Hungarian Fantasy

Franz Liszt

Hungarian Fantasy

S. 123, R458 • “Fantasie über ungarische Volksmelodien”

About this work

Liszt's single-movement concerto titled Hungarian Fantasia (1852) is in the same style and tradition as the composer's Hungarian Rhapsodies; in fact, the Fantasia is comprised mainly of material from the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 14, S. 244, slightly rearranged and augmented by an orchestral accompaniment. (Even though the Fantasia was published before the Rhapsody, it is likely the solo incarnation was written first; the exact compositional dates of the Rhapsodies are unclear.)

Structurally, the Fantasia differs from many of the Rhapsodies, which generally present a clear succession of three traditional Hungarian dances: the lassan, czifra, and friska. Although these dances are evident in the Fantasia, particularly in the long and brilliant friska section, much of the material is derived from the famous bold, marchlike theme of the first prominent forte passage. Liszt also treats a wide variety of material more freely in its combinations and juxtapositions than is usual for this type of work. Whether its large scale was the result of its orchestral expansion, or the inspiration for it, the result is one of Liszt's most popular and successful efforts.