I don’t know if I would have fainted, but I DEFINITELY would have swooned. And then sought him afterward.
It’s not that the music is particularly impressive for its difficulty. I mean, it is, but it’s more than that. It’s that it’s incredibly sensual. Every single note, every single turn, run, phrase, whatever, has the opportunity to charm, caress, impress, and just overwhelm the senses. And I bet that’s what he did – he milked it. With the paraphrases, he probably sounded like he was improvising it. Which includes improvising all the little emotional tricks, twists and turns. I’m listening to an on-hand recording of some Hungarian Rhapsodies (André Watts) and I can hear so much more potential than what’s being played. Yeah, it’s impressive, but only occasionally do I have to stop writing because I just can’t focus on the words anymore for being absolutely controlled by the music. I listen to phrases, licks, where I think “he could have done this. More of that. Linger here. Push there.” Liszt is not the time for restraint – not this kind of Liszt. He certainly didn’t get under anybody’s skirt by being restrained.