Totentanz (English: Dance of the Dead): Paraphrase on Dies irae, S.126, is the name of a symphonic piece for solo piano and orchestra by Franz Liszt, which is notable for being based on the Gregorian plainchant melody Dies Irae as well as for daring stylistic innovations. The piece was originally planned in 1838 and completed in 1849; it was then revised twice, however, in 1853 and 1859.
Some of the titles of Liszt’s pieces, such as Totentanz, Funérailles, La lugubre gondola, Pensée des morts, etc., show the composer’s fascination with death. In the young Liszt we can already observe manifestations of his obsession with death, with religion, and with heaven and hell. According to Alan Walker, Liszt frequented Parisian “hospitals, gambling casinos and asylums” in the early 1830s, and he even went down into prison dungeons in order to see those condemned to die.
Pianist Valentina Lisitsa during an interview in Leiden, Netherlands
Kiev, Ukraine, USSR
Valentina Lisitsa (Ukrainian: Валентина Лисиця, translit. Valentyna Lysytsya,) is a Ukrainian-born classical pianist. Lisitsa resides in North Carolina in the USA. She is among the most frequently viewed pianists on YouTube. Lisitsa has followed a truly unique path to success, launching her career via social media, without initially signing to a tour promoter or record company.
Totentanz is now available on “Live at the Royal Albert Hall” DVD! get your copy today at Amazon.com