Chopin vs Liszt

By Xah Lee. Date:

Dear sirs,

you wrote: “… Chopin is far and away the better composer.”

I take displeasure at your personal drivel.

I'm a man who hates superficiality. Between Chopin and Liszt, Chopin is the one with lack of vision and cheap affectations. Bland finger exercises masquerade as musical etudes: sweet pieces not melodious, cheerful pieces hesitating, grandiose pieces not powerful. Once in a while there's a gem like the Revolution or Raindrop, most are languid that cannot last half a life time of listening. Look at his greenhorn-friendly nocturns, for which this wimp is most famous for. Out of the 20 or so, maybe 5 are good. The rest are soporific bore that are byproducts of copy and paste. Similarly for his warmongering polonaises, only a few are good. Heroic, give me a break; Militant, you bet. Out of his petite collection of preludes, only 4 or so stands out. The prelude set in Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier is sufficient to dwarf Chopin's ass. And look at what types of music Chopin has written? Not much! and the mazurkas being the worst form of music in entire history. Nary a one piece is worth listening to once.

Liszt's etudes, songs, marches, sonatas, sceneries, lyrical poems, holy hymns, impromptus, fantasies, rhapsodies, break precepts and form, diverse and overwhelming in mood not sensation, not to mention his altruistic paraphrases giving a helping hand to the slew of lesser beings and poor apprentices and admirers like Chopin and Schumann et al. Simply take his collection of paraphrases is sufficient to equate all of Chopin's entire suite of greatest works.

Chopin the weakling in awe of his mentor, had to dedicated his Opus 10 etudes to Liszt. Speaking of influence on music or later generations, Liszt is the father of impressionism -- a entire genre of piano music, of which Brahms, Bizet, Rachmaninov, Ravel, Debussy all kowtow and pay homage. Without impressionism, there'd be no Jazz nor atonal music. What has Chopin and his few petty piano corpus influenced? The soap opera? Liszt made it possible to put entire symphony on mere 88 piano notes; purged classical music of impurities and motley array of quaint instruments big and small with odd shapes and tunes. What has Chopin's inventive chords done for music? A few warhorses here and there in modern repertoire? And, did you know that Liszt is the progenitor of the practice where frenzied young ladies flinging their undies to their idol on stage?

Of course, lesser pianists with faint-hearted ears will attribute bombast to Liszt's music. I care nothing of bombast, but Liszt's music speaks to my heart 100 times as sharp knife's cuts than Chopin's. Something Chopin lovers just don't have sufficient nerve endings or heart to ever discern or appreciate. Them vapid weepy heartburned half-asleep day-dreamers; tears of emotion gushes out their eyes like faucet, heaving and snorting to express their stupefaction and gratification.

Chopin was a favorite of mine, but once i learned of Liszt, Chopin the mawkish freak gets kicked aside like a relic. If Chopin's music is a temptress, Liszt's is the buxom nubile jailbait next door, ready to throb your heart, burst your balls, and whack your brain out.

So, next time if you want to bad mouth Liszt relative to Chopin, you better shut up!

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