Our privacy policy was last updated on Friday 31 January 2020View it hereDismiss
Sign in
Bachtrack logo
Home
What's on
Reviews
Articles
Video
Site
EventsReviewsArticlesVideo
Flag of Hungary

Composer: Liszt, Franz (1811-1886)

Find classical music concert, opera, ballet and dance listings | Liszt
© Franz Hanfstaengl, 1858
© Franz Hanfstaengl, 1858
December 2020
MonTueWedThuFriSatSun
30010203040506
07080910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031010203
04050607080910
Evening performance
Matinee performance
Upcoming eventsSee more...

LondonBBC Radio 3 Lunchtime: Elgar plus

London Symphony Orchestra
Elgar, Kreisler, Liszt, Schumann
Nash Ensemble

LondonKhatia Buniatishvili in recital

Barbican
Bach, Liszt, Brahms, Chopin, Prokofiev
Khatia Buniatishvili, Piano

LondonRomantics and Englishmen

© Benjamin Ealovega
Tippett, Liszt, Elgar
London Philharmonic Orchestra; Edward Gardner; Seong-Jin Cho

LisbonA Journey to Hungary

© Gulbenkian Música – Márcia Lessa
Bartók, Liszt, Ligeti
Gulbenkian Orchestra Lisbon; Nuno Coelho; Nuno Cernadas

BambergJohann Sebastian Bach's Birthday

© Uwe Arens
Nystedt, Bach, Lauridsen, Liszt
Tarmo Vaask; Christian Schmitt; Ulrich Witteler; Choir of Bamberg Symphony Orchestra
Latest reviewsSee more...

Pavel Kolesnikov distinctive and self-effacing at Wigmore Hall

Pavel Kolesnikov © Wigmore Hall
Scriabin and Liszt juxtaposed at Wigmore Hall, with rare and tender Schubert and a thoughtful Beethoven Tempest
****1
Read more

Piano wizardry from Mariam Batsashvili at Wigmore Hall

Mariam Batsashvili © Wigmore Hall
The young Georgian pianist thrills in the brilliance and technical wizardry of Thalberg and Liszt as well as Schumann's Fantasiestücke
****1
Read more

Davos Festival celebrates the senses

Frederic Bager and Anton Spronk © Davos Festival | Yannick Andrea
The annual Davos Festival offers a platform to gifted young musicians from around the world to explore and exchange musical genres in a stellar alpine landscape.
****1
Read more

The in-laws in Atlanta: Wagner and Liszt headline Villaume's program

Emmanuel Villaume, Andrew von Oeyen and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra © Jeff Roffman
In Atlanta, guest conductor Emmanuel Villaume and pianist Andrew von Oeyen powerfully perform a Liszt concerto.
*****
Read more

Glistening dew: Alina Cojocaru at Sadler’s Wells

Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg in Reminiscence © Andrej Uspenski
An enchanting programme of music, film and dance in material moved by the spirit of a great performer.
****1
Read more
Biography

For most of us, the name of Franz Liszt conjures up a two word phrase: piano virtuoso. Liszt gave us the piano recital: before him, no pianist was so sure of his prowess and showmanship as to dare to book a large concert hall and pull in an adoring audience there to see just one man playing the piano for an entire evening.

Liszt’s vast array of piano pieces abounds with showmanship: whether or not they are more difficult to play than other composers’ works, they sound more difficult and more impressive. But amidst all the razzmatazz, it’s easy to overlook the depth, variety, innovation and sheer quality of the music. His masterwork, the single movement Sonata in B Minor, builds a series of themes into a massive musical structure with a coherence that would later be echoed in the operas of his son-in-law Richard Wagner. The shorter Totentanz is utterly convincing in its depiction of a series of shifting moods, while the Hungarian Rhapsodies alternate joyous fireworks with moments of rare delicacy. Equally impressive are Liszt’s transcriptions and “reminiscences”. Listening to his Reminiscences de Norma gives you the uncanny feeling that you’re listening to the original Bellini opera, while being aware that this can’t possibly be right since there’s only one man and a piano. Liszt formed part of the democratisation of music to wider audiences, playing music by many other composers and transcribing Beethoven’s nine symphonies for the piano.

Liszt’s output stretched far beyond piano works, including wonderful religious music and orchestral works, notably the Faust Symphony and a series of symphonic poems.

Liszt was born in 1811 to a musical German-speaking family in Sopron, in a small finger of Hungary very close to the Austrian border and the Esterhazy Palace in Eisenstadt where Haydn was employed for many years. He was taught by Carl Czerny (the author of the dexterity studies still used by many of today's piano students) and was recognised early as a child prodigy: his one act opera Don Ssanche, ou le château de l’amour, received its première five days before his fourteenth birthday. For the first half of his life, he lived as a travelling musician, touring the major cities of Europe (particularly Paris) and dazzling an ecstatic public. His superstar nature was reflected in a prolific and tempestuous love life; although he had a series of highly public affairs and several children, he never married. In 1847, he gave up public performances to focus on composition and teaching, living first in Weimar and then in Rome. He became a revered and influential teacher: extraordinarily, he did not charge for lessons, believing that he had already made enough money from his music.

For much of the twentieth century, critics belittled Liszt’s music as flashy and superficial: he was seen as the dead end of a decadent romantic movement. More recently, music scholars have been kinder, perceiving compositional techniques which have strongly influenced 20th century music. But throughout this time, his works have been continuously popular with pianists and audiences, and he stands as one of the most memorable composers of the 19th century.

List of works
6 Consolations, S 172A Faust Symphony, S 108Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année, Italie, S 161Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année, Italie: Après une lecture du Dante. Fantasia quasi sonata, S.161 no.7Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année, Italie: Sonetto del Petrarca no. 104, S 161 no. 5Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année, Italie: Sonetto del Petrarca no. 123, S 161 no. 6Années de pèlerinage, Deuxième année, Italie: Sposalizio, S 161 no. 1Années de pèlerinage, Première année: Suisse, S 160Années de pèlerinage, Troisième année, S 163Années de pèlerinage, Troisième année: Aux cyprès de la Villa d'Este I: Thrénodie, S 163 no. 2Années de pèlerinage, Troisième année: Aux cyprès de la Villa d'Este II: Thrénodie, S 163 no. 3Années de pèlerinage, Troisième année: Les jeux d'eaux à la villa d'Este, S 163 no. 4Consolation no. 4 in D flat major, S 172Der du von dem Himmel bist , S 279Es war ein König in Thule, S 278Fantasie and fugue on the theme B-A-C-H, S 529Fantasy and fugue in G minor by JS Bach , BWV 542, S 463Grand galop chromatique S 219Harmonies Poétiques et ReligieusesHarmonies poétiques et religieuses: Benediction de Dieu dans la Solitude, S 173 no. 3Harmonies poétiques et religieuses: Funérailles, S 173 no. 7Hungarian Rhapsody no. 12 in C sharp minor, S 244/12Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2 in C sharp minor, S 244/2Introduction and Fugue from Bach's Cantata no. 21 "Ich hatte viel Bekümmernis", S 660Isolde's Liebestod from Wagner's Tristan und Isolde, transc. for piano, S 447Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher, S 293Les Préludes, symphonic poem no. 3, S 97Liebestraum no. 3 in A flat major, S 541Légende no. 1 "Saint François d'Assise: la prédication aux oiseaux", S 175Mephisto Polka, S 217Mephisto Waltz no. 1, "Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke", S 514Mosonyi's Funeral Procession, S 194Muttergottes-Sträusslein zum Mai-Monate, S 316Nuages gris (Grey Clouds), S 199Piano Concerto no. 1 in E flat major, S 124Piano Concerto no. 2 in A major, S 125Piano Sonata in B minor, S 178Prelude and Fuge for A minor by JS Bach (BWV543) transcribed for solo piano, S 462/1Prelude and Fugue on BACH, S 260Romance Oubliée, S 527Ständchen, from Schubert's Leise flehen meine lieder, D 957, S 560/7Totentanz for piano and orchestra, S 126Variations on a theme from Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen by JS Bach, S 180Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen, organ prelude after JS Bach cantata, S 179Über allen Gipfeln ist Ruh, S 306