The Music Plays On — Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody №2

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Let’s face it, most of us originally got to know Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody №2 from the classic Tom & Jerry cartoon, a mash-up of the two originals, the original piano version and the two orchestral versions that are most often performed.

Or, Looney Tunes, Rhapsody Rabbit.

Or, gotten a few chuckles from the timeless comedic genius of Victor Borge.

And Hungarian folk ensembles have taken this work full circle and have made it a staple of their repertoire.

However, there’s nothing that beats the original. Alongside videos of Leonidas Kavakos playing Paganini, there are few videos that capture such flawless and truly unparalleled technique as this performance with Marc-André Hamelin.

And that leaves us with the two versions for orchestra. The first version was created by Franz Liszt and Albert Franz Doppler. Surprisingly, it is not the one that is most often performed, but there are excellent performances out there!

And here are my favorite performances of the more often performed version, created by Karl Müller Berghaus.

Written by

Music Director of the California Symphony and Las Vegas Philharmonic

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