Boosey & Hawkes

Liszt

 Portrait

Franz Liszt
1811-1886

Arguably the greatest player of the piano ever to have lived, a celebrity of iconic proportions and one of the most radical composers during the Romantic era, Franz Liszt is seen by many as a true musical romantic hero.

Liszt met Beethoven in 1823, at a concert in which he impressed the master with his virtuosity to the extent that he kissed him on the forehead in praise. It was not until he witnessed a concert by Paganini that Liszt decided he too, wanted to become a true instrumental virtuoso. He practically invented the notion of a touring performer, and with it, the solo piano recital.

His activities led to a genuine European euphoria, which became known as “Lisztomania”. Concert halls were desperately seeking to be included on his touring schedules, admirers appeared in crowds for a glimpse of the genius and women fought each other for the right to take home Liszt’s discarded handkerchiefs and gloves.

But Liszt was far from an ostentatious fame-seeker. Besides reinventing piano technique, particularly with his Transcendental Etudes, he also paved the way for the symphonic poem with Les Preludes - a character or landscape study for orchestra (usually from a literary source), and arguably predated Debussy’s impressionism with such piano works as Les Jeux d'eaux ŕ la Villa d'Este. His later works even herald the early music of Schoenberg.

Liszt’s music spans the full gamut of the Romantic period, from Beethoven’s death to progressive romanticism and the seeds of modern music. During his life, he met, socialized, influenced and was influenced by almost every key figure in nineteenth century music, including Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms, Paganini, Chopin and Wagner. The latter became his son-in-law, further cementing Liszt’s pivotal position between the Romantic tradition and the ‘Music of the Future’.

Recommended Listening:

Transcendental Etudes, Mephisto Waltz No. 1, Piano Concerto No. 2, Les jeux d'eau a la villa d'Este, Les Preludes

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4 Valse oubliees, S215/R37: No. 1 - 4 Valse oubliees, S215/R37: No. 1 PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
6 Consolations, S172/R12: No. 3. Lento placido - 6 Consolations, S172/R12: No. 3. Lento placido PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Annees de pelerinage, 2nd year, Italy, S161/R10b: No. 5. Sonnet 104 by Petrarch - Annees de pelerinage, 2nd year, Italy, PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
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Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C sharp minor S244 - Lento a capricco - (Lassan) Andante mesto - (Friska) Vivace - Tempo giu PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Les Preludes PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Mephisto Waltz, No. 1 PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
Piano Concerto No. 2 in A major - Adagio sostenuto assai PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
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Etudes d'execution transcendante (1851) S139/R2b - Preludio in C major: Presto PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions
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Hungarian Rhapsody No.2 PlayClick for Truetone ordering instructions