupts, because that was obviously what Liszt wanted.

Yojo Christen


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Yojo Christen