Hungarian Rhapsodies

The Hungarian Rhapsodies are a set of pieces of music by Franz Liszt, originally for solo piano.

The first fiteen were published in the 1850s, with the last four being added in the 1880s. Numbers 14, 12, 6, 2, 5 and 9 were arranged by Liszt for orchestra, and number 14 was also the basis of Liszt's Hungarian Fantasia for piano and orchestra. Some are better known than others, with number 2 being particularly famous.

Liszt incorporated many themes which he had heard in his native Hungary and which he believed to be folk music, but which were in fact tunes written by contemporary composers, often played by gypsy bands. The large scale structure of each was influenced by the verbunkos, a Hungarian dance in several parts, each with a different tempo.

In their original solo piano form, the Hungarian Rhapsodies are noted for their difficulty (Liszt was a virtuoso pianist as well as a composer).


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