Franz Liszt Biography

Franz (sometimes Ferenc) Liszt, (October 22, 1811 - July 31, 1886), was a virtuoso pianist and composer, born in Raiding, Hungary.

Liszt studied and played at Vienna and Paris and for most of his life, toured throughout Europe giving concerts. Liszt was well respected as the height of virtuosity and had been admired by composers and performers alike throughout Europe, especially for his exuberant piano transcriptions of both operas and famous symphonies of the time, reducing the cost of hearing such music. Born in Hungary, Liszt displayed incredible talent at a young age, easily sight reading multiple staves at once. Eventually, his mother was able to convince the local aristocrats to send him to Vienna at the age of 3. Due to this, Liszt never learned his native language of Hungarian, which he deeply regretted later in his letters and diaries. In Paris, Liszt attended a concert by the virtuoso violinist, Paganini and became motivated to become the greatest pianist of his day. He often took to seclusion in his room, and was heard practising for over 10 hours a day. In this period he wrote 12 etudes to capture the depth of his incredible talent, the most famous of which is "La Campanella", a study in octaves. He was said to have fraternized with such noted composers as Frederic Chopin, Robert Schumann, and Richard Wagner, whom his daughter later married. From 1835 to 1839 Franz Liszt lived with Marie Catherine Sophie de Flavigny, ex-wife of the Comte d'Agoult. She is better known by her pen name, "Daniel Stern". They had two daughters and one son. In 1847 Liszt met Princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein and he lived with her until his death. The Princess was an author, whose one work was published in 16 volumes, each having over 1600 pages. Her longwinded writing style had some effect on Liszt himself. His biography of Chopin and his chronology and analysis of Gypsy music (which later inspired Béla Bartôk) both were written in the Princess' loquacious style. In 1848, he went to Weimar, Germany, where he directed the opera and concerts, composed and taught. Noted works Liebestraume No. 3 ("Dreams of Love") in Ab Major (piano solo) Mephisto Waltz No. 1 (piano solo) Un sospiro ("A sigh"), one of the Concert Etudes (piano solo) La Campanella (piano solo, the third of the Grandes Etudes de Paganini) Feux Follets (piano solo, the fifth of the Transcendental Etudes, also known as "Will O' The Wisp", and "Mazeppa") His symphonies, the Dante Symphony and Faust Symphony Piano Sonata in B minor Twelve Symphonic Poems Two Piano Concertos Nineteen Hungarian Rhapsodies