Performed by Leslie Howard, Piano
Professor Dr. Leslie Howard is the world’s foremost authority on and exponent of the works of Ferenc Liszt.
He has recorded the complete piano works on 100 CDs for Hyperion, and made a specialism of the study of the life and work of Liszt both as pianist and musicologist for the past half century.
For nearly fifty years, Professor Howard has been creating and compiling the first ever complete thematic catalogue of Liszt’s work. This is tantamount to for the first time publishing a) the complete work list b) giving it Opus numbers and c) arranging it by thematic content (a particular issue for Liszt).
This catalogue is nothing short of a musicological milestone and certainly one of the most significant contributions to the research and performance of a master composer in the past century.
After more than half a century’s worth of musicological scholarship at the highest levels, it is now nearing completion and publication.
As attested by his enormous discography, Howard is a great pianist. Whilst his musicological pursuits have diverted him from pursuing a major international career, now in his 70s he remains possessed of a legendary pianism (that has enabled him to record a hundred programmes of the most difficult music in the repertoire) – and, more importantly, an unrivalled education and insight into this composer.
Aside from Howard’s encyclopaedic memory of every work ever written by Liszt, he also knows every piano, chamber, symphonic, and operatic work in relatively regularly performed repertoire (by memory) and is nothing short of a musical master in the grand manner. A polyglot like Howard is naturally more concerned with music for the sake of music rather than anything else, but it is time to celebrate this man, this composer, and this achievement at age 75 while he still possesses an enviable technique to dispatch the most difficult works and the world can still benefit from his insight.
Howard is equally at home in recitals (which are inevitably huge) or concerti (of which he has 80) – but, of course, it is Liszt that we hope to bring to a wider “live” public.
Lastly, Professor Howard has spent the last 2-3 decades devoting a great deal of time to the tuition and guidance of piano students. He has done this invariably “gratis” as a further contribution to the musical world, and therefore many active musicians have benefited from his wisdom and kindness as a pedagogue.