Thursday, March 31, 2011


Franz Liszt was born in Hungary in 1811. He first performed in public at the age of nine. In 1823, after briefly studying piano playing and composition in Vienna, Liszt moved to Paris, where he hoped he would be admitted to the famous Conservatoire. However, because he was a foreigner, he was refused admission. Undaunted, Liszt took up private lessons and was soon performing as a professional concert pianist. For the next twenty years, he impressed audiences all over Europe with his virtuoso talents. At home in France, Liszt was influenced by the intellectuals and artists he met, like Victor Hugo, George Sand, Frederic Chopin, and Hector Berlioz. Saturated by French thinking and French lifestyle, Liszt became a great libertine and freethinker, and had several well-publicized affairs with socially prominent ladies. He fathered three illigitimate children with Countess Marie d'Agoult. In an attempt to escape the world's many temptations, the Romantically spirited Liszt turned to the Church. In 1879, he devoted himself to the Catholic Church, performing minor holy orders, and worked to improve church music. In 1886, he died. Liszt's piano music was largely inspired by literary and artistic sources. Liszt was a musical poet. According to Liszt

, "The musician who is inspired by nature exhales in tones nature's most tender secrets without copying it. He thinks, he feels, he speaks through nature." His works were descriptively titled pieces, consisting mainly of short lyrical and sentimental songs. They tested the abilities of not only the pianist, but also of the keyboard itself. Liszt, in his day, was known as the "legendary destroyer of pianos," driving the limits of keyboards and keyboard technique far beyond previous boundries. However, contemporary musicians are often critical of Liszt's work, accusing him of producing music of uneven quality and lacking in substance. Because he wrote music primarily to show off his own talents, they tend to be technically brilliant, but sometimes musically weak. However, of the over 700 pieces he wrote, there are many examples which show the artistic talents of one of the greatest Romantic pianists. Franz Liszt (1811-1886), Hungarian-born pianist and composer, founder of the solo piano recital and perhaps the greatest pianist of all time, as well as one of the important composers of the 19th century.

Liszt was born on October 22, 1811, in the village of Raiding, near Sopron. He studied the piano first with his father, then with the Austrian pianist Carl Czerny in Vienna, where he also studied theory with the Italian composer Antonio Salieri. In 1823 he moved with his parents to Paris, where he soon established himself as a pianist. Meanwhile, he took composition lessons from the Italian opera composer Ferdinando Paƫr and the Czech-French composer and theorist Anton Reicha.

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