how to listen to music if you don’t know your Beethoven from your Bach, XIV – more rhapsodies

Rhapsody, 1958 - Hans Hofmann


    Rhapsody” (1958) 


         Hans Hofmann




now that you’ve heard New York in

Gerschwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and

Vienna in Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody

on a Theme of Paganini, listen to 

Hungary, or rather its Gypsy

component, however rejected, 

reviled, at the time, but proud 

enough, resilient, to strike back 

with its infectious music, how

many times have we heard that

story before


Budapest doesn’t sound at all like 

Vienna, though they’re only mere 

blocks away, essentially, listen,

Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody no 2,

in C# minor, he wrote nineteen, 

you’ve probably heard this one,

it’s in our DNA


here are a couple of Spanish

rhapsodies, meanwhile, if we’re to 

follow a national agenda, Chabrier, 

a name you’ve probably never 

heard before, but not so, I assure

you, his music, his España,

Rhapsody for Orchestra, is

written in our blood, listen


Ravel wrote also a Rapsodie 

espagnole, more French than

Spanish, to my mind, steeped

in its early Twentieth Century

Impressionism,  all textures,

soundscapes, not rhythms


Ravel makes up for it, though, in his

Bolero, perhaps the most Hispanic 

piece ever of all, you tell me


both Chabrier and Ravel, incidentally, 

were French, doing what Dvořák, a 

Czech, had done, would do, for 

Americans, honour their fascinating



Liszt, by the way, was Hungarian, his

rhapsodies were native, if profoundly

influenced by Vienna 


listen, enjoy



R ! chard