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Pianist Brings Power to Liszt Concerto

It took Franz Liszt 26 years to compose his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 in E flat Major.

But his long years of off-and-on composition paid off. The work, which is said to have been modeled after Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, went on to become a staple on the concert calendar.

This week, the National Symphony Orchestra gave three performances of the concerto, featuring pianist Yundi Li. Since winning first prize at the 2000 Chopin International Piano Competition in Warsaw at 18, he has become a much in-demand performer around the world.

His performance at the Kennedy Center Thursday night prompted Washington Post critic Tim Page to write that Yundi Li seems to "be able to get whatever he wants from a piano — whether the most silken of soft passages or vast, thundering Niagaras of octaves ... this was thrilling pianism on every level."

The pianist joined Liane Hansen in the studio to discuss Liszt's Concerto No. 1, which is on his latest album, Chopin Liszt Piano Concerto No. 1.

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