- Franz Liszt
(October 22, 1811- July 31, 1886)
1820- Appeared in concerts at Pressburg and Sopron.
1820- Received financial sponsorship for his musical education in Vienna.
1822- Had a successful public debut in Vienna at a concert at the “Landständischer Saal.”
1824- Moved to Paris, after his father’s death.
1830- Sketched a Revolutionary Symphony, after the influence of the July Revolution.
1833- Made transcriptions of Berlioz’s works including Symphonie fantastique.
1835- He got married to the Countess Marie d’Agoult, who joined him in Geneva.
1844- The couple separated.
1842- Awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Königsberg.
1847- He played in Kiev where he met Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein
1865- He received the four minor orders of porter, lector, exorcist, and acolyte.
1866- His composition of the Hungarian coronation ceremony
1881- Fell down the stairs of a hotel in Weimar.
1886- Died in Bayreuth, Germany, aged 74.
- Born in the village of Doborján in Sopron County, Austrian Empire
1823- Gave a concert in Vienna
1823- Left Vienna for Paris to attend a concert by virtuoso violinist Paganini
1840-1841- took part in two hours of the British Isles
1848- Went to Weimar, Germany, where he acted as conductor at court concerts and on special occasions at the theatre
1861- Retired to Rome.
- Franz Liszt was the son of Adam Liszt, a pianist, violinist, guitarist, and played cello. As his son, Franz listened to his father’s piano playing at age six and showed great interest in sacred and Romani music. He was taught the piano by his father at age seven and he began composing in an elementary manner at eight years. After his concerts at Sopron and Pressburg, he received sponsorship for his musical education in Vienna. In Vienna, he was taught the piano by Carl Czerny, a student of Beethoven and Hummel.
- Franz Liszt was a virtuoso pianist. He also learned violin at a tender age when he attended a concert held by Paganini, the virtuoso violinist.
- Liszt was one of the most noted and recognized teachers of music in the 19th century, a career that commenced after his father’s death. Even though his works were considered “flashy” or superficial at some point in time, his compositions such as “Nuages gris” and “Les jeux d’eaux à la villa d’Este” that contained parallel fifths, parallel diminished and augmented triads, the whole-tone scale, and unresolved dissonances, had a significant influenced on the music of the twentieth century like that of Ravel, Debussy, and Béla Bartók.
- In his advanced and popular works, List is regarded as the archetypal Romantic composer. He is considered the pioneer of the technique of thematic transformation and the inventor of the symphonic poem or tone poem. He was a natural performer who played according to feeling and also focused on strength and precision. Of course, his style of writing fitted in the Romantic period.
- Liszt is remembered as a prolific composer who wrote at the piano and other instruments including the orchestra and other ensembles including keyboard. Liszt’s piano works were often s marked by their difficulty with some of the works being programmatic based on extra-musical inspirations such as art or poetry.
- There were many innovations that Franz Liszt pioneered including the technique of thematic transformation, which was a method of development that had a close relation to the new use of the leitmotif by Richard Wagner and the existing variation technique. He also invented the symphonic poem, also known as tone poem. He is also remembered for creating piano arrangements, examples which were followed by other pianist-composers.
- Interesting Facts:
- Franz Liszt’s piano works have a representation in concert programs as well as recordings by pianists worldwide. It is argued that most of his works have been recorded multiple times.
- Liszt was almost universally acknowledged as the foremost pianistic executant and interpreter during the years he performed regularly in public. His main rival at the time was Sigismond Thalberg who focused and specialized in salon music.
- Liszt did not charge people for his lessons and teachings on music. He was later troubled by revelations by German newspapers that Theodor Kullak had generated more than a million marks from teaching. Liszt believed that artists “did not have to rake a million marks without performing some sacrifice on the altar of Art.”
- Liszt interacted with several composers of his era such as Frédéric Chopin, Hector Berlioz, Richard Wagner, Edvard Grieg, Alexander Borodin, Robert Schumann, Camille Saint-Saëns, Joachim Raff, Ole Bull, and Mikhail Glinka.
- Liszt’s major and notable compositions include symphonic poems, sacred choral works, two completed piano concerti, and several solo piano pieces.
- Liszt earned his own and his mother’s living through giving lessons in composition and piano playing. It is argued that his schedule was full of lessons, which saw him scarcely have breathing time.
- Liszt got married to Countess Marie d’Agoult, and together they had a daughter Blandine, born on December 18, 1835. They had another daughter, Cosima, who was born in Comon, with visits to Paris. They also had a son named Daniel, but the couple later separated after strained relations.
- Some of his major works include “Années de pèlerinage,” which includes his most provocative and stirring pieces, “Don Sanche” (Le château de l’amour), and “sundry Etudes, fifteen Rhapsodies Hongroises.”
- Texts used for this paper:
Gibbs, Christopher H, and Dana A. Gooley. Franz Liszt and His World. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.
Göllerich, August, Wilhelm Jerger, and Richard L. Zimdars. The Piano Master Classes of Franz Liszt, 1884-1886: Diary Notes of August Göllerich. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1996. Print.
Walker, Alan. Franz Liszt. Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press, 1987. Print.
- Websites used for this paper: