Saturday, October 22, 8811

Franz Liszt (1811-1886) - Totentanz

[Liszt at 28 (1839), by Henri Lehmann]

Composer/virtuoso-pianist Franz Liszt (Hungarian: Liszt Ferenc, October 22, 1811, Raiding [Doborjan], Hungary - July 31, 1886) was one of the most prominent representatives of the "Neudeutsche Schule" ("New German School"). He left behind a huge oeuvre, including works from nearly all musical genres.

Liszt was born in the Kingdom of Hungary, then part of the Habsburg Empire (and today part of Austria), in the comitat Oedenburg (Hungarian: Sopron). In his Latin Catholic baptism record, his first name was registered as "Franciscus," but most of his closer friends called him "Franz," the Germanized version of "Franciscus." He was called "François" in French, and "Ferenc," "Ferencz," or "Ferentz" in Hungarian; in his Hungarian passport of 1874 he was "Dr. Liszt Ferencz."] His parents were Adam and Maria Anna Liszt (née Laager, from Krems an der Donau).

Liszt grew up in Raiding, a part of the Burgenland. The main language in that region was German, while only a small minority could speak and understand Hungarian. For official purposes Latin was used. Liszt's father Adam Liszt, during the first half of the 1790's, had had lessons in Hungarian for five years at the gymnasium of Pressburg (now Bratislava, capital of Slovakia), but he learned nearly nothing of it and always had the worst grades. In Raiding it had only been since 1835 that children had lessons in Hungarian at school.

Liszt himself was fluent in German, French and Italian. He also had some knowledge of English, but his knowledge of Hungarian was very poor. In the early 1870's, when all people living in Hungary were forced to learn Hungarian, Liszt also tried to learn it, but after some lessons he gave up.

The issue of Liszt's nationality has triggered many interpretations.

The question is considered by some to be controversial to this day, since important sources are missing. According to the mainstream literature about Liszt, his great grandfather Sebastian List was a German who came to Hungary in the early 18th Century. Since in Hungary the nationality of a child was inherited from the father's side, Liszt's grandfather Georg List and Liszt's father Adam List would have been Germans too. Adam List was in his youth registered as "Adamus Matthäus Liszt, natio et locus natalis Germanus," i. e. "Adam Matthäus Liszt, of German nationality and origin." Liszt's mother Anna Maria Laager was of Austrian origin, which in those days was also regarded as German. Following this line, Franz Liszt himself would have been German, although born in Hungary. The writings also claim that his father, in his time as pupil at the gymnasium of Pressburg, had changed the name's orthography from "List" to "Liszt," to secure what seemed to him the correct (German) pronunciation of "list," avoiding the Hungarian pronunciation "lisht."

Since 1843, that version of the name was also taken by Liszt's grandfather Georg. De facto the name of Liszt's father was recorded in the gymnasium as "Liszt Ádám."

On the other hand, the theory of Sebastian List's German origin is an assumption without sufficient proof in sources. During the 1930s, Ernő Békefi searched in Hungarian archives for Sebastian List's birth certificate. Since he could not find it, he presumed that Sebastian List must in his youth have come to Hungary.

However, Sebastian List's birth certificate has not been found in German or Austrian archives either. Since during the 18th century many materials in Hungarian archives were destroyed by the Ottoman Turks, it can be imagined that this was the reason Békefi could not find Sebastian List's birth certificate -- Sebastian List might therefore have been born in Hungary.

In the vast majority of Liszt literature he is regarded as either Hungarian or German. By many authors, among them Émile Haraszti and Béla Bartók, the character of Liszt's music was regarded as mainly French.

Liszt, since 1838 at least, claimed that he was Hungarian, and it was important for him. Liszt and his father Adam had both solely Hungarian passports for their entire life. Furthermore his children bore Hungarian citizenship as well. In a 1845 letter to Lammenais abbé Liszt wrote: "My children bear their father's nationality. Whether they like it or not they are Hungarians."

One also has to note that the name "Liszt" originates from the word of "flour" in Hungarian.

Hence it can also be interpreted as the short form of "lisztes molnár" which means "miller."

Every attempt to describe Liszt's development during his childhood and early youth has met with the difficulties of terribly sparse information. Authors of a traditional line, such as Lina Ramann, Peter Raabe, and later Alan Walker, concentrated on the task to show that Liszt already as a boy had been an artist of highest genius, and especially as pianist was surpassing everything that might have existed in all parts of music history. But, taking this point of view, it cannot be understood for which reasons he would have needed further lessons. All contemporary virtuosos of even the highest caliber have had to take lessons from boyhood.

It had been Adam Liszt's own dream to become a musician. He played piano, violin, violoncello and guitar. During the winter of 1797-98, while studying philosophy at the University of Pressburg, he took lessons in instrumentation by Paul Wigler; unfortunately, due to poverty he had to give up his studies. Beginning January 1, 1798 he undertook a paid appointment in the services of Prince Nikolaus II Esterházy. During the years 1805-1808 he was working in Eisenstadt where Prince Esterházy, usually living in Vienna, had a summer residence with an orchestra. The orchestra was until 1804 directed by Joseph Haydn, and afterwards until 1811 by Johann Nepomuk Hummel. On several occasions, Adam Liszt took part as second cellist. On September 13, 1807, the orchestra performed Beethoven's Mass in C Major under the composer's own direction.

Adam Liszt knew Haydn, Hummel, and Beethoven personally. From his perspective, the Viennese classics had reached the highest level of music as art.

Liszt himself, as a mature artist, frequently said that the most important musical impressions of his childhood had been the playing of Gypsy artists. However, the repertoire he had to study as a boy at the piano had been different. According to Adam Liszt's letter to Prince Esterházy of April 13, 1820, he had bought 1,100 "Bogen," i.e. 8,800 pages, of music of the best masters.

During the previous 22 months, his son already had worked through the complete works of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Clementi, Hummel, Cramer, and others.

Since the boy had for several times been ill, it is doubtful that he actually had played all of those works, but he had started in summer 1818 at age of nearly 7. His progress was of an extraordinary kind. In October 1820, at the old casino of Ödenburg, he took part in a concert of the violinist (alleged) Baron von Praun, himself child prodigy. At the second part of the concert, Liszt played a concerto in E flat major by Ferdinand Ries with much success and an improvisation of his own.

In November 1820 Adam Liszt took an even better chance to present his son's playing to the public. In Pressburg, the Diet met for the first time after a break of 13 years. On November 26, at Count Michael Esterházy's palace in Pressburg, Liszt gave a concert in front of an audience of aristocrats and members of the society. A group of magnates secured for a duration of six years to pay an annual sum of 600 Gulden (Viennese Currency), so that Liszt could study abroad.

Adam Liszt had already petitioned Prince Esterházy on August 4, 1819 in favor of his son's education. In that petition he had estimated annual expenses of 1,300-1,500 Gulden. He did not expect the Prince would pay that sum, but he had asked for a position in Vienna. He himself could earn money, and his son could take lessons from a prominent master.

The petition was supported by Hofrat Johann von Szentgály, an official in charge. But with no vacant positions in Vienna, the petition was refused by the Prince.

In comparison with the 1,300-1,500 Gulden of annual expenses, the 600 Gulden offered by the group of magnates in November 1820 was by far insufficient. Nothing happened for the following one and a half years.

On March 6, 1822, Adam Liszt asked in a new petition for a year's leave of absence. After the Prince had agreed, Adam Liszt sold everything he owned in Raiding.

On May 8, 1822, the Liszt family went to Vienna, where Liszt received piano lessons from

Carl Czerny, who in his own youth had been Beethoven's student. Czerny, according to his "Lebenserinnerungen" (Memoires), had had the impression that the boy's talents were very strong. But the boy had no knowledge of proper fingerings and his playing style was very chaotic.[22] Further information can be taken from sources which were authorized by Liszt himself.[23] According to this, Czerny, at first attempt, had let the boy play some of Clementi's easier sonatas. The boy played them without effort, but he could not understand that he had to work on details of the execution and expression. Also, master and pupil had different opinions regarding the fingerings. In order to escape the hated lessons, some would argue that Franz wrote unnecessarily complex fingerings into his scores.

He afterwards went to his father, claiming those fingerings were Czerny's. It had "become obvious" that Czerny had no knowledge of piano playing. After Adam Liszt had talked with Czerny and -- as to be presumed -- also with his son, the lessons were continued.

Very soon Liszt was heard in private circles. His public debut in Vienna was on December 1, 1822, at a concert at the Landständischer Saal. Liszt played Hummel's Concerto in A Minor as well as an improvisation on an air from Rossini's opera Zelmira and the Allegretto of Beethoven's Symphony No. 7. On April 13, 1823, he gave a famous concert at the Kleiner Redoutensaal. This time, he played Hummel's Concerto in B Minor, variations by Moscheles, and his own improvisation. According to the legend, he impressed Beethoven, although deaf, to such an extent that he congratulated Liszt on the stage, kissing him on the forehead and giving him enthusiastic praise. However, the unparalleled event left no traces in contemporary reviews of the concert.

According to Schilling's account, authorized by Liszt, during the concert the boy had had the impression, Beethoven was looking from a distance at him, but without saying a single word or even kissing him -- but Beethoven's conversation books show that Beethoven did not attend the concert.

Since July 1822, Liszt also received lessons in composition by Antonio Salieri. According to Salieri's letter to Prince Esterházy of August 25, 1822, he had until then introduced his pupil to some elements of music theory. Earnest lessons in composition should follow later.

Since from the side of his admirers the child prodigy was very soon praised as a new Mozart or Beethoven, Salieri had chosen not an easy task.

In spring 1823, when the one year's leave of absence came to an end, Adam Liszt asked Prince Esterházy in vain for additional two years. Adam Liszt therefore took his leave of the Prince's services. At the end of April 1823, the family for the last time returned to Hungary. Liszt gave concerts in Pest on May 1 and May 24. He also took part on May 10 and 17 in concerts at the "Königliches Städtisches Theater" and on May 19 in a "vergnügliche Abendunterhaltung" (an "entertaining musical evening"). At the event of May 19, Liszt played an arrangement of the Rákóczi march as well as from a printed edition of Hungarian dances some pieces by Csermák, Lavotta and Bihari.

At end of May 1823, the family went to Vienna again.

On September 20, 1823, the Liszt family left Vienna for Paris. To support himself and his parents, Liszt gave concerts in Munich, Augsburg, Stuttgart and Strasbourg. In Miesich he was regarded as an equal to the child Mozart.

On December 11, 1823, the family arrived in Paris. The next day, Adam Liszt together with his son went to the Conservatoire, hoping the child prodigy would be accepted as a student. But Cherubini, the director, told them that according to a new rule only the French were allowed to take part in piano class. Consequentially, Liszt's only piano teacher, who had very despotic manners, was now- his father. Adam Liszt had his son practise scales and etudes (that is, studies) with a metronome and also play a number of fugues by J. S. Bach every day, transposing them into different keys.

Liszt learned French quickly and it became his main language. He made the acquaintance of the piano manufacturer Sébastien Érard, pioneer of the "double-escapement" system of piano mechanics.

After Liszt had played in private circles and given concerts on March 7 and April 12, 1824, at the "Theâtre Italiènne", he had become a most famous and popular artist. He was well known in Paris as "petit Liszt" ("little Liszt"). In 1824, 1825 and 1827, together with his father, he visited England, where he was known as "Master Liszt." He earned large sums of money with concerts: his father invested a sum of 60,000 Francs in bonds of his former employer Prince Esterházy. The money was kept until 1866, when Liszt's mother died. She had until then received the interests.

Since 1824, Liszt studied composition with Anton Reicha and Ferdinando Paer. From Adam Liszt's letters it is known that his son had composed several concertos, sonatas, works of chamber music, and much more. While nearly all of those works are lost, some piano works of 1824 were published. They were Variations on an Original Theme (Op. 1), Variations on a Theme by Rossini (Op.2), an Impromptu on Melodies by Rossini and Spontini (Op. 3), and Two Allegri di Bravura (Op. 4).

Liszt's published works were written in the common style of the contemporary brilliant Viennese school. He had taken works of his former master Czerny as a model, which Liszt's later virtuoso rivals Sigismond Thalberg and Theodor Döhler would also emulate. The success of Liszt's published works was very poor. Czerny wrote to Adam Liszt on September 5, 1825, that he had sympathetically looked at Franz's works. If Franz, after some time, had gained better knowledge of the requirements of musical setting and was successful in putting better order to his future works, he then would have earned the honor that his works might be presented to the public. Adam Liszt had done well not to publish all of Franz's works.

A much more cruel opinion is known from a letter by Alois Schmitt to Ferdinand Hiller dated March 22, 1829, in which Schmitt wrote that with publication of his Allegri di Barvura Liszt "had shown that he had no talent for composition at all."

In spring 1824, with Paer's help, Liszt started composing an opera Don Sanche, ou Le château de l'amour ("Don Sanche, or The Castle of Love"). Under direction of Rodolphe Kreutzer, with Adolphe Nourrit as Don Sanche, the opera premiered on October 17, 1825, at the Académie Royale de Musique, but without success. Liszt afterwards felt drawn in a different direction. He started disliking music and spent much time with religious ideas. However, he was forced by his father to continue giving concerts.

In 1826 in Marseille, he started composing original etudes. They were projected as 48 pieces, but only 12 pieces were realized, and published as his Opus 6.

In summer 1827, Liszt fell ill.

Adam Liszt went with his son to Boulogne-sur-Mer, a spa town on the English Channel. While Liszt himself was recovering, his father fell ill with typhus. On August 28, 1827, Adam Liszt died. Liszt composed a short funeral march which might have been meant with double meaning.

Altogether with his father, the concertizing child prodigy had died. Adam Liszt was buried in Boulogne. Liszt never visited his father's grave.

In later years, Liszt himself always took a skeptical point of view regarding his career as child prodigy. While he had earned much money and gained a prominent name, his general education had had no chance of development.

Since the early 1830's, he started reading huge amounts of books. When he died in 1886, he left behind many thousands of books. Regarding his former oeuvre as child prodigy, he wrote to Lina Ramann in March 1880 that nothing had become of it because there was nothing to it. For young as well as for old composers it was always the best when the manuscripts were lost, he felt.

After his father's death Liszt returned to Paris. For the next five years he was to live with his mother in a small apartment, the address of which was Rue Montholon No.7. In 1831 they moved to Rue de Provence No.61. At the end of 1833 Liszt rented his own apartment which he called "Ratzenloch."

To earn money, Liszt gave lessons in piano playing and composition. He took an appointment at a private school for young ladies at Rue de Clichy No.43, run by one Madame Alix, as well as giving private lessons. On October 23, 1828, the Corsair erroneously reported that Liszt had died. But a correction appeared in the same paper three days later: a note from Madame Alix said that he actually lived, had not ceased teaching at her school, and was in good health.

At occasions, Liszt performed at private soirées, typically organized by Rossini, who would invite other artists as well. At the designated time, they all entered their host's building, taking a back entrance. In the salon, they silently assembled around the piano. They would perform their pieces in turn. After the host had politely thanked them, they would leave. Rossini would receive the money the next day to distribute among the artists.

Liszt also took part in concerts of other artists. For December 25, 1828, he announced a concert of his own. In the first part he wanted to play Beethoven's Concerto in Eb Major and an improvisation. In the second part he wanted to play variations by Czerny on a melody from Bellini's opera "Il pirata" and take part in a duo with violin by Mayseder. But the concert had to be cancelled since Liszt had fallen ill with the measles. On March 22, 1829, at the Salons Pape, he took part in an arrangement for twelve hands of Mozart's overture "Die Zauberflöte". On April 7, 1829, at the Salons Dietz, he for the first time played the first version of his fantasy on a Tyrolian melody from Auber's opera La Fiancée. Also during winter 1829-30, Liszt gave several concerts. On April 29, 1830, he took part in a soirée of Charles Schunke.

In July 1830, a revolution swept through Paris. King Charles X had attempted to overturn the constitutional monarchy and re-establish the absolute monarchy. Students and workers of Paris erupted in revolt. Liszt, whose apartment was near to the main centers of fighting, composed a Revolution Symphony. However, it turned out that the revolutionists had exchanged Satan with the Devil. The new King Louis-Philipe very soon let social laws become even worse than the previous ones. It might have been for this reason Liszt let the Revolution Symphony lie without orchestrating it.

Much later, the first movement was taken as origin of the Symphonic Poem "Heroide funèbre."

Due to the revolutionary development, a general crisis of Parisian cultural life occurred. On of August 26, 1830, a petition to the French Minister of Interior was formulated demanding a new organization of musical life and - among other persons - signed by Liszt.

It was still difficult to give concerts, since leading parts of the society had left Paris in protest against the new regime. On December 5, 1830 Liszt attended a concert at which the Symphonie Fantastique by Berlioz premiered with great success.

At the end of December 1830 or at the beginning of January 1831, Liszt left Paris, travelling to Geneva. The voyage led to severe problems in his private life.

During winter 1831-32, Liszt made the acquaintance of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy and Fréderic Chopin. Both of them arrived in Paris with a suitcase full of masterworks. In comparison with this, Liszt -- neglecting his works as child prodigy -- had not much more to offer than an oeuvre of a single piece, his Bride-Fantasy. Their impression of Liszt is known from their letters. Chopin, in a letter to Titus Woyciechowski of December 12, 1831, wrote that "all Parisian pianists, including Liszt, were zeros in comparison with

[Friedrich] Kalkbrenner."

Mendelssohn, in a letter to his sister Fanny of December 28, 1831, wrote, Liszt was the most dilletantic of all dilletantes. He played everything from memory, but with wrong basses, i.e. with wrong harmonies.

Important influence on Liszt also came from the sect of the religiously-oriented Père Enfantin fraction of the Saint-Simonists. As part of their ideology, contemporary forms of marriage were regarded as prison for women and in this sense as kind of crime.

In the beginning of January 1832 they distributed a flyer according to which all artists should take part in the new religion. They should make better music than Beethoven and Rossini.

On January 11, 1832, Liszt -- himself follower of the Père Enfantin -- told his student Valerie Boissier and her mother Auguste that he would cease giving lessons to concentrate all of his forces on his development as artist.

For those reasons there was a gap of nearly two years in Liszt's concert activities. Not earlier than on January 28, 1832, he followed an invitation to a charity concert in Rouen.

On April 2, 1832 he performed at a concert in Paris again.

[Liszt, in a lithograph by Achille Devéria, 1832]

In spite of his announcement, Liszt continued giving lessons. After at end of March 1832 Valerie Boissier had returned to Geneva, Liszt received from her mother an invitation for a vacation. Although Liszt had very much liked to follow the invitation and made preparations to go together with Alexandre Dumas to Geneva, there were reasons of his private life because of which he actually could not dare to go to that very place.

He kept staying in Paris where he took part in lectures, given by François-Joseph Fétis, on future possibilities of music. Much later, in a letter of September 17, 1859, Liszt wrote to Fétis, the theory of "Omnitonie" and "Omnirythmik", he had learnt at those lectures, had had an obvious influence on the direction he had taken as composer.

On April 20, 1832, Liszt attended a charity concert, for the victims of a Parisian cholera epidemic, by Niccolò Paganini.

Liszt became determined to become as great a virtuoso on the piano as Paganini was on the violin.

According to a letter to Pierre Wolff of May 2, 1832, he had for a whole fortnight practized, four to five hours a day, thirds, sixths, octaves, tremolos, repetitions of notes, cadenzas, etc.

However, when the letter was delivered, Liszt's practicing that much had already ended. According to a second part, written on May 8, he had left Paris, following an invitation by one family Reiset for a vacation in Ecoutebœuf, a small place near Rouen.

In Ecoutebœuf, Liszt started composing his "Grande Fantaisie de Bravoure sur La Clochette de Paganini" ("Grand Bravura Fantasy on Paganini's La Campanella") on a melody from the rondo finale of Paganini's second violin concerto. The early version of the Clochette-fantasy was not yet completed because Liszt fell ill in Ecoutebœuf.[64] When on November 5, 1834, at a concert of Berlioz, he for the first time played the fantasy, it was a complete fiasco and taken as new proof that Liszt had no talent for composition at all.[65] A shorter piece using the same melody as well as a melody from the finale of Paganini's first concerto was included in the 1838-39 "Etudes d'exécution transcendante d'après Paganini" ("Studies of Transcendental Execution after Paganini").

Since 1833, Liszt's relation with Marie d'Agoult was developing. In addition to this, at end of April 1834 he made the acquaintance of Felicité de Lamennais. Under the influence of both, Liszt's creative output exploded. Until May 1835 he had composed at least half a dozen works for piano and orchestra, a duo-sonata for piano and violin on a Mazurka by Chopin, a duo for two pianos on two of Mendelssohn's "Lieder ohne Worte" and much more. All this found a very abrupt end, after Liszt on June 1, 1835, had left Paris, travelling to Basel. Most of the works he had composed during summer 1832 - May 1835 were neither published nor performed. In a "Baccalaureus-letter" to George Sand, published in the Revue et Gazette musicale of February 12, 1837, Liszt wrote, he would throw them to the fire.

As an integral part of the usual Liszt biography, a love affair with his pupil Caroline de Saint-Cricq must be mentioned, although the source situation is not only poor but desperate.

Following a traditional line, Caroline must be described as to have been nothing less than a holy angel living on earth, without worldly desires of whatsoever kind. Besides, she was very beautiful and very rich. Liszt, who had not the least interest in those qualities, became her piano teacher in spring 1828 when he was 16 and she was 17. While exclusively talking about holy things, they very soon fell in love. Supported by Caroline’s mother, they wanted to marry.

Shortly afterwards, on June 30 or July 1, 1828, the mother died. Caroline's father, French Minister of Commerce in the government of King Charles X, then acted as antagonist, showing Liszt the door. Caroline fell ill, and Liszt suffered a nervous breakdown. At age of 19, i.e. in 1830, Caroline married one Bertrand d'Artigaux. Together with her husband, she moved to Pau in southern France.

Unfortunately, no matter how touching the story is, until this day not a single author has given contemporary sources supporting it.

Liszt's own comment in one of his early letters to Marie d'Agoult was: "I've been nothing else but a child, nearly a fool, for Caroline."

The comment suits the story told by Schilling, authorized by Liszt. According to this, Liszt had left the girl without aggressions of any kind from the father's side. He had only presumed, Caroline's father would not like him as son-in-law.

Concerning Liszt's nervous breakdown and his imagined absence from Parisian concert life for two years since winter 1828-29, it was already shown that it is not true. Until end of April 1830 he regularly took part in concerts. During the second half of 1829 he was not sitting opposite his mother as silent as a statue, staring at the table, but each day from 8:30 in the morning till 10:00 at night running around for the purpose of giving lessons.

A letter by Caroline to Liszt of July 1853 indeed gives an impression of a very religiously exalted character.

Let me for ever and ever regard you as the only guiding star of my life and send my daily prayer for you towards Heaven: Reward him, my God, oh reward him superabundantly for his steadfast submission under your will.

Taking this as hint, there might be an explanation for Liszt's decision in his early youth. In 1829, at the height of the Saint-Cricq affaire, he had received his confirmation.

As preparation, he had had to visit his church St. Vincent de Paul in order to take instructions. Following strictest Catholic rules, his confessional would have told him that he was not allowed to marry Caroline without her father's consent.

Even wishing it would have been an evil sin. Liszt therefore might have believed, he had to steadfastly submit under God's will by leaving Caroline.

A further love affair, as reported by Liszt's biographers, sounds even more adventurous.

Following Alan Walker, after the revolution of 1830 a total change of Liszt's personality must have occurred. His nervous breakdown was forgotten, all holy ideas besides, and he was now hungry for whatever experiences life proffered.

Together with Adèle de Laprunarède, very beautiful and very rich, although married, he enjoyed his first long love affair. Surrounded by snow and ice, with mountain roads impassable, they were marooned in the Castle Marlioz in the Savoy for the whole winter of 1832-33.

However, also in this case the impression, taken from Liszt's own comment in one of his early letters to Marie d'Agoult, is different: "I've been nothing else but a cowardly and miserable poltroon for Adèle."

In addition to this, there was still another lady, also very beautiful, together with whom Liszt went to the Savoy. Her name was "Mlle de Barré."

Better sources indicate that "Madame D..." was Madame Didier, a very close friend of Liszt's mother. She also lived at Rue Montholon No.7 and wanted to marry her daughter Euphémie to Liszt.

"Mlle de Barré" and "Charlotte Laborie" were identical.

Madame Laborie wanted to get her daughter Charlotte to marry Liszt. At end of 1830 or in the beginning of 1831, Liszt together with Charlotte went to Geneva.

At a hotel in Geneva they met Adèle de Laprunarède.

All three of them travelled to Adèle's Castle Marlioz in the Savoy, arriving on January 9, 1831.

During the following three weeks, Liszt wrote several letters to his mother which were delivered in Paris.

It shows that the mountain roads were not impassable, and Liszt was neither marooned in snow and ice.

During Liszt's stay in Marlioz, Adèle successfully seduced him.

However, the happy part of his affair with her was very short. On February 12, 1831, Liszt wrote in a letter to Euphémie Didier, he had already several days earlier arrived in Geneva. In two days he would leave for Paris and then be entirely hers.

Still in Marlioz, Charlotte had in a letter informed her parents that she wished to return. Her father, leaving Paris on February 10, went to Switzerland in order to take his daughter together with Liszt back to Paris.

Three days later he must have arrived in Geneva where he found his daughter together with Liszt. In the beginning of May 1831, Liszt for a further time returned to Geneva, putting a final end to his affaire with Adèle.

After Liszt's last return from Geneva, he had a time of struggle, of anguish, and of solitary torments. In order to forcefully destroy Adèle's love, he had affairs with other women, such as his student Hortense and one Madame Goussard. His mother, who found him behaving foolishly and wanted to soothe his excited nerves, suggested a marriage with Euphémie Didier. In August or in the beginning of September 1831 they became engaged, but six weeks later, in October, the engagement was cancelled from Liszt's side. Due to the breach of promise there were strong complaints, even threatening, from Euphémie's family.

In March 1832, Liszt met Charlotte again and started together a new love affair.

In summer 1832, when Liszt started composing his Clochette-fantasy, he also made plans for further works. But he found no time for achieving them. At end of August 1832 he went to Bourges where his former student Rose Petit became married. On October 6 he returned to Paris.

During the whole winter of 1832-33, i.e. until end of April 1833, he was involved in a plenty of social events, often returning at home in the early morning.

For this reason only a single new work, a free transcription of Schubert's song "Die Rose," was published.

On December 9, 1832, Liszt attended a concert at which Berlioz' Symphonie fantastique and - with brilliant success - for the first time the sequel "Lé lio ou le Retour à la Vie" ("Lélio, or Returning to Life") were performed. The concert was also attended by Marie d'Agoult.

According to Marie d'Agoult's Memoirs, written from a distance of more than 30 years, she had made Liszt's acquaintance at end of 1833 at a soiree at Marquise le Vayer's home.

But the Marquise already died on February 1, 1833, and Marie d'Agoult's correspondence with Liszt includes letters from spring 1833. The question of the precise beginning of their acquaintance is therefore open. Liszt performed at soirees of the same social circles which were frequented by Marie d'Agoult. An example is Count Rudolph Apponyi, Austrian ambassador in Paris, who on every Sunday arranged a private concert at his home. His wife was a close friend of Marie d'Agoult, who on December 23, 1832, visited the Apponyis.

One week later, on December 30, Liszt performed at the same place.

Liszt and Marie d'Agoult therefore might have met already at earlier occasions. However, Liszt himself, in a letter of July 17, 1834, gave a hint pointing for 18 months back to the past.

In this sense, January 1833 might be regarded as their starting point.

Might it have been on a suggestion by the Marquise le Vayer or due to an advice by Countess Apponyi, in the beginning of 1833 Marie d'Agoult wrote a letter to Liszt for inviting him. He followed this and further invitations. Very soon he had in full details told the true story of his life.

Marie d'Agoult was a brilliant pianist and had composed several pieces of music, among them a song after Heine's poem "Die Loreley."

Liszt's early letters mention four handed piano works by Schubert which she will have played together with him. Besides, Marie d'Agoult sang songs by Beethoven, Schubert and Berlioz. One of her favourite songs was Schubert's "Erlkönig" which -- sung by her -- Liszt found impressive.

Regarding the applause which Liszt used to gain as pianist, she was absolutely cold. While this part of him was nothing of her interest, she was convinced that he was an artist of genius who could compose immortal masterworks. In May 1833, Liszt composed for her a "petite harmonie lamartinienne sans ton ni mesure" (a "little Lamartinian harmony without key and mesure"), i.e. the piece Harmonies poétiques et religieuses.

Due to a scandal adventure in August 1833 in the cathedral Notre Dame, there were rumours which found way even to Geneva.

In order to listen to Liszt's playing the organ, Marie d'Agoult had asked Théophile de Ferrière to negotiate that Liszt together with some male companions was allowed to enter the cathedral in the evening. The male companions were Marie d'Agoult herself and the Marquise Catherine de Gabriac, both disguised as men.

However, as opposite to the rumours, nothing dangerous had happened until then. In autumn 1833 there was a break of two months with absolute silence on Marie d'Agoult's side.

On November 24, 1833, she attended a concert of Berlioz at which Liszt played Weber's Konzertstück. From then on a new phase of their relation commenced.

In winter 1833-34 Liszt rented the "Ratzenloch."

For several times Marie d'Agoult visited him, taking a disguise as "Comte de la B..."

Also, Liszt visited her at Croissy. He made friends with her daughters who gave him the nickname "Bon Vieux" ("Good Old").

Since April 28, 1834, Liszt was in Paris alone again, while Marie d'Agoult had retired to Croissy.

In May 1834, he had a dispute with Madame Laborie. She presumed, he was still in love with Adèle de Laprunarède, and tried to force him to give Adèles letters to her.

On May 16 Liszt left Paris, following an invitation by one Madame Haineville to Castle Carentonne near Bernay in the Normandy. While he was in Carentonne, Marie d'Agoult found some of his old letters to Euphémie Didier, suspecting they were written to Adèle and Liszt had become engaged with her.

Returning from Carentonne, Liszt arrived on June 22, 1834, in Paris.

A couple of days later Marie d'Agoult left, travelling to Mortier, an estate of her mother, where she kept staying for two months. As present state of summer 1834 it was clear that Liszt and Marie d'Agoult were lovers. But their affaire had a color of a very particular kind. Liszt's letters of spring and summer 1834 are full of complaints about his illness and depressiveness. Still in letters of July 1834 he described Marie d'Agoult as a woman whom he desired, for whom he always had to run, but without ever getting her.

Marie d'Agoult's stay in Mortier had already been planned in spring 1834. She had invited Liszt to join her in Mortier, but he had refused it.

In April 1834 he had made the acquaintance of the Abbé de Lamennais. Liszt planned, together with Charles Saint-Beuve and Joseph d'Ortigue, in July 1834 to visit La Chênaie ("The Oak-forest"), a colony of the Abbé near Dinant in the Bretagne.

However, a large delay occurred. According to Liszt's letter to Marie d'Agoult of August 28, 1834, he had received a letter of the Abbé according to which he was awaited around September 3 or 7. Liszt asked her for a week's stay in Croissy.

On September 15, in Alençon near Rennes, in the first part of a letter to Marie d'Agoult, Liszt took German language as their "secret language" of love. In most passionate style, surpassing everything he had written in earlier letters to her, he wrote: "O, wie heiss, wie glühend ist noch dein letzter Kuss auf meinen Lippen! Wie himmlisch, wie göttlich dein Seufzer in meinem Busen... Ja, dir, Herzliebste, für dich alles!"

The change of style indicates that shortly before an important event, the beginning of their sexual life, had occurred. After a stay of three weeks in La Chênaie Liszt returned to Paris. Passing Alençon again on October 11, he wrote a new letter to Marie d'Agoult. For this time he quoted from an old announcement of the magistrate of Croissy. It was concerning a married couple, being honoured with unanimous applause for giving not souls but corps to the Republic.

In the letter from Alençon of October 11, Liszt announced that two days later he would arrive at the "Ratzenloch" in Paris. After he had arrived in the early morning of October 13, he hoped to find a message of Marie d'Agoult, but there was nothing.

He wrote himself a letter to her, assuring his love and begging, she might remain being his.

But his next letter, of October 16, is of a different, very polite and formal style, without indicating own emotions of any kind. Marie d'Agoult was now addressed as "Madame."

Following her orders, Liszt had several hours after his arrival in Paris visited Nourrit, who unfortunately could not take part in a private concert at Croissy, planned by Marie d'Agoult for one of the following Sundays. Besides, already for a very long time Nourrit had ceased singing for money at concerts. Liszt himself might be allowed to ask Marie d'Agoult for reminding Monsieur d'Agoult of him and to hope, she would indicate her next return to Paris.

While it is not clear whether the arrival in Paris, as mentioned by Liszt, was meant as his returning from La Chênaie or from a visit at Croissy, the letter shows that regarding his relation with Marie d'Agoult there was a severe break.

In October 1834 still another catastrophe occurred. Marie d'Agoult's daughter Louise fell ill.

She was by her mother transported to Paris where a doctor diagnosed an inflammation of the brain.

During the night of December 10 to 11, or on December 11, Louise died.

In autumn and winter 1834-35, Liszt made the acquaintace of George Sand. He had in the Revue des Deux Mondes of May 15, 1834, read her first Lettre d’un voyageur on her impressions of Italy, which he found magnificent.

In a letter to Marie d'Agoult of August 25, 1834, he wrote, he had two days earlier met Alfred de Musset. Musset had told him much about George Sand. Liszt had asked Musset to introduce him to her when Musset for the next time met George Sand.

Liszt and George Sand met at end of October or in the beginning of November 1834. Like Liszt himself, she was fond of Saint-Simonian ideology.

In a letter to Liszt of November 22, 1834, George Sand wrote, attending the concert of Berlioz on the following day at which Liszt would perform, was absolutely impossible for her. She would therefore give back tickets for the concert. After some days of retreating she would return.

Liszt, in his answer, wrote:

I might be permitted to hope that after your return you will please count myself among the five or six persons who very voluntarily will receive you in the days of tears.

Since the beginning of March 1835, Liszt was staying in Paris again. According to entries in his pocket calendar, he met Marie d'Agoult on March 3, 10, 15, 16, 18, 21 and 22. For the date of March 22 he wrote, "8 ½ Marie rue de Provence", meaning that at half past 8 p.m. he together with Marie d'Agoult had visited his mother's apartment at Rue de Provence 61. After March 22, several blank pages are following. For April 9, there is a note concerning Liszt's concert at the Hôtel de Ville. After further blank pages, for May 28 the entry, "Départ de M[arie]" can be read.

At end of April or in the beginning of May, Marie d'Agoult must have recognized that she was pregnant.

In a letter to her mother she announced, she would leave her husband Charles. Her mother, according to her answer of May 6, was not surprised. Already during the previous years there had been tensions in her daughter's marriage. As momentary solution she suggested, Marie should in Paris consult the doctor Koreff. They would afterwards meet for a cure in Ems or Baden-Baden. In the end, mother and daughter negotiated, they would meet on June 1 in Basel.

Until then, Marie d'Agoult's mother had no knowledge of her daughter's pregnancy nor of her wishing to live with Liszt.

The Abbé de Lamennais heard from one of Marie d'Agoult's relatives of her decision to leave her husband. He visited Liszt and afterwards Marie d'Agoult. In a long conversation he tried to persuade Marie d'Agoult to keep staying in her marriage. But it was in vain. Much later, Liszt himself as well as the Abbé told Émile Ollivier that, regarding the last attempt to change Marie d'Agoult's mind, the initiative had come from Liszt's side.

On May 28, Marie d'Agoult left Paris for Basel. Liszt left on June 1, following her.

As official explanation for Liszt's leaving Paris, it was his plan to get new impressions for his artistic development by travelling in Switzerland, Italy and Sicily, eventually also in Spain.

Since July 28, 1835, Liszt and Marie d'Agoult lived in an appartement of the building located in the angel between Rue Tabazan and Rue des Belles-Filles, now Rue Etienne Dumont No. 22.

He was also teacher in the Conservatoire de musique de Genève.

Looking at Liszt in autumn 1837, his situation was problematic in the highest sense. He had on September 6, together with Marie d'Agoult, arrived in Bellagio and had there started composing his masterworks. Until October 22, 1837, his 12 Grandes Etudes were achieved.

Liszt had also commenced his Impressions et poésies which were destined to be published one year later as part of the Album d'un voyageur. Unfortunately his fame as composer was as bad as a composer's fame could possibly be. For this reason it was difficult for Liszt to find a publisher who was willing to take his works.

Liszt contacted the publisher Mori in London and Haslinger in Vienna. The answers which he received from both were nearly identical. They requested that Liszt should first travel to London and Vienna and play his works in concerts there. In addition, Liszt received a letter from his former teacher Czerny who also suggested a voyage for concerts to Vienna.

While until the end of 1837 Liszt's arrival in Vienna was daily expected, he actually had to stay in Italy. He could not leave Marie d'Agoult because she was pregnant. On December 24 their daughter Cosima was born. Even worse, Liszt had his daughter Blandine left in Geneva. Liszt had asked a pastor Demelleyer to take care of his daughter while he himself was in Italy. But in autumn 1837 it turned out that Blandine had been treated in evil kinds and had become ill. As consequence, one of her parents would have to go to Geneva. Since this was impossible for Marie d'Agoult, it was Liszt who was in charge. He decided, he would in April 1838 go to Geneva and take Blandine to Italy.

In the beginning of April 1838, Liszt was together with Marie d'Agoult now living in Venice, he travelled for concerts to Vienna instead, taking a flood in Hungary as his chance. Had he negotiated with Marie d'Agoult, he would stay in Vienna for no longer than two weeks, he was actually absent for nearly two months. When at end of May 1838 he returned to Venice, he learnt that important new things had happened.

Marie d'Agoult had in the second half of April 1838 been ill. Since Liszt did not return, she started in May 1838 a love affair with a Count Emilio Malazzoni. She had made the Count's acquaintance at end of March 1838 when she together with Liszt visited the Baroness Wetzlar, the mother of Liszt's rival Thalberg. When Liszt returned to Venice, the Count threatened suicide. For this reason Liszt advised Marie d'Agoult to try a relationwhip with Malazzoni. The Count had in the meanwhile left Venice, travelling to Genoa. Liszt and Marie d'Agoult followed him there and afterwards to Milan. In Milan, at the beginning of September 1838, Marie d'Agoult lost her interest in Malazzoni.

When Liszt had left Vienna at end of May 1838, he had promised that he would return in September for concerts in Vienna and also in Hungary. In order to make it possible, he negotiated with Marie d'Agoult that they would together travel along the Danube to Constantinople. Although all preparations were made, Liszt’s plan did not work. Since the beginning of September 1838, Marie d'Agoult's chambermaid was for six weeks severely ill. In addition, Blandine was still in Geneva. Liszt therefore cancelled his plans for concerts in Vienna and announced in letters to friends that he would keep staying in Italy. Concerning Blandine, Marie d'Agoult asked in a letter Adolphe Pictet in Geneva for help. Blandine arrived on January 5, 1839, in Milan. On January 15 she joined her parents in Florence.

In Milan, Liszt had made many enemies. He had in the Parisian Revue et Gazette musicale published a Baccalaureus-letter about the Scala in Milan. The letter had in a translation to Italian been reprinted in La Moda of July 12, 1838. Since, according to Liszt, the Italians only liked the music of Italian composers such as Bellini and Donizetti, whereas the music of German composers like Mozart and Beethoven was completely unknown to them, they were all lacking higher education. In an ironical reply in the Figaro of July 21, 1838, it was stated that, without doubt, Liszt must have been right. Since he himself had been applauded in prior concerts in Milan, this could only be considered as proof of the Italian public's lack of education. There were much stronger reactions besides. As consequence, a charity concert which Liszt wanted to give on September 8 had to be cancelled. A concert which he gave on September 10 was boycotted by the leading members of the society. After those experiences, Liszt never gave a concert in Milan again.

In the beginning of 1839 Liszt received new invitations for concerts in Vienna. As first reaction he told Marie d'Agoult in furious manners that he had lost all interest in virtuosity. However, a couple of days later he disclosed that he had already made negotiations, reaching far into the year 1840, for concerts in Vienna, in London and in several towns of Germany. Though Marie d'Agoult's first reaction was fury, the two nevertheless came to a peaceful resolution. Until autumn 1839 they made the plan that, commencing in winter 1839-40, Liszt would for a time of one and a half years give concerts at different places in Europe. He would try to gain as much money as he could. After those one and a half years had ended, he would return with Marie to Italy. They would settle there, and Liszt would continue composing his masterworks. On May 9, 1839, Liszt's son Daniel was born in Rome, and he started his virtuoso career as father of three children.

On October 18, 1839, Liszt accompanied Marie d'Agoult to Livorno, from where she together with her daughters Blandine and Cosima went via Genoa, Marseille and Lyon to Paris, arriving on November 3. Daniel had been left behind in Italy where the painter Henri Lehmann took care of him.

Liszt first travelled to Venice. Since Marie d'Agoult had given her diary to him, he took his chance and read in full details about her love adventure of spring 1838 with Emilio Malazzoni.[193] From Venice he went to Trieste where he gave concerts on November 5 and 11.

During his stay in Trieste, Liszt met Malazzoni again. After they had in friendly terms been talking about the past, Liszt gave Marie d'Agoult's Parisian address to the Count.

In Trieste, Liszt also met the singer Caroline Ungher. In former times, she had taken part in a concert which Liszt as a boy had on December 1, 1822, given in Vienna. Marie d'Agoult, in letters of winter 1839-40, suspected that Liszt had had a love affair with the singer. Liszt denied it. In December 1841, at Schumann's home, Liszt met Caroline Ungher again. She had shortly before married the French writer Sabatier.

On November 19, 1839, Liszt gave a first concert in Vienna. He was afterwards ill for about a week. On and after November 27, Liszt gave further concerts in Vienna. They were huge successes. On December 5, 1839, Liszt performed at an own concert, playing for the first time his Sonnambula-fantasy, and at a "Concert Spirituel" at which he played Beethoven's Concerto in C Minor. He had learnt both works during the previous night. Liszt also took part in concerts of other artists, among them Camilla Pleyel with whom he had had a love affair several years before. They played a brilliant fantasy for four hands on Rossini's "Wilhelm Tell" by Herz.


Marie Catherine Sophie de Flavigny, Vicomtesse de Flavigny (December 31, 1805 - March 5, 1876), was a French author, known also by her married name and title, Marie, Comtesse d'Agoult, and by her pen name, Daniel Stern.

She was born in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, the daughter of Alexander Victor François de Flavigny (1770-1819), a footloose emigré French aristocrat, and his wife Maria-Elisabeth Bethmann (1772-1847), a Jewish German banker's daughter whose family had converted to Catholicism. The young Marie spent her early years in Germany and completed her education in a French convent after the Bourbon Restoration. She entered into an early marriage of convenience with Charles Louis Constant d’Agoult, Comte d'Agoult (1790-1875) on May 16, 1827, thereby becoming the Comtesse d'Agoult. They had two daughters, Louise (1828-1834) and Claire (1830-1912). They were divorced on August 19, 1835.

From 1835 to 1839 she lived with virtuoso pianist and composer Franz Liszt, who was five years younger, and was a rising concert star. D'Agoult had three children with Liszt, but they did not marry, maintaining their independent views and other differences, while Liszt was busy composing and touring throughout Europe. Their children were Blandine (1835-1862), who was the first wife of Émile Ollivier but died at the age of 28; Cosima (1837-1930) (who married Richard Wagner, the second marriage for them both); and Daniel (1839-1859), who was already a promising pianist and gifted scholar when he died of tuberculosis at age 20. Chopin dedicated his second set of piano etudes to Marie d'Agoult.

She died in Paris, and was buried in Division 54 of Père Lachaise Cemetery.


In 1847, Liszt gave up public performance and in the following year finally took up the invitation of Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia to settle at Weimar, where he had been appointed Kapellmeister Extraordinaire in 1842, remaining there until 1861.


Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 (1847)

[The Marx Brothers - A Day at the Races (1937), with a little bit of Liszt and something else...]

Les Preludes (1848)

Totentanz (1849)

Liebestraum No. 3 (1850)

Transcendental Etude No. 10 (1851)


During this period he acted as conductor at court concerts and on special occasions at the theatre, gave lessons to a number of pianists, including the great virtuoso Hans von Bülow, who married Liszt's daughter Cosima in 1857. He also wrote articles championing Berlioz and Wagner, and produced those orchestral and choral pieces upon which his reputation as a composer mainly rests. His efforts on behalf of Wagner, who was then an exile in Switzerland, culminated in the first performance of Lohengrin in 1850.

Among his compositions written during his time at Weimar are the two piano concertos, No. 1 in E flat major and No. 2 in A major, the Totentanz, the Concerto pathetique for two pianos, the Piano Sonata in B minor, a number of Etudes, fifteen Hungarian Rhapsodies, twelve orchestral symphonic poems, the Faust Symphony and Dante Symphony, the 13th Psalm for tenor solo, chorus and orchestra, the choruses to Herder's dramatic scenes Prometheus, and the Graner Fest Messe. Much of Liszt's organ music also comes from this period, including the well-known Fantasy and Fugue on the chorale Ad nos, ad salutarem undam and Fantasy and Fugue on the Theme B-A-C-H (the latter also arranged for solo piano).

Also in 1847, while touring in Ukraine, Liszt met Princess Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein. The Princess was an author, whose major work was published in 16 volumes, each containing over 1,600 pages. Her long-winded writing style had some effect on Liszt himself. His biography of Chopin and his chronology and analysis of Gypsy music were both written in the Princess's loquacious style (Grove's Dictionary says that she undoubtedly collaborated with him on this and other works). Princess Carolyne lived with Liszt during his years in Weimar.

In 1851 he published a revised version of his 1837 Douze Grandes Etudes, now titled Etudes d'Execution Transcendante, and the following year the Grandes Etudes de Paganini (Grand etudes after Paganini), the most famous of which is La Campanella (The Little Bell), a study in octaves, trills and leaps.

The Princess wished to marry Liszt, but since she had been previously married and her husband was still alive, she had to convince the Roman Catholic authorities that her former marriage had been invalid. After huge efforts in a monstrous process she was successful until September 1860. It was then planned that the couple would get married on October 22, 1861, Liszt's 50th birthday, in Rome. But after Liszt had arrived in Rome, on October 21, 1861 the Princess refused in the late evening to marry him. Much later, in a letter of May 30, 1875, she wrote to Eduard Liszt[236] that she had found Liszt to have been ungrateful. While she had spent her money and had lost nearly all of her former fortune, it had been several millions, he had had during all the time of the Weimar years love affairs with other women. Especially in September 1860 there had been an affaire with the singer Emilie Genast. For this reason she had decided that the planned wedding should be cancelled.

The 1860's were a period of severe catastrophes of Liszt's private life. After he had on December 13, 1859, already lost his son Daniel, on September 11, 1862, also his daughter Blandine died. In letters to friends Liszt afterwards announced, he would retreat to a solitary living.

Liszt also searched for an adequate environment. He found it at the monastery Madonna del Rosario, just outside Rome, where on June 20, 1863, he took up quarters in a small, Spartan apartment. He had on June 23, 1857, already joined a Franciscan order.

On April 25, 1865, he received from Gustav Hohenlohe the tonsure and a first one of the minor orders of the Catholic Church. Three further minor orders followed on July 30, 1865. Until then, Liszt was Porter, Lector, Exorcist, and Acolyte. While Princess Wittgenstein tried to persuade him to proceed in order to become priest, he did not follow her. In his later years he explained, he had wanted to preserve a rest of his freedom.

By chance, there was a worldly counterpoint to Liszt's becoming ecclesiastic. In the second half of 1865 his two "Episoden aus Lenaus Faust" appeared. The first piece, the "1st Mephisto-Waltz", musically paints a vulgar scene in a village inn. Was this coincidence merely an accident[242], the transcriptions of the pieces "Confutatis maledictis" and "Lacrymosa" of Mozart's Requiem, which Liszt made on January 21, 1865[243], were in a better sense characteristic for him. As child prodigy he had been compared and equalled with the child Mozart. While this aspect of his personality had died, he had in 1865 a rebirth as "Abbé Liszt."

During the 1860s in Rome, Liszt's main works were sacral works such as the oratorios "Die Legende von der heiligen Elisabeth" and "Christus" as well as masses such as the "Missa choralis" and the "Ungarische Krönungsmesse". For many of his piano works Liszt also took sacral subjects. Examples are the piece "À la Chapelle Sixtine" on melodies by Mozart and Allegri, the two pieces "Alleluja" and "Ave Maria d'Arcadelt", and the two Legends "St. François d'Assise" and "St. François de Paule, marchant sur les flots". The two pieces "Illustrations de l'Africaine" on melodies by Meyerbeer are at least in parts of a sacral style.[244] The same goes for the transcription of a scene of Verdi's opera "Don Carlos". But, besides, Liszt still composed works on worldly subjects. Examples of this kind are the concert etudes "Waldesrauschen" and "Gnomenreigen" as well as the fantasy on Mosonyi's opera "Szep Ilonka" and the transcription of the final scene "Liebestod" of Wagner's opera "Tristan und Isolde". Further examples are the pieces "Rêverie sur un motif de l'opéra Roméo et Juliette" and "Les sabéennes, Berceuse de l'opéra La Reine de Saba" after Gounod.

At some occasions, Liszt took part in Rome's musical life. On March 26, 1863, at a concert at the Palazzo Altieri, he directed a program of sacral music. The "Seligkeiten" of his "Christus-Oratorio" and his "Cantico del Sol di Francesco d'Assisi", as well as Haydn's "Die Schöpfung" and works by J. S. Bach, Beethoven, Jornelli, Mendelssohn and Palestrina were performed. On January 4, 1866, Liszt directed the "Stabat mater" of his "Christus-Oratorio", and on February 26, 1866, his "Dante-Symphony". There were several further occasions of similar kind, but in comparison with the duration of Liszt's stay in Rome, they were exceptions. Bódog Pichler, who visited Liszt in 1864 and asked him for his future plans, had the impression that Rome's musical life was not satisfying for Liszt

Liszt returned to Weimar in 1869. He began a series of piano master classes there, which he would teach a few months every year. From 1876 he also taught for several months every year at the Hungarian Music Academy at Budapest. He continued to live part of each year in Rome, as well. Liszt continued this threefold existence, as he is said to have called it, for the rest of his life.

From 1876 until his death he also taught for several months every year at the Hungarian Conservatoire at Budapest. On July 2, 1881, Liszt fell down the stairs of the Hofgärtnerei in Weimar. Though friends and colleagues had noted swelling in Liszt's feet and legs when he had arrived in Weimar the previous month, Liszt had up to this point been in reasonably good health, his body retained the slimness and suppleness of earlier years. The accident, which immobilized him eight weeks, changed all this. A number of ailments manifested -- dropsy, asthma, insomnia, a cataract of the left eye and chronic heart disease. The last mentioned would eventually contribute to Liszt's death.

Seven weeks after the fall, on August 24, 1881, Liszt wrote the piano work Nuages Gris. With its dark tone, its compositional austerity and an ending which drifts away into nothingness, the piece could be taken as a soundscape of desolation: Liszt had expected to make a quick recovery, but his condition was now compounded by dropsy, failing eyesight and other difficulties. Liszt would become increasingly plagued with feelings of desolation, despair and death—feelings he would continue to express nakedly in his works from this period. As he told Lina Ramann, "I carry a deep sadness of the heart which must now and then break out in sound."

He died in Bayreuth on July 31, 1886, officially as a result of pneumonia which he may have contracted during the Bayreuth Festival hosted by his daughter Cosima. At first, he was surrounded by some of his more adoring pupils, including Arthur Friedheim, Siloti and Bernhard Stavenhagen, but they were denied access to his room by Cosima shortly before his death at 11:30 p.m. He is buried in the Bayreuth cemetery. Questions have been posed as to whether medical malpractice played a direct part in Liszt's demise. At 11:30 Liszt was given two injections in the area of the heart. Some sources have claimed these were injections of morphine. Others have claimed the injections were of camphor, shallow injections of which, followed by massage, would warm the body. An accidental injection of camphor into the heart itself would result in a swift infarction and death. This series of events is exactly what Lina Schmalhaussen describes in the eyewitness account in her private diary, the most detailed source regarding Liszt's final illness.

[8813 Wagner / 8811 Liszt / 8810 Schumann]