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Franz Liszt and His World

Franz Liszt and His World

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 608
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  • Book Info
    Franz Liszt and His World
    Book Description:

    No nineteenth-century composer had more diverse ties to his contemporary world than Franz Liszt (1811-1886). At various points in his life he made his home in Vienna, Paris, Weimar, Rome, and Budapest. In his roles as keyboard virtuoso, conductor, master teacher, and abbé, he reinvented the concert experience, advanced a progressive agenda for symphonic and dramatic music, rethought the possibilities of church music and the oratorio, and transmitted the foundations of modern pianism.

    The essays brought together inFranz Liszt and His Worldadvance our understanding of the composer with fresh perspectives and an emphasis on historical contexts. Rainer Kleinertz examines Wagner's enthusiasm for Liszt's symphonic poemOrpheus; Christopher Gibbs discusses Liszt's pathbreaking Viennese concerts of 1838; Dana Gooley assesses Liszt against the backdrop of antivirtuosity polemics; Ryan Minor investigates two cantatas written in honor of Beethoven; Anna Celenza offers new insights about Liszt's experience of Italy; Susan Youens shows how Liszt's songs engage with the modernity of Heinrich Heine's poems; James Deaville looks at how publishers sustained Liszt's popularity; and Leon Botstein explores Liszt's role in the transformation of nineteenth-century preoccupations regarding religion, the nation, and art.

    Franz Liszt and His Worldalso includes key biographical and critical documents from Liszt's lifetime, which open new windows on how Liszt was viewed by his contemporaries and how he wished to be viewed by posterity. Introductions to and commentaries on these documents are provided by Peter Bloom, José Bowen, James Deaville, Allan Keiler, Rainer Kleinertz, Ralph Locke, Rena Charnin Mueller, and Benjamin Walton.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2861-6
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Permissions and Credits
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xv-xx)

    • Liszt, Italy, and the Republic of the Imagination
      (pp. 3-38)

      Liszt’s first encounter with Italy has been told time and again in various guises: as a romance, a travelogue, and aBildungsroman.¹ Italy’s breathtaking beauty has been credited with luring him over the Alps. As Chateaubriand once said, “Nothing is comparable to the beauty of the Roman horizon, to the sweet inclination of the plains as they meet the soft and flowing contours of the hills.”² Such sensual descriptions attracted many visitors to Italy, but there was more to Liszt’s travels than scenic diversion. When he journeyed south in 1837, he joined a steady stream of artists, aristocrats, writers, and...

  7. Heine, Liszt, and the Song of the Future
    (pp. 39-74)

    For years, one commentator after another has pointed out that much of what is best in Liszt is encapsulated in his songs and that this repertory deserves more attention than it has received to date. Despite the efforts both of Liszt scholars and performers to make people aware of the works beyond such chestnuts as “Kling’ leise, mein Lied” and “Es muß ein Wunderbares sein” (these works, however, deserve their status as favorites), one could still drop the names of certain Liszt songs to musicians, even to cognoscenti of Romantic music, without a glimmer of recognition.¹ There are, happily, exceptions:...

  8. The Battle Against Instrumental Virtuosity in the Early Nineteenth Century
    (pp. 75-112)

    When Eduard Hanslick published his compendious history of Viennese concert life in 1869, he mapped that history in four phases, each with its own “book”: the “patriarchal period” (1750–1800), “associations of dilettantes” (1800–30), the “virtuoso era” (1830–48), and “associations of artists” (1848–68). Hanslick’s outline celebrates his present-day musical culture with a double teleology: the “artists” of book four have displaced the “dilettantes” of book two, representing a triumph of professional musicianship over amateurism. The other teleology is implied in the subtitle of book four, “musical renaissance,” which figures the virtuoso era as a dark age. “Vormärz...

  9. Prophet and Populace in Liszt’s “Beethoven” Cantatas
    (pp. 113-166)

    In a century when particularist national identities increasingly dominated music’s public spheres, Franz Liszt moved with ease between nations and social movements: the Christian Socialism of the Saint-Simonians in France, a flourishing Hungarian nationalism, the “New German” avant-garde of Weimar and Bayreuth. Simply put, the generic breadth of Liszt’s music and the wide range of his friendships, posts, and tours across the continent encapsulate an ideal of European cosmopolitanism unmatched by his musical peers. But Liszt’s fluency in navigating the rough waters of nineteenth-century nationalism also brings to mind his virtuosity more generally. And for the most part, we have...

  10. “Just Two Words. Enormous Success” Liszt’s 1838 Vienna Concerts
    (pp. 167-230)

    For the cosmopolitan and peripatetic Franz Liszt five European cities most shaped, supported, and sustained his life and career: Vienna, Paris, Weimar, Budapest, and Rome—indeed, the last twenty-seven years of his “vie trifurquée” Liszt more or less evenly divided among the final three.¹ Paris was where, in his early teens, he adopted a new language and first came to international attention. The remaining city, Vienna, holds a special position. It lies less than sixty miles from his birthplace in Raiding, a small town in what was then the German-speaking part of Hungary. As a boy of nine Liszt and...


    • Liszt on the Artist in Society
      (pp. 291-302)

      In 1835, Liszt wrote and published a long, remarkable essay to which he gave the titleDe la situation des artistes, et de leur condition dans la société(On the Situation of Artists, and on Their Condition in Society).¹ The twenty-three-year old poured into it his excitement about the books, ideas, and musical works that were engaging him at the time, as well as his ambivalence about how Paris was treating the latest piano star: Liszt himself, who was at that point, in his own words, only an “embryonic” composer.On the Situation of Artistsalso prefigured many of Liszt’s...

    • The First Biography: Joseph d’Ortigue on Franz Liszt at Age Twenty-Three
      (pp. 303-334)

      In conclusion to a somewhat ungenerous review of François-Joseph Fétis’s 1830 music primer,La Musique mise à la portée de tout le monde, Joseph d’Ortigue (1802–66) admitted that his criticisms of the book were perhaps harsh and overly detailed (they certainly were), but justified himself with a statement of intent:

      It is time to go beyond the petty and narrow criticism from another age and . . . to bring into music, as into all other orders of ideas, the foundations of a wider criticism, that alone can raise this art to the rank that it ought to occupy...

    • Ludwig Rellstab’s Biographical Sketch of Liszt
      (pp. 335-360)

      The brief biographical sketch of Liszt by Ludwig Rellstab, which comes at the end of a modest volume in which he gathered together his essays on Liszt’s Berlin performances during the early months of 1842, originally published in theVossische Zeitung, is one of a small group of biographies of Liszt that appeared during his virtuoso years. These some half-dozen publications, in both French and German, began with Joseph d’Ortigue’s biography published in theGazette musicale de Paris, in June 1835. Only in 1843 did a second biography in French appear, by one J. Duverger, which, as we shall see, has...

    • From the Biographer’s Workshop: Lina Ramann’s Questionnaires to Liszt
      (pp. 361-424)

      By 1874, Franz Liszt was sixty-three years old and well into his fabled “vie trifurquée,” the trisected year he spent in the cities of Rome, Weimar, and Budapest on a schedule he was to maintain until his death. Since 1869 he had devoted much of his time giving master classes to a select group of musicians, many of whom eventually became the next generation of virtuosi and teachers, not only at the keyboard but also as conductors. Within the year Liszt was also to become one of the founders of the Royal Academy of Music in Pest and would serve...


    • Fétis’s Review of the Transcendental Etudes
      (pp. 427-440)

      The world of music in nineteenth-century Paris, as in many other periods and places, was highly politicized. Reviews in the daily and weekly French press, which underwent tremendous development in what is commonly referred to as the Romantic era, were conditioned by alliances and enmities of a sort still well-known to today’s readers and listeners. One of the conspicuous artistic friendships that developed in the early 1830s was between the brilliant young virtuoso Franz Liszt and the fiery young composer Hector Berlioz. And one of the more heated squabbles at the time occurred between that same revolutionary Berlioz and the...

    • Heinrich Heine on Liszt
      (pp. 441-466)

      Heinrich Heine was one of the most important German poets in lyrics and prose. He was born into a Jewish family in Düsseldorf on 13 December 1797. The French occupation of the Rhine area and Napoleon Bonaparte’s solemn entry into Düsseldorf (1811) made a strong impression on him. Later, after a fruitless attempt to enter the business of his uncle Salomon Heine in Hamburg (a successful banker), he studied law at the universities of Bonn, Göttingen, and Berlin, where he heard Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel and attended the premiere of Carl Maria von Weber’sDer Freischützin 1821. In 1825...

    • “Even His Critics Must Concede”: Press Accounts of Liszt at the Bonn Beethoven Festival
      (pp. 467-484)

      The concerts of the Beethoven Bonn Festival in 1845 are perhaps the most completely documented performances of the nineteenth century before Bayreuth. The importance of the occasion drew musical guests such as Ignaz Moscheles, Jenny Lind, Marie Pleyel, Meyerbeer, Berlioz, and Louis Spohr, well-known writers about music such as George Smart, Charles Hallé, and Anton Schindler, and legions of the musical press including Maurice Schlesinger, Léon Kreutzer, and Jules Janin from France, François-Joseph Fétis from Belgium, and from Germany, Ludwig Rellstab and Karl Schorn. With Queen Victoria and Prince Albert making their first trip to the continent since her accession...

    • Defending Liszt: Felix Draeseke on the Symphonic Poems
      (pp. 485-514)

      Of the young men and women most associated with Liszt’s cause during the late 1840s and the 1850s, none could rival Felix Draeseke (1835–1913) in terms of analytical perspicacity and compositional audacity. That he later distanced himself from the progressive path of Liszt and colleagues does not diminish his “young radical” role among the so-called New Germans between 1855 and 1862.¹ Within that movement Draeseke was something of an anomaly, since even though he served as a leading representative of the avant-garde, he never resided in Weimar, Liszt’s base of operations for many years. In April of 1852, the...


    • A Mirror to the Nineteenth Century: Reflections on Franz Liszt
      (pp. 517-566)

      This entry in the 1893 edition of the leading satirical German-language lexicon of the nineteenth century, written a half-century earlier by the legendary Hungarian-born Jewish humorist Moritz Saphir (who made his career first in Vienna and then in Berlin), offers a glimpse of the place of public concert life in nineteenth-century culture. Saphir touched a raw nerve: the suspicion that virtuosi made careers and achieved fame on less than admirable grounds. Saphir’s derisive mocking of virtuosity was contingent on his readers’ recognition of their own conceits. A society that embraced concert attendance could consider itself “civilized.” By placing the manipulative...

  14. Index
    (pp. 569-582)
  15. Notes on the Contributors
    (pp. 583-587)