The Project Gutenberg EBook of Franz Liszt, by James Huneker

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Title: Franz Liszt

Author: James Huneker

Release Date: May 21, 2012 [EBook #39754]

Language: English

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The Youthful Liszt






Published September, 1911


"Génie oblige."—F. Liszt


I.Liszt: The Real and Legendary1
II.Aspects of His Art and Character34
III.The B-minor Sonata and Other Piano Pieces59
IV.At Rome, Weimar, Budapest78
V.As Composer103
VI.Mirrored by His Contemporaries201
VII.In the Footsteps of Liszt327
VIII.Liszt Pupils and Lisztiana353
IX.Modern Pianoforte Virtuosi418
 Instead of a Preface439


The Youthful LisztFrontispiece
Liszt's Birthplace, Raiding8
Adam Liszt—Liszt's father12
Anna Liszt—Liszt's mother12
Daniel Liszt—Son of Liszt16
Blandine Ollivier—Daughter of Liszt16
Cosima von Bülow—Daughter of Liszt20
Liszt, about 185036
Liszt at the piano40
The Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein50
A Matinée at Liszt's66
Countess Marie d'Agoult80
Liszt in his atelier at Weimar100
Pauline Apel—Liszt's Housekeeper at Weimar328
Liszt and His Scholars, 1884358
Liszt's Hand404
Last Picture of Liszt, 1886, Aged Seventy-five Years416
The Final Liszt Circle at Weimar—Liszt at the Upper Window436




Franz Liszt remarked to a disciple of his: "Once Liszt helped Wagner, but who now will help Liszt?" This was said in 1874, when Liszt was well advanced in years, when his fame as piano virtuoso and his name as composer were wellnigh eclipsed by the growing glory of Wagner—truly a glory he had helped to create. In youth, an Orpheus pursued by the musical Maenads of Europe, in old age Liszt was a Merlin dealing in white magic, still followed by the Viviens. The story of his career is as romantic as any by Balzac. And the end of it all—after a half century and more of fire and flowers, of proud, brilliant music-making—was tragical. A gentle King Lear (without the consolation of a Cordelia), following with resignation the conquering chariot of a man, his daughter's husband, who owed him so much, and, despite criticism, bravely acknowledged his debt, thus faithful to the end (he once declared that by Wagner he would stand or fall), Franz Liszt died a quarter of a century ago at[2] Bayreuth, not as Liszt the Conqueror, but a world-weary pilgrim, petted and flattered when young, neglected as the star of Wagner arose on the horizon. If only Liszt could have experienced the success of poverty as did Wagner. But the usual malevolent fairy of the fable endowed him with all the gifts but poverty, and that capricious old Pantaloon, the Time-Spirit, had his joke in the lonesome latter years. As regards his place in the musical pantheon, this erst-while comet is now a fixed star, and his feet set upon the white throne. There is no longer a Liszt case; his music has fallen into critical perspective; but there is still a Liszt case, psychologically speaking. Whether he was an archangel of light, a Bernini of tones, or, as Jean-Christophe describes him, "The noble priest, the circus-rider, neo-classical and vagabond, a mixture in equal doses of real and false nobility," is a question that will be answered according to one's temperament. That he was the captain of the new German music, a pianist without equal, a conductor of distinction, one who had helped to make the orchestra and its leaders what they are to-day; that he was a writer, a reformer of church music, a man of the noblest impulses and ideals, generous, selfless, and an artist to his fingertips—these are the commonplaces of musical history. As a personality he was an apparition; only Paganini had so electrified Europe. A charmeur, his love adventures border on the legendary; indeed, are largely legend. As amorous[3] as a guitar, if we are to believe the romancers, the real Liszt was a man of intellect, a deeply religious soul; in middle years contemplative, even ascetic. His youthful extravagances, inseparable from his gipsy-like genius, and without a father to guide him, were remembered in Germany long after he had left the concert-platform. His successes, artistic and social—especially the predilection for him of princesses and noble dames—raised about his ears a nest of pernicious scandal-hornets. Had he not run away with Countess D'Agoult, the wife of a nobleman! Had he not openly lived with a married princess at Weimar, and under the patronage of the Grand Duke and Duchess and the Grand Duchess Maria Pawlowna, sister of the Czar of all the Russias! Besides, he was a Roman Catholic, and that didn't please such prim persons as Mendelssohn and Hiller, not to mention his own fellow-countryman, Joseph Joachim. Germany set the fashion in abusing Liszt. He had too much success for one man, and as a composer he must be made an example of; the services he rendered in defending the music of the insurgent Wagner was but another black mark against his character. And when Wagner did at last succeed, Liszt's share in the triumph was speedily forgotten. The truth is, he paid the penalty for being a cosmopolitan. He was the first cosmopolitan in music. In Germany he was abused as a Magyar, in Hungary for his Teutonic tendencies—he never learned his mother tongue—in[4] Paris for not being French born; here one recalls the Stendhal case.

But he introduced into the musty academic atmosphere of musical Europe a strong, fresh breeze from the Hungarian puzta; this wandering piano-player of Hungarian-Austrian blood, a genuine cosmopolite, taught music a new charm, the charm of the unexpected, the improvised. The freedom of Beethoven in his later works, and of Chopin in all his music, became the principal factor in the style of Liszt. Music must have the shape of an improvisation. In the Hungarian rhapsodies, the majority of which begin in a mosque, and end in a tavern, are the extremes of his system. His orchestral and vocal works, the two symphonies, the masses and oratorios and symphonic poems, are full of dignity, poetic feeling, religious spirit, and a largeness of accent and manner though too often lacking in architectonic; yet the gipsy glance and gipsy voice lurk behind many a pious or pompous bar. Apart from his invention of a new form—or, rather, the condensation and revisal of an old one, the symphonic poem—Liszt's greatest contribution to art is the wild, truant, rhapsodic, extempore element he infused into modern music; nature in her most reckless, untrammelled moods he interpreted with fidelity. But the drummers in the line of moral gasolene who controlled criticism in Germany refused to see Liszt except as an ex-piano virtuoso with the morals of a fly and a perverter of art. Even the piquant triangle[5] in his piano-concerto was suspected as possibly suggesting the usual situation of French comedy.

The Liszt-Wagner question no longer presents any difficulties to the fair-minded. It is a simple one; men still living know that Wagner, to reach his musical apogee, to reach his public, had to lean heavily on the musical genius and individual inspiration of Liszt. The later Wagner would not have existed—as we now know him—without first traversing the garden of Liszt. This is not a theory but a fact. Beethoven, as Philip Hale has pointed out, is the last of the very great composers; there is nothing new since Beethoven, though plenty of persuasive personalities, much delving in mole-runs, many "new paths," leading nowhere, and much self-advertising. With its big drum and cymbals, its mouthing or melting phrases, its startling situations, its scarlet waistcoats, its hair-oil and harlots, its treacle and thunder, the Romantic movement swept over the map of Europe, irresistible, contemptuous to its adversaries, and boasting a wonderful array of names. Schumann and Chopin, Berlioz and Liszt, Wagner—in a class by himself—are a few that may be cited; not to mention Victor Hugo, Delacroix, Gautier, Alfred de Musset, Stendhal. Georg Brandes assigns to Liszt a prominent place among the Romantics. But Beethoven still stood, stands to-day, four square to the universe. Wagner construed Beethoven to suit his own grammar. Why, for example, Berlioz should[6] have been puzzled (or have pretended to) over the first page of the Tristan and Isolde prelude is itself puzzling; the Frenchman was a deeply versed Beethoven student. If he had looked at the first page of the piano sonata in C minor—the Pathetic, so-called—the enigma of the Wagnerian phraseology would have been solved; there, in a few lines, is the kernel of this music-drama. This only proves Wagner's Shakesperian faculty of assimilation and his extraordinary gift in developing an idea (consider what he made of the theme of Chopin's C minor study, the Revolutionary, which he boldly annexed for the opening measures of the prelude to Act II of Tristan and Isolde); he borrowed his ideas whenever and wherever he saw fit. His indebtedness to Liszt was great, but equally so to Weber, Marschner, and Beethoven; his indebtedness to Berlioz ended with the externals of orchestration. Both Liszt and Wagner learned from Berlioz in this respect. Nevertheless, how useless to compare Liszt to Berlioz or Berlioz to Wagner. As well compare a ruby to an opal, an emerald to a ruby. Each of these three composers has his individual excellences. The music of all three suffers from an excess of profile. We call Liszt and Wagner the leaders of the moderns, but their aims and methods were radically different. Wagner asserted the supremacy of the drama over tone, and then, inconsistently, set himself down to write the most emotionally eloquent music that was ever conceived;[7] Liszt always harped on the dramatic, on the poetic, and seldom employed words, believing that the function of instrumental music is to convey in an ideal manner a poetic impression. In this he was the most thorough-going of poetic composers, as much so in the orchestral domain as was Chopin in his pianoforte compositions. Since Wagner's music-plays are no longer a novelty "the long submerged trail of Liszt is making its appearance," as Ernest Newman happily states the case. But to be truthful, the music of both Liszt and Wagner is already a little old-fashioned. The music-drama is not precisely in a rosy condition to-day. Opera is the weakest of forms at best, the human voice inevitably limits the art, and we are beginning to wonder what all the Wagnerian menagerie, the birds, dragons, dogs, snakes, swans, toads, dwarfs, giants, horses, and monsters generally, have to do with music. The music of the future is already the music of the past. The Wagner poems are uncouth, cumbersome machines. We long for a breath of humanity, and it is difficult to find it outside of Tristan and Isolde or Die Meistersinger. Alas! for the enduring quality of operatic music. Nothing stales like theatre music. The rainbow vision of a synthesis of the Seven Arts has faded forever. In the not far distant future Wagner will gain, rather than lose, by being played in the concert-room; that, at least, would dodge the ominously barren stretches of the Ring, and the early operas. The Button-Moulder awaits at the[8] cross-roads of time all operatic music, even as he waited for Peer Gynt. And the New Zealander is already alive, though young, who will visit Europe to attend the last piano-recital: that species of entertainment invented by Liszt, and by him described in a letter to the Princess Belgiojoso as colloquies of music and ennui. He was the first pianist to show his profile on the concert stage, his famous profil d'ivoire; before Liszt pianists either faced the audience or sat with their back to the public.

The Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein—one naturally drops into the Almanac de Gotha when writing of the friends of Liszt—averred that Liszt had launched his musical spear further into the future than Wagner. She was a lady of firm opinions, who admired Berlioz as much as she loathed Wagner. But could she have foreseen that Richard Strauss, Parsifal-like, had caught the whizzing lance of the Klingsor of Weimar, what would she have said? Put the riddle to contemporary critics of Richard II—who has, at least, thrown off the influence of Liszt and Wagner, although he too frequently takes snap-shots at the sublime in his scores. Otherwise, you can no more keep Liszt's name out of the music of to-day than could good Mr. Dick the head of King Charles from the pages of his memorial.

His musical imagination was versatile, his impressionability so lively that he translated into tone his voyages, pictures, poems—Dante,[9] Goethe, Heine, Lamartine, Obermann, (Senancour), even Sainte-Beuve (Les Consolations,) legends, and the cypress-haunted fountains of the Villa d' Este (Tivoli); not to mention canvases by Raphael, Mickelangelo, and the uninspired frescoes of Kaulbach. All was grist that came to his musical mill.

In a moment of self-forgetfulness, Wagner praised the music of Liszt in superlative terms. No need of quotation; the correspondence, a classic, is open to all. That the symphonic poem was secretly antipathetic to Wagner is the bald truth. After all his rhapsodic utterances concerning the symphonies and poems of Liszt—from which he borrowed many a sparkling jewel to adorn some corner in his giant frescoes—he said in 1877, "In instrumental music I am a réactionnaire, a conservative. I dislike everything that requires verbal explanations beyond the actual sounds." And he, the most copious of commentators concerning his own music, in which almost every other bar is labelled with a leading motive! To this Liszt wittily answered—in an unpublished letter (1878)—that leading motives are comfortable inventions, as a composer does not have to search for a new melody. But what boots leading motives—as old as the hills and Johann Sebastian Bach—or symphonic poems nowadays? There is no Wagner, there is no Liszt question. After the unbinding of the classic forms the turbulent torrent is become the new danger. Who shall dam its speed! Brahms[10] or Reger? The formal formlessness of the new school has placed Berlioz, Liszt, and Wagner on the shelf, almost as remotely as are Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. The symphonic poem is now a monster of appalling lengths, thereby, as Mr. Krehbiel suggests, defeating its chiefest reason for existence, its brevity. The foam and fireworks of the impressionistic school, Debussy, Dukas, and Ravel, and the rest, are enjoyable; the piano music of Debussy has the iridescence of a spider's web touched by the fire of the setting sun; his orchestra is a jewelled conflagration. But he stems like the others, the Russians included, from Liszt. Charpentier and his followers are Wagner à la coule. Where it will all end no man dare predict. But Mr. Newman is right in the matter of programme-music. It has come to stay, modified as it may be in the future. Too many bricks and mortar, the lust of the ear as well as of the eye, glutted by the materialistic machinery of the Wagner music-drama, have driven the lovers of music-for-music's-sake back to Beethoven; or, in extreme cases, to novel forms wherein vigourous affirmations are dreaded as much as an eight-bar melody; for those meticulous temperaments that recoil from clangourous chord, there are the misty tonalities of Debussy or the verse of Paul Verlaine. However, the aquarelles and pastels and landscapes of Debussy or Ravel were invented by Urvater Liszt—caricatured by Wagner in the person of Wotan; all the impressionistic school[11] may be traced to him as its fountain-head. Think of the little sceneries scattered through his piano music, particularly in his Years of Pilgrimage; or of the storm and stress of the Dante Sonata. The romanticism of Liszt was, like so many of his contemporaries, a state of soul, a condition of exalted or morbid sensibility. But it could not be said of him as it could of all the Men of Fine Shades—Chateaubriand, Heine, Stendhal, Benjamin Constant, Sainte-Beuve—that they were only men of feeling in their art, and decidedly the reverse in their conduct. Liszt was a pattern of chivalry, and if he seems at times as indulging too much in the Grand Manner set it down to his surroundings, to his temperament. The idols of his younger years were Bonaparte and Byron, Goethe and Chateaubriand, while in the background hovered the prime corrupter of the nineteenth century and the father of Romanticism, J. J. Rousseau.


Liszt's Birthplace, Raiding

The year 1811 was the year of the great comet. Its wine is said to have been of a richness; some well-known men were born, beginning with Thackeray and John Bright; Napoleon's son, the unhappy Duc de Reichstadt, first saw the light that year, as did Jules Dupré, Théophile Gautier, and Franz Liszt. There will be no disputes concerning the date of his birth, October 22d, as was[12] the case with Chopin. His ancestors, according to a lengthy family register, were originally noble; but the father of Franz, Adam Liszt, was a manager of the Esterhazy estates in Hungary at the time his only son and child was born. He was very musical, knew Joseph Haydn, and was an admirer of Hummel, his music and playing. The mother's maiden name was Anna Lager (or Laager), a native of lower Austria, with German blood in her veins. The mixed blood of her son might prove a source of interest to Havelock Ellis in his studies of heredity and genius. If Liszt was French in the early years of his manhood, he was decidedly German the latter half of his life. The Magyar only came out on the keyboard, and in his compositions. She was of a happy and extremely vivacious nature, cheerful in her old age, and contented to educate her three grandchildren later in life. The name Liszt would be meal or flour in English; so that Frank Flour might have been his unromantic cognomen; a difference from Liszt Ferencz, with its accompanying battle-cry of Eljen! In his son Adam Liszt hoped to realise his own frustrated musical dreams. A prodigy of a prodigious sort, the comet and the talent of Franz were mixed up by the superstitious. Some gipsy predicted that the lad would return to his native village rich, honoured, and in a glass house (coach). This he did. In Oedenburg, during the summer of 1903, I visited at an hour or so distant, the town of[13] Eisenstadt and the village of Raiding (or Reiding). In the latter is the house where Liszt was born. The place, which can hardly have changed much since the boyhood of Liszt, is called Dobrjan in Hungarian. I confess I was not impressed, and was glad to get back to Oedenburg and civilisation. In this latter spot there is a striking statue of the composer.

Anna Liszt
Liszt's Mother

It is a thrice-told tale that several estimable Hungarian magnates raised a purse for the boy, sent him with his father to Vienna, where he studied the piano with the pedagogue Carl Czerny, that indefatigable fabricator of finger-studies, and in theory with Salieri. He was kissed by the aged Beethoven on the forehead—Wotan saluting young Siegfried—though Schindler, ami de Beethoven, as he dubbed himself, denied this significant historical fact. But later Schindler pitched into Liszt for his Beethoven interpretations, hotly swearing that they were the epitome of unmusical taste. The old order changeth, though not old prejudices. Liszt waxed in size, technique, wisdom. Soon he was given up as hopelessly in advance of his teachers. Wherever he appeared they hailed him as a second Hummel, a second Beethoven. And he improvised. That settled his fate. He would surely become a composer. He went to Paris, was known as le petit Litz, and received everywhere. He became the rage, though he was refused admission to the Conservatoire, probably because he displayed too much talent[14] for a boy. He composed an opera, Don Sancho, the score of which has luckily disappeared. Then an event big with consequences was experienced by the youth—he lost his father in 1827. (His mother survived her husband until 1866.) He gave up concert performances as too precarious, and manfully began teaching in Paris. The revolution started his pulse to beating, and he composed a revolutionary symphony. He became a lover of humanity, a socialist, a follower of Saint-Simon, even of the impossible Père Prosper Enfantin. His friend and adviser was Lamenais, whose Paroles d'un Croyant had estranged him from Rome. A wonderful, unhappy man. Liszt read poetry and philosophy, absorbed all the fashionable frenzied formulas and associated with the Romanticists. He met Chopin, and they became as twin brethren. François Mignet, author of A History of the French Revolution, said to the Princess Cristina Belgiojoso of Liszt: "In the brain of this young man reigns great confusion." No wonder. He was playing the piano, composing, teaching, studying the philosophers, and mingling with enthusiastic idealists who burnt their straw before they moulded their bricks. As Francis Hackett wrote of the late Lord Acton, Liszt suffered from "intellectual log-jam." But the current of events soon released him.

Adam Liszt
Liszt's Father

He met the Countess d'Agoult in the brilliant whirl of his artistic success. She was beautiful,[15] accomplished, though her contemporaries declare she was not of a truthful nature. She was born Marie Sophie de Flavigny, at Frankfort-on-Main in 1805. Her father was the Vicomte de Flavigny, who had married the daughter of Simon Moritz Bethmann, a rich banker, originally from Amsterdam and a reformed Hebrew. She had literary ability, was proud of having once seen Goethe, and in 1827 she married Comte Charles d'Agoult. But social sedition was in the air. The misunderstood woman—no new thing—was the fashion. George Sand was changing her lovers with every new book she wrote, and Madame, the Countess d'Agoult—to whom Chopin dedicated his first group of Etudes—began to write, began to yearn for fame and adventures. Liszt appeared. He seems to have been the pursued. Anyhow, they eloped. In honour he couldn't desert the woman, and they made Geneva their temporary home. She had in her own right 20,000 francs a year income; it cost Liszt exactly 300,000 francs annually to keep up an establishment such as the lady had been accustomed to—he earned this, a tidy amount, for those days, by playing the piano all over Europe. Madame d'Agoult bore him three children: Blandine, Cosima, and Daniel. The first named married Emile Ollivier, Napoleon's war minister—still living at the present writing—in 1857. She died in 1862. Cosima married Hans von Bülow, her father's favourite pupil, in 1857; later she went off with[16] Richard Wagner, married him, to her father's despair—principally because she had renounced her religion in so doing—and to-day is Wagner's widow. Daniel Liszt, his father's hope, died December, 1859, at the age of twenty. Liszt had legitimatised the birth of his children, had educated them, had dowered his daughters, and they proved all three a source of sorrow.

Blandine Ollivier
Daughter of Liszt

He quarrelled with the D'Agoult and they parted bad friends. Under the pen name of Daniel Stern she attacked Liszt in her souvenirs and novels. He forgave her. They met in Paris once, in the year 1860. He gently told her that the title of the souvenirs should have been "Poses et Mensonges." She wept. Tragic comedians, both. They were bored with one another; their union recalls the profound reflection of Flaubert, that Emma Bovary found in adultery all the platitudes of marriage. Perhaps other ladies had supervened. Like Byron, Liszt was the sentimental hero of the day, a Chateaubriand René of the keyboard. Balzac put him in a book, so did George Sand. All the painters and sculptors, Delaroche and Ary Scheffer among others made his portrait. Nevertheless, his head was not turned, and when, after an exile of a few years, Thalberg had conquered Paris in his absence, he returned and engaged in an ivory duel, at the end worsting his rival. Thalberg was the first pianist in Europe, contended every one. And the Belgiojoso calmly remarked that Liszt was the only one. After witnessing the Paderewski[17] worship of yesterday nothing related of Liszt should surprise us.

Daniel Liszt
Son of Liszt

In the meantime, Paganini, had set his brain seething. Chopin, Paganini and Berlioz were the predominating artistic influences in his life; from the first he appreciated the exotic, learned the resources of the instrument, and the value of national folk-song flavour; from the second he gained the inspiration for his transcendental technique; from the third, orchestral colour and the "new paths" were indicated to his ambitious spirit. He never tired, he always said there would be plenty of time to loaf in eternity. His pictures were everywhere, he became a kind of Flying Hungarian to the sentimental Sentas of those times. He told Judith Gautier that the women loved themselves in him. Modest man! What charm was in his playing an army of auditors have told us. Heine called Thalberg a king, Liszt a prophet, Chopin a poet, Herz an advocate, Kalkbrenner a minstrel, Madame Pleyel a Sibyl, and Doehler—a pianist. Scudo wrote that Thalberg's scales were like pearls on velvet, the scales of Liszt the same, but the velvet was hot! Louis Ehlert, no mean observer, said he possessed a quality that neither Tausig nor any virtuoso before or succeeding him ever boasted—the nearest approach, perhaps, was Rubinstein—namely: a spontaneous control of passion that approximated in its power to nature ... and an incommensurable nature was his. He was one among a dozen artists who made[18] Europe interesting during the past century. Slim, handsome in youth, brown of hair and blue-eyed, with the years he grew none the less picturesque; his mane was white, his eyes became blue-gray, his pleasant baritone voice a brumming bass. There is a portrait in the National Gallery by Lorenzo Lotto, of Prothonotary Giuliano, that suggests him, and in the Burne-Jones picture, Merlin and Vivien, there is certainly a transcript of his features. A statue by Foyatier in the Louvre, of Spartacus, is really the head of the pianist. As Abbé he was none the less fascinating; for his admirers he wore his soutane with a difference.

Useless to relate the Thousand-and-One Nights of music, triumphs, and intrigues in his life. When the Countess d'Agoult returned to her family a council, presided over by her husband's brother, exonerated the pianist, and his behaviour was pronounced to be that of a gentleman! Surely the Comic Muse must have chuckled at this. Like Wagner, Franz Liszt was a Tragic Comedian of prime order. He knew to the full the value of his electric personality. Sincere in art, he could play the grand seignior, the actor, the priest, and diplomat at will. Pose he had to, else abandon the profession of piano virtuoso. But he bitterly objected to playing the rôle of a performing poodle, and once publicly insulted the Czar, who dared to talk while the greatest pianist in the world played. He finally grew tired of Paris, of public life. He had been[19] loved by such various types of women as George Sand—re-christened by Baudelaire as the Prudhomme of immorality; delightful epigram!—by Marie Du Plessis, the Lady of the Camellias, and by that astounding adventuress, Lola Montez. How many others only a Leporello catalogue would show.

His third artistic period began in 1847, his sojourn at Weimar. It was the most attractive and fruitful of all. From 1848 to 1861 the musical centre of Germany was this little town immortalised by Goethe. There the world flocked to hear the first performance of Lohengrin, and other Wagner operas. A circle consisting of Raff, Von Bülow, Tausig, Cornelius, Joseph Joachim, Schumann, Robert Franz, Litolff, Dionys Pruckner, William Mason, Lassen, with Berlioz and Rubinstein and Brahms (in 1854) and Remenyi as occasional visitors, to mention a tithe of famous names, surrounded Liszt. His elective affinity—in Goethe's phrase—was the Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein, who with her child had deserted the usual brutal and indifferent husband—in fashionable romances. Her influence upon Liszt's character has been disputed, but unwarrantably. She occasionally forced him to do the wrong thing, as in the case of the ending of the Dante symphony; vide, the new Wagner Autobiography. Together they wrote his chief literary works, the study of Chopin—the princess supplying the feverish local colour, and the book on Hungarian gipsy music, which contains a[20] veiled attack on the Jews, for which Liszt was blamed. The Sayn-Wittgenstein was an intense, narrow nature—she has been called a "slightly vulgar aristocrat," and one of her peculiarities was seeing in almost every one of artistic or intellectual prominence Hebraic traits or lineaments. Years before the Geyer and the Leipsic Judengasse story came out she unhesitatingly pronounced Richard Wagner of Semitic origin; she also had her doubts about Berlioz and others. The Lisztian theory of gipsy music consists, as Dannreuther says, in the merit of a laboured attempt to prove the existence of something like a gipsy epic in terms of music, the fact being that Hungarian gipsies merely play Hungarian popular tunes in a fantastic and exciting manner, but have no music that can properly be called their own. Liszt was a facile, picturesque writer and did more with his pen for Wagner than Wagner's own turbid writings. But a great writer he was not—many-sided as he was. It was unkind, however, on the part of Wagner to say to a friend that Cosima had more brains than her father. If she has, Bayreuth since her husband's death hasn't proved it. Wagner, when he uttered this, was probably in the ferment of a new passion, having quite recovered from his supposedly eternal love for Mathilde Wesendonck.

Cosima von Bülow
Daughter of Liszt

A masterful woman the Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein, though far from beautiful, she so controlled and ordered Liszt's life that he quite shed his bohemian skin, composed much, and as Kapellmeister[21] produced many novelties of the new school. They lived on a hill in a house called the Altenburg, not a very princely abode, and there Liszt accomplished the major portion of his works for orchestra, his masses and piano concertos. There, too, Richard Wagner, a revolutionist, wanted by the Dresden police, came in 1849—from May 19th to 24th—disguised, carrying a forged passport, poor, miserable. Liszt secured him lodgings, and gave him a banquet at the Altenburg attended by Tausig, Von Bülow, Gille, Draeseke, Gottschalg, and others, nineteen in all. Wagner behaved badly, insulted his host and guests. He was left in solitude until Liszt insisted on his apologising for his rude manners—which he did with a bad grace. John F. Runciman has said that Liszt ought to have done even more for Wagner than he did—or words to that effect; just so, and there is no doubt that the noble man has put the world in his debt by piloting the music-dramatist into safe harbour; but while ingratitude is no crime according to Nietzsche (who, quite illogically, reproached Wagner for his ingratitude) there seems a limit to amiability, and in Liszt's case his amiability amounted to weakness. He could never say "No" to Wagner (nor to a pretty woman). He understood and forgave the Mime nature in Wagner for the sake of his Siegfried side. There was no Mime in Liszt, nothing small nor hateful, although he could at times play the benevolent, ironic Mephisto.[22] And in his art he mirrored the quality to perfection—the Mephistopheles of his Faust Symphony.

Intrigues pursued him in his capacity as court musical director. The Princess Maria-Pawlowna died June, 1859; the following October Princess Marie, daughter of Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein, married the Prince Hohenlohe, and Liszt, after the opera by Peter Cornelius was hissed, resigned his post. He remembered Goethe and his resignation, caused by a trained dog, at the same theatre. But he didn't leave Weimar until August 17, 1861, joining the princess at Rome. The scandal of the attempted marriage there is told in another chapter. Again the eyes of the world were riveted upon Liszt. His very warts became notorious. Some say that Cardinal Antonelli, instigated by Polish relatives of the princess, upset the affair when the pair were literally on the eve of approaching the altar; some believe that the wily Liszt had set in motion the machinery; but the truth is that at the advice of the Cardinal Prince Hohenlohe, his closest friend, the marriage scheme was dropped. When the husband of the princess died there was no further talk of matrimony. Instead, Liszt took minor orders, concentrated his attention on church music, and henceforth spent his year between Rome, Weimar, and Budapest. He hoped for a position at the Papal court analogous to the one he had held at Weimar; but the appointment of music-director at St. Peter's was[23] never made. To Weimar he had returned (1869) at the cordial invitation of the archduke, who allotted to his use a little house in the park, the Hofgärtnerei. There every summer he received pupils from all parts of the world, gratuitously advising them, helping them from his impoverished purse, and, incidentally, being admired by a new generation of musical enthusiasts, particularly those of the feminine gender. There were lots of scandals, and the worthy burghers of the town shook their heads at the goings-on of the Lisztianer. The old man fell under many influences, some of them sinister. He seldom saw Richard or Cosima Wagner, though he attended the opening of Bayreuth in 1876. On that occasion Wagner publicly paid a magnificent tribute to the genius and noble friendship of Liszt. It atoned for a wilderness of previous neglect and ingratitude.

With Wagner's death in 1883 his hold on mundane matters began to relax. He taught, he travelled, he never failed to pay the princess an annual visit at Rome. She had immured herself, behind curtained windows and to the light of waxen tapers led the life of a mystic, also smoked the blackest of cigars. She became a theologian in petticoats and wrote numerous inutile books about pin-points in matters ecclesiastical. No doubt she still loved Liszt, for she set a spy on him at Weimar and thus kept herself informed as to how much cognac he daily consumed, how many pretty girls had asked for a lock of his silvery[24] hair, also the name of the latest aspirant to his affections.

What a brilliant coterie of budding artists surrounded him: D'Albert, Urspruch, Geza Zichy, Friedheim, Joseffy, Rosenthal, Reisenauer, Grieg, Edward MacDowell, Burmeister, Stavenhagen, Sofie Menter, Toni Raab, Nikisch, Weingartner, Siloti, Laura Kahrer, Sauer, Adele Aus der Ohe, Moszkowski, Scharwenka, Pachmann, Saint-Saëns, Rubinstein—the latter not as pupil—Borodin, Van der Stucken, and other distinguished names in the annals of compositions and piano playing. Liszt's health broke down, but he persisted in visiting London in the early summer of 1886, where he was received as a demi-god by Queen Victoria and the musical world; he had been earlier in Paris where a mass of his was sung with success. His money affairs were in a tangle; once in receipt of an income that had enabled him to throw money away to any whining humbug, he complained at the last that he had no home of his own, no income—he had not been too shrewd in his dealings with music publishers—and very little cash for travelling expenses. The princess needed her own rents, and Liszt was never a charity pensioner. During the Altenburg years, the Glanzzeit at Weimar, her income had sufficed for both, as Liszt was earning no money from concert-tours. But at the end, despite his devoted disciples, he was the very picture of a deserted, desolate old hero. And he had given away fortunes, had played fortunes[25] at benefit-concerts into the coffers of cities overtaken by fire or flood. Surely, the seamy side of success. "Wer aber wird nun Liszt helfen?" This half humorous, half pathetic cry of his had its tragic significance.

Liszt last touched the keyboard July 19, 1886, at Colpach, Luxemburg, the castle of Munkaçzy, the Hungarian painter. Feeble as he must have been there was a supernatural aureole about his music that caused his hearers to weep. (Fancy the pianoforte inciting to tears!) He played his favourite Liebestraum, the Chant Polonais from the "Glanes de Woronice" (the Polish estate of the Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein) and the sixteenth of his Soirées de Vienne. He went on to Bayreuth, in company with a persistent young Parisian lady—the paramount passion not quite extinguished—attended a performance of Tristan and Isolde, through which he slept from absolute exhaustion; though he did not fail to acknowledge in company with Cosima Wagner the applause at the end. He went at once to bed never to leave it alive. He died of lung trouble on the night of July 31st or the early hour of August 1, 1886, and his last word is said to have been "Tristan." He was buried, in haste—that he might not interfere with the current Wagner festival—and, no doubt, is mourned at leisure. His princess survived him a year; this sounds more romantic than it is. [Madame d'Agoult had died in 1876.] A new terror was added to death by the ugly tomb of the dead man, designed[26] by his grandson, Siegfried Wagner; said to be a composer as well as an amateur architect. Victories usually resemble each other; it is defeat alone that wears an individual physiognomy. Liszt, with all his optimism, did not hesitate to speak of his career as a failure. But what a magnificent failure! "To die and to die young—what happiness," was a favourite phrase of his.


"While remaining itself obscure," wrote George Moore of L'Education Sentimentale, by Flaubert, "this novel has given birth to a numerous literature. The Rougon-Macquart series is nothing but L'Education Sentimentale re-written into twenty volumes by a prodigious journalist—twenty huge balloons which bob about the streets, sometimes getting clear of the housetops. Maupassant cut it into numberless walking-sticks; Goncourt took the descriptive passages and turned them into Passy rhapsodies. The book has been a treasure cavern known to forty thieves, whence all have found riches and fame. The original spirit has proved too strong for general consumption, but, watered and prepared, it has had the largest sale ever known."

This particular passage is suited to the case of Liszt. Despite his obligations to Beethoven, Chopin and Berlioz—as, indeed, Flaubert owed something to Chateaubriand, Bossuet, and Balzac—he invented a new form, the symphonic[27] poem, invented a musical phrase, novel in shape and gait, perfected the leading motive, employed poetic ideas instead of the antique and academic cut and dried square-toed themes—and was ruthlessly plundered almost before the ink was dry on his manuscript, and without due acknowledgment of the original source. So it came to pass that the music of the future, lock, stock, and barrel, first manufactured by Liszt, travelled into the porches of the public ears from the scores of Wagner, Raff, Cornelius, Saint-Saëns, Tschaikowsky, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Borodin, and minor Russian composers and a half-hundred besides of the new men, beginning with the name of Richard Strauss—that most extraordinary personality of latter-day music. And Liszt sat in Weimar and smiled and waited and waited and smiled; and if he has achieved paradise by this time he is still smiling and waiting. He often boasted that storms were his métier, meaning their tonal reproduction in orchestral form or on the keyboard—but I suspect that patience was his cardinal virtue.

Henry James once wrote of the human soul and it made me think of Liszt: "A romantic, moonlighted landscape, with woods and mountains and dim distances, visited by strange winds and murmurs." Liszt's music often evokes the golden opium-haunted prose of De Quincy; it is at once sensual and rhetorical. It also has its sonorous platitudes, unheavenly lengths, and barbaric yawps.


Despite his marked leaning toward the classic (Raphael, Correggio, Mickelangelo, and those frigid, colourless Germans, Kaulbach, Cornelius, Schadow, not to mention the sweetly romantic Ary Scheffer and the sentimental Delaroche), by temperament Liszt was a lover of the grotesque, the baroque, the eccentric, even the morbid. He often declared that it was his pet ambition to give a piano recital in the Salon Carré of the Louvre, where, surrounded by the canvases of Da Vinci, Raphael, Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, Rembrandt, Veronese, and others of the immortal choir, he might make music never to be forgotten. In reality, he would have played with more effect if the pictures had been painted by Salvator Rosa, El Greco, Hell-Fire Breughel, Callot, Orcagna (the Dance of Death at Pisa), Matthew Grünwald; or among the moderns, Gustave Doré, the macabre Wiertz of Brussels, Edward Munch, Matisse or Picasso. Ugliness mingled with voluptuousness, piety doubted by devilry, the quaint and the horrible, the satanic and the angelic, these states of soul (and body) appealed to Liszt quite as much as they did to Berlioz. They are all the apex of delirious romanticism;—now as dead as the classicism that preceded and produced it—of the seeking after recondite sensations and expressing them by means of the eloquent, versatile orchestral apparatus. Think what rôles Death and Lust play in the over-strained art of the Romantics (the "hairy romantic" as Thackeray[29] called Berlioz, and no doubt Liszt, for he met him in London); what bombast, what sonorous pomp and pageantry, what sighing sensuousness, what brilliant martial spirit—they are all to be found in Liszt. In musical irony he never had but one match, Chopin—until Richard Strauss; Berlioz was also an adept in this disquieting mood. Liszt makes a direct appeal to the nerves, he has the trick of getting atmosphere with a few bars; and even if his great solo sonata has been called "The Invitation to Hissing and Stamping" (thus named by Gumprecht, a blind critic of Berlin, about 1854) the work itself is a mine of musical treasures, and a most dramatic sonata—that is if one accepts Liszt's definition of the form. Here we recall Cabaner's music—as reported by Mr. Moore—"the music that might be considered by Wagner as a little too advanced, but which Liszt would not fail to understand."

Liszt's music is virile and homophonic, despite its chromatic complexities. Instead of lacking in thematic invention he was, perhaps, a trifle too facile, too Italianate; he shook too many melodies from his sleeve to be always fresh; in a word, he composed too much. Architecturally his work recalls at times the fantastic Kremlin, or the Taj Mahal, or—as in the Graner Mass—a strange perversion of the gothic. Liszt was less the master-builder than the painter; color, not form, was his stronger side. And like Chateaubriand his[30] music is an interminglement of religious with moods of sensuality. An authority has written that his essays in counterpoint are perhaps more successful than those of Berlioz, though his fugue subjects are equally artificial; and he fails to make the most of them (but couldn't the same be said of Beethoven, or of the contrapuntal Reger?). Both the French and Hungarian masters seem to have concocted rather than have composed their fugues. All of which is the eternal rule of thumb over again. The age of the fugue, like the age of manufactured miracles, is forever past. If you don't care for the fugal passages and part-writing in the Graner Mass or in the organ music, then there is nothing more to be said. Charles Lamb inveighed against concertos and instrumental music because, as he wrote, "words are something; but to gaze on empty frames, and to be forced to make the pictures for yourself ... to invent extempore tragedies is to answer the vague gestures of an inexplicable rambling mime." This unimaginative condition is the precise one from which suffered so many early and too many later critics of Liszt's original music. If you are not in the mood poetical, whether lyric, heroic, or epic, then go to some other composer. And I protest against the parenthetical position allotted him by musical commentators, mostly of the Bayreuth brood. The Wagner family saw to it that the mighty Richard should be furnished with an appropriate artistic pedigree; Beethoven and Gluck were[31] called his precursors. Liszt is not a transitional composer, except that all great composers are a link in the unending chain. But, though he helped Wagner to his later ideas and style, he had nothing whatever to do with the Wagnerian music-drama or the Wagnerian attitude toward art. Berlioz, Liszt, and Wagner are all three as different in conception and texture as Handel and Haydn and Mozart; yet many say Handel and Haydn, or, worse still, Mozart and Beethoven. Absurd and unjust bracketings by the fat-minded unmusical.

In musicianship Liszt had no contemporary who could pretend to tie his shoe-strings, with the possible exception of Felix Mendelssohn. And in one particular he ranks next to Bach and Beethoven—in rhythmic invention; after Bach and Beethoven, Liszt stands nearest as regards the variety of his rhythms. His Eastern blood—the Magyar came from Asia—may account for this rhythmic versatility. It is a point not to be overlooked in future estimates of the composer.

How then account for the rather indifferent fashion with which the Liszt compositions are received by the musical public, not only here, but in Europe? This year (1911) the festivals in honor of the Master's Centenary may revive interest in his music and, perhaps, open the ears of the present generation to the fact that Strauss, Debussy and others are not as original as they sound. But I fear that Liszt, like any other dead[32] composer—save the few giants, Bach, Mozart and Beethoven—will be played as a matter of course, sometimes from piety, sometimes because certain dates bob up on the calendar. His piano music, the most grateful ever written, will die hard, yet die it will.

Musicians should never forget Liszt, who, as was the case with Henry Irving and the English speaking actors, was the first to give musicians a social standing and prestige; before his time a pianist, violinist, organist, singer, was hardly superior to a lackey. Liszt was the aristocrat of his art; his essential nobility of soul, coupled with his flaming genius, made him that. And he came from a cottage that seemed like a peasant's. A point for your anarch in art.

Whatever the fluctuations of the chameleon of the Seven Arts, the best music will be always beautiful; beautiful with the old or the new beauty. Ugliness for the sheer sake of ugliness never endures; but one must be able to define modern beauty, else find oneself in the predicament of those deaf ones who could not or would not hear the beauty of Wagner; or those blind ones who would not or could not see the characteristic truth and beauty in the pictures of Edouard Manet. The sting and glamour of the Liszt orchestral music has compelling quality. Probably one of the most eloquent tributes paid to music is the following, and by a critic of pictorial art, Mr. D. S. MacColl, now keeper of the Wallace Collection in London. He wrote:


"An art that came out of the old world two centuries ago with a few chants, love-songs, and dances, that a century ago was still tied to the words of a mass or an opera, or threading little dance movements together in a 'suite,' became, in the last century, this extraordinary debauch, in which the man who has never seen a battle, loved a woman, or worshipped a god may not only ideally but through the response of his nerves and pulses to immediate rhythmical attack, enjoy the ghosts of struggle, rapture and exaltation with a volume and intricacy, an anguish, a triumph, an irresponsibility unheard of. An amplified pattern of action and emotion is given; each man fits to it the images he will."




The feminine friendships of Franz Liszt gained for him as much notoriety as his music making. To the average public he was a compound of Casanova, Byron and Goethe, and to this mixture could have been added the name of Stendhal. Liszt's love affairs, Liszt's children, Liszt's perilous escapes from daggers, pistols and poisons were the subjects of conversation in Europe three-quarters of a century ago, as earlier Byron was both hero and black-sheep in the current gossip of his time. And as Liszt was in the public eye and ubiquitous—he travelled rapidly over Europe in a post-chaise, often giving two concerts in one day at different places—he became a sort of legendary figure, a musical Don Juan. He was not unmindful of the value of advertisement, so the legend grew with the years. That his reputation for gallantry was hugely exaggerated it is hardly necessary to add; a man[35] who, accomplished as much as he, whether author, pianoforte virtuoso or composer, could have hardly had much idle time on his hands for the devil to dip into; and then his correspondence. He wrote or dictated literally thousands of letters. He was an ideal letter-writer. No one went unanswered, and a fairly good biography might be evolved from the many volumes of his correspondence. Nevertheless he did find time for much philandering, and for the cultivation of numerous platonic friendships. But the witty characterisation of Madame Plater holds good of Liszt. She said one day to Chopin: "If I were young and pretty, my little Chopin, I would take thee for husband, Ferdinand Hiller for friend, and Liszt for lover." This was in 1833, when Liszt was twenty-two years of age and the witticism definitely places Liszt in the sentimental hierarchy.

La Mara, an indefatigable and enthusiastic collector of anecdotes about unusual folk, has just published a book, Liszt und die Frauen. It deals with twenty-six friends of Liszt and does not lean heavily on scandal as an attractive adjunct; indeed La Mara (Marie Lipsius) sees musical life through rose-coloured spectacles, and Liszt is one of her gods. For her he is more sinned against than sinning, more pursued than pursuer; his angelic wings grow in size on his shoulders while you watch. Only a few of the ladies, titled and otherwise, mentioned in this book enjoyed the fleeting affection of the pianist-composer.[36] Whatever else he might have been, Liszt was not a vulgar gallant. Over his swiftest passing intrigues he contrived to throw an air of mystery. In sooth, he was an idealist and romanticist. No one ever heard him boast his conquests.

Did Liszt ever love? It has been questioned by some of his biographers. His first passion, however, seems to have been genuine, as genuine as his love for his mother and for his children; he proved more admirable as a father than he would have been as a husband. In 1823 as "le petit Litz" he had set all musical Paris wondering. When his father died in 1827 he gave lessons there like any everyday pianoforte pedagogue because he needed money for the support of his mother. Among his aristocratic pupils was Caroline de Saint-Criq, the daughter of the Minister of Commerce, Count de Saint-Criq. It must have been truly a love in the clouds. Caroline was motherless. She was, as Liszt later declared, "a woman ideally good." Her father did not enjoy the prospect of a son-in-law who gave music lessons, and the intimacy suddenly snapped. But Liszt never forgot her; she became his mystic Beatrice, for her and to her he composed and dedicated a song; and even meeting her at Pau in 1844, just sixteen years after their rupture, did not create the disenchantment usual in such cases. Berlioz, too, sought an early love when old, and in his eyes she was as she always had been; Stendhal burst into tears on seeing again Angela Pietagrua after[37] eleven years absence. Verily art is a sentimental antiseptic.

Liszt, about 1850

Caroline de Saint-Criq had married like the dutiful daughter she was, and Liszt's heart by 1844 was not only battle-scarred but a cemetery of memories. She died in 1874. They had corresponded for years, and at the moment of their youthful parting, caused by a cruel and extremely sensible father, they made a promise to recall each other's names at the hour of the daily angelus. Liszt averred that he kept his promise. The name of the lyric he wrote for her is: "Je voudrais m'évanouir comme la pourpre du soir" ("Ich möchte hingehn wie das Abendrot").

Before the affair began with the Countess d'Agoult, afterward the mother of his three children, Liszt enjoyed an interlude with the Countess Adèle Laprunarède. It was the year of the revolution, 1830, and the profound despondency into which he had been cast by his unhappy love for Caroline was cured, as his mother sagely remarked, by the sound of cannon. He became a fast friend of Countess Adèle and followed her to her home in the Alps, there, as he jestingly said, to pursue their studies in style in the French language. It must not be forgotten that the Count, her husband, was their companion. But Paris wagged its myriad tongues all the same. Liszt's affiliation with Countess Louis Plater, born Gräfin Brzostowska, the Pani Kasztelanowa (or lady castellan in English; no wonder he wrote such chromatic music later, these dissonantal[38] names must have been an inspiration) was purely platonic, as were the majority of his friendships with the sex. But he dearly loved a princess, and the sharp eyes of Miss Amy Fay noted that his bow when meeting a woman of rank was a trifle too profound. (See her admirable Music Study in Germany.) The truth is that Liszt was a courtier. He was reared in aristocratic surroundings, and he took to luxury as would a cat. With the cannon booming in Paris he sketched the plan of his Revolutionary Symphony, but he continued to visit the aristocracy. In 1831 at Stuttgart his friend Frédéric Chopin wrote a "revolutionary" study (in C minor, opus 10) on hearing of Warsaw's downfall. Wagner rang incendiary church bells during the revolutionary days at Dresden in May 1849. Brave gestures, as our French friends would put it, and none the less lasting. Liszt's symphony is lost, but its themes may have bobbed up in his Faust and Dante symphonies. Who remembers the Warsaw of 1831 except Chopin lovers? And the rebellious spirit of Wagner's bell-ringing passed over into his Tetralogy. Nothing is negligible to an artist, not even a "gesture." Naturally there is no reference to the incident in his autobiography. If you are to take Wagner at his word he was a mere looker-on in Dresden during what Bakounine contemptuously called "a petty insurrection." Nietzsche was right—great men are to be distrusted when they write of themselves.


With the Madame d'Agoult and Princess Wittgenstein episodes we are not concerned just now. So much has been written in this two-voiced fugue in the symphony of Liszt's life that it is difficult to disentangle the truth from the fable. La Mara is sympathetic, though not particularly enlightening. Of more interest, because of the comparative mystery of the affair, is the friendship between George Sand and Liszt. Naturally La Mara, sentimentalist that she is, denies a liaison. She errs. There was a brief love passage. But Liszt escaped the fate of De Musset and Chopin. Balzac speaks of the matter in his novel Béatrix, in which George Sand is depicted as Camille Maupin, the Countess d'Agoult as Béatrix, Gustave Planché as Claude Vignon, and Liszt as Conti. Furthermore, the D'Agoult was jealous of Madame Sand, doubly jealous of her as a friend of Liszt and as a writer of genius. Read the D'Agoult's novel, written after her parting with Liszt, and see how in this Nélida she imitates the Elle et Lui. That she hated George Sand, after a pretended friendship, cannot be doubted; we have her own words as witnesses. In My Literary Life, by Madame Edmond Adam (Juliette Lamber), she said of George Sand to the author: "Her lovers are to her a piece of chalk, with which she scratches on the black-board. When she has finished she crushes the chalk under her foot, and there remains but the dust, which is quickly blown away." "How is it, my esteemed and beloved friend, you have[40] never forgiven?" sadly asked Madame Adam. "Because the wound has not healed yet. Conscious that I had put my whole life and soul into my love for Liszt she tried to take him away from me."

One would suppose from the above that Liszt was faithful to Madame d'Agoult or that George Sand had separated the runaway couple, whereas in reality Liszt knew George Sand before he met the D'Agoult. What Madame Sand said of Liszt as a gallant can hardly be paraphrased in English. She was not very flattering. Perhaps George Sand was a reason why the relations between Chopin and Liszt cooled; the latter said: "Our lady loves had quarrelled, and as good cavaliers we were in duty bound to side with them." Chopin said: "We are friends, we were comrades." Liszt told Dr. Niecks: "There was a cessation of intimacy, but no enmity. I left Paris soon after, and never saw him again." It was at the beginning of 1840 that Liszt went to Chopin's apartment accompanied by a companion. Chopin was absent. On his return he became furious on learning of the visit. No wonder. Who was the lady in the case? It could have been Marie, it might have been George Sand, and probably it was some new fancy.

After an oil painting by J. Danhauser
Victor Hugo   Paganini   Rossini
Dumas   George Sand   Countess d'Agoult
Liszt at the Piano

More adventurous were Liszt's affairs with Marguerite Gautier, the lady of the camellias, the consumptive heroine of the Dumas play, as related by Jules Janin, and with the more notorious Lola Montez, who had to leave Munich[41] to escape the wrath of the honest burghers. The king had humoured too much the lady's extravagant habits. She fell in love with Liszt, who had parted with his Marie in 1844, and went with him to Constantinople. Where they separated no one knows. It was not destined to be other than a fickle passion on both sides, not without its romantic aspects for romantically inclined persons. Probably the closest graze with hatred and revenge ever experienced by Liszt was the Olga Janina episode. Polish and high born, rich, it is said, she adored Liszt, studied with him, followed him from Weimar to Rome, from Rome to Budapest, bored him, shocked him as an abbé and scandalised ecclesiastical Rome by her mad behaviour; finally she attempted to stab him, and, failing, took a dose of poison. She didn't die, but lived to compose a malicious and clever book, Souvenirs d'une Cosaque (written at Paris and Karentec, March to September, published by the Libraire Internationale, 1875, now out of print), and signed "Robert Franz." Poor old Liszt is mercilessly dissected, and his admiring circle at Weimar slashed by a vigourous pen. In truth, despite the falsity of the picture, Olga Janina wrote much more incisively, with more personal colour and temperament, than did Countess d'Agoult, who also caricatured Liszt in her Nélida (as "Guermann"), and the good Liszt wrote to his princess: "Janina was not evil, only exalted." [I have heard it whispered that the attempt on Liszt's life at Rome[42] was a melodramatic affair, concocted by his princess, who was jealous of the Janina girl, with the aid of the pianist's valet.]

La Mara shows to us twenty-six portraits in her Liszt and the Ladies; they include Princess Cristina Belgiojoso, Pauline Viardot-Garcia, Caroline Unger-Sabatier, Marie Camille Pleyel, Charlotte von Hagn, Bettina von Arnim, Marie von Mouchanoff-Kalergis, Rosalie, Countess Sauerma, a niece of Spohr and an accomplished harp player; the Grand Duchess of Saxony, Maria Pawlowna, and her successor, Sophie, Grand Duchess of Weimar, both patronesses of Liszt; the Princess Wittgenstein, Emilie Merian-Genast, Agnes Street Klindworth, Jessie Hillebrand Laussot, Sofie Menter, the greatest of his women pupils; the Countess Wolkenstein and Bülow, Elpis Melena, Fanny, the Princess Rospigliosi, the Baroness Olga Meyendorff (this lady enjoyed to an extraordinary degree the confidence of Liszt. At Weimar she was held in high esteem by him—and hated by his pupils), and Nadine Helbig—Princess Nadine Schahawskoy. Madame Helbig was born in 1847 and went to Rome the first time in 1865. She became a Liszt pupil and a fervent propagandist. Her crayon sketch drawing of the venerable master is excellent. In her possession is a drawing by Ingres, who met Liszt in Rome, 1839, when the pianist was twenty-eight years of age. We learn that Liszt never attempted "poetry" with the exception of a couplet which he sent to the egregious[43] Bettina von Arnim. It runs thus, and it consoles us with its crackling consonants for the discontinuance of further poetic flights on the part of its creator:

"Ich kraxele auf der Leiter
Und komme doch nicht weiter."


The perennial interest of the world in the friendships of famous men and women is proved by the never-ceasing publication of books concerning them. Of George Sand and her lovers how much has been written. George Eliot and Lewes, Madame de Récamier and Chateaubriand, Goethe and his affinities, Chopin and George Sand, Liszt and the Countess d'Agoult, Wagner and Mathilde—a voluminous index might be made of the classic and romantic liaisons that have excited curiosity from the time when the memory of man runneth not to the contrary down to yesteryear. Although Franz Liszt, great piano virtuoso, great composer, great man, has been dead since 1886, and the Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein since 1887, volumes are still written about their friendship. Indeed, in any collection of letters written by Liszt, or to him, the name of the princess is bound to appear. She was the veritable muse of the Hungarian,[44] and when her influence upon him as a composer is considered it will not do to say, as many critics have said, that she was a stumbling-block in his career. The reverse is the truth.

The most recent contributions to Liszt literature are the letters between Franz Liszt and Carl Alexander, Archduke of Weimar; Aus der Glanzzeit der Weimarer Altenburg, by the fecund La Mara; and Franz Liszt, by August Göllerich, a former pupil of the master. To this we might add the little-known bundle of letters by Adelheid von Schorn, Franz Liszt et la Princesse de Sayn-Wittgenstein, (translated into French), a perfect mine of gossip. Miss von Schorn remained in Weimar after the princess left the Athens-on-the-Ilm for Rome and corresponded with her, telling of Liszt's doings, never failing to record new flirtations and making herself generally useful to the venerable composer. When attacked by his last illness at Colpach, where he had gone to visit Munkacszy, the painter, Miss von Schorn went to Bayreuth to look after him. There, at the door of his bed-chamber, she was refused admittance, Madame Cosima Wagner, through a servant, telling her that the daughter and grand-daughters of Franz Liszt would care for him. The truth is that Madame Wagner had always detested the Princess Wittgenstein and saw in the Weimar lady one of her emissaries. Miss Von Schorn left Bayreuth deeply aggrieved. After Liszt's death her correspondence with the princess abruptly[45] ceased. She tells all this in her book. Even Liszt had shown her his door at Weimar several years before he died. He detested gossips and geese, he often declared.

The interest displayed by the world artistic has always centred about the episode of the projected marriage between the princess and Liszt. A dozen versions of the interrupted ceremony have been printed. Bayreuth, which never loved Weimar—that is, the Wagner family and the Wittgenstein faction—has said some disagreeable things, not hesitating to insinuate that Liszt himself was more pleased than otherwise when Pope Pius IX forbade the nuptials. Liszt biographers side with their idol—who once said of his former son-in-law, Hans von Bülow, that he had no talent as a married man. He might have lived to repeat the epigram if he had married the princess. Decidedly, Liszt was not made for stepping in double-harness.

Liszt, the most fascinating pianist in Europe, had been the most pursued male on the Continent, and his meeting with the Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein at Kieff, Russia, in February, 1847, was really his salvation. He was then about thirty-six years old, in all the glory of his art and of his extraordinary virility. The princess, who was born in 1819, was living on her estate at Woronice, on the edge of the Russian steppes. She was nevertheless of Polish blood, the daughter of Peter von Iwanowski, a rich landowner, and of Pauline Podoska, an original, eccentric,[46] cultivated woman and a traveller. In 1836 she married the Prince Nikolaus Sayn-Wittgenstein, a Russian millionaire and adjutant to the Czar. It was from the first a miserable failure, this marriage. The bride, intellectual, sensitive, full of the Polish love of art, above all of music, could not long endure the raw dragoon, dissipated gambler and hard liver into whose arms she had been pushed by her ambitious father. She made a retreat to Woronice with her infant daughter and spent laborious days and nights in the study of philosophy, the arts, sciences, and religion. The collision of two such natures as Carolyne and Liszt led to some magnificent romantic and emotional fireworks.

We learn in reading the newly published letters between Liszt and the Grand Duke Carl Alexander of Weimar that the pianist had visited Weimar for the first time in 1841. The furore he created was historic. The reigning family—doubtless bored to death in the charming, placid little city—welcomed Liszt as a distraction. The Archduchess Maria Pawlovna, the sister of the Czar of Russia and mother of the later Kaiserin Augusta, admired Liszt, and so did the Archduke Carl. He was covered with jewels and orders. The upshot was that after a visit in 1842 Liszt was invited to the office of General Music Director of Weimar. This offer he accepted and in 1844 he began his duties. Carl Alexander had married the Princess Sophie of Holland, and therefore Liszt had a strong party[47] in his favour at court. That he needed royal favour will be seen when we recall that in 1850 he produced an opera by a banished socialist, one Richard Wagner, the opera Lohengrin. He also needed court protection when in 1848 he brought to Weimar the runaway wife of Prince Wittgenstein. The lady placed herself under the friendly wing of Archduchess Maria Pawlovna, who interceded in vain with the Czar in behalf of an abused, unhappy woman. Nikolaus Wittgenstein began divorce proceedings. His wife was ordered back to her Woronice estate by imperial decree. She refused to go and her fortune was greatly curtailed by confiscation. She loved Liszt. She saw that in the glitter of this roving comet there was the stuff out of which fixed stars are fashioned, and she lived near him at Weimar from 1848 to 1861.

This was the brilliant period of musical Weimar. The illusion that the times of Goethe and Schiller were come again was indulged in by other than sentimental people. Princess Carolyne held a veritable court at the Altenburg, a large, roomy so-called palazzo on the Jena post-road, just across the muddy creek they call the River Ilm. The present writer when he last visited Weimar found the house very much reduced from its former glories. It looked commonplace and hardly like the spot where Liszt wrote his symphonic poems, planned new musical forms and the reformation of church music; where came Berlioz, Thackeray, George Eliot, and George[48] Henry Lewes, not to mention a number of distinguished poets, philosophers, dramatists, composers, and aristocratic folk. Carolyne corresponded with all the great men of her day, beginning with Humboldt. The idea of the Goethe Foundation was born at that time. It was a veritable decade of golden years that Weimar lived; but there were evidences about 1858 that Liszt's rule was weakening, and after the performance of his pupil's opera, The Barber of Bagdad, by Peter Cornelius, December 15, 1858, he resigned as Kapellmeister. Dinglested's intrigues hurt his unselfish nature and a single hiss had disturbed him into a resignation. The daughter of Princess Wittgenstein married in 1859 Prince Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, and in 1861 the Altenburg was closed and the princess went to Rome to see the Pope.

At the Vatican the princess was well received. She was an ardent Catholic and was known to be an author of religious works. Pius IX bade her arise when she fell weeping at his feet asking for justice. She presented her case. She had been delivered into matrimony at the age of seventeen, knowing nothing of life, of love, of her husband. Wouldn't his Holiness dissolve the original chains so that she could marry the man of her election? The Pope was amiable. He knew and admired Liszt. He had the matter investigated. After all it was an enforced marriage to a heretic, this odious Wittgenstein union; and then came the desired permission. Carolyne,[49] Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein, born Ivanovska, was a free woman. Delighted, she lost no time; Liszt was told to reach Rome by the evening of October 21, 1861, the eve of his fiftieth birthday. The ceremony was to take place at the Church of San Carlo, on the Corso, at 6 A. M. of October 22.

What really happened the night of the 21st after Liszt arrived no one truly knows but the principals. Lina Ramann tells her tale, La Mara hers, Göllerich his; Eugen Segnitz in his pamphlet, Franz Liszt und Rom, has a very conservative account; but they all concur if not in details at least in the main fact, that powerful, unknown machinery was set in motion at the Vatican, that the Holy Father had rescinded his permission pending a renewed examination of the case. The blow fell at the twelfth hour. The church was decorated and a youth asked the reason for all the candles and bravery of the altars. He was told that Princess Wittgenstein was to marry "her piano player" the next morning. The news was brought by the boy to his father, M. Calm-Podoska, a cousin of Carolyne, who, with the aid of Cardinal Catarani and the Princess Odescalchi, begged a hearing at the Vatican. Cardinal Antonelli sent the messenger bearing the fatal information. The princess was as one dead. It was the end of her earthly ambitions.

How did Liszt bear the disappointment? At this juncture the fine haze of legend intervenes. His daughter Cosima has said (in a number of[50] the Bayreuther Blätter) that he had left Weimar for Rome remarking that he felt as if going to a funeral. Other and malicious folk have pretended to see in the melodramatic situation the fine Hungarian hand of Liszt. He was glad, so it was averred, to get rid of the marriage and the princess at the same stroke of the clock. Had she not been nicknamed "Fürstin Hinter-Liszt" because of the way she followed him from town to town when he was giving concerts? But Antonelli was a friend of the princess as well as an intimate of Liszt. We doubt not that Liszt came to Rome in good faith. In common with the princess he accepted the interruption as a sign from on high, and even when in 1864 Prince Wittgenstein died the marriage idea was not seriously revived. Carolyne asked Liszt to devote his genius to the Church. In 1865 he assumed minor orders and became an abbé.

Pius IX, a lover of music, had on July 11, 1863, visited Liszt at the Dominican cloister of Monte Mario, and to the Hungarian's accompaniment had sung in his sweet-toned musical voice. Liszt was called his Palestrina, but alas! in the churchly music of Liszt Rome has never betrayed more than a passing interest; and to-day Pius X is ultra-Gregorian. Liszt, like a musical Moses, saw the promised land but did not enter it.

The friendship of the princess and Liszt never abated. He divided his days between Weimar, Rome, and Budapest (from 1876 in the latter[51] city), and she wrote tirelessly in Rome books on theology, mysticism, and Church history. She was a great and generally good force in the life of Liszt, who was, she said, a lazy, careless man, though he left over thirteen hundred compositions. Women are insatiable.

The Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein


The future bibliographer of Liszt literature has a heavy task in store for him, for books about the great Hungarian composer are multiplying apace. Liszt the dazzling virtuoso has long been a theme with variations, and is, we suspect, a theme nearly exhausted; but Liszt as tone poet, Liszt as song writer, as composer for the pianoforte, as littérateur, the man, the wickedest of Don Juans, the ecclesiastic—these and a dozen other studies of the most protean musician of the last century have been appearing ever since the publication of Lina Ramann's vast and sentimental biography. Instead of there being a lack of material for a new book there is an embarrassment, not always of riches, from industrious pens, though few are of value. The Liszt pupils have had their say, and their pupils are beginning to intone the psalmody of uncritical praise. Liszt the romantic, magnificent, magnanimous, supernal, is set to the same old harmonies, until the reader, tired of the gabble and gush, longs for a[52] biographer who will riddle the various legends and once and for all prove that Liszt was not perfection, even if he was the fascinating Admirable Crichton of his times.

Yet, and the fact sets us wondering over the mutability of fame, the Liszt propaganda is not flourishing. Richard Burmeister, a well known pupil and admirer of the master in Berlin has assured us that while Liszt is heard in all the concerts in Germany, the public is lukewarm; Richard Strauss is more eagerly heard. Liszt's familiar remark, "I can wait," provoked from the authority above mentioned the answer, "Perhaps he has waited too long." We are inclined to disagree with this dictum. Liszt once had musical and unmusical Europe at his feet. His success was called comet-like, probably because he was born in the comet year 1811, also because his hair was long and his technique transcendentally brilliant. His critical compositions were received with less approval. That such an artist of the keyboard could be also a successor to Beethoven was an idea mocked at by the conservative Leipsic school. Besides, he came in such a questionable guise as a Symphoniker. A piano concerto with a triangle in the score (the E flat), compositions for full orchestra which were called symphonic poems, lyrics without a tune, that pretended to follow the curve of the words; finally church music, solemn masses through which stalked the apparition of the haughty Magyar chieftain, accompanied by[53] echoes of the gipsies on the putzta (the Graner Mass); it was too much for ears attuned to the suave, melodious Mendelssohn. Indeed the entire Neo-German school was too exotic for Germany. Berlioz, a half mad Frenchman; Richard Wagner, a crazy revolutionist, a fugitive from Saxony; and the Hungarian Liszt, half French, wholly diabolic—of such were the uncanny ingredients of the new music. And then were there not Liszt and his Princess Wittgenstein at Weimar, and the crew of pupils, courtiers and bohemians who collected at the Altenburg? Decidedly these people would never do, even though patronised by royalty. George Eliot and her man Friday, proper British persons, were rather shocked when they visited Weimar.

Liszt survived it all and enjoyed, notwithstanding the opposition of Ferdinand Hiller, Joseph Joachim, the Schumanns, later Brahms and Hanslick, the pleasure of hearing his greater works played, understood, and applauded.

Looking backward in an impartial manner it cannot be said that the Liszt compositions have unduly suffered from the proverbial neglect of genius. A Liszt orchestral number, if not imperative, is a matter of course at most symphony concerts. The piano music is done to death, especially the Hungarian Rhapsodies. Liszt has been ranged; the indebtedness of modern music to his pioneer efforts has been duly credited. We know that the Faust and Dante symphonies (which might have been called symphonic[54] poems) are forerunners not only of much of Wagner, but of the later group from Saint-Saëns to Richard Strauss. Why, then, the inevitable wail from the Lisztians that the Liszt music is not heard? Christus and the other oratorios and the masses might be heard oftener, and there are many of the sacred compositions yet unsung that would make some critics sit up. No, we are lovers of Liszt, but the martyrdom motive has been sounded too often. In a double sense a reaction is bound to come. The true Liszt is to emerge from the clouds of legend, and Liszt the composer will be definitely placed. A little disappointment will result in both camps; the camp of the ultra-Liszt worshippers, which sets him in line with Beethoven and above Wagner, and the camp of the anti-Lisztians, which refuses him even the credit of having written a bar of original music. How Wagner would have rapped the knuckles of these latter; how he would have told them what he wrote to Liszt: "Ich bezeichne dich als Schöpfer meiner jetzigen Stellung. Wenn ich komponiere und instrumentiere—denke ich immer nur an dich ... deine drei letzten Partituren sollen mich wieder zum Musiker weihen für den Beginn meines zweiten Aktes [Siegfried], denn dies Studium einleiten soll."

Did Wagner mean it all? At least, he couldn't deny what is simply a matter of dates. Liszt preceded Wagner. Otherwise how explain that yawning chasm between Lohengrin and Tristan?[55] Liszt, an original stylist and a profounder musical nature than Berlioz, had intervened. Nevertheless Liszt learned much from Berlioz, and it is quite beside the mark to question the greater creative power of Wagner over both the Frenchman and the Hungarian. Wagner, like the Roman conquerors, annexed many provinces and made them his own. Let us drop these futile comparisons. Liszt was as supreme in his domain as Wagner in his; only the German had the more popular domain. His culture was intensive, that of Liszt extensive. The tragedy was that Liszt lived to hear himself denounced as an imitator of Wagner; butchered to make a Bayreuth holiday. The day after his death in 1886 the news went abroad in Bayreuth that the "father-in-law of Wagner" had died; that his funeral might disturb the success of the current music festival! Liszt, who had begun his career with a kiss from Beethoven; Liszt, whose name was a flaring meteor in the sky of music when Wagner was starving in Paris; Liszt the path-breaker, meeting the usual fate of such a Moses, who never conquered the soil of the promised land, the initiator, at the last buried in foreign soil (he loathed Bayreuth and the Wagnerians) and known as the father-in-law of the man who eloped with his daughter and had borrowed of him everything from money to musical ideas. The gods must dearly love their sport.

The new books devoted to Liszt, his life and his music, are by Julius Kapp, August Göllerich[56] (in German), Jean Chantavoine and Calvocoressi (in French), and A. W. Gottschalg's Franz Liszt in Weimar, a diary full of reminiscences. These works, ponderous in the case of the Germans, represent the vanguard of the literature that is due the anniversary year. To M. Chantavoine may be awarded the merit of the most symmetrically told tale; however, he need not have repeated Janka Wohl's doubtful mot attributed to Liszt apropos of priestly celibacy: "Gregory VII was a great philanthropist." This reflects on the Princess Wittgenstein, and Liszt, most chivalric of men, would never have said anything that might present her in the light of pursuing him with matrimonial designs. That she did is not to be denied. Dr. Kapp is often severe on his hero. Is any man ever a hero to his biographer? He does not glorify his subject, and for the amiable weakness displayed by Liszt for princesses and other noble dames Dr. Kapp is sharp. The compositions are fairly judged, neither in the superlative key, nor condescendingly, as being of mere historic interest. There are over thirteen hundred, of which about four hundred are original. Liszt wrote too much, although he was a better self-critic than was Rubinstein. New details of the quarrel with the Schumanns are given. The gifted pair do not emerge exactly in an agreeable light. Liszt it was who first made known the piano music of Robert Schumann. Clara Schumann, with the true Wieck provinciality, was jealous of Liszt's[57] influence over Robert. Then came the disturbing spectre of Wagner, and Schumann could not forgive Liszt for helping the music of the future to a hearing at Weimar. The rift widened. Liszt made a joke of it, but he was hurt by Schumann's ingratitude. Alas! he was to be later hurt by Wagner, by Joachim, by Brahms. He dedicated his B-minor sonata to Schumann, and Schumann dedicated to him his noble Fantaisie in C. After Schumann's death his widow brought out an edition of this fantaisie with the dedication omitted. The old-fashioned lady neither forgot nor forgave.

We consider the Kapp biography solid. The best portrait of Liszt may be found in that clever and amusing novel by Von Wolzogen, Kraftmayr. The Göllerich book chiefly consists of a chain of anecdotes in which the author is a prominent figure. Herr Kapp in a footnote attacks Herr Göllerich, denying that he was much with Liszt. How these Liszt pupils love each other! Joseffy—who was with the master two summers at Weimar, though he never relinquished his proud title of Tausig scholar—when the younger brilliant stars Rosenthal, first a Joseffy pupil, Sauer, and others cynically twitted him about his admiration of Liszt's playing—over seventy, at the time Rosenthal was with him—Joseffy answered: "He was the unique pianist." "But you were very young when you heard him" (1869), they retorted. "Yes, and Liszt was ten years younger too," replied the witty Joseffy.


Göllerich relates the story of the American girl who threw stones at the window of the Hoffgartnerei, Liszt's residence in Weimar, and when the master appeared above called out: "I've come all the way from America to hear you play." "Come up," said the aged magician, "I'll play for you." He did so, much to the scandal of the Liszt pupils assembled for daily worship. The anecdotes of Tausig and the stolen score of the Faust symphony (Liszt generously stated that the score was overlooked), are also set forth in the Göllerich book.

But he, the darling of the gods, fortune fairly pursuing him from cradle to grave, nevertheless the existence of this genius was far from happy. His closing years were melancholy. The centre of the new musical life and beloved by all, he was a lonely, homeless, disappointed man. His daughter Cosima, a dweller among memories only, said that the music of her father did not exist for her; Weimar had been swallowed by Bayreuth, and the crowning sorrow for Liszt lovers is the tomb of Liszt at Bayreuth. It should be in his beloved Weimar. He lies in the shadow of his dear friend Wagner, he, the "father-in-law of Wagner." Pascal was right; no matter the comedy, the end of life is always tragic. Perhaps if the tragedy had come to Franz Liszt earlier he might have profited by the uses of adversity, as did Richard Wagner, and thus have achieved the very stars.




When Franz Liszt nearly three quarters of a century ago made some suggestions to the Erard piano manufacturers on the score of increased sonority in their instruments, he sounded the tocsin of realism. It had been foreshadowed in Clementi's Gradus, and its intellectual resultant, the Beethoven sonata, but the material side had been hardly realised. Chopin, who sang the swan-song of idealism in surpassingly sweet tones, was by nature unfitted to wrestle with the problem. The arpeggio principle had its attractions for the gifted Pole, who used it in the most novel combinations and dared the impossible in extended harmonies. But the rich glow of idealism was over it all—a glow not then sicklied by the impertinences and affectations of the Herz-Parisian school; despite the morbidities and occasional dandyisms of Chopin's style he was, in the main, manly and sincere. Thalberg, who pushed to its limits scale playing and made an embroidered variant the end and[60] not a means of piano playing—Thalberg, aristocratic and refined, lacked dramatic blood. With him the well-sounding took precedence of the eternal verities of expression. Touch, tone, technique, were his trinity of gods.

Thalberg was not the path-breaker; this was left for that dazzling Hungarian who flashed his scimitar at the doors of Leipsic and drove back cackling to their nests the whole brood of old women professors—a respectable crowd, which swore by the letter of the law and sniffed at the spirit. Poverty, chastity, and obedience were the obligatory vows insisted upon by the pedants of Leipsic; to attain this triune perfection one had to become poor in imagination, obedient to dull, musty precedent, and chaste in finger exercises. What wonder, when the dashing young fellow from Raiding shouted his uncouth challenge to ears plugged by prejudice, a wail went forth and the beginning of the end seemed at hand. Thalberg went under. Chopin never competed, but stood, a slightly astonished spectator, at the edge of the fray. He saw his own gossamer music turned into a weapon of offence; his polonaises were so many cleaving battle-axes, and perforce he had to confess that all this carnage of tone unnerved him. Liszt was the warrior, not he.

Schumann did all he could by word and note, and to-day, thanks to Liszt and his followers, any other style of piano playing would seem old-fashioned. Occasionally an idealist like the[61] unique De Pachmann astonishes us by his marvellous play, but he is a solitary survivor of a once powerful school and not the representative of an existing method. There is no gainsaying that it was a fascinating style, and modern giants of the keyboard might often pattern with advantage after the rococoisms of the idealists; but as a school pure and simple it is of the past. We moderns are as eclectic as the Bolognese. We have a craze for selection, for variety, for adaptation; hence a pianist of to-day must include many styles in his performance, but the keynote, the foundation, is realism, a sometimes harsh realism that drives to despair the apostles of the beautiful in music and often forces them to lingering retrospection. To all is not given the power to summon spirits from the vasty deep, and thus we have viewed many times the mortifying spectacle of a Liszt pupil staggering about under the mantle of his master, a world too heavy for his attenuated artistic frame. With all this the path was blazed by the Magyar and we may now explore with impunity its once trackless region.

Modern piano playing differs from the playing of fifty years ago principally in the character of touch attack. As we all know, the hand, forearm and upper arm are important factors now in tone production where formerly the fingertips were considered the prime utility. Triceps muscles rule the big tonal effects in our times. Liszt discovered their value. The Viennese[62] pianos certainly influenced Mozart, Cramer and others in their styles; just as Clementi inaugurated his reforms by writing a series of studies and then building himself a piano to make them possible of performance. With variety of touch—tone-colour—the old rapid pearly passage, withal graceful school of Vienna, vanished; it was absorbed by the new technique. Clementi, Beethoven, Liszt, Schumann, forced to the utmost the orchestral development of the piano. Power, sonority, dynamic variety and novel manipulation of the pedals, combined with a technique that included Bach part playing and demanded the most sensational pyrotechnical flights over the keyboard—these were a few of the signs of the new school. In the giddiness superinduced by indulging in this heady new wine an artistic intoxication ensued that was for the moment harmful to a pure interpretation of the classics, which were mangled by the young vandals who had enlisted under Liszt's victorious standard. Colour, only colour, all the rest is but music! was the motto of those bold youths, who had never heard of Paul Verlaine.

But time has mellowed them, robbed their playing of its too dangerous quality, and when the last of the Liszt pupils gives his—or her—last recital we may wonder at the charges of exaggerated realism. Indeed, tempered realism is now the watchword. The flamboyancy which grew out of Tausig's attempt to let loose the Wagnerian Valkyrie on the keyboard has been[63] toned down into a more sober, grateful colouring. The scarlet waistcoat of the Romantic school is outworn; the brutal brilliancies and exaggerated orchestral effects of the realists are beginning to be regarded with suspicion. We comprehend the possibilities of the instrument and our own aural limitations. Wagner on the piano is absurd, just as absurd as were Donizetti and Rossini. A Liszt operatic transcription is as nearly obsolete as a Thalberg paraphrase. (Which should you prefer hearing, the Norma of Thalberg or the Lucia of Liszt? Both in their different ways are clever but—outmoded.) Bold is the man to-day who plays either in public.

With Alkan the old virtuoso technique ends. The nuance is ruler now. The reign of noise is past. In modern music sonority, brilliancy are present, but the nuance is inevitable, not alone tonal but expressive nuance. Infinite shadings are to be heard where before were only piano, forte, and mezzo-forte. Chopin and Liszt and Tausig did much for the nuance; Joseffy taught America the nuance, as Rubinstein revealed to us the potency of his golden tones. "Pas la couleur, rien que la nuance," sang Verlaine; and without nuance the piano is a box of wood, wire and steel, a coffin wherein is buried the soul of music.



"The remembrance of his playing consoles me for being no longer young." This sentence, charmingly phrased, as it is charming in sentiment, could have been written by no other than Camille Saint-Saëns. He refers to Liszt, and he is perhaps better qualified to speak of Liszt than most musicians or critics. His adoration is perfectly comprehensible; to him Liszt is the protagonist of the school that threw off the fetters of the classical form (only to hamper itself with the extravagances of the romantics). They all come from Berlioz, the violent protestation of Saint-Saëns to the contrary notwithstanding. However this much may be urged in the favour of the Parisian composer; a great movement like the romantic in music, painting, and literature simultaneously appeared in a half dozen countries. It was in the air and evidently catching. Goethe summed up the literary revolution in his accustomed Olympian manner, saying to Eckermann: "They all come from Chateaubriand." This is sound criticism; for in the writings of the author of Atala, and The Genius of Christianity may be found the germ-plasm of all the later artistic disorder; the fierce colour, bizarrerie, morbid extravagance, introspective analysis—which in the case of Amiel touched a brooding melancholy. Stendhal was the unwilling forerunner of the movement that captivated the sensitive[65] imagination of Franz Liszt, as it later undoubtedly prompted the orphic impulses of Richard Wagner.

Saint-Saëns sets great store on Liszt's original compositions, and I am sure when the empty operatic paraphrases and rhapsodies are forgotten the true Liszt will shine the brighter. How tinkling are the Hungarian rhapsodies—now become café entertainment. And how the old bones do rattle. We smile at the generation that could adore The Battle of Prague, the Herz Variations, the Kalkbrenner Fantasias, but the next generation will wonder at us for having so long tolerated this drunken gipsy, who dances to fiddle and cymbalom accompaniment. He is too loud for polite nerves. Technically, the Liszt arrangements are brilliant and effective for dinner music. One may show off with them, make much noise and a reputation for virtuosity, that would be quickly shattered if a Bach fugue were selected as a text. One Chopin Mazurka contains more music than all of the rhapsodies, which I firmly contend are but overdressed pretenders to Magyar blood. Liszt's pompous introductions, spun-out scales, and transcendental technical feats are not precisely in key with the native wood-note wild of genuine Hungarian folk-music. A visit to Hungary will prove this statement. Gustav Mahler was right in affirming that too much gipsy has blurred the outlines of real Magyar music.

I need not speak of Liszt's admirable transcriptions[66] of songs by Schubert, Schumann, Franz, Mendelssohn, and others; they served their purpose in making publicly known these compositions and are witnesses to the man's geniality, cleverness and charm. I wish only to speak of the compositions for solo piano composed by Liszt Ferencz of Raiding, Hungaria. Many I salute with the eljen! of patriotic enthusiasm, and I particularly delight in quizzing the Liszt-rhapsody fanatic as to his knowledge of the Etudes—those wonderful continuations of the Chopin studies—of his acquaintance with the Années de Pèlerinage, of the Valse Oubliée, of the Valse Impromptu, of the Sonnets after Petrarch, of the Nocturnes, of the F-sharp Impromptu of Ab-Irato—that étude of which most pianists never heard; of the Apparitions, the Legends, the Ballades, the brilliant Mazurka, the Elegier, the Harmonies Péstiques et Religieuses, or the Concerto Patetico à la Burmeister, and of numerous other pieces that contain enough music to float into glory—as Philip Hale would say—a dozen composers in this decade of the new century. [It was Max Bendix who so wittily characterised the A-major concerto as "Donizetti with Orchestra." Liszt was very often Italianate.]

After a lithograph by Kriehuber in the N. Y. Public Library
Kriehuber   Berlioz   Czerny   Liszt   Ernst
A Matinée at Liszt's

The eminently pianistic quality of Liszt's original music commends it to every pianist. Joseffy once said that the B-minor sonata was one of those compositions that plays itself, it lies so beautifully for the hand. For me no work of[67] Liszt with the possible exception of the studies, is as interesting as this same fantaisie that masquerades as a sonata in H moll. Agreeing with those who declare that they find few traces of the sonata form in the structure of this composition, and also with those critics who assert the word to be an organic amplification of the old, obsolete form, and that Liszt has taken Beethoven's last sonata period as a starting-point and made a plunge into futurity—agreeing with these warring factions, thereby choking off the contingency of a spirited argument, I repeat that I find the B minor of Liszt truly fascinating music.

What a tremendously dramatic work it is! It stirs the blood. It is intense. It is complex. The opening bars are truly Lisztian. The gloom, the harmonic haze, from which emerges that bold theme in octaves (the descending octaves Wagner recalled when he wrote his Wotan theme); the leap from the G to the A sharp below—how Liszt has made this and the succeeding intervals his own. Power there is, sardonic power, as in the opening phrase of the E-flat piano concerto, so cynically mocking. How incisively the composer traps your consciousness in the next theme of the sonata, with its four knocking D's. What follows is like a drama enacted in the netherworld. Is there a composer who paints the infernal, the macabre, with more suggestive realism than Liszt? Berlioz possessed the gift above all, except Liszt; Raff can compass the grisly, and also Saint-Saëns; but thin sharp flames hover[68] about the brass, wood and shrieking strings in the Lisztian orchestra.

The chorale, usually the meat of a Liszt composition, now appears and proclaims the religious belief of the composer in dogmatic accents, and our convictions are swept along until after that outburst in C major, when follows the insincerity of it in the harmonic sequences. Here it surely is not a whole-heart belief but only a theatrical attitudinising; after the faint return of the opening motive is heard the sigh of sentiment, of passion, of abandonment, which engender the suspicion that when Liszt was not kneeling before a crucifix he was to a woman. He blends piety and passion in the most mystically amorous fashion; with the cantando expressivo in D, begins some lovely music, secular in spirit, mayhap intended by its creator for reredos and pyx.

But the rustle of silken attire is back of every bar; sensuous imagery, a faint perfume of femininity lurks in each cadence and trill. Ah! naughty Abbé have a care. After all thy tonsures and chorales, thy credos and sackcloth, wilt thou admit the Evil One in the guise of a melody, in whose chromatic intervals lie dimpled cheek and sunny tress! Wilt thou allow her to make away with spiritual resolutions! Vade, retro me Sathanas! And behold it is accomplished. The bold theme so eloquently proclaimed at the outset is solemnly sounded with choric pomp and power. Then the hue and cry of diminished sevenths begins, and this tonal[69] panorama with its swirl of intoxicating colours moves kaleidoscopically onward. Again the devil tempts the musical St. Anthony, this time in octaves and in A major; he momentarily succumbs, but that good old family chorale is repeated, and even if its orthodoxy is faulty in spots it serves its purpose; the Evil One is routed and early piety breaks forth in an alarming fugue which, like that domestic ailment, is happily short-winded. Another flank movement of the "ewig Weibliche," this time in the seductive key of B major, made mock of by the strong man of music who, in the stretta quasi presto, views his early disorder with grim and contrapuntal glee. He shakes it from him, and in the triolen of the bass frames it as a picture to weep or rage over.

All this leads to a prestissimo finale of startling splendour. Nothing more exciting is there in the literature of the piano. It is brilliantly captivating, and Liszt the Magnificent is stamped on every bar. What gorgeous swing, and how the very bases of the earth seem to tremble at the sledge-hammer blows from the cyclopean fist of this musical Attila. Then follow a few bars of that Beethoven-like andante, a moving return to the early themes, and softly the first lento descends to the subterranean caverns whence it emerged, a Magyar Wotan majestically vanishing into the bowels of a Gehenna; then a true Liszt chord-sequence and a stillness in B major. The sonata in B minor displays[70] all of Liszt's power and weakness. It is rhapsodic, it is too long—infernal, not "heavenly lengths"—it is full of nobility, a drastic intellectuality, and a sonorous brilliancy. To deny it a commanding position in the pantheon of piano music would be folly. And interpreted by an artist versed in the Liszt traditions, such as Arthur Friedheim, this work compasses at times the sublime.

It is not my intention to claim your attention for the remainder of the original compositions; that were indeed a terrible strain on your patience. In the Années de Pèlerinage, redolent of Vergilian meadows, soft summer airs shimmering through every bar, what is more delicious except Au Bord d'une Source? Is the latter not exquisitely idyllic? Surely in those years of pilgrimage through Switzerland, Italy, France, Liszt garnered much that was good and beautiful and without the taint of the salon or concert platform. The two Polonaises recapture the heroic and sorrowing spirit of Sarmatia. The first in E is a perennial favourite; I always hear its martial theme as a pattern reversed of the first theme in the A-flat Polonaise of Chopin. But the second Liszt Polonaise in C minor is the more poetic of the pair; possibly that is the reason why it is so seldom played.

Away from the glare of gaslight this extraordinary Hungarian aspired after the noblest things. In the atmosphere of the salons, of the Papal court, and concert room, Liszt was hardly so[71] admirable a character. I know of certain cries calling to heaven to witness that he was anointed of the Lord (which he was not); that if he had cut and run to sanctuary to escape two or more women we might never have heard of Liszt the Abbé. One penalty undergone by genius is its pursuit by gibes and glossaries. Liszt was no exception to this rule. Like Ibsen and Maeterlinck he has had many things read into his music, mysticism not forgotten. Perhaps the best estimate of him is the purely human one. He was made up of the usual pleasing and unpleasing compound of faults and virtues, as is any great man, not born of a book.

The Mephisto Valse from Lenau's Faust, in addition to its biting broad humour and satanic suggestiveness, contains one of the most voluptuous episodes outside of the Tristan score. That halting, languourous, syncopated, theme in D flat is marvellously expressive, and the poco allegretto seems to have struck the fancy of Wagner, who did not hesitate to appropriate motives from his esteemed father-in-law when the desire overtook him. He certainly considered Kundry Liszt-wise before fabricating her scream in Parsifal.

Liszt's life was a sequence of triumphs, his sympathies were almost boundless, yet he found time to work unfalteringly and despite myriad temptations his spiritual nature was never wholly submerged. I wish, however, that he had not invented the piano recital and the Liszt pupil.



I possess, and value as a curiosity, a copy of Liszt's Etudes, Opus 1. The edition is rare and the plates have been destroyed. Written when Liszt was fresh from the tutelage of Carl Czerny, they show decided traces of his schooling. They are not difficult for fingers inured to modern methods. When I first bought them I knew not the Etudes d'Execution Transcendentale, and when I encountered the latter I exclaimed at the composer's cleverness. The Hungarian has taken his opus 1 and dressed it up in the most bewildering technical fashion. He gave these studies appropriate names, and even to-day they require a tremendous technique to do them justice. The most remarkable of the set—the one in F minor No. 10—Liszt left nameless, and like a peak it rears its head skyward, while about it cluster its more graceful fellows: Ricordanza, Feux-follets, Harmonies du Soir (Chasse-neige, and Paysage). The Mazeppa is a symphonic poem in miniature. What a superb contribution to piano literature is Liszt's. These twelve incomparable studies, the three effective Etudes de Concert (several quite Chopinish in style and technique), the murmuring Waldesrauschen, the sparkling Gnomenreigen, the stormy Ab-Irato, the poetic Au Lac de Wallenstadt and Au Bord d'une Source, have they not all tremendously developed the technical resources of the instrument?[73] And to play them one must have fingers of steel, a brain on fire, a heart bubbling with chivalric force; what a comet-like pianist he was, this Magyar, who swept European skies, who transformed the still small voice of Chopin into a veritable hurricane. Nevertheless, we cannot imagine a Liszt without a Chopin preceding him.

But, Liszt lost, the piano would lose its most dashing cavalier; while his freedom, fantasy, and fire are admirable correctives of the platitudes of the Hummel-Czerny-Mendelssohn school. Liszt won from his instrument an orchestral quality. He advanced by great wing-strokes toward perfection, and deprived of his music we should miss colour, sonority, richness of tinting, and dramatic and dynamic contrasts. He has had a great following. Tausig was the first to feel his influence, and if he had lived longer would have beaten out a personal style of his own. Of the two we prefer Liszt's version of the Paganini studies to Schumann's. The Campanella is a favourite of well equipped virtuosi.

In my study of Chopin reference is made to Chopin's obligations to Liszt. I prefer now to quote a famous authority on the subject, no less a critic than Professor Frederick Niecks, whose biography of Chopin is, thus far, the superior of all. He writes: "As at one time all ameliorations in the theory and practice of music were ascribed to Guido of Arezzo, so it is nowadays the fashion to ascribe all improvements and extensions of the pianoforte technique to Liszt, who,[74] more than any other pianist, drew upon himself the admiration of the world, and through his pupils continued to make his presence felt even after the close of his career as a virtuoso. But the cause of this false opinion is to be sought not so much in the fact that the brilliancy of his artistic personality threw all his contemporaries into the shade, as in that other fact, that he gathered up into one web the many threads new and old which he found floating about during the years of his development. The difference between Liszt and Chopin lies in this, that the basis of the former's art is universality, that of the latter's, individuality. Of the fingering of the one we may say that it is a system, of that of the other that it is a manner. Probably we have here also touched on the cause of Liszt's success and Chopin's want of success as a teacher."

Niecks does not deny that Liszt influenced Chopin. In volume 1 of his Frederick Chopin, he declares that "The artist who contributed the largest quotum of force to this impulse was probably Liszt, whose fiery passions, indomitable energy, soaring enthusiasm, universal tastes and capacity of assimilation, mark him out as the opposite of Chopin. But, although the latter was undoubtedly stimulated by Liszt's style of playing the piano and of writing for this instrument, it is not so certain as Miss L. Ramann, Liszt's biographer, thinks, that this master's influence can be discovered in many passages of[75] Chopin's music which are distinguished by a fiery and passionate expression, and resemble rather a strong, swelling torrent than a gently gliding rivulet. She instances Nos. 9 and 12 of Douze Etudes, Op. 10; Nos. 11 and 12 of Douze Etudes, Op. 25; No. 24 of Vingt Quatre Préludes, Op. 28; Premier Scherzo, Op. 20; Polonaise in A-flat Major, Op. 32. All these compositions, we are told, exhibit Liszt's style and mode of feeling. Now the works composed by Chopin before he came to Paris and got acquainted with Liszt, comprise not only a sonata, a trio, two concertos, variations, polonaises, waltzes, mazurkas, one or more nocturnes, etc., but also—and this is for the question under consideration of great importance—most of, if not all, the studies of Op. 10 (Sowinski says that Chopin brought with him to Paris the MS. of the first book of his studies) and some of Op. 25; and these works prove decisively the inconclusiveness of the lady's argument. The twelfth study of Opus 10 (composed in September, 1831) invalidates all she says about fire, passion, and rushing torrents. In fact, no cogent reason can be given why the works mentioned by her should not be the outcome of unaided development. [That is to say, development not aided in the way indicated by Miss Ramann.] The first Scherzo alone might make us pause and ask whether the new features that present themselves in it ought not to be fathered on Liszt. But seeing that Chopin evolved so much, why should he not also[76] have evolved this? Moreover, we must keep in mind that Liszt had, up to 1831, composed almost nothing of what in after years was considered either by him or others of much moment, and that his pianoforte style had first to pass through the state of fermentation into which Paganini's playing had precipitated it (in the spring of 1831) before it was formed; on the other hand, Chopin arrived in Paris with his portfolios full of masterpieces, and in possession of a style of his own as a player of his instrument as well as a writer for it. That both learned from each other cannot be doubted; but the exact gain of each is less easily determinable. Nevertheless, I think I may venture to assert that whatever may be the extent of Chopin's indebtedness to Liszt, the latter's indebtedness to the former is greater. The tracing of an influence in the works of a man of genius, who, of course, neither slavishly imitates nor flagrantly appropriates, is one of the most difficult tasks. If Miss Ramann had first noted the works produced by the two composers in question before their acquaintance began, and had carefully examined Chopin's early productions with a view to ascertain his capability of growth, she would have come to another conclusion, or, at least have spoken less confidently."

To the above no exception may be taken except the reference to the B-minor Scherzo as possibly having been suggested by Liszt. For me it is most characteristic of Chopin in its perverse,[77] even morbid, ironical humour, its original figuration; who but Chopin could have conceived that lyrical episode! Liszt, doubtless, was the first who introduced interlocking octaves instead of the chromatic scale at the close; Tausig followed his example. But there the matter ended. Once when Chopin heard that Liszt intended to write an account of his concerts for the Gazette Musicale, he said: "He will give me a little kingdom in his empire." This remark casts much illumination on the relations of the two men. Liszt was the broader minded of the two; Chopin, as Niecks points out, forgave but never forgot.




The Roman candle has attracted many spiritual moths. Goethe, Humboldt, Platen, Winckelmann, Thorwaldsen, Gregorovius and Liszt—to mention only the first at hand—fluttered to Rome and ascribe to it much of their finer productivity. For Franz Liszt it was a loadstone of double power—the ideality of the place attracted him and its religion anchored his spiritual restlessness.

Liszt liked a broad soul-margin to his life. Heine touched on this side of Liszt's character when he wrote of him: "Speculation has the greatest fascination for him; and still more than with the interests of his art is he engrossed with all manner of rival philosophical investigations which are occupied with the solution of all great questions of heaven and earth. For long he was an ardent upholder of the beautiful Saint-Simonian idea of the world. Later the spiritualistic or rather vaporous thoughts of Ballanche enveloped him in their midst; now he is enthusiastic[79] over the Republican-Catholic dogmas of a Lamennais who has hoisted his Jacobin cap on the cross.... Heaven knows in what mental stall he will find his next hobby-horse!" This was written in 1837, and only two years afterward Liszt paid his first visit to Rome.

Based on letters and diaries of Liszt, Gregorovius, Ad. Stahr, Fanny Lewald, W. Allmers, Cardinal Wiseman, Jul. Schnorr von Carolsfeld, and Eugen Segnitz, a study of Franz Liszt in Rome may be made.

The time spent in the Eternal City was unquestionably an important one in Liszt's life and worthy of the detailed attention given it. Rome in 1839 presented a contradictory picture. Contrasted to the pomp of the Vatican were the unprincipled conditions of the city itself. Bands of robbers infested it and the surroundings, making it as unsafe as an English highway during the glorious but rather frisky times of Jonathan Wild and his agile confrères. So, for instance, Massocia and his band kidnapped the pupils of the seminary in Albano, and when the demanded ransom was not forthcoming defiantly strung up these innocents on trees flanking the gateways of Rome. So, too, the political freedom of the city found a concession in the privilege of Cardinal Consalvi, who permitted foreign papers of every political party to be read openly; while the papal edict declared null and void all contracts closed between Christian and Hebrew.


In matters of art things were not much better. The censor swung his axe in a most irresponsible and, now to us, laughable manner. Overbeck's Holy Family was condemned because the feet of the Madonna in it were too bare; Thorwaldsen's Day and Night was offensive in its nudeness; Raphael's art was an eyesore, and the same discriminating mind, Padre Piazza, would have liked to consign to the flames all philosophical books.

The musical taste and standard was not elevating at this time. Piccini, Paisiello, Cimarosa, Sacchini, Anfossi, Sarti, Righini, Paer, and Rossini wrote purely for the sensual enjoyment of the people.

Even the behaviour of the masses in theatres was defined by an edict issued by Leo XII. Any poor devil caught wearing his hat in the theatre was shown the door; if an actor interpolated either gesture or word not provided for in the prompt-book he was sent to the galleys for five years; the carrying of weapons in places of amusement was punishable with life sentence in the galleys, and wounding another during a row earned a death verdict for the unfortunate one; applause and hisses were rewarded by a prison term from two months to half a year.

Countess Marie d'Agoult

Liszt's first visit to Rome occurred in 1839, and in company with the Countess d'Agoult. A strange mating this had been. Her salon was the meeting-place where enthusiastic persons foregathered—æsthetes, artists, and politicians.[81] Liszt became a member of this circle, and the impressionable young man of twenty-three was as so much wax in the hands of this sensation-mongering woman six years his senior. Against Liszt's wishes she had followed him to Berne, and there is plenty of evidence at hand that he assumed the inevitable responsibilities with good grace and treated her as his wife, but evidently not entirely to her satisfaction. She fancied herself the muse of the young genius; but the wings of the young eagle she had patronized soon out-stripped her.

Their years of wandering were noteworthy. From Paris to Berne and Geneva; then two trips back to Paris, where Liszt fought his keyboard duel with Thalberg. They rested awhile at Nohant, entertained by George Sand, which they forsook for Lake Como, some flying trips to Milan and eventually Venice. It happened to be the year of the Danube flood—1837—and the call for help sent Liszt to Vienna where he gave benefit concerts for the sufferers. This accomplished, the pair returned to Venice and threaded their way to Rome by way of Lugano, Genoa, and Florence.

Originally Liszt had no intention of concertising on this trip; but he excused his appearances on the concert platforms in the Italian cities: "I did not wish to forget my trade entirely."

The condition of music of the day in Italy held out no inducements or illusions to him.[82] He writes Berlioz that he wished to make the acquaintance of the principal Italian cities and really could hope for no benefiting influence from these flighty stops. But there was another reason why he was so little influenced, and it was simply that Italy of the day had nothing of great musical interest to offer Liszt.

His first public appearance in Rome was in January, 1839. Francilla Pixis-Göhringer, adopted daughter of his friend Pixis and pupil of Sonntag and Malibran, gave a concert at this time, and it was here that Liszt assisted. After that the Romans did what ever so many had done before them—threw wide their doors to the artist Liszt. Thus encouraged he dared give serious recitals in face of all the Roman musical flippancy. He defied public taste and craving and gave a series of what he called in a letter to the Princess Belgiojoso "soliloques musicaux"; in these he assumed the rôle of a musical Louis XIV, and politely said: "le concert c'est moi!" He quotes one of his programmes:

1. Overture to William Tell, performed by Mr. Liszt.

2. Fantaisie on reminiscences of Puritani, composed and performed by the above named.

3. Studies and Fragments, composed and performed by the same.

4. Improvisation on a given theme—still by the same. That is all.

This was really nothing more than a forerunner[83] of the present piano-recital. Liszt was the first one who ventured an evening of piano compositions without fearing the disgust of an audience. From his accounts they behaved very well indeed, and applauded and chatted only at the proper time.

Liszt, realising that he had nothing to learn from the living Italians, turned to their dead; and for such studies his first visit to Rome was especially propitious. Gregory XIV, had opened the Etruscan Museum but two years before and was stocking it with the treasures which were being unearthed in the old cities of Etruria. The same pope also enlarged the Vatican library and took active interest in the mural decorations of these newly added ten rooms. The painters Overbeck, Cornelius, and Veit were kept actively employed in this city, and the influence of their work was not a trifling one on the painter colony. The diplomat Von Bunsen and the Cardinals Mezzofanti and Mai exerted their influences to spread general culture.

An interesting one of Liszt's friendships, dating from this time, is that with Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, director of the French Académie. Strolling under the oaks of the Villa Medici, Ingres would disentangle for his younger friend the confusion of impressions gathered in his wanderings among Rome's art treasures. Himself a music lover and a musician—he played the violin in the theatre orchestra of his native[84] place, Montauban, at some performances of Gluck's operas—Ingres admired Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and above all Gluck, upon whom he looked as the musical successor to Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Under such sympathetic and intelligent guidance Liszt's admiration for the other arts became ordered. After a day among the forest of statues he would coax his friend to take up the violin, and Liszt writes almost enthusiastically of his Beethoven interpretations.

It is entirely within reason to argue that we owe to this new viewpoint such of Liszt's compositions as were inspired by works of the other arts. Such, to name a few, were the Sposalizio and Il Penseroso—by Raphael and Michelangelo—Die Hunnenschlacht—Kaulbach—and Danse Macabre—after Andrea Orcagna. That Liszt was susceptible to such impressions, even before, is proven by his essay Die Heilige Cäcelia by Raphael, written earlier than this Roman trip; but under Ingres' hints his width of vision was extended, and he began to find alluring parallels between the fine arts—his comprehension of Mozart and Beethoven grew with his acquaintance of the works of Raphael and Michelangelo. He compared Giovanni da Pisa, Fra Beato, and Francia with Allegri, Marcello, and Palestrina; Titian with Rossini!

What attracted Liszt principally during his first stay at Rome was the religion of art, as it had attracted Goethe before him. Segnitz[85] quotes against this attitude the one of Berlioz, whom the ruins of Rome touched slightly, as did Palestrina's church music. He found the latter devoid of religious sentiment, and in this verdict he was joined by none less than Mendelssohn.

The surroundings, the atmosphere of Rome, appealed to Liszt, and under them his individuality thrived and asserted itself. The scattered and often hurried impressions of this first visit ordered themselves gradually, but the composite whole deflected his life's currents into the one steady and broad stream of art. Like Goethe, he might have regarded his first day at Rome as the one of his second birth, as the one on which his true self came to light. The Via Sacra by which he left Rome led him into the forum of the art world.

In June, 1839, after a stay of five months, Liszt, accompanied by the Countess d'Agoult, left Rome for the baths at Lucca. The elusive peace he was tracking escaped him here, and he wandered to the little fishing village San Rossore. In November of the same year he parted company with Italy—and also with the countess. The D'Agoult had romantic ideas of their union, in which the inevitable responsibilities of this sort of thing played no part. Segnitz regards the entire affair as having been a most unfortunate one for Liszt, and believes that the latter only saved himself and his entire artistic future by separating from the countess. The years of contact had formed no spiritual[86] ties between them and the rupture was inevitable.

With her three children d'Agoult started for Paris there to visit Liszt's mother; later, through Liszt's intervention, a complete reconciliation with her family was effected. Although after the death of her mother the countess inherited a fortune, Liszt continued to support the children.

Leaving San Rossore the artist began his public life in earnest. It was the beginning of his virtuoso period and Vienna was the starting-point of his triumphal tournée across Europe. This period was an important one for development of piano playing, placing the latter on a much higher artistic plane than it had been; in it Liszt also inaugurated a new phase of the possibilities of concert giving. It was the time in which he fought both friend and enemy, fought without quarter for the cause of art.

As a composer Liszt, during his first stay in Italy, 1837-40, was far from active. The Fantaisie quasi Sonata après une lecture de Dante and the twelve Etudes d'exécution transcendante both came to life at Lake Como. There were besides the Chromatic Galop and the pieces Sposalizio, Il Penseroso and Tre Sonetti di Petrarca, which became part of the Années de Pèlerinage (Italie). His first song, with piano accompaniment, Angiolin dal biondo crin, dates from these days. The balance of this time was devoted to making arrangements of melodies by Mercadante, Donizetti, and Rossini, and to[87] finishing the piano transcriptions of the Beethoven symphonies. These and a few others about cover his list of compositions and arrangements.


Immediately after Liszt's separation from the Countess d'Agoult began a period of restless activity for him. The eight nomadic years during which he wandered up and down Europe, playing constantly in public, are the ones in which his virtuosity flourished. To-day we are inclined to mock at the mere mention of Liszt the virtuoso—we have heard far too much of his achievements, achievements behind which the real Liszt has become a warped and unrecognizable personality. But it was a remarkable tour nevertheless, and so wholesale a lesson in musical interpretation as Europe had never had before. Whenever and wherever he smote the keyboard the old-fashioned clay idols of piano playing were shattered, and however much it was attempted to patch them the pieces would not quite fit. Liszt struck the death-blow to unemotional playing, but he destroyed only to create anew: he erected ideals of interpretation which are still honored.

When he accepted the Weimar post of Hofkapellmeister in 1847—he had en passant in a term, lasting from December, 1843, to February of the following year, conducted eight[88] successful concerts in Weimar—it looked as if his wild spirit of travel had dissipated itself: ausgetobt, as the Germans say.

With scarcely any time modulation this versatile genius began his career of Hofkapellmeister, in which he topsy-turvied traditions and roused Weimar from the lethargy into which it had fallen with the fading of that wonderful Goethe circle. At this point the influence of woman is again made manifest.

Gregorovius, the great antiquarian, gives us a few glimpses of her in his Römischen Tagebüchern. He admits that her personality was repulsive to him, but that she fairly sputtered spirituality. Also that she wrote an article about the Sixtine Chapel for the Revue du Monde Catholique—"a brilliant article: all fireworks, like her speech"; finally, that "she is writing an essay on friendship."

When the possibility of marriage with the Princess went up into thin air Liszt began contemplating a permanent residence in Rome. Here he could live more independently and privately than in Germany, and this was desirable, since he still had some musical problems to solve. First of all, he turned to his legend of the Holy Elizabeth, completing that; then Der Sonnen-Hymnus des heiligen Franziskus von Assisi was written, to say nothing of a composition for organ and trombone composed for one of his Weimar adherents. Frequent excursions and work so consumed his[89] hours that soon we find him complaining as bitterly about the lack of time in Rome as in Weimar.

Rome of this time was still "outside of Italy": the reverse side of the Papal medallions showed Daniel in the lion's den and Pope Pio Nono immersed in mysticism. The social features were important. Segnitz mentions "die Kölnische Patrizierin Frau Sibylle Mertens-Schaaffhausen, Peter Cornelius, die Dame Schopenhauer," the Ottilie of Goethe. Besides the artists Catel and Nerenz there was Frau von Schwarz, who attracted Liszt. She boasted friendship with Garibaldi, and her salon was a meeting-place of the intellectual multitude. Liszt seems to have been king pin everywhere, and it is refreshing to read the curt, unsentimental impression of him retailed by Gregorovius: "I have met Liszt," wrote the latter; "remarkable, demoniac appearance; tall, slender, long hair. Frau von Schwarz believes he is burned out, that only the walls of him remain, wherein a small ghostly flame flits." To add to the list of notables: the painter Lindemann-Frommel; the Prussian representatives, Graf Arnim and Kurt von Schlözer; King Louis I, of Bavaria, and the artists Riedel, Schweinfurt, Passini, and Feuerbach the philosopher.

Naturally Liszt participated in the prominent church festivals and was affected by their glamour; it even roused him to sentimental utterance.


Germany and the thoughts of it could not lure him away from Rome, nor could the summer heat drive him out. The Holy Elizabeth was completed by August 10, 1862, and with it he had finished the greater part of his work as composer. Never did he lose interest in German art movements, and was ever ready with advice and suggestions.

A severe shock, one which sent him to bed, came to him about the middle of September of this year, when his youngest daughter, Blandine Ollivier, the wife of Louis Napoleon's war minister, Emile Ollivier, died. Liszt turned to religion and to his art for consolation; he slaved away at the Christus oratorio and wrote two psalms and the instrumental Evocatio in der Sixtinischen Kapelle. Invitations from London, Weimar, and Budapest could not budge him from Rome; deeper and deeper he became interested in the wonders and beauties of his religion.

The following year—1863—finds him hard at work as ever. His oratorio is not achieving great progress, but he is revising his piano arrangements of the Beethoven Symphonies. In the spring he changes his quarters and moves into the Cloister Madonna del Rosario, in which he had been offered several rooms. These new lodgings enchant him. Situated on the Monte Mario, the site commanded a view of Rome and the Campagna, the Albano Mountains and the River Tiber. So Signor Commendatore Liszt,[91] the friend of Padre Theiner, is living in a cloister and the religious germs begin to sprout in this quiet surrounding. Liszt esteemed the priest highly as an educated man and admired his personality. Gregorovius, on the other hand, could pump up no liking at all for the hermit-like Padre, discovered him dry and judged his writings and philosophy as dry, archaic stuff.

In Italian politics and Italian music Liszt found nothing to attract him. The latter was crude, as regards composition, and generally resolved itself into Drehorgel-Lyrik. The piano was at that time not an Italian object of furniture, and in the churches they still served up operatic music with the thinnest religious varnish. In the salons one seldom heard good music, so that Liszt, through his pupils Sgambati, Berta, and others was able to work some reform in these matters.

On July 11, 1862, the tongue of all Rome was wagging: Pope Pius IX had paid Liszt a visit at the Cloister Santa Maria del Rosario. Liszt recounts that His Holiness had stayed with him about half an hour, during which time the pianist had played for him on the harmonium and on the little working piano. After that the Pope had spoken earnestly to him and begged him to strive for the heavenly, even in earthly matters, and to prepare himself for the eternal sounding harmonies by means of the passing earthly ones.

Liszt was the first artist who had been honored[92] thus. A few days later the Pope granted him an audience in the Vatican, when he presented Liszt with a cameo of the Madonna.

Segnitz quotes from two of Liszt's letters in which he voices his religious sentiments, and hopes that eventually his bones may rest in Roman earth.

Rather a remarkable phase of Liszt now was that he tried with might and main to live down and forget his so-called "Glanzperiode," the one of his virtuosity. An invitation from Cologne and also one from St. Petersburg to play and display once more "that entrancing tone which he could coax out of the keys" aroused his wrath. He asks, is he never to be taken more seriously than as a pianist, is he not worthy of recognition as a musician, a composer? On the other hand, nothing flattered him as much as when an Amsterdam society performed his Graner Messe and sent him a diploma of honorary membership. Furthermore, he derived much encouragement from an article in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, written by Heinrich Porges, in which Liszt's compositions were seriously discussed.

Liszt found time to revise the four Psalms, 13—this was his favourite one—18, 23, 137; and during this year he also composed for the piano Alleluja, Ave Maria, Waldesrauschen, Gnomenreigen, the two legends, Die Vogelpredigt and Der heilige Franz von Paula auf den Wogen schreitend; then the organ variations on the[93] Bach theme Weinen, klagen, sorgen, zagen, and the Papsthymus. He again took up his former project of making piano arrangements of the Beethoven quartets.

The year after this one was remarkable for the facts that Liszt was coaxed to play in public on the occasion of a benefit for the Peter's Pence, and that he participated in the Karlsruhe music festival. He left Rome in August and journeyed first to St. Tropez to visit his daughter's grave; then to Karlsruhe. After this he went to Munich and visited Hans and Cosima von Bülow on the way to Weimar. Finally a trip to Paris to see his aged mother, and he returned to Rome at the end of October. Besides working on his oratorio and making some piano transcriptions, he composed only two new numbers, a litany for organ and a chorus with organ accompaniment.

Two public appearances in Rome as pianist occurred during the spring of 1865, and then, to the surprise of many, on April 25, Liszt took minor orders of priesthood, forsook the Cloister and made his abode in the Vatican next to the rooms of his priestly friend Monseigneur Hohenlohe.

Gregorovius writes of this appearance of Liszt as the virtuoso: "He played Die Aufforderung zum Tanz and Erlkönig—a queer adieu to the world. No one suspected that already he carried his abbé's socks in his[94] pockets.... Now he wears the cloaklet of the abbé, lives in the Vatican, and, as Schlözer tells me, is happy and healthy. This is the end of the genial virtuoso, the personality of a sovereign. I am glad that I heard Liszt play once more, he and his instrument seemed to be grown together—a piano-centaur."

As we look back at the step now and are able to weigh the gradual influence which asserted itself on Liszt the act seems to have been an inevitable one. At the time, however, it was more or less unexpected.

He assures Breitkopf & Härtel that his old weakness for composition has not deserted him, that he must commit to paper some of the wonderful things which were spooking about in his head. And the public? Well, it regretted that Liszt was wasting his time writing such dreadful "Tonwirrwarr." Liszt smiled ironically—and continued to compose.

His patriotism sent him travelling once more—this year to Pesth, where he conducted his arrangement of the Rakoczy March and the Divine Comedy. He returned to Rome and learned that his friend Hohenlohe was about to be made cardinal, an event which had its bearing on his stay in the Vatican.

Liszt moved back to the Cloister after Hohenlohe had given up his quarters in the Vatican for a cardinal's house. This year—1866—is also a record of travel. After he had conducted his Dante Symphony in Rome—and[95] the natives found it "inspired but formless"—he went to Paris to witness a performance of his Mass. Report had preceded him that he was physically a wreck, and he delighted in showing himself to prove the falsehood of the rumour. And partly to display his mental activity he began theological studies, so that he might pass his examination and take higher orders.

In addition to his Paris trip he also wandered to Amsterdam to hear his Mass once more. Immediately after his return to Rome he completed the Christus oratorio and began work on the arrangements of the Beethoven quartets. He soon found that he had attacked an impossible task. "I failed where Tausig succeeded," he lamented; and then explained that Tausig had been wise enough to select only such movements as were available for the piano.

His compositions this year were not very numerous—some piano extracts out of his oratorio and sketches for the Hungarian Coronation Mass. Politics were throwing up dense clouds of dust in Rome, the Papal secular power was petering out, and in consequence Liszt, who hated politics, was compelled to change his residence again, moving this time to the old cloister Santa Francesca Romana. Here he met his friends weekly on Friday mornings, and besides animated conversation there was much chamber music to be heard.


The Hungarian Mass was finished early in 1867, and Liszt went to Pesth, where he conducted it with much success when Francis Joseph was made King of Hungary. Then he appeared at the Wartburg Festival, and on his return trip stopped at Lucerne to greet Wagner. After a short stay at Munich, with Cosima and Hans von Bülow, he found himself once more in Rome and was allowed a few months of rest. Besides the Hungarian Mass he composed this year a Funeral March on the occasion of Maximilian of Mexico's death—it appeared later as the sixth of the third collection: Années de Pèlerinage. His piano transcriptions were confined to works by Verdi and Von Bülow, and as a souvenir of the days passed with Wagner at Triebschen he transcribed Isolde's Liebestod.

The social features of his stay in Rome were becoming unbearable, and Liszt could only command privacy by being rude to the persistent ones. Several little excursions out of Rome during the spring were followed by a long journey in the summer with his friend Abbé Solfanelli. First to a place of pilgrimage; then to the city of Liszt's patron saint, Assisi, and from there to Loreto. When Liszt re-entered Rome he found the social life so exigent that he was driven to the stillness of the Campagna, and lived for some time in the Villa d'Este. This—1868—was his last year at Rome, for the middle of January of the following year found him settled in Weimar again. Although he was[97] still spared many years in which to work, yet the eve of his life was upon him. If he had hoped to find finally in Weimar homely rest and peace he was doomed to disappointment. He remained a wanderer to the end of his days.

There remains to be made a mention of his compositions during his last year at Rome. Principal among these was the Requiem dedicated to the memory of his deceased mother and his two children, Daniel and Blandine; then three church compositions and the epilogue to his Tasso, Le Triomphe du Tasse, and the usual transcriptions for the piano.

Whether or not Liszt's interest in matters religious abated is not made very clear. So much is certain that his plans for taking higher orders came to nothing. Was the Church after all a disappointment to him? One recalls his childish delight when first he was created Abbé. Then he wrote Hohenlohe: "They tell me that I wear my soutane as though I always had worn one."

The Hungarian Government elected the Abbé honorary president of the Landes Musikakademie in 1873. This gave Liszt's wanderings still a third objective point, Budapest.

In Weimar his time was now devoted more to teaching than to composing, and the Liszt pupils began to sprout by the gross. The absurd sentimentality which clings about this period has never been condemned sufficiently. Read this entry in the note-book of Gregorovius and draw[98] at least a few of your own conclusions: "Dined with Liszt at Weimar. He was very lovable, made up to me and hoped at parting that I would give him my confidence. This would be very difficult, as we have not one point in common. He has grown very old; his face is all wrinkled; yet his animation is very attractive. The Countess Tolstoy told me yesterday that an American lady living here had stripped the covering off a chair on which Liszt had sat, had had it framed and now it hung on her wall. She related this to Liszt, who at first seemed indignant and then asked if it were really true! If such a man does not despise mankind then one must give him great credit for it."

Still Liszt fluttered to Rome from time to time. "If it had not been for music I should have devoted myself entirely to the church and would have become a Franciscan; It is in error that I am accused of becoming a 'frivolous Abbé' because of external reasons. On the contrary, it was my most innermost wish which led me to join the church that I wished to serve" he said.

During these later visits he took up his abode in the Hotel d'Alibert. His rooms were furnished as plainly as possible—in the one a bed and a writing-desk, and the second one, his reception and class-room, held a grand piano. Some of his pupils lived at the same hotel—Stradal, Ansorge, Göllerich, Burmeister, Stavenhagen, and Mademoiselle Cognetti.


Liszt's daily mode of life is rather intimately described. He arose at four in the morning and began composing, which he continued until seven. His pupils would drop in to greet him and be dismissed kindly with a cigar. After a second breakfast he attended early mass in the San Carlo Church, where he was accompanied by Stradal; then back to his rooms, and after an hour's rest he would work or pay some visits.

His noon meal was taken regularly with the Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein, who now lived a retired life and devoted herself to religious studies. These visits brought to Liszt much peace and to the Princess happiness; they were still devoted to each other. After this meal Liszt returned to his quarters and rested. Only on every other day he taught. The pupil played the composition of his own choice and Liszt's criticisms would follow. Muddy playing drove him frantic, and he often told his pupils to "wash their dirty linen at home"! He taught liberal use of the pedal, but with utmost discretion. The one thing he could not abide was pedantic performance: "Among artists there is not the division of professors and non-professors. They are only artists—or they are not."

Occasionally he would play for a small assembly—once he favoured the few with the D-flat Etude, and the crossing left hand struck false notes repeatedly. He played the piece to the end, and then atoned for his bulls by adding an[100] improvisation on the theme which moved the assembly to tears!

During these class hours a small circle of intimate ones was usually invited. The Princess Wittgenstein was noticeably absent; but there were the Princess Minghetti, the Countess Reviczy—to whom the Fifth Rhapsody is dedicated—and several barons and artists—Alma Tadema among the latter. Depend upon it, wherever Liszt pitched his tent there were some titles in the neighbourhood. From two until six in the afternoon these lessons lasted. Then the small audience withdrew and Liszt played cards with his pupils for one hour.

About eight in the evening Liszt would take himself to the house of the Princess Wittgenstein and sup with her. This meal consisted principally of ham, says the biographer, and Hungarian red wine. By nine he had usually retired.

Stradal seems to have been one of his favourites and accompanied Liszt on some of his little excursions to the beloved cloisters, San Onofrio and Monte Mario, then into the Valle dell' Inferno. Here under the Tasso oak Liszt spoke of the life of the great poet and compared his own fate to that of Tasso. "They will not carry me in triumph across the Capitol, but the time will come when my works will be acknowledged. This will happen too late for me—I shall not be among you any more," he said. Not an untrue prophecy.

Liszt in His Atelier at Weimar

[101]During these trips he gave alms freely. His servant Mischka filled Liszt's right vest pocket with lire and the other one with soldi every morning. And Liszt always strewed about the silver pieces, returning to his astonished servant with the pocket full of copper coins untouched.

Rudolf Louis, another Liszt biographer, tells an amusing story which fits in the time when Pius the Ninth visited Liszt in the cloister. While most of the living composers contented themselves with envying Liszt, old Rossini tried to turn the incident to his own advantage. He begged Liszt to use his influence in securing the admission of female voices in service of the church because he—Rossini—did not care to hear his churchly compositions sung by croaking boys' voices! Of course nothing came of this request.

The incident itself—the Pope's visit to Liszt—caused much gossip at the time. It was even reported that Pio Nono had called Liszt "his Palestrina."

M. Louis also makes a point which most Wagner biographers seem to have overlooked in their hurry to make Richard appear a very moral man, namely, that the little Von Bülow-Cosima-Wagner affair did not please Papa Liszt at all. Truce was patched up only in 1873, when Liszt's "Christus" performance at Weimar was witnessed by Wagner. Bayreuth of '76 cemented the friendship once more.

Read this paragraph from the pen of the[102] cynical Gregorovius; it refers to the Roman performance of the Dante Symphony in the Galleria Dantesca when the Abbé reaped an aftermath of homage: "The Ladies of Paradise (?!) poured flowers on him from above; Frau L. almost murdered him with a big laurel wreath! But the Romans criticised the music severely as being formless. There is inspiration in it, but it does not reach(?!). Liszt left for Paris. The day before his departure I breakfasted with him at Tolstoy's; he played for a solid hour and allowed himself to be persuaded to do this by the young Princess Nadine Hellbig—Princess Shahawskoy—a woman of remarkably colossal figure, but also of remarkable intelligence."



Richard Wagner wrote to Liszt July 20, 1856, concerning his symphonic poems:

"With your symphonic poems I am now quite familiar. They are the only music I have anything to do with at present, as I cannot think of doing any work of my own while undergoing medical treatment. Every day I read one or the other of your scores, just as I would read a poem, easily and without hindrance. Then I feel every time as if I had dived into a crystalline depth, there to be all alone by myself, having left all the world behind, to live for an hour my own proper life. Refreshed and invigorated, I then come to the surface again, full of longing for your personal presence. Yes, my friend, you have the power! You have the power!"

And later (December 6, 1856): "I feel thoroughly contemptible as a musician, whereas you, as I have now convinced myself, are the greatest musician of all times." Wagner, too, could be generous and flattering. He had praised the piano sonata; Mazeppa and Orpheus were his favourites among the symphonic poems.


Camille Saint-Saëns was more discriminating in his admiration; he said:

"Persons interested in things musical may perhaps recall a concert given many years ago in the hall of the Théâtre Italien, Paris, under the direction of the author of this article. The programme was composed entirely of the orchestral work of Franz Liszt, whom the world persists in calling a great pianist, in order to avoid acknowledging him as one of the greatest composers of our time. This concert was considerably discussed in the musical world, strictly speaking, and in a lesser degree by the general public. Liszt as a composer seemed to many to be the equal of Ingres as a violinist, or Thiers as an astronomer. However, the public, who would have come in throngs to hear Liszt play ten bars on the piano, as might be expected, manifested very little desire to hear the Dante Symphony, the Berges à la crèche and Les Mages, symphonic parts of Christus, and other compositions which, coming from one less illustrious, but playing the piano fairly well, would have surely aroused some curiosity. We must also state that the concert was not well advertised. While the "Spanish Student" monopolized all the advertising space and posters possible, the Liszt concert had to be satisfied with a brief notice and could not, at any price, take its place among the theatre notices.

"Several days later, a pianist giving a concert at the Italien, obtained this favour. Theatres[105] surely offer inexplicable mysteries to simple mortals. The name of Liszt appeared here and there in large type on the top row of certain posters, where the human eye could see it only by the aid of the telescope. But, nevertheless, our concert was given, and not to an empty hall. The musical press, at our appeal, kindly assisted; but the importance of the works on which they were invited to express an opinion seemed to escape them entirely. They considered, in general, that the music of Liszt was well written, free from certain peculiarities they expected to find in it, and that it did not lack a certain charm. That was all.

"If such had been my opinion of the works of Liszt, I certainly should not have taken the trouble to gather together a large orchestra and rehearse two weeks for a concert. Moreover, I should like to say a few words of these works, so little known, whose future seems so bright. It is not long since orchestral music was confined to but two forms—the symphony and the overture. Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven had never written anything else; who would have dared to do other than they? Neither Weber, Mendelssohn, Schubert, nor Schumann. Liszt did dare."

Liszt understood that to introduce new forms he must cause a necessity to be felt, in a word, produce a motive for them. He resolutely entered on the path which Beethoven, with the Pastoral and Choral Symphonies, and Berlioz,[106] with the Symphonie Fantastique and Harold in Italy, had suggested rather than opened, for they had enlarged the compass of the symphony, but had not transformed it, and it was Liszt who created the symphonic poem.

This brilliant and fecund creation will be to posterity one of Liszt's greatest titles to glory, and when time shall have effaced the luminous trace of this greatest pianist who has ever lived it will inscribe on the roll of honour the name of the emancipator of instrumental music.

Liszt not only introduced into the musical world the symphonic poem, he developed it himself; and in his own twelve poems he has shown the chief forms in which it can be clothed.

Before taking up the works themselves, let us consider the form of which it is the soul, the principle of programme music.

To many, programme music is a necessarily inferior genre. Much has been written on this subject that cannot be understood. Is the music, in itself, good or bad? That is the point. The fact of its being "programme" or not makes it neither better not worse. It is exactly the same in painting, where the subject of the picture, which is everything to the vulgar mind, is nothing or little to the artist. The reproach against music, of expressing nothing in itself without the aid of words, applies equally to painting.

To the artist, programme music is only a pretext to enter upon new ways, and new effects demand new means, which, by the way, is very[107] little desired by orchestra leaders and kapellmeisters who, above all, love ease and tranquil existence. I should not be surprised to discover that the resistance to works of which we speak comes not from the public, but from orchestra leaders, little anxious to cope with the difficulties of every nature which they contain. However, I will not affirm it.

The compositions to which Liszt gave the name symphonic poem are twelve in number:

1. Ce qu'on entend sur la montagne, after Victor Hugo.
2. Tasso, Lamento and Trionfo.
3. Les Preludes, after Lamartine.
4. Orphée.
5. Prométhée.
6. Mazeppa.
7. Fest-Klänge.
8. Héroïde funèbre.
9. Hungaria.
10. Hamlet.
11. La bataille des Huns, after Kaulbach.
12. L'idéal, after Schiller.

The symphonic poem in the form in which Liszt has given it to us, is ordinarily an ensemble of different movements depending on each other, and flowing from a principal ideal, blending into each other, and forming one composition. The plan of the musical poem thus understood may vary infinitely. To obtain a great unity, and at the same time the greatest variety possible, Liszt most often chooses a musical phrase, which he[108] transforms by means of artifices of rhythm, to give it the most diverse aspects and cause it to serve as an expression of the most varied sentiments. This is one of the usual methods of Richard Wagner, and, in my opinion, it is the only one common to the two composers. In style, in use of harmonic resources and instrumentation, they differ as widely as two contemporary artists could differ, and yet really belong to the same school.


"Ce qu'on entend sur la montagne"—or, as it is more familiarly known, "Die Bergsymphonie"—is ranked among the earliest of Liszt's symphonic works. The first sketches of this symphonic poem were made as early as 1833-35, but they were not orchestrated until 1849, and the composition had its first hearing in Weimar in 1853.

A German enthusiast says this work is the first towering peak of a mountain chain, and that here already—in the first of the list of Symphonic Poems—the mastery of the composer is indubitably revealed. The subject is not a flippant one, by any means: it touches on the relation of man to nature—das Welträtsel. Inspiration came directly from Victor Hugo's poem, "Ce qu'on entend sur la montagne." The subject is that of Nature's perfection contrasted to Man's misery:


Die Welt ist volkommen überall,
Wo der Mensch nicht hinkommt mit seiner Qual.

Only when one withdraws from the hurdy-gurdy trend of life, only from the height of mountain does one see Truth in perspective. This is "What one hears on the Mountain."

Zuerst vermorr'ner, unermess'ner Lärm,
Undeutlich wie der Wind in dichten Bäumen,
Voll klarer Tone, süssen Lispelns, sanft
Wie'n Abendlied, und stark wie Waffenklirren.
Es war ein Tönen, tief und unausprechlich,
Das flutend Kreise zog rings um die Welt
Und durch die Himmel ...
Die Welt, Gehüllt in diese Symphonie,
Schwamm wie in Luft, so in der Harmonie.

This is the key-note to the introductory measures of Liszt's work. Out of the sombre roll of the drum—which continues as a ground tone—the different instruments assert themselves. Muted strings imitate the rush of the sea; horns and woodwind hint at the battling of elements in chaos, while the violins and harp swerve peacefully aloft in arpeggios. The oboe chants sanft wie'n Abendlied, the beautiful melody of peaceful idyllic nature. After this impression becomes a mood Liszt resumes the poetic narrative and individualises the two voices:

Vom Meer die eine; wie ein Sang von Ruhm und Glück,
Die and're hob von uns'rer Erde sich,
Sie war voll Trauer: das Geräusch der Menschen.

[110]The voice of Man is the first to be heard. It obtrudes itself even while the violins are preaching earthly peace, and eventually embroils them in its cry of discontent. All this over the pedal point of worldly noises.

There is a sudden pause, and in the succeeding maestoso episode the second voice is heard—Nature's Hymn:

Der prächt'ge Ocean ...
Liess eine friedliche frohe Stimme hören,
Sang, wie die Harfe singt in Sion's Tempeln,
Und pries der Schöpfung Schönheit.

Here there is composure and serenity, which diminishes to a tender piano in string harmonics. But in the woodwind a dissenting theme appears from time to time: Man and his torments invade this sanctity of peace. His cry grows louder, and one hears in it the anguish of the pursued one. The strings forsake their tranquil harmonics and resolve themselves into a troublous tremolo, while the clarinettes, in a new theme, question this intrusion. Meanwhile the misery of Man gains the upper hand, and in the following Allegro con moto there sounds all the fury of a wild chase:

Ein Weinen, Kreischen, Schmähen and Verfluchen
Und Hohn und Lästerung und wüst' Geschrei
Taucht aus des Menschenlärmes Wirbelwogen.

The orchestra is in tumult, relieved only by a cry of agony coming from Man; even the sea[111] theme is tossed about, and the Motif of Nature appears in mangled form. This fury lashes itself out by its own violence, and after the strings once more echo the cry of despair all is silent. Two light blows of the tam-tam suggest the fear which follows upon such a display of tempestuous terror.

... warum man hier ist, was
Der Zweck von allem diesen endlich,
Und warum Gott ...
Bestandig einet zu des Liedes Masston
Sang der Natur mit seiner Menschen Schreinen.

This Warum is asked dismally, and as an answer the theme of Nature reappears in its brightest garb. Question and answer succeed each other, and are stilled by the recurring cry of Man until a final Why is followed by a full stop.

The poet, weary of this restlessness, is searching for the consolation of quietude; and here—as might be expected of Liszt—comes the thought of religion shown by the Andante religioso. It is here, too, in the realm of religious peace that the two antagonistic voices are reconciled; they interweave, cross and are melted, one in the other.

This, the most intricate and longest part of the score, was employed by Liszt to show his instrumental mastery. The two principal themes—the two voices—are made to adjust with great skill, and are then sounded simultaneously to prove their striving after unity.


The poet is almost convinced of this equalisation, when, without warning and with the force of the full orchestra, brilliantly employed, a new theme appears. This is repeated with even greater frenzy of utterance, and usurps the theme of Man and that of Nature. The whole is the idea of Faith, at which the poet now has arrived. A deep satisfaction silences every sound—the clashing of the elements ceases and the last sigh breathes itself out. Once more the plaintive "Why" is heard, and resolves itself in a reminiscence of Man's fury. The trumpets quiet all by intoning that sacrosanct Andante religioso, which concludes in a mysterious chord through which the notes of the harp thread themselves. The theme of Nature's Hymn returns pizzicato in the basses, and is answered by harp arpeggios and chords in the brass. A few taps of the tympani, with which the composition ends, give the ring of finality.

Arthur Hahn believes that this symphonic poem offers a solution to the discord of the universe; that the ending with the two tympani taps and the hollow preceding chords suggest a possible return of the storm. Liszt made numerous sketches for this work two decades before its composition.



For the Weimar centennial anniversary of Goethe's birth, August 28, 1849, Liszt composed his Tasso: Lamento e Trionfo. And this stands second in order of his symphonic poems. At the Weimar festival the work preceded Goethe's Tasso, being played as an overture.

When the first part of this Tasso symphonic poem was written—there are two parts, as you will see later—Liszt was not yet bold as a symphonic poet, for he thought it necessary to define the meaning of his work in words and thus explain his music.

Liszt's preface to Tasso is as follows: "I wished to define the contrast expressed in the title of the work, and it was my object to describe the grand antithesis of the genius, ill-used and misunderstood in life, but in death surrounded with a halo of glory whose rays were to penetrate the hearts of his persecutors. Tasso loved and suffered in Ferrara, was avenged in Rome, and lives to this day in the popular songs of Venice. These three viewpoints are inseparably connected with his career. To render them musically I invoke his mighty shadow, as he wanders by the lagoons of Venice, proud and sad in countenance, or watching the feasts at Ferrara, where his master-works were created. I followed him to Rome, the Eternal City, which bestowed upon him the crown of glory, and in him canonised the martyr and the poet.


"Lamento e Trionfo—these are the contrasts in the fate of the poet, of whom it was said that, although the curse might rest upon his life, a blessing could not be wanting from his grave. In order to give to my idea the authority of living fact, I borrowed the form of my tone picture from reality, and chose for its theme a melody to which, three centuries after the poet's death, I have heard Venetian gondoliers sing the first strophes of his Jerusalem:

Canto l'armi pietose e'l Capitano,
Che'l gran Sepolcro liberò di Cristo.

"The motif itself has a slow, plaintive cadence of monotonous mourning; the gondoliers, however, by drawling certain notes, give it a peculiar colouring, and the mournfully drawn out tones, heard at a distance, produce an effect not dissimilar to the reflection of long stripes of fading light upon a mirror of water. This song once made a profound impression on me, and when I attempted to illustrate Tasso musically, it recurred to me with such imperative force that I made it the chief motif for my composition.

"The Venetian melody is so replete with inconsolable mourning, with bitter sorrow, that it suffices to portray Tasso's soul, and again it yields to the brilliant deceits of the world, to the illusive, smooth coquetry of those smiles whose slow poison brought on the fearful catastrophe, for which there seemed to be no earthly recompense,[115] but which was eventually, clothed in a mantle of brighter purple than that of Alfonso."

Following this came—in later years, it is true—a strange denial from Liszt himself. He admitted that when finally his Tasso composition began to take form Byron's Tasso was nearer his heart and thoughts than Goethe's. "I cannot deny," he writes, "that when I received the order for an overture to Goethe's drama the chief and commanding influence on the form of my work was the respectful sympathy with which Byron treated the manes of the great poet."

Naturally this influence could not have extended beyond the Lamento since Byron's poem is only the Lament of Tasso, and has no share in the Trionfo. Now the anti-programmites could make a very strong case out of this incident, and probably would have done so long before this if they had known or thought about it. But then this question of the fallibility of programme music is an eternal one. Was it not the late Thayer, constantly haunting detail and in turn haunted by it, who could not abide Beethoven's Coriolanus in his youth because he only knew the Shakespeare drama and could not fit the Beethoven overture to it simply because it would not be fitted? And now some commentators declare that Beethoven must have known the Shakespeare work, that he could not have found his inspiration in the forgotten play of Von Collin.


Liszt's Tasso opens with a descending octaved theme in C minor, meant to depict the depressed mood and oppressed station of the poet. Wagner has made mention of Liszt's particular aptitude for making such musical moments pregnant with meaning. Here it expresses the tragedy of the poet's life, and a second theme is his agonised cry. Gradually this impatience is fanned to fury, and culminates in a wild outbreak of pain. The tragic first theme, now given fortissimo by the full orchestra and long sustained, spreads its shadow over all. The characteristic rehearsal of the themes concludes the introduction to the work.

With an adagio the principal motif is heard in full for the first time; it is the boat song of the Venetian gondoliers, and embraces in part the first tragic theme with which the composition opened. You recall what Liszt said about the expressiveness of this sombre song. He has heightened its gloom by the moody orchestration in which he has embedded it.

As a contrast comes the belief in self which forces its way to the soul of the poet, and this comes to our ears in the form of the noble main theme—the Tasso motif—which now sounds brilliantly in major. These two moods relieve one another, as they might in the mind of any brooding mortal, especially a poet.

The next picture is Tasso at the court of Ferrara. The courtly life is sketched in a minuet-like allegro and a courteous subsidiary. How[117] aptly Tasso is carried away by the surrounding splendour we hear when the Tasso theme sounds in the character of the gay minuet. This theme becomes more and more impassioned, the poet has raised his eyes to Leonore, and the inevitable calamity precipitates itself with the recurrence of the wild and frantic burst of rage and fury.

Alles ist dahin! Nur eines bleibt:
Die Thräne hat uns die Natur verliehen,
Den Schrei des Schmerzes, wenn der Mann zuletzt
Es nicht mehr trägt.

With this, the first half of the first part of the work closes.

The second half concerns itself with the poet's transfiguration. His physical self has been sacrificed, but the world has taken up his cause and celebrates his works.

A short pause separates the two divisions. Now the glorious allegro has an upward swing, the former dragging rhythms are spurned along impetuously. The Tasso theme is glorified, the public enthusiasm grows apace, and runs to a tremendous climax in the presto. Then there sounds a sudden silence—the public pulse has ceased for a moment—followed by a hymn, built on the Tasso theme. The entire orchestra intones this, every figure is one of jubilation, save the four double basses which recall the rhythm of the former theme of misery; but—notice the logic of the composer—its resemblance is only[118] a distant one, and it is heard only in the lowest of the strings. So this composition concludes.

The Epilogue to the Tasso symphonic poem was written many years afterward. Liszt called it Le Triomphe funèbre du Tasse, and its first performance was under Leopold Damrosch in New York in 1877. The subject must have pursued Liszt through most of his life, and he seems to have felt a certain affinity with the dead poet. We all know that the public denied him credit for his compositions.

Göllerich in his Liszt biography mentions that once during his stay in Italy the composer, in a covered wagon, had himself driven slowly over the course along which the corpse of Tasso had been taken. And of this incident he is supposed to have said: "I suffered the sad poetry of this journey in the hopes that one day the bloody irony of vain apotheosis may be spared every poet and artist who has been ill-treated during life. Rest to the dead!"

The analysis of this work is short and precise. The musical programme is simple. It opens with a cry of distressful mourning, while from the distance the cortège approaches. A reminiscence of the Tasso theme is recognisable in this pompous approach and the mood changes to one of triumph. In the midst of all this the public adoration is mingled with its tears, and the two climax in the Tasso motive.



The third of Liszt's symphonic poems, Les Préludes, was sketched as early as 1845, but not produced until 1854, and then in Weimar. Lamartine's Meditations Poétiques set the bells tolling in Liszt's mind, and he wrote Les Préludes. "What is life but a series of preludes to that unknown song whose initial solemn note is tolled by Death? The enchanted dawn of every life is love; but where is the destiny on whose first delicious joys some storm does not break?—a storm whose deadly blast disperses youth's illusions, whose fatal bolt consumes its altar. And what soul thus cruelly bruised, when the tempest rolls away, seeks not to rest its memories in the calm of rural life? Yet man allows himself not long to taste the kindly quiet which first attracted him to Nature's lap; but when the trumpet gives the signal he hastens to danger's post, whatever be the fight which draws him to its lists, that in the strife he may once more regain full knowledge of himself and all his strength."

Corresponding to the first line of the programme the composition opens promisingly with an ascending figure in the strings, followed by some mysterious chords. Liszt had that wonderful knack—which he shared with Beethoven and Wagner—of getting atmosphere immediately at the first announcement. Gradually he achieves a climax with this device, and now he[120] has pictured the character—his hero—in defiant possession of full manhood.

"The enchanted dawn of every life is love" reads the line, and the music grows sentimental. That well-known horn melody occurs here, a theme almost the character of a folk-song; then the mood becomes even more tranquil until—

"But where is the destiny on whose first delicious joys some storm does not break?—a storm whose deadly blast disperses youth's illusions, whose fatal bolt consumes its altar." Here was one of those episodes on which Liszt doted, a place where he could unloose all his orchestral technique, piling his climaxes furiously high.

"And what soul thus cruelly bruised, when the tempest rolls away, seeks not to rest its memories in the pleasant calm of rural life?" There was nothing else for Liszt to do but to write the usual pastoral peace dignified by Handel and Watteau.

"Yet man allowed himself not long to taste the kindly quiet which first attracted him to Nature's lap; but when the trumpet gives the signal he hastens to danger's post, whatever be the fight which draws him to its lists, that in the strife he may once more regain full knowledge of himself and all his strength." The martial call of the trumpets and the majestic strife is made much of. Liszt tortures his peaceful motives into expressing war, and welds the entire incident into a stirring one.


Logically, he concludes the work by recalling the theme of his hero upon whose life he has preluded so tunefully.


Of the origin of his Orpheus Liszt writes: "Some years ago, when preparing Gluck's Orpheus for production, I could not restrain my imagination from straying away from the simple version that the great master had made of the subject, but turned to that Orpheus whose name hovers majestically and full of harmony about the Greek myths. It recalled that Etruscan vase in the Louvre which represents the poet-musician crowned with the mystic kingly wreath; draped in a star-studded mantle, his fine slender fingers are plucking the lyre strings, while his lips are liberating godly words and song. The very stones seem moved to hearing, and from adamant hearts stinging, burning tears are loosing themselves. The beasts of the forests stand enchanted, and the coarse noise of man is besieged into silence. The song of birds is hushed; the melodious coursing of the brook halts; the rude laughter of joy gives way to a trembling awe before these sounds, which reveal to man universal harmonies, the gentle power of art and the brilliancy of their glory."

The "dull and prosaic formula"—so some English critic put it—differs in this work from that of most of the others of Liszt's symphonic[122] poems. The short cutting themes are absent and sharp contrasts are generally avoided; the music flows rather in a broad melodic stream, serene but magnificent. It is rather difficult to fit a detailed programme to the composition, and the general outline is not so sharply dented with incidents as some of the others.

Again atmosphere is evoked and the mood achieved by the lyre preluding of the poet. Then the voice of Orpheus rises with majestic calm, and swells to a climax which is typical of the majestic splendour of art. This sweeps all sounds of opposition before it and leaves in its trail awe-stricken man. It is with this mood that the work closes in a marvellous progression of chords, harmonies daring for their day.


The same general plan of conception and interpretation, but of course much more heroic, has Liszt employed in the next symphonic poem, Prometheus. It is a noble figure that Liszt has translated into music, the Titan. The ideas he meant to convey may be summed up in "Ein tiefer Schmerz, der durch trotzbietendes Ausharren triumphiert." Immediately at the opening the swirl of the struggle is upon us, and the first theme is the defiance of the Titan—a noble yet obstinate melody. The god is chained to the rock to great orchestral tumult. His efforts to[123] break the manacles incite further musical riot, and then comes the wail of helpless misery:

O Mutter, du Heil'ge! O Aether,
Lichtquell des All's!
Seh, welch Unrecht ich erdulde!

This recitative leads into a furious burst when the shackled one clenches his fists and threatens all Godhead. Even Zeus is defied:

Und mag er schleudern seines feurigen Blitzes Loh'n,
In weissen Schneesturms Ungewittern, in Donnerhall
Der unterirdischen Tiefe werwirren mischen das All:
Nichts dessen wird mir beugen!

Then arises the belief in a deliverer, a faith motif which is one of those heartfelt inventions of the melodic Liszt. After this the struggle continues. Magnificently, the god, believing in his own obstinate will for freedom, the composition concludes on this supreme note.


The sixth of Liszt's symphonic poems, Mazeppa, has done more than any other to earn for its composer the disparaging comment that his piano music was orchestral and his orchestral music Klaviermässig. This Solomon judgment usually proceeds from the wise ones, who are aware that the first form of Liszt's Mazeppa was a piano étude which appeared somewhere toward the end of 1830.


Liszt's orchestral version of Mazeppa was completed the middle of last century and had its first hearing at Weimar in 1854. Naturally this is a work of much greater proportion than the original piano étude; it is, as some one has said, in the same ratio as is a panoramic picture to a preliminary sketch.

The story of the Cossack hetman has inspired poets and at least one painter. Horace Vernet—who, as Heine said, painted everything hastily, almost after the manner of a maker of pamphlets—put the subject on canvas twice; the Russian, Bulgarin, made a novel of it; Voltaire mentioned the incident in his History of Charles the Twelfth; Byron moulded the tale into rhyme, as did Victor Hugo—and the latter poem was used by Liszt for the outline for his composition.

The amorous Mazeppa was of noble birth—so runs the tale. But while he was page to Jan Casimir, King of Poland, he intrigued with Theresia the young wife of a Podolian count. Their love was discovered and the count had the page lashed to a wild horse—un cheval farouche, as Voltaire has it—which was turned loose.

From all accounts the beast did not allow grass to grow under its hoofs, but lashed out with the envious speed of the wind. It so happened that the horse was "a noble steed, a Tartar of the Ukraine breed." Therefore it headed for the Ukraine, which woolly country it reached with its burden; then it promptly dropped dead.

Mazeppa was unhanded or unhorsed by a[125] friendly Cossack and nursed back to happiness. Soon he grew in stature and in power, becoming an Ukraine prince; as the latter he fought against Russia at Pultowa.

That is the skeleton of the legend. Liszt has begun his musical tale at the point when Mazeppa is corded to the furious steed, and with a cry it is off. This opens the composition; there follow the galloping triplets to mark the flight of the beast, irregular and wild. Trees and mountains seem to whirl by them—this is represented by a vertiginous tremolo figure, against which a descending theme sounds and seems to give perspective to the swirling landscape.

When the prisoner stirs convulsively in the agony of his plight, the horse bounds forward even more recklessly. The fury of the ride continues, increases, until Mazeppa loses consciousness and mists becloud his senses. Now and again pictures appear before his eyes an instant as in a dream fantastic.

Gradually, as an accompaniment to the thundering hoof falls, the passing earth sounds as a mighty melody to the delirious one. The entire plain seems to ring with song, pitying Mazeppa in his suffering.

The horse continues to plunge and blood pours from the wounds of the prisoner. Before his eyes the lights dance and the themes return distorted. The goal is reached when the steed breaks down, overcome with the killing fatigue of its three days' ride. It pants its last, and a plaintive andante[126] pictures the groaning of the bound Mazeppa; this dies away in the basses.

Now the musician soars away in the ether. When he returns to us it is with an allegro of trumpet calls. Mazeppa has been made a prince in the interim and is now leading the warriors of the steppe who freed him. These fanfares lead to a triumphal march, which is the last division of the composition. Local colour is logically brought in by the introduction of a Cossack march; the Mazeppa theme is jubilantly shared by trumpet calls, and the motif of his sufferings appears transformed as a melody of victory—all this in barbaric rhythms.

In form the work is free; two general divisions are about as much as it yields to the formal dissector. It follows the poem, and, having been written to the poem, that is really all the sequence demanded by logic.

Liszt was decidedly at a disadvantage as a composer when he lacked a programme. Usually in composing his purpose was so distinct, the music measuring itself so neatly against the logic of the programme, that his symphonic compositions should be most easily comprehended by an audience.


There is no definite programme to Liszt's Festklänge. Several probing ones have been hot on the trail of such a thing. Pohl knew but[127] would not tell. He wrote: "This work is the most intimate of the entire group. It stands in close relation with some personal experiences of the composer—something which we will not define more clearly here. For this reason Liszt himself has offered no elucidation to the work, and we must respect his silence. The mood of the work is 'Festlich'—it is the rejoicing after a victory of—the heart."

This is mysterious and sentimental enough to satisfy any conservatory maiden. But Liszt died eventually, and then Pohl intimates that the incident which this composition was meant to glorify was the marriage of Liszt with the Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein—a marriage which never came off.

Philip Hale has taken up the question in his interesting Boston Symphony Programme Notes, and summons several witnesses: "Brendel said that this symphonic poem is a sphinx that no one can understand. Mr. Barry, who takes a peculiarly serious view of all things musical, claims that Festival Sounds, Sounds of Festivity or Echoes of a Festival is the portrayal in music of scenes that illustrate some great national festival; that the introduction, with its fanfares, gives rise to strong feelings of expectation. There is a proclamation, 'The festival has begun,' and he sees the reception of guests in procession. The event is great and national—a coronation—something surely of a royal character; and there is holiday making until the 'tender, recitative-like[128] period' hints at a love scene; guests, somewhat stiff and formal, move in the dance; in the finale the first subject takes the form of a national anthem.

"Some have thought that Liszt composed the piece in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of the entrance into Weimar of his friend and patroness Maria Paulowna, sister of the Czar Nicholas I, Grand Duchess of Weimar. The anniversary was celebrated with pomp November 9, 1854, as half a century before the noble dame was greeted with Schiller's lyric festival play Die Huldigung der Künste.

"This explanation is plausible; but Lina Ramann assures us that Festklänge was intended by Liszt as the wedding music for himself and the Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein; that in 1851 it seemed as though the obstacles to the union would disappear; that this music was composed as 'a song of triumph over hostile machinations'; 'bitterness and anguish are forgotten in proud rejoicing'; the introduced 'Polonaise' pictures the brilliant mind of the Polish princess."

When this symphonic poem was first played in Vienna there were distributed handbills written by "Herr K.," that the hearers might find reasonable pleasure in the music. One of the sentences goes bounding through the universe as follows: "A great universal and popular festival calls within its magic circle an agitated crowd, joy on the brow, heaven in the breast."


In whichever class you choose to place the Festklänge—whether in that of a higher grade of wedding music or as music incidental to some national event—you are apt to find contradictions in the music itself. So it is most reasonable to waive the entire question of a programme here, and take the music at its word. It must be admitted that this composition is not among Liszt's great ones; the big swing is missing and honesty compels the acknowledgment that much of it is blank bombast, some of it tawdry.

The introductory allegro is devoted to some tympani thumps—à la Meyerbeer—and some blaring fanfares which terminate in a loud, blatant theme.

Then comes the andante with the principal subject of the work, meant to be impressive, but failing in its purpose. The mood changes and grows humourous, which again is contrasted by the following rather melancholy allegretto. This latter spot would serve to knock some of the festival programme ideas into a cocked hat.

The work eventually launches into a polonaise, and until the close Liszt busies himself with varying the character and rhythms of the foregoing themes. Finally the martial prevails again, decorated with fanfares, and thus the composition closes.

Festklänge had its first performance at Weimar in 1854; but the composer made some changes in the later edition that appeared in[130] 1861, and this version is the one usually played to-day.

A Liszt work which we seldom hear is "Chöre zu Herder's 'Entfesselte Prometheus,'" which was composed and performed in Weimar in 1850.

On August 25 of that year there was a monument unveiled to Johann Gottfried Herder in Weimar, and the memory of the "apostle of humanity" was also celebrated in the theatre. This accounts for the composition of the symphonic poem Prometheus, which served as an overture to these choruses, written for voices and orchestra. Richard Pohl has put the latter into shape for solitary performance in the concert room.

Prometheus sits manacled on the rock, but the fury of his rebellion is over. Resolutely he awaits the decree of fate. At this point the Liszt work takes up the narrative. The Titan is soliloquising, while man, aided by the gift of fire, is calmly possessing the world. The elemental spirits look enviously at the power of man and turn to Prometheus with plaints; the Daughters of the Sea lament that the holy peace of the sea is disturbed by man, who sails the water imperiously. Prometheus answers Okeanus philosophically that everything belongs to every one.

Then the chorus of the Tritons glorifies the socialistic Titan with "Heil Prometheus." This dies away to make room for the grumbling of All-Mother Erda and her dryads, who bring charge against the fire giver. An answer comes from the bucolic chorus of reapers and their brothers[131] the vintagers, who chant the praise of "Monsieur" Bacchus.

From the under world comes the sound of strife, and Hercules arises as victor. Prometheus recognises him as the liberator, and the Sandow of mythology breaks the Titan's fetters and slays the hovering eagle of Zeus. The freed Prometheus turns to the rocks on which he has sat prisoner so long and asks that in gratitude for his liberty a paradise arise there. Pallas Athene respects the wish, and out of the naked rock sprouts an olive tree.

A chorus of the Invisible Ones invites Prometheus to attend before the throne of Themis. She intercedes in his behalf against his accusers, and the Chorus of Humanity celebrates her judgment in the hymn which closes "Heil Prometheus! Der Menschheit Heil!" Some of the thematic material for these choruses and orchestral interludes is borrowed from the symphonic poem Prometheus.

Liszt wrote a preface to Héroïde Funèbre, his eighth poem (1849-1850; 1856.) Among other things he declares that "Everything may change in human societies—manners and cult, laws and ideas; sorrow remains always one and the same, it remains what it has been from the beginning of time. It is for art to throw its transfiguring veil over the tomb of the brave—to encircle with its golden halo the dead and the dying, in order that they may be envied by the living." Liszt incorporated with this poem a fragment from[132] his Revolutionary Symphony outlined in 1830. Hungaria (1854; 1857) and Hamlet (1858; 1861) the ninth and tenth poems are not of marked interest or novel character—that is when compared to their predecessors. There is a so-called poem, From the Cradle to the Grave, the thirteenth in the series, one which did not take seriously. It is quite brief. But let us consider the eleventh and twelfth of the series.


Liszt's Hunnenschlacht was suggested by Wilhelm von Kaulbach's mural painting in the staircase-hall of the New Museum in Berlin. It was conceived in Munich in November, 1856, and written in 1857. When completed, it was put into rehearsal at Weimar in October, 1857, and performed in April, 1858. Its first performance in Boston, was under Mr. Theodore Thomas in 1872.

The picture which suggested this composition to Liszt shows the city of Rome in the background; before it is a battle-field, strewn with corpses which are seen to be gradually reviving, rising up, and rallying, while among them wander wailing and lamenting women. At the heads of two ghostly armies are respectively Attila—borne aloft on a shield by Huns, and wielding a scourge—and Theodoric with his two sons, behind whom is raised the banner of the cross.


The composition is perfectly free in form; one noteworthy feature being the interweaving of the choral Crux Fidelis with themes of the composer's own invention. The score bears no dedication.


Die Ideale was projected in the summer of 1856, but it was composed in 1857. The first performance was at Weimar, September 5, 1857, on the occasion of unveiling the Goethe-Schiller monument. The first performance in Boston was by Theodore Thomas's orchestra, October 6, 1870. The symphonic poem was played here at a Symphony Concert on January 26, 1889.

The argument of Schiller's poem, Die Ideale, first published in the Musenalmanach of 1796, has thus been presented: "The sweet belief in the dream-created beings of youth passes away; what once was divine and beautiful, after which we strove ardently, and which we embraced lovingly with heart and mind, becomes the prey of hard reality; already midway the boon companions—love, fortune, fame, and truth—leave us one after another, and only friendship and activity remain with us as loving comforters." Lord Lytton characterised the poem as an "elegy on departed youth."

Yet Liszt departed from the spirit of the elegy, for in a note to the concluding section of the work, the Apotheosis, he says: "The holding fast and[134] at the same time the continual realising of the ideal is the highest aim of our life. In this sense I ventured to supplement Schiller's poem by a jubilantly emphasising resumption of the motives of the first section in the closing Apotheosis." Mr. Niecks, in his comments on this symphonic poem, adds: "To support his view and justify the alteration, Liszt might have referred to Jean Paul Richter's judgment, that the conclusion of the poem, pointing as it does for consolation to friendship and activity, comforts but scantily and unpoetically. Indeed, Schiller himself called the conclusion of the poem tame, but explained that it was a faithful picture of human life, adding: 'I wished to dismiss the reader with this feeling of tranquil contentment.' That, apart from poetical considerations, Liszt acted wisely as a musician in making the alteration will be easily understood and readily admitted. Among the verses quoted by the composer, there are eight which were omitted by Schiller in the ultimate amended form of Die Ideale. The order of succession, however, is not the same as in the poem; what is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 with Liszt is 1, 4, 3, 2, 5 with Schiller. The musician seized the emotional possibilities of the original, but disregarded the logical sequence. And there are many things which the tone poet who works after the word poet not only may but must disregard. As the two arts differ in their nature, the one can be only an imperfect translator of the other; but they can be more than translators—namely, commentators.[135] Liszt accordingly does not follow the poem word for word, but interprets the feelings which it suggests, 'feelings which almost all of us have felt in the progress of life.' Indeed, programme and music can never quite coincide; they are like two disks that partly cover each other, partly overlap and fall short. Liszt's Die Ideale is no exception. Therefore it may not be out of place to warn the hearer, although this is less necessary in the present case than in others, against forming 'a grossly material conception of the programme,' against 'an abstractly logical interpretation which allows itself to be deceived by the outside, by what presents itself to the first glance, disdains the mediation of the imagination.'"

Mr. Hale gives some interesting facts about the composition.

Liszt and Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein were both ill in the spring of 1857, and the letters written by Liszt to her during this period are of singular interest. Yet Liszt went about and conducted performances until he suffered from an abscess in a leg and was obliged to lie in bed. On the 30th of January Liszt had written to a woman, the anonymous "Friend": "For Easter I shall have finished Die Ideale (symphony in three movements)"; and in March he wrote the princess that he was dreaming of Die Ideale. In May he went to Aix-la-Chapelle to conduct at a music festival, and in July he returned to that town for medical treatment. He wrote the princess (July 23) that he had completed the indications,[136] the "nuances," of the score that morning, and he wished her to see that the copyist should prepare the parts immediately—six first violins, six second violins, four violas, and five double basses.

The performance at Weimar excited neither fierce opposition nor warm appreciation. Liszt conducted the work at Prague, March 11, 1858, and it appears from a letter to the Princess that he made cuts and alterations in the score after the performance. Hans von Bülow produced Die Ideale at Berlin in 1859, and the performance stirred up strife. Bülow thought the work too long for the opening piece, and preferred to put it in the second part. Then he changed his mind; he remembered that Liszt's Festklänge was at the end of a concert the year before in Berlin, and that many of the audience found it convenient to leave the hall for the cloak-room during the performance. A few days later he wrote that he would put it at the end of the first part: "My first rehearsal lasted four hours. The parts of Die Ideale are very badly copied. It is a magnificent work, and the form is splendid. In this respect I prefer it to Tasso, to The Preludes, and to other symphonic poems. It has given me an enormous pleasure—I was happier than I have been for a long time. Apropos—a passage, where the basses and the trombones give the theme of the Allegro, a passage that is found several times in the parts is cut out in the printed score." Ramagn names 1859 as the date of publication,[137] while others say the score was published in 1858. "I have left this passage as it is in the arts; for I find it excellent, and the additional length of time in performance will be hardly appreciable. It will go, I swear it!" The concert was on January 14, 1859, and when some hissed after the performance of Die Ideale, Bülow asked them to leave the hall. A sensation was made by this "maiden speech," as it was called. (See the pamphlet, Hans v. Bülow und die Berliner Kritik, Berlin, 1859, and Bülow's Briefe, vol. iii. pp. 202, 203, 205, 206, Leipsic, 1898.) Bülow was cool as a cucumber, and directed the next piece, Introduction to Lohengrin, as though nothing had happened. The Princess of Prussia left her box, for it was nine o'clock, the hour of tea; but there was no explosion till after the concert, when Bülow was abused roundly by newspaper article and word of mouth. He had promised to play two piano pieces at a Domchoir concert the 22d, and it was understood that he would then be hissed and hooted. The report sold all the seats and standing places. Never had he played so well, and instead of a scandalous exhibition of disapproval there was the heartiest applause. Liszt conducted Die Ideale at Bülow's concert in Berlin on February 27 of that year, and there was then not a suspicion of opposition to work or composer.

Bülow after the first performance at Berlin advised Liszt to cut out the very last measures. "I love especially the thirds in the kettle-drums, as a[138] new and bold invention—but I find them a little too ear-boxing for cowardly ears.... I know positively that these eight last drumbeats have especially determined or rather emboldened the opposition to manifestation. And so, if you do not find positive cowardice in my request—put these two measures on my back—do as though I had had the impertinence to add them as my own. I almost implore this of you!"

In 1863 Bülow sent Louis Köhler his latest photograph, "Souvenir du 14 janvier, 1859." It represents him standing, baton in hand; on a conductor's desk is the score of Die Ideale, and there is this inscription to Liszt: "'Sub hoc signo vici, nec vincere desistam.' to his Master, his artistic Ideal, with thanks and veneration out of a full heart. Hans v. Bülow, Berlin, October 22, 1863." Liszt wrote Bülow from Budapest (January 3, 1873): "You know I profess not to collect photographs, and in my house portraits do not serve as ornaments. At Rome I had only two in my chamber; yours—that of Die Ideale, 'Sub hoc signo vici, nec vincere desistam'—was one of them."

It appears that others wished to tinker the score of this symphonic poem. Bülow wrote the Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein (February 10, 1859) that he had anticipated the permission of Liszt, and had sent Die Ideale to Leopold Damrosch, who would have the parts copied and produce the work in the course of the month at Breslau. Carl Tausig produced Die Ideale at[139] Vienna for the first time, February 24, 1861, and in a letter written before the performance to Liszt he said: "I shall conduct Die Ideale wholly according to your wish, yet I am not at all pleased with Damrosch's variante; my own are more plausible, ... and Cornelius has strengthened me in my belief." When Die Ideale was performed again at Vienna, in 1880, at a concert of the Society of Music Friends, led by the composer, Eduard Hanslick based his criticism on the "witty answer" made by Berthold Auerbach to a noble dame who asked him what he thought of Liszt's compositions. He answered by putting another question: "What would you think if Ludwig Devrient, after he had played Shakespeare, Schiller, and Goethe with the complete mastery of genius, had said to himself in his fiftieth year: 'Why should I not be able also to write what I play so admirably? I'll be no longer a play actor; henceforth I'll be a tragic poet'?"

Die Ideale was performed for the first time in England at a concert at the Crystal Palace, April 16, 1881, with August Manns conductor.

This is C. A. Barry's answer to the question, Why was Liszt obliged to invent the term symphonic poem?

It may be explained that finding the symphonic form, as by rule established, inadequate for the purposes of poetic music, which has for its aim the reproduction and re-enforcement of the emotional essence of dramatic scenes, as they are embodied in poems or pictures, he felt himself constrained[140] to adopt certain divergences from the prescribed symphonic form, and, for the new art-form thus created, was consequently obliged to invent a more appropriate title than that of "symphony," the formal conditions of which this would not fulfil. The inadequateness of the old symphonic form for translating into music imaginative conceptions arising from poems or pictures, and which necessarily must be presented in a fixed order, lies in its "recapitulation" section. This Liszt has dropped; and the necessity of so doing is apparent. Hence he has been charged with formlessness. In justification, therefore, of his mode of procedure, it may be pointed out to those of his critics who regard every divergence from the established form as tending to formlessness, that the form which he has devised for his symphonic poems in the main differs less from the established form than at first sight appears. A comparison of the established form of the so-called classical period with that devised by Liszt will make this apparent.

The former may be described as consisting of (1) the exposition of the principal subjects; (2) their development; and (3) their recapitulation. For this Liszt has substituted (1) exposition, (2) development, and (3) further development; or, as Wagner has tersely expressed it, "nothing else but that which is demanded by the subject and its expressible development." Thus, though from sheer necessity, rigid formality has been sacrificed to truthfulness, unity and consistency are[141] as fully maintained as upon the old system, but by a different method, the reasonableness of which cannot be disputed.


Franz Liszt as a composer was born too soon. Others plucked from his amiable grasp the fruits of his originality. When Stendhal declared in 1830 that it would take the world fifty years to comprehend his analytic genius he was a prophet, indeed, for about 1880, his work was felt by writers of that period, Paul Bourget and the rest, and lived again in their pages. But poor, wonderful Liszt, Liszt whose piano playing set his contemporaries to dancing the same mad measure we recognise in these days, Liszt the composer had to knock unanswered at many critical doors for a bare recognition of his extraordinary merits.

One man, a poor, struggling devil, a genius of the footlights, wrote him encouraging words, not failing to ask for a dollar by way of compensating postscript. Richard Wagner discerned the great musician behind the virtuoso in Liszt, discerned it so well that, fearing others would not, he appropriated in a purely fraternal manner any of Liszt's harmonic, melodic, and orchestral ideas that happened to suit him. So heavily indebted was he to the big-hearted Hungarian that he married his daughter Cosima, thus keeping in the family a "Sacred Fount"—as Henry James[142] would say—of inspiration. Wagner not only borrowed Liszt's purse, but also his themes.

Nothing interests the world less than artistic plagiarism. If the filching be but cleverly done, the setting of the stolen gems individual, who cares for the real creator! He may go hang, or else visit Bayreuth and enjoy the large dramatic style in which his themes are presented. Liszt preferred the latter way; besides, Wagner was his son-in-law. A story is told that Wagner, appreciating the humour of his Alberich-like explorations in the Liszt scores, sat with his father-in-law at the first Ring rehearsals in 1876, and when Sieglinde's dream words "Kehrte der Vater nun heim" began, Wagner nudged Liszt, exclaiming: "Now, papa, comes a theme which I got from you." "All right," was the ironic answer, "then one will at least hear it."

This theme, which may be found on page 179 of Kleinmichael's piano score, appears at the beginning of Liszt's Faust Symphony. Wagner had heard it at a festival of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Musik Verein in 1861. He liked it so well that he cried aloud: "Music furnishes us with much that is beautiful, but this music is divinely beautiful!"

Liszt was already a revolutionist when Wagner published his sonata Op. 1, with its echoes of Haydn and Mozart. The Revolutionary Symphony still survives in part in Liszt's eighth symphonic poem. These two early works when compared show who was the real path breaker.[143] Compare Orpheus and Tristan and Isolde; the Faust Symphony and Tristan; Bénédiction de Dieu and Isolde's Liebestod; Die Ideale and Der Ring—Das Rheingold in particular; Invocation and Parsifal; Battle of the Huns and Kundry-Ritt; The Legend of Saint Elizabeth and Parsifal, Excelsior and Parsifal.

The principal theme of the Faust Symphony may be heard in Die Walküre, and one of its most characteristic themes appears, note for note, as the "glance" motive in Tristan. The Gretchen motive in Wagner's Eine Faust Ouverture is derived from Liszt, and the opening theme of the Parsifal prelude follows closely the earlier written Excelsior of Liszt.

All this to reassure timid souls who suspect Liszt of pilfering. In William Mason's Memories of a Musical Life is a letter sent to the American pianist, bearing date of December 14, 1854, in which the writer, Liszt, says, "Quite recently I have written a long symphony in three parts, called Faust [without text or vocal parts] in which the horrible measures 7-8, 7-4, 5-4 alternate with common time and 3-4." And Liszt had already finished his Dante Symphony. Wagner finished the full score of Rheingold in 1854, that of Die Walküre in 1856; the last act of Tristan was ended in 1859. The published correspondence of the two men prove that Wagner studied the manuscripts of Liszt's symphonic poems carefully, and, as we must acknowledge, with wonderful assimilative discrimination. Liszt was the[144] loser, the world of dramatic music the gainer thereby.

Knowing these details we need not be surprised at the Wagnerian—alas, it may be the first in the field who wins!—colour, themes, traits of instrumentation, individual treatment of harmonic progressions that abound in the symphony which Mr. Paur read for us so sympathetically. For example, one astounding transposition—let us give the theft a polite musical name—occurs in the second, the Gretchen, movement where Siegfried, disguised as Hagen, appears in the Liszt orchestra near the close.

You rub your eyes as you hear the fateful chords, enveloped in the peculiar green and sinister light we so admire in Gotterdämmerung. Even the atmosphere is abducted by Wagner. It is all magnificent, this Nietzsche-like seizure of the weaker by the stronger man.

To search further for these parallelisms might prove disquieting. Suffice to say that the beginnings of Wagner from Rienzi to Parsifal may be found deposited nugget-wise in this Lisztian Golconda. The true history of Liszt as composer has yet to be written; his marvellous versatility—he overflowed in every department of his art—his industry are memorable. Richard Wagner's dozen music-dramas, ten volumes of prose polemics and occasional orchestral pieces make no better showing when compared to the labours of his brain-and-money-banker, Franz Liszt.

Nor was Wagner the only one of the Forty[145] Thieves who visited this Ali Baba cavern. If Liszt learned much from Chopin, Meyerbeer—the duo from the fourth act of Huguenots is in the Gretchen section—and Berlioz, the younger men, Tschaikowsky, Rubinstein, and Richard Strauss, have simply polished white and bare the ribs of the grand old mastodon of Weimar.

Faust is not a symphony. (Query: What is the symphonic archetype?) Rather is it a congeries of symphonic moods, structurally united by emotional intimacy and occasional thematic concourse. The movements are respectively labelled Faust, Gretchen, and Mephistopheles, the task, an impossibly tremendous one, being the embodiment in tones of the general characteristics of Goethe's poetic-philosophic master-work.

Therefore, discarding critical crutches, it is best to hear the composition primarily as absolute music. We know that it is in C minor; that the four leading motives may typify intellectual doubt, striving, longing, and pride—the last in a triumphant E major; that the Gretchen music—too lengthy—is replete with maidenly sweetness overshadowed by the masculine passion of Faust (and also his theme); that in the Mephistopheles Liszt appears in his most characteristic pose—Abbé's robe tucked up, Pan's hoofs showing, and the air charged with cynical mockeries and travesties of sacred love and ideals (themes are topsy-turvied à la Berlioz); and that at the close this devil's dance is transformed by the great comedian-composer into a mystic chant with music[146] celestial in its white-robed purities; Goethe's words, "Alles Vergängliche," ending with the consoling "Das Ewig weiblich zieht uns hinan."

But the genius of it all! The indescribable blending of the sensuous, the mystic, the diabolic; the master grasp on the psychologic development—and the imaginative musical handling of themes in which every form, fugal, lyric, symphonic, latter-day poetic-symphonic, is juggled with in Liszt's transcendental manner. The Richard Strauss scores are structurally more complex, while, as painters, Wagner, Tschaikowski, and Strauss outpoint Liszt at times. But he is Heervater Wotan the Wise, or, to use a still more expressive German term, he is the Urquell of young music, of musical anarchy—an anarchy that traces a spiritual air-route above certain social tendencies of this century.

Nevertheless it must be confessed that there are some dreary moments in the Faust.


The first sketches of this symphony were made during Liszt's stay at the country house of the Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein at Woronice, October, 1847—February, 1848. The symphony was finished in 1855, and the score was published in 1858. The first performance was at Dresden on November 7, 1857, under the[147] direction of Wilhelm Fischer. The first part, Inferno, was produced in Boston at a Philharmonic Concert, Mr. Listemann conductor, November 19, 1880. The whole symphony was performed at Boston at a Symphony Concert, Mr. Gericke conductor, February 27, 1886.

The work is scored for 3 flutes (one interchangeable with piccolo), 2 oboes, cor anglais, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, bass tuba, 2 sets of kettle-drums, cymbals, bass drum, gong, 2 harps, harmonium, strings, and chorus of female voices. The score is dedicated to Wagner: "As Virgil led Dante, so hast thou led me through the mysterious regions of tone-worlds drunk with life. From the depths of my heart I cry to thee: 'Tu se lo mio maestro, e 'l mio autore!' and dedicate in unalterable love this work. Weimar, Easter, '59."

I. Inferno: Lento, 4-4.

Per me si va nella città dolente:
Per me si va nell' eterno dolore:
Per me si va tra la perduta gente!
Through me the way is to the city dolent;
Through me the way is to eternal dole;
Through me the way among the people lost.

These words, read by Dante as he looked at the gate of hell, are thundered out by trombones, tuba, double basses, etc.; and immediately after trumpets and horn make the dreadful proclamation[148] (C-sharp minor): "Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch' entrate" ("All hope abandon, ye who enter in.") Liszt has written the Italian lines under the theme in the score. The two "Hell motives" follow, the first a descending chromatic passage in the lower strings against roll of drums, the second given to bassoons and violas. There is illustration of Dante's lines that describe the "sighs, complaints, and ululations loud":—

Languages diverse, horrible dialects,
Accents of anger, words of agony,
And voices high and hoarse, with sound of hands,
Made up a tumult that goes whirling on
Forever in that air forever black,
Even as the sand doth, when the whirlwind breathes.

The Allegro frenetico, 2-2, in the development paints the madness of despair, the rage of the damned. Again there is the cry, "All hope abandon" (trumpets, horns, trombones, tuba). There is a lull in the orchestral storm. Quasi Andante, 5-4. Harps, flutes, violins, a recitative of bass clarinet and two clarinets lead to the episode of Francesca da Rimini and Paolo. The cor anglais sings the lamentation:—

There is no greater sorrow
Than to be mindful of the happy time
In misery.

Before the 'cello takes up the melody sung by the clarinet, the Lasciate theme is heard (muted[149] horn, solo,) and then in three tempo, Andante amoroso, 7-4, comes the love duet, which ends with the Lasciate motive. A harp cadenza brings the return to the first allegro tempo, in which the Lasciate theme in combination with the two Hell motives is developed with grotesque and infernal orchestration. There is this remark in the score: "This whole passage should be understood as sardonic, blasphemous laughter and most sharply defined as such." After the repetition of nearly the whole of the opening section of the allegro the Lasciate theme is heard fff.

II. Purgatorio and Magnificat. The section movement begins Andante con moto, D major, 4-4. According to the composer there is the suggestion of a vessel that sails slowly over an unruffled sea. The stars begin to glitter, there is a cloudless sky, there is a mystic stillness. Over a rolling figuration is a melody first for horn, then oboe, the Meditation motive. This period is repeated a half-tone higher. The Prayer theme is sung by 'cello, then by first violin. There is illustration of Dante's tenth canto, and especially of the passage where the sinners call to remembrance the good that they did not accomplish. This remorseful and penitent looking-back and the hope in the future inspired Liszt, according to his commentator, Richard Pohl, to a fugue based on a most complicated theme. After this fugue the gentle Prayer and Repentance melodies are heard. Harp chords established the rhythm of the Magnificat (three[150] flutes ascending in chords of E-flat). This motive goes through sundry modulations. And now an unseen chorus of women, accompanied by harmonium, sings, "Magnificat anima mea Dominum et exultavit spiritus meus, in Deo salutari meo" (My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour). A solo voice, that of the Mater Gloriosa, repeats the song. A short choral passage leads to "Hosanna Halleluja." The final harmonies are supposed to illustrate the passage in the twenty-first canto of the Paradiso:—

I saw rear'd up,
In colour like to sun-illumined gold,
A ladder, which my ken pursued in vain,
So lofty was the summit; down whose steps
I saw the splendours in such multitude
Descending, every light in heaven, methought,
Was shed thence.
H. F. Cary.

The "Hosanna" is again heard, and the symphony ends in soft harmonies (B major) with the first Magnificat theme.

Liszt wrote to Wagner, June 2, 1855: "Then you are reading Dante? He is excellent company for you. I, on my part, shall furnish a kind of commentary to his work. For a long time I had in my head a Dante symphony, and in the course of this year it is to be finished. There are to be three movements, 'Hell,' 'Purgatory,' and 'Paradise,' the two first purely instrumental, the last with chorus."


Wagner wrote in reply a long letter from London: "That 'Hell' and 'Purgatory' will succeed I do not call into question for a moment, but as to 'Paradise' I have some doubts, which you confirm by saying that your plan includes choruses. In the Ninth Symphony the last choral movement is decidedly the weakest part, although it is historically important, because it discloses to us in a very naïve manner the difficulties of a real musician who does not know how (after hell and purgatory) he is to describe paradise. About this paradise, dearest Franz, there is in reality a considerable difficulty, and he who confirms this opinion is, curiously enough, Dante himself, the singer of Paradise, which in his 'Divine Comedy' also is decidedly the weakest part." And then Wagner wrote at length concerning Dante, Christianity, Buddhism, and other matters. "But, perhaps, you will succeed better, and as you are going to paint a tone picture, I might almost predict your success, for music is essentially the artistic, original image of the world. For the initiated no error is here possible. Only about the 'Paradise,' and especially about the choruses, I feel some friendly anxiety."

The next performance of the symphony in Boston was May 1, 1903, again under the direction of Mr. Gericke. Mr. Philip Hale furnished the notes for the analytical programme. Richard Pohl, whose critical annotations were prompted and approved by Liszt, points out that a composer worthy of a theme like Faust must be something[152] more than a tone-composer: his concern ought to be with something that neither the word with its concrete definiteness can express, nor form and colour can actually realise, and this something is the world of the profoundest and most intimate feelings that unveil themselves to man's mind only in tones. None but the tone poet can render the fundamental moods. But in order to seize them in their totality, he must abstract from the material moments of Dante's epic, and can at most allude to few of them. On the other hand, he must also abstract from the dramatic and philosophical elements. These were Liszt's views on the treatment of the subject.

The Dante idea had obsessed Liszt for years. In 1847 he had planned musical illustrations of certain scenes from the epic with the aid of the newly-invented Diorama. This plan was never carried out. The Fantasia quasi-sonata for pianoforte (Années de Pèlerinage), suggested by a poem of Victor Hugo, "Après une lecture de Dante," is presumably a sketch; it is full of fuliginous grandeur and whirling rhythms. Composed of imagination and impulse, his mind saturated with contemporary literature, Liszt's genius, as Dannreuther declares, was one that could hardly express itself save through some other imaginative medium. He devoted his extraordinary mastery of instrumental technique to the purposes of illustrative expression; and, adds the authority cited, he was now and then inclined to do so in a manner that tends to reduce his music[153] to the level of decorative scene painting or affresco work. But the unenthusiastic critic admits that there are episodes of sublimity and great beauty in the Dante Symphony. The influence of Berlioz is not marked in this work.


In his The Symphony Since Beethoven, Felix Weingartner, renowned as a conductor and composer, has said some pertinent things of the Liszt symphonic works. It must not be forgotten that he was a pupil of the Hungarian composer. He has been discussing Beethoven's first Leonora overture and continues thus:

"The same defects that mark the Ideale mark Liszt's Bergsymphonie, and, in spite of some beauties, his Tasso. Some other of his orchestral works, as Hamlet, Prometheus, Héroïde Funèbre, are inferior through weakness of invention. An improvisatore style, often passing into dismemberment, is peculiar to most of Liszt's compositions. I might say that while Brahms is characterised by a musing reflective element, in Liszt a rhapsodical element has the upper hand, and can be felt as a disturbing element in his weaker works. Masterpieces, besides those already mentioned, are the Hungaria, Festklänge the Hunnenschlacht, a fanciful piece of elementary weird power; Les Préludes, and, above all, the two[154] great symphonies to Faust and Dante's Divine Comedy. The Faust Symphony intends not at all to embody musically Goethe's poem, but gives, as its title indicates, three character figures, Faust, Gretchen and Mephistopheles. The art and fancy with which Liszt here makes and develops psychologic, dramatic variation of a theme are shown in the third movement. Mephistopheles, the 'spirit that denies,' 'for all that does arise deserves to perish,' is the principle of the piece.

"Hence, Liszt could not give it a theme of its own, but built up the whole movement out of caricatures of previous themes referring specially to Faust; and it is only stupid lack of comprehension that brought against Liszt, in a still higher degree than against Berlioz, the reproach of poverty of invention. I ask if our old masters made great movements by the manifold variation of themes of a few bars, ought the like to be forbidden to a composer when a recognisably poetic thought is the moving spring? Does not invention belong to such characteristic variation? And just this movement reveals to us most clearly Liszt's profound knowledge of the real nature of music. When the hellish Devil's brood has grown to the most appalling power, then, hovering in the clouds of glory, the main theme of the Gretchen movement appears in its original, untouched beauty. Against it the might of the devil is shattered, and sinks back into nothing. The poet might let Gretchen sink, nay, become a criminal; the musician, in obedience to the ideal, noble[155] character of his art, preserves for her a form of light. Powerful trombone calls resound through the dying hell-music, a male chorus begins softly Goethe's sublime words of the chorus mysticus, 'All that is transient is emblem alone,' and in the clearly recognised notes of the Gretchen theme a tenor voice continues, 'The ever-womanly draweth us up!' This tenor voice may be identified with Goethe's Doctor Marianus; we may imagine Gretchen glorified into the Mater Gloriosa, and recall Faust's words when he beholds Gretchen's image in the vanishing clouds:

'Like some fair soul, the lovely form ascends,
And, not dissolving, rises to the skies
And draws away the best within me with it.'

"So, in great compositions, golden threads spun from sunshine move between the music and the inspiring poetry, light and swaying, adorning both arts, fettering neither.

"Perhaps with still more unity and power than the Faust Symphony is the tone poem to Dante's Divine Comedy, with its thrilling representations of the torments of hell and the 'purgatorio,' gradually rising in higher and higher spheres of feeling. In these works Liszt gave us the best he could give. They mark the summit of his creative power, and the ripest fruit of that style of programme music that is artistically justified, since Berlioz.

"Outside of these two symphonies Liszt's orchestral works consist of only one movement and,[156] as you know, are entitled Symphonic Poems. The title is extremely happy, and seems to lay down the law, perhaps the only law that a composition must follow if it has any raison d'être. Let it be a 'poem,' that is, let it grow out of a poetic idea, an inspiration of the soul, which remains either unspoken or communicated to the public by the title and programme; but let it also be 'symphonic,' which here is synonymous with 'musical.' Let it have a form, either one derived from the classic masters, or a new one that grows out of the contents and is adapted to them. Formlessness in art is always censurable and in music can never win pardon by a programme or by 'what the composer was thinking.' Liszt's symphonic works show a great first step on a new path. Whoever wishes to follow it must, before all things, be careful not to imitate Liszt's weakness, a frequently remarkable disjointed conception, nor to make it a law, but to write compositions which are more than musical illustrations to programmes."

Rubinstein, though he had been intimate with Liszt at Weimar, and profiting by his advice, made no concealment of his aversion to the compositions. In his "Conversation on Music" he said: "Liszt's career as a composer from 1853 is, according to my idea, a very disappointing one. In every one of his compositions 'one marks design and is displeased.' We find programme music carried to the extreme, also continual posing—in his church music before God,[157] in his orchestral music works before the public, in his transcriptions of songs before the composers, in his Hungarian rhapsodies before the gipsies—in short, always and everywhere posing.

"'Dans les arts il faut faire grand' was his usual dictum, therefore the affectation in his work. His fashion for creating something new—à tout prix—caused him to form entire compositions out of a simple theme.... So: the sonata form—to set this aside means to extemporise a fantasia that is however not a symphony, not a sonata, not a concerto. Architecture is nearest allied to music in its fundamental principles—can a formless house or church or any other building be imagined? Or a structure, where the façade is a church, another part of the structure a railway station, another part a floral pavilion, and still another part a manufactory, and so on? Hence lack of form in music is improvisation, yes, borders almost on digression. Symphonic poems (so he calls his orchestral works) are supposed to be another new form of art—whether a necessity and vital enough to live, time, as in the case of Wagner's Music-Drama, must teach us. His orchestral instrumentation exhibits the same mastery as that of Berlioz and Wagner, even bears their stamp; with that, however, it is to be remembered that his pianoforte is the Orchestra-Pianoforte and his orchestra the Pianoforte-Orchestra, for the orchestral composition sounds like an instrumented[158] pianoforte composition. All in all I see in Berlioz, Wagner, and Liszt, the Virtuoso-Composer, and I would be glad to believe that their 'breaking all bounds' may be an advantage to the coming genius. In the sense, however, of specifically musical creation I can recognise neither one of them as a composer—and, in addition to this, I have noticed so far that all three of them are wanting in the chief charm of creation—the naïve—that stamp of geniality and, at the same time, that proof that genius after all is a child of humanity. Their influence on the composers of the day is great, but as I believe unhealthy."


Liszt wrote fifteen compositions for the pianoforte, to which he gave the name of Rhapsodies Hongroises; they are based on national Magyar melodies. Of these he, assisted by Franz Doppler, scored six for orchestra. There is considerable confusion between the pianoforte set and the orchestral transcriptions, in the matter of numbering. Some of the orchestral transcriptions, too, are transposed to different keys from the originals. Here are the lists of both sets.[159]

Original Set, for Pianoforte.

I.In E-flat major, dedicated to E. Zerdahely.
II.In C-sharp minor and F-sharp major, dedicated to Count Ladislas Teleki.
III.In B-flat major, dedicated to Count Leo Festetics.
IV.In E-flat major, dedicated to Count Casimir Eszterházy.
V.Héroïde élégiaque, in E minor, dedicated to Countess Sidonie Reviczky.
VI.In D-flat major, dedicated to Count Antoine d'Apponyi.
VII.In D minor, dedicated to Baron Fery Orczy.
VIII.In F-sharp minor, dedicated to M. A. d'Augusz.
IX.Le Carnaval de Pesth, in E-flat major, dedicated to H. W. Ernst.
X.Preludio, in E major, dedicated to Egressy Bény.
XI.In A minor, dedicated to Baron Fery Orczy.
XII.In C-sharp minor, dedicated to Joseph Joachim.
XIII.In A minor, dedicated to Count Leo Festetics.
XIV.In F minor, dedicated to Hans von Bülow.
XV.Rákóczy Marsch, in A minor.

Orchestral Set.

I.In F minor(No. 14 of the original set).
II.Transposed to D minor(No. 12   "   "   "   "   ).
III.Transposed to D major(No. 6   "   "   "   "   ).
IV.Transposed to D minor and G major(No. 2   "   "   "   "   ).
V.In E minor(No. 5   "   "   "   "   ).
VI.Pesther Carneval, transposed to D major(No. 9   "   "   "   "   ).

The dedications remain the same as in the original set.



August Spanuth, now the editor of the Signale in Berlin, wrote inter alia of the Rhapsodies in his edition prepared for the Ditsons:

"After Liszt's memorable visit to his native country in 1840 he freely submitted to the influence of the gipsy music. The catholicity of his musical taste, due to his very sensitive and receptive nature as well as his cosmopolitan life, would have enabled him to usurp the musical characteristics of any nation, no matter how uncouth, and work wonders with them. His versatility and resourcefulness in regard to form seemed to be inexhaustible, and he would certainly have been able to write some interesting fantasias on Hungarian themes had his affection for that country been only acquired instead of inborn. Fortunately his heart was in the task, and Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsodies not only rank among his most powerful and convincing works, but must also be counted as superior specimens of national music in general. It does not involve an injustice toward Haydn, Beethoven, and Schubert, who occasionally affected Hungarian peculiarities in their compositions, to state that it was Liszt who with his rhapsodies and kindred compositions started a new era of Hungarian music. 'Tunes' which heretofore served to amuse a motley crowd at the czardas on the 'Puszta' have through Liszt been successfully introduced into[161] legitimate music. And most wonderful of all, he has not hesitated to preserve all the drastic and coarse effects of the gipsy band without ever leaning toward vulgarity. Who, before Franz Liszt, would have dreamed of employing cymbal-effects in legitimate piano playing? Liszt, such is the power of artistic transfiguration, imitates the cymbal to perfection and yet does not mar the illusion of refinement; while, on the other hand, the cymbal as a solo instrument must still impress us as primitive and rude. Liszt did not conceive the Hungarian music with his outer ear alone, as most of his numerous imitators did. They caught but the outline, some rhythmical features and some stereotyped ornaments; but Liszt was able to penetrate to the very source of it, he carried the key to its secret in his Hungarian temperament.

"To speak of Hungarian folk-songs is hardly permissible since a song includes the words as well as the music. Hungary is a polyglot country, and a song belonging through its words, as well as its notes, to the vast majority of the inhabitants is therefore an impossibility. The Magyars, of course, claim to be the only genuine Hungarians, and since they settled there almost a thousand years ago and are still indisputably the dominating race of the country, their claim may remain uncontested. Even the fact that the Magyars are but half of the total of a strange mixture, made up of heterogeneous elements, would not necessarily render invalid any pretension that[162] their songs are the genuine Hungarian songs. But the proud Magyar will admit that Hungarian music is first and foremost gipsy music, Hungarian gipsy music. How much the Magyars have originally contributed to this music does not appear to be clear. Perhaps more research may lead to other results, but the now generally accepted conjecture gives the rhythmic features to the Magyars and the characteristic ornaments to the gipsies. It will probably not be denied that this presumption looks more like a compromise than the fruit of thorough scientific investigation. Furthermore, rhythm and ornaments are in Hungarian music so closely knit that it seems incomprehensible that they should have originated as characteristic features of two races so widely divergent. If this is so, however, we may hope that out of our own negro melodies and the songs of other elements of our population real American folk-music will yet after centuries develop, though it is to be feared that neither the negroes nor other inhabitants of the United States will be in a position to preserve sufficient naïveté, indispensable for the production of real folk-music. Otherwise the analogon is promising, the despised gipsy taking socially about the same position in Hungary as our own negro here.

"The Hungarian music as known to-day will impress everybody as a unit; so much so that its restrictions are obvious, and likely to produce a monotonous effect if too much of it is offered. Above all, this music is purely instrumental and[163] therefore different from all other folk-music. It is based, though not exclusively, on a peculiar scale, the harmonic minor scale with an augmented fourth. Some commentators read this scale differently by starting at the dominant. Thus it appears as a major scale with a diminished second and a minor sixth, a sort of major-minor mode. The latter scale can be found on the last page of Liszt's Fifteenth Rhapsody, where it runs from a to a, thus: a, b-flat, c-sharp, d, e, f, g-sharp and a. But for every scale of this construction a dozen of the former may be gathered in the Rhapsodies. While the notes are identical in both, the effect upon the ear is different, according to the starting note, just as the descending melodic minor scale is de facto the same as the relative major scale, but not in its effect. The austerity and acidity of the altered harmonic minor scale is the chief characteristic of the melodious and harmonic elements of Hungarian music. Imbued with a plaintive and melancholy flavour this mode will always be recognised as the gipsy kind. To revel in sombre melodies seems to be one half of the purpose of Hungarian music, and in logical opposition a frolicsome gaiety the other half. In the regular czardas, a rustic dance at the wayside inn on the Puszta, the melancholy lassan alternates in well-proportioned intervals with the extravagant and boisterous friska. The rhythm may be said to be a sort of spite-rhythm, very decisive in most cases, but most of the time in syncopation. This rhythm[164] proves conclusively that the origin of Hungarian music is instrumental, for even in cantabile periods, where the melody follows a more dreamy vein, the syncopations are seldom missing in the accompaniment. At every point one is reminded that the dance was father to this music, a dance of unconventional movements where the dancer seems to avoid the step which one expected him to take, and instead substitutes a queer but graceful jerk. Where actual jerks in the melody would be inopportune, the ornaments are at hand and help to prevent every semblance of conventionality.

"Liszt, of course, has widened the scope of these ornamental features considerably. His fertility in applying such ornaments to each and every musical thought he is spinning is stupendous. In all his nineteen rhapsodies—the Twentieth Rhapsody is still in manuscript—the style, form, constructive idea, and application of these ornaments are different, but every one is characteristic not only of Hungarian music in general, but of the rhapsody in particular.

"Both the syncopated rhythm and the rich ornamentation which naturally necessitate a frequent tempo rubato help to avoid the monotony which might result from the fact that Hungarian music moves in even rhythm only. Four-quarter and two-quarter time prevail throughout, while three-quarter and six-eight do not seem to fit in the rhythmic design of Hungarian music. Attempts have been made to introduce uneven[165] rhythm, but they were not successful. Where three-quarter and similar rhythm appears, the Hungarian spirit evaporates. Much more variety is available regarding the tempo, the original lassan and friska not being indispensable. A moderate and graceful allegretto is frequently used by Liszt, and he also graduates the speed of the brilliant finales as well as the languor of the introductions of his Rhapsodies."


"It is not known exactly when Liszt began to compose songs," writes Henry T. Finck in his volume on Songs and Song Writers. "The best of them belong to the Weimar period, when he was in the full maturity of his creative power. There are stories of songs inspired by love while he lived in Paris; and he certainly did write six settings of French songs, chiefly by Victor Hugo. These he prepared for the press in 1842. While less original in melody and modulation than the best of his German songs, they have a distinct French esprit and elegance which attest his power of assimilation and his cosmopolitanism. These French songs, fortunately for his German admirers, were translated by Cornelius. Italian leanings are betrayed by his choice of poems by Petrarca and Bocella; but, as already intimated his favourite poets are Germans: Goethe, Schiller, Heine, Hoffmann von Fallersleben, Uhland,[166] Rückert and others. Goethe—who could not even understand Schubert, and to whom Liszt's music would have been pure Chinese—is favoured by settings of Mignon's Lied (Kennst du das Land), Es war ein König in Thule, Der du von dem Himmel bist, Ueber allen Gipfeln ist Ruh, Wer nie sein Brod mit Thränen äss, Freudvoll und Leidvoll (two versions).

"Mignon was the second of his German songs, and it is the most deeply emotional of all the settings of that famous poem. Longing is its keynote; longing for blue-skyed Italy, with its orange groves, marble treasures and other delights. One of the things which Wagner admired in Liszt's music was 'the inspired definiteness of musical conception' which enabled him to concentrate his thought and feeling in so pregnant a way that one felt inclined to exclaim after a few bars: 'Enough, I have it all.' The opening bar of Mignon's Lied thus seems to condense the longing of the whole song; yet, as the music proceeds, we find it is only a prelude to a wealth of musical detail which colours and intensifies every word and wish of the poem.

"All of the six settings of Goethe poems are gems, and Dr. Hueffer quite properly gave each of them a place in his collection of Twenty Liszt Songs. Concerning the Wanderer's Night Song (Ueber allen Gipfeln ist Ruh), Dr. Hueffer has well said that Liszt has rendered the heavenly calm of the poem by his wonderful harmonies in a manner which alone would secure him a place[167] among the great masters of German song. 'Particularly the modulation from G major back into the original E major at the close of the piece is of surprising beauty.'

"For composers of musical lyrics Schiller wrote much fewer available poems than Goethe. But Schubert owed to him one of his finest songs, The Maiden's Lament, and next to him as an illustrator of Schiller I feel inclined to place Liszt, who is at his best in his settings of three poems from William Tell, The Fisher Boy, The Shepherd and The Alpine Hunter. Liszt, like Schubert, favours poems which bring a scene or a story vividly before the mind's eye, and he loves to write music which mirrors these pictorial features. Schubert's Mullerlieder seemed to have exhausted the possible ways of depicting in music the movements of the waters—but listen to the rippling arpeggios in Liszt's Fisher Boy, embodying the acquisitions of modern pianistic technic. The shepherd's song brings before our eyes and ears the flower meadows and the brooks of the peaceful Alpine world in summer, while the song of the hunter gives us dissolving views of destructive avalanches and appalling precipices, with sudden glimpses, through cloud rifts, of meadows and hamlets at dizzy depths below. Wagner himself, in the grandest mountain and cloud scenes of the Walküre and Siegfried, has not written more superbly dissonant and appropriate dramatic music than has Liszt in this exciting song."


The King of Thule and Lorely are masterpieces and contain in essence all the dramatic lyricism of modern writers, Strauss included.



This, the better known of Liszt's two pianoforte concertos, is constructed along the general lines of the symphonic poem—a species of free orchestral composition which Liszt himself gave to the world. The score embraces four sections arranged like the four movements of a symphony, although their internal development is of so free a nature, and they are merged one into another in such away as to give to the work as a whole the character of one long movement developed from several fundamental themes and sundry subsidiaries derived therefrom. The first of these themes [this is the theme to which Liszt used to sing, "Das versteht ihr alle nicht!" but, according to Von Bülow and Ramann, "Ihr könnt alle nichts!"] appears at the outset, being given out by the strings with interrupting chords of wood-wind and brass allegro maestoso leading at once to an elaborate cadenza for the pianoforte. The second theme, which marks the beginning of the second section—in B major, Quasi adagio and 12-8 (4-4) time—is announced by the deeper strings (muted) to be taken up by the solo[169] instrument over flowing left-hand arpeggios. A long trill for the pianoforte, embellished by expressive melodies from sundry instruments of the orchestra, leads to the third section—in F-flat minor, allegretto vivace and 3-4 time—whereupon the strings give out a sparkling scherzo theme which the solo instrument proceeds to develop capriciously. This section closes with a pianissimo cadenza for the pianoforte following which a rhapsodical passage (Allegro animato) leads to the finale—in E-flat major, Allegro marziale animato and 4-4 time—in which the second theme reappears transformed into a spirited march.

The concerto was composed in 1848, revised in 1853, and published in 1857. It was performed for the first time at Weimar during the Berlioz week, February 16, 1855, when Liszt was the pianist and Berlioz conducted the orchestra. It is dedicated to Henri Litolff.

Liszt wrote at some length concerning this concerto in a letter to Eduard Liszt, dated Weimar, March 26, 1857:

"The fourth movement of the concerto from the Allegro marziale corresponds with the second movement, Adagio. It is only an urgent recapitulation of the earlier subject-matter with quickened, livelier rhythm, and contains no new motive, as will be clear to you by a glance through the score. This kind of binding together and rounding off a whole piece at its close is somewhat my own, but it is quite maintained and justified[170] from the stand-point of musical form. The trombones and basses take up the second part of the motive of the Adagio (B major). The pianoforte figure which follows is no other than the reproduction of the motive which was given in the Adagio by flute and clarinet, just as the concluding passage is a Variante and working up in the major of the motive of the Scherzo, until finally the first motive on the dominant pedal B-flat, with a shake-accompaniment, comes in and concludes the whole.

"The Scherzo in E-flat minor, from the point where the triangle begins, I employed for the effect of contrast.

"As regards the triangle I do not deny that it may give offence, especially if struck too strong and not precisely. A preconceived disinclination and objection to instruments of percussion prevails, somewhat justified by the frequent misuse of them. And few conductors are circumspect enough to bring out the rhythmic element in them, without the raw addition of a coarse noisiness, in works in which they are deliberately employed according to the intention of the composer. The dynamic and rhythmic spicing and enhancement, which are effected by the instruments of percussion, would in more cases be much more effectually produced by the careful trying and proportioning of insertions and additions of that kind. But musicians who wish to appear serious and solid prefer to treat the instruments of percussion en canaille, which must not make their[171] appearance in the seemly company of the symphony. They also bitterly deplore inwardly that Beethoven allowed himself to be seduced into using the big drum and triangle in the Finale of the Ninth Symphony. Of Berlioz, Wagner, and my humble self, it is no wonder that 'like draws to like,' and, as we are treated as impotent canaille amongst musicians, it is quite natural that we should be on good terms with the canaille among the instruments. Certainly here, as in all else, it is the right thing to seize upon and hold fast [the] mass of harmony. In face of the most wise proscription of the learned critics I shall, however, continue to employ instruments of percussion, and think I shall yet win for them some effects little known."

"This eulogy of the triangle," Mr. Philip Hale says, "was inspired by the opposition in Vienna when Pruckner played the concerto in that city (season of 1856-57). Hanslick cursed the work by characterising it as a 'Triangle Concerto,' and for some years the concerto was therefore held to be impossible. It was not played again in Vienna until 1869, when Sophie Menter paid no attention to the advice of the learned and her well-wishers. Lina Ramann tells the story. Rubinstein, who happened to be there, said to her: 'You are not going to be so crazy as to play this concerto? No one has yet had any luck with it in Vienna.' Bösendorfer, who represented the Philharmonic Society, warned her against it. To which Sofie replied coolly in her Munich[172] German: 'Wenn i dös nit spielen kann, speil i goar nit—i muss ja nit in Wien spielen' ('if I can't play it, I don't play at all—I must not play in Vienna'). She did play it, and with great success.

"Yet the triangle is an old and esteemed instrument. In the eighteenth century it was still furnished with metal rings, as was its forbear, the sistrum. The triangle is pictured honourably in the second part of Michael Prätorius' 'Syntagma musicum' (Part II., plate xxii., Wolffenbüttel, 1618). Haydn used it in his military symphony, Schumann in the first movement of his B-flat symphony; and how well Auber understood its charm!"


This concerto, as well as the one in E-flat, was probably composed in 1848. It was revised in 1856 and in 1861, and published in 1863. It is dedicated to Hans von Bronsart, by whom it was played for the first time January 7, 1857, at Weimar.

The autograph manuscript of this concerto bore the title, "Concert Symphonique," and, as Mr. Apthorp once remarked, "The work might be called a symphonic poem for pianoforte and orchestra, with the title, 'The Life and Adventures of a Melody.'"

The concerto is in one movement. The first and chief theme binds the various episodes into[173] an organic whole. Adagio sostenuto assai, A major, 3-4. The first theme is announced at once by wood-wind instruments. It is a moaning and wailing theme, accompanied by harmonies shifting in tonality. The pianoforte gives in arpeggios the first transformation of this musical thought and in massive chords the second transformation. The horn begins a new and dreamy song. After a short cadenza of the solo instrument a more brilliant theme in D minor is introduced and developed by both pianoforte and orchestra. A powerful crescendo (pianoforte alternating with string and wood-wind instruments) leads to a scherzo-like section of the concerto, Allegro agitato assai, B-flat minor, 6-8. A side motive fortissimo (pianoforte) leads to a quiet middle section. Allegro moderato, which is built substantially on the chief theme (solo 'cello). A subsidiary theme, introduced by the pianoforte, is continued by flute and oboe, and there is a return to the first motive. A pianoforte cadenza leads to a new tempo. Allegro deciso, in which rhythms of already noted themes are combined, and a new theme appears (violas and 'cellos), which at last leads back to the tempo of the quasi-scherzo. But let us use the words of Mr. Apthorp rather than a dry analytical sketch: 'From this point onward the concerto is one unbroken series of kaleidoscopic effects of the most brilliant and ever-changing description; of musical form, of musical coherence even, there is less and less. It is as if some magician[174] in some huge cave, the walls of which were covered with glistening stalactites and flashing jewels, were revealing his fill of all the wonders of colour, brilliancy, and dazzling light his wand could command. Never has even Liszt rioted more unreservedly in fitful orgies of flashing colour. It is monstrous, formless, whimsical, and fantastic, if you will; but it is also magical and gorgeous as anything in the Arabian Nights. It is its very daring and audacity that save it. And ever and anon the first wailing melody, with its unearthly chromatic harmony, returns in one shape or another, as if it were the dazzled neophyte to whom the magician Liszt were showing all these splendours, while initiating it into the mysteries of the world of magic, until it, too, becomes magical, and possessed of the power of working wonders by black art.'


Liszt's Todtentanz is a tremendous work. This set of daring variations had not been heard in New York since Franz Rummel played them years ago, under the baton of the late Leopold Damrosch, although d'Albert, Siloti and Alexander Lambert have had them on their programmes—in each case some circumstance prevented our hearing them here. Harold Bauer played them with the Boston Symphony, both in Boston and Brooklyn, and Philip Hale, in his[175] admirable notes on these concerts, has written in part: "Liszt was thrilled by a fresco in the Campo Santo of Pisa, when he sojourned there in 1838 and 1839. This fresco, The Triumph of Death, was for many years attributed to a Florentine, Andrea Orcagna, but some insist that it was painted by Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti."

The right of this fantastical fresco portrays a group of men and women, who, with dogs and falcons, appear to be back from the chase, or they may be sitting as in Boccaccio's garden. They are sumptuously dressed. A minstrel and a damsel sing to them, while cupids flutter about and wave torches. But Death flies swiftly toward them, a fearsome woman, with hair streaming wildly, with clawed hands. She is bat-winged, and her clothing is stiff with mire. She swings a scythe, eager to end the joy and delight of the world. Corpses lie in a heap at her feet—corpses of kings, queens, cardinals, warriors, the great ones of the earth, whose souls, in the shape of new born babes, rise out of them. "Angels like gay butterflies" are ready to receive the righteous, who fold their hands in prayer; demons welcome the damned, who shrink back with horror. The devils, who are as beasts of prey or loathsome reptiles, fight for souls; the angels rise to heaven with the saved; the demons drag their victims to a burning mountain and throw them into the flames. And next this heap of corpses is a crowd of beggars, cripples, miserable ones,[176] who beg Death to end their woe; but they do not interest her. A rock separates this scene from another, the chase. Gallant lords and noble dames are on horseback, and hunters with dogs and falcons follow in their train. They come upon three open graves, in which lie three princes in different stages of decay. An aged monk on crutches, possibly the Saint Macarius, points to this memento mori. They talk gaily, although one of them holds his nose. Only one of the party, a woman, rests her head on her hand and shows a sorrowful face. On mountain heights above are hermits, who have reached through abstinence and meditation the highest state of human existence. One milks a doe while squirrels play about him; another sits and reads; a third looks into a valley that is rank with death. And, according to tradition, the faces in this fresco are portraits of the painter's contemporaries.

How such a scene must have appealed to Liszt is easily comprehensible, and he put it into musical form by taking a dour Dies Irae theme and putting it through the several variations of the emotions akin to the sardonic. The composer himself referred to the work as "a monstrosity," and he must have realised full well that it would stick in the crop of the philistines. And it has. But Von Bülow stood godfather to the work and dared criticism by playing it.

As a work it is absolutely unconventional and follows no distinct programme, as does the Saint-Saëns[177] "clever cemetery farce." Its opening is gloomily impressive and the orchestration fearfully bold. The piano in it is put to various uses, with a fill of glissandi matching the diabolic mood. The cadenzas might be dispensed with, but, after all, the piece was written by Liszt, and cadenzas were a part of his nature. But to take this work lightly is to jest with values. The theme itself is far too great to be depreciated and the treatments of it are marvellous. Our ears rebel a bit that the several variations were not joined—which they might easily have been—and then the work would sound more en bloc. But, notwithstanding, it is one of the most striking of Liszt's piano compositions.


Richard Burmeister made an arrangement of Liszt's Concerto Pathétique in E minor by changing its original form for two pianos into a concerto for piano solo with orchestral accompaniment. Until now the original has remained almost an unknown composition; partly for the reason that it needed for a performance two first rank piano virtuosi to master the extreme technical difficulties and partly that Liszt had chosen for it such a rhapsodical and whimsical form as to make it an absolutely ineffective concert piece. Even Hans von Bülow tried in a new edition to improve some passages by making them more consistent, but without success.


However, as the concerto contains pathetic musical ideas, among the best Liszt conceived and is of too much value to be lost, Mr. Burmeister ventured to give it a form by which he hopes to make it as popular as the famous E-flat major concerto by the same composer. The task was a rather risky one, as some radical changes had to be made and the character of the composition preserved.

To employ a comparison, Mr. Burmeister cut the concerto like a beautiful but badly tuned bell into pieces and melted and moulded it again into a new form. Some passages had to change places, some others to be omitted, others again repeated and enlarged. Mr. Burmeister went even so far as to add some of his own passages—for instance, a cadence at the beginning of the piano part, the end of the slow movement and a short fugato introducing the finale. As to the new form, the result now comes very near to a restoration of the old classical form: Allegro—Andante—Allegro.

Mr. Burmeister has also made a very effective welding of Liszt's diabolic Mephisto Waltz for piano and orchestra which he has successfully played in Germany. He also arranged the Fifth Hungarian Rhapsody for piano and orchestra (Héroïde—Elégiaque). To Mr. Burmeister I am indebted for valuable information regarding his beloved master Liszt, with whom he studied in Weimar, Rome and Budapest.



"It is commonly assumed that the first musician who made a concert speech of the kind now so much in vogue was Hans von Bülow," says Mr. Finck. "Probably he was the first who made such speeches frequently, and he doubtless made the longest on record, when, on March 28, 1892, he harangued a Philharmonic audience in Berlin on Beethoven and Bismarck; this address covers three pages of Bülow's invaluable Briefe und Schriften. The first concert speech, however, was made by that many-sided innovator, Franz Liszt, who tells about it in an amusing letter he wrote from Milan to the Paris Gazette Musicale, in 1837. It was about this time that he originated the custom of giving 'piano recitals,' as he called them; that is, monologues by the solo pianist, without assisting artist or orchestra. In Italy, where he first took to this habit, it was particularly risky, because the Italians cared for little besides operatic pomp, vocal display, and strongly spiced musical effect. For pianists, in particular, they had little or no use. In those days (and times have not changed), a pianist travelling in Italy was wise if, in the words of Liszt, he 'pined for the sun rather than for fame, and sought repose rather than gold.'

"He succeeded, nevertheless, in making the Italians interested in piano playing, but he had to stoop to conquer. When he played one of[180] his own études, a gentleman in the pit called out that he had come to the theatre to be entertained and not to hear a 'studio.' Liszt thereupon improvised fantasias on Italian operatic melodies, which aroused tumultuous enthusiasm. He also asked the audiences, after the fashion of the time, to suggest themes for him to improvise on or topics for him to illustrate in tones. One auditor suggested the Milan Cathedral, another the railway, while a third sent up a paper asking Liszt to discuss on the piano the question: 'Is it better to marry or remain a bachelor?' This was a little too much even for the pianist, who was destined to become the supreme master of programme music, so he made a speech. To cite his own words: 'As I could only have answered this question after a long pause, I preferred to recall to the audience the words of a wise man: "Whatever you do, marry or remain single, you will be sure to regret it." You see, my friend, that I have found a splendid means of rendering a concert cheerful when ennui makes it rather a cool duty than a pleasure. Was I wrong to say my Anch'io in this land of improvisation?'

"The operatic fantasias which Liszt first improvised for the Italians found great favour in other countries; so much so that eager publishers used to follow him from city to city, begging him to put them on paper, and allow them to print them. There are thirty-six of these fantasias in all, ranging from Sonnambula and Lucia to the operas of Meyerbeer, Verdi, and Wagner.[181] It has been the fashion among critics to sneer at them, but, as Saint-Saëns has said, there is much pedantry and prejudice in these sneers. In structure they are as artistic as the overtures to such operas as Zampa, Euryanthe, and Tannhäuser, which likewise are 'practically nothing but fantasias on the operas which they introduce.' Berlioz was the first to point out how, in these pieces, Liszt actually improves on the originals; in the Robert the Devil fantasia, for instance, his ingenious way of combining the Bertram aria of the third act with the aria of the ballet of nuns produced an 'indescribable dramatic effect.' What is more, these fantasias contain much of Liszt's own genius, not to speak of his wonderful pianistic idiom. He scattered his own pearls and diamonds among them lavishly."


The late Edward Dannreuther, who changed his opinion of Liszt, wrote a short introduction to his edition of the Transcendental Studies (Augener & Co.) which is of interest.

"The Etudes, which head the thematic catalogue of Liszt's works, show, better than anything else, the transformation his style has undergone; and for this reason it may be well to trace the growth of some of them. Etudes en douze exercices, par François Liszt, Op. 1, were published at Marseilles in 1827. They were written[182] during the previous year, Liszt being then under sixteen. The second set of Etudes, dédiées a Monsieur Charles Czerny, appeared in 1839, but were cancelled; and the Etudes d'exécution transcendante, again dedicated to Czerny, "en témoignage de reconnaissance et de respectueuse amitié de son élève," appeared in 1852. The now cancelled copy of the Etudes which Schumann had before him in 1839, when he wrote his brilliant article, shows these studies to be more extravagant and, in some instances, technically more difficult than even the final version. The germs of both the new versions are to be seen in the Op. 1 of 1827. Schumann transcribed a couple of bars from the beginning of Nos. 1, 5, 9, and 11, from both the new and old copies, and offered a few of his swift and apt comments. The various changes in these Etudes may be taken to represent the history of the pianoforte during the last half of the nineteenth century, from the 'Viennese Square' to the concert grand, from Czerny's Schule der Geläufigkeit to Liszt's Danse macabre. Czerny might have written the original exercise No. 1, but it would not have been so shapely a thing as Liszt's final version. The difference between the two versions of No. 1 is, however, considerably less than that which separates Nos. 2, 3, and 4 from their predecessors. If the earlier and the later versions of No. 3 in F and No. 4 in D minor were signed by different composers, the resemblance between them would hardly attract notice. Of No. 2 little remains as[183] it stood at first. Instead of a reduction there is an increase (38 to 102) in the number of bars. Some harmonic commonplaces which disfigure the original, as, for instance, the detour to C (bars 9-16), have been removed. The remainder is enlarged, so as to allow of more extensive modulation, and thus to avoid redundancy. A short introduction and a coda are added, and the diction throughout is thrown into high relief. Paysage, No. 3 in F, has been subjected to further alteration since Schumann wrote about it. In his article he commends the second version as being more interesting than the first, and points to a change of movement from square to triple time, and to the melody which is superadded, as improvements. On the other hand he calls an episode in A major 'comparatively trivial,' and this, it may be noticed, is omitted in the final version. As it now stands, the piece is a test study for pianists who aim at refinement of style, tone, and touch. The Etude entitled Mazeppa is particularly characteristic of Liszt's power of endurance at the instrument, and it exhibits the gradual growth of his manner, from pianoforte exercises to symphonic poems in the manner of Berlioz. It was this Etude, together perhaps with Nos. 7 (Vision), 8 (Wilde Jagd), and 12 (Chasse-neige), that induced Schumann to speak of the entire set as Wahre Sturm- und Graus-Etuden (Studies of storm and dread), studies for, at the most, ten or twelve players in the world. The original of No. 5, in B flat, is a mere trifle,[184] in the manner of J. B. Cramer—the final version entitled Feux follets is one of the most remarkable transformations extant, and perhaps the best study of the entire series, consistent in point of musical design and full of delicate technical contrivances. Ricordanza, No. 9, and Harmonies du soir, No. 11, may be grouped together as showing how a musical Stimmungsbild (a picture of a mood or an expression of sentiment) can be evoked from rather trite beginnings. Schumann speaks of the melody in E major, which occurs in the middle of the latter piece, as "the most sincerely felt"; and in the last version it is much improved. Both pieces, Ricordanza and Harmonies du soir, show to perfection the sonority of the instrument in its various aspects. The latter piece, Harmonies du soir in the first, as well as in the final version, appears as a kind of Nocturne. No. 10, again, begins as though it were Czerny's (a) and in the cancelled edition is developed into an Etude of almost insuperable difficulty (b). As finally rewritten, this study is possible to play and well worth playing (c).

"No. 12 also has been recast and much manipulated, but there is no mending of weak timber. We must also mention Ab-Irato, an Etude in E minor cancelled and entirely rewritten; three Etudes de concert (the second of which has already been mentioned as Chopinesque); and two fine Etudes, much later in date and of moderate difficulty, Waldesrauschen and Gnomentanz. The Paganini Studies, i.e., transcriptions in rivalry[185] with Schumann of certain Caprices for the violin by Paganini, and far superior to Schumann's, do not call for detailed comment. They were several times rewritten (final edition, 1852) as Liszt, the virtuoso, came to distinguish between proper pianoforte effects and mere haphazard bravura."

The first version of the Ab-Irato was a contribution to Fétis' and Moscheles' Méthode des Méthodes, Paris, 1842, where it is designated Morceau de Salon—Etude de Perfectionnement. The second version, Berlin, 1852, was presented as "entièrement revue et corrigée par l'Auteur" and called Ab-Irato (i.e. in a rage, or in a fit of temper). It exceeds the first version by 28 bars and is a striking improvement, showing the growth of Liszt's technic and his constant effort to be emphatic and to avoid commonplace.

No pianist can afford to ignore Liszt's Etudes—he may disparage them if he chooses, but he ought to be able to play them properly. We play the three B's, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, each from a somewhat different point of view. But these great men have this in common, that in each case, yet in a different degree, when we play their music we address the hearer's intellect rather than his nervous sensibility—though the latter is never excluded. With Liszt and his pupils the appeal is, often and without disguise, rather an appeal to the hearer's nerves; but the methods employed are, in the master's case at least, so very clever, and altogether hors ligne,[186] that a musician's intelligence, too, may be delighted and stimulated.

Of the B-minor sonata Dannreuther has written:

"The work is a curious compound of true genius and empty rhetoric, which contains enough of genuine impulse and originality in the themes of the opening section, and of suave charm in the melody of the section that stands for the slow movement, to secure the hearer's attention. Signs of weakness occur only in the centre, where, according to his wont, Liszt seems unable to resist the temptation to tear passion to tatters and strain oratory to bombast. None the less the Sonata is an interesting study, eminently successful in parts, and well worthy the attention of pianists.

"Two Ballades, a Berceuse, a Valse-impromptu, a Mazurka, and two Polonaises sink irretrievably if compared with Chopin's pieces similarly entitled. The Scherzo und Marsch in D minor, an inordinately difficult and somewhat dry piece, falls short of its aim. Two legends, St. Francis of Assisi preaching to the birds, a clever and delicate piece, and St. Francis of Paula stepping on the waves, a kind of Etude, are examples of picturesque and decorous programme music.

"Liszt was also a master in the notation of pianoforte music—a very difficult matter indeed, and one in which even Chopin frequently erred. His method of notation coincides in the main with that of Beethoven, Berlioz, Wagner, and[187] Brahms. Let the player accurately play what is set down and the result will be satisfactory. The perspicuity of certain pages of Liszt's mature pianoforte pieces, such as the first two sets of Années de pèlerinage, Consolations, Sonata in B minor, the Concertos, the Danse macabre, and the Rhapsodies hongroises, cannot be surpassed. His notation often represents a condensed score, and every rest not absolutely necessary is avoided; again, no attempt is made to get a semblance of an agreement between the rhythmic division of the bar and the freedom of certain rapid ornamental passages, but, on the other hand, everything essential to the rendering of accent or melody, to the position of the hands on the keyboard, to the details of special fingering and special pedalling, is faithfully recorded. Thus the most complex difficulties, as in the Fantaisies Dramatiques, and even apparently uncontrollable effects of tempo rubato, as in the first fifteen Rhapsodies or the Etude Ricordanza, or the Tre Sonetti di Petrarca, are so closely indicated that the particular effect intended cannot be mistaken."


In his studies of Liszt's religious music, contributed to the Oxford History of Music, Edward Dannreuther, then no longer a partisan of Liszt, said of his mass:

"Among Liszt's many contributions to the répertoire of Catholic church music the Missa[188] solemnis, known as the Graner Festmesse, is the most conspicuous. Written to order in 1855, performed at the Consecration of the Basilica at Gran, in Hungary, in 1856, it was Liszt's first serious effort in the way of church music proper, and shows him at his best in so far as personal energy and high aim are concerned. 'More prayed than composed,' he said, in 1856, when he wanted to smooth the way for it in Wagner's estimation—'more criticised than heard,' when it failed to please in the Church of St. Eustache, in Paris, in 1866. It certainly is an interesting and, in many ways, a remarkable work.

"Liszt's instincts led him to perceive that the Catholic service, which makes a strong appeal to the senses, as well as to the emotions, was eminently suited to musical illustration. He thought his chance lay in the fact that the function assigned to music in the ceremonial is mainly decorative, and that it would be possible to develop still further its emotional side. The Church employs music to enforce and embellish the Word. But the expansion of music is always controlled and in some sense limited by the Word—for the prescribed words are not subject to change. Liszt, however, came to interpret the Catholic ritual in a histrionic spirit, and tried to make his music reproduce the words not only as ancilla theologica et ecclesiastica, but also as ancilla dramaturgica. The influence of Wagner's operatic method, as it appears in Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, and Das Rheingold, is[189] abundantly evident; but the result of this influence is more curious than convincing. By the application of Wagner's system of Leitmotive to the text of the mass, Liszt succeeded in establishing some similarity between different movements, and so approached uniformity of diction. It will be seen, for example, that his way of identifying the motive of the Gloria with that of the Resurrexit and that of the Hosanna, or the motive of the Sanctus and the Christie Eleison with that of the Benedictus, and also his way of repeating the principal preceding motives in the 'Dona nobis pacem,' especially the restatement, at its close, of the powerful motive of the Credo, has given to the work a musical unity which is not always in very clear accordance with the text.

"In the Hungarian Coronation Mass (Ungarische Krönungsmesse, 1866-7) Liszt aimed at characteristic national colour, and tried to attain it by persistently putting forward some of the melodic formulæ common to music of the Hungarian type which occurs in the national Rakoczy March and in numberless popular tunes—or an emphatic melisma known to everybody through the famous Rhapsodies. From beginning to end the popular Hungarian element is represented by devices of this kind in a manner which is always ingenious and well suited to the requirements of a national audience.

"But the style of the entire Mass is as incongruous as a gipsy musician in a church vestment—doubly strange to students of the present day,[190] who in Liszt's Rhapsodies and Brahms' Ungarische Tänze have become familiar with the rhythmical and melodic phrases of the Hungarian gipsy idiom, and who all along have known them in their most mundane aspect. Apart, however, from its incongruities of style, the Offertorium is a shapely composition with a distinct stamp of its own.

"Liszt's manner of writing for solo and choral voices is generally practical and effective. The voice-parts are carefully written so as to lessen the difficulties of intonation which the many far-fetched modulations involve, and are skilfully disposed in point of sonority. The orchestration, always efficient, is frequently rich and beautiful."

The opinion on this work, expressed in the Tageblatt by Dr. Leopold Schmidt (who used to be an uncompromising opponent of Liszt), is illuminative of the present status of the Liszt cult:

"The Graner Messe is the older of Liszt's two Hungarian festival masses, and was composed in 1855. The dispute as to its significance has lost its point in these days of emancipation from the embarrassments and prejudices of a former generation. In church music, as in everything else, we now allow every writer to express his personality, and a personality with the poetic qualities of Liszt wins our sympathies at the outset.... The dramatic insistence on diverse details diminishes the grandeur of the style; this method is out of place here, and is no adequate substitute for the might of the older form-language. All[191] the other peculiar traits of Liszt we find here: the pictorial element, the unconsciously theatrical (Wagner's influence is strongly felt), and the preponderating of the instrumental over the vocal. Nevertheless, the Graner Messe is probably Liszt's most important and most personal creation. The touching entreaty of the Kyrie, the beginning of the Gloria with its fabulously pictorial effect, the F-sharp major part of the Credo are beauties of a high order. The final portions are less inspired, the impression is weakened; but we learn to love this work for many tender lyric passages, for the original treatment of the text, and the genuine piety which pervades and ennobles it." This mass was sung at the Worcester festival in 1909 under the conductorship of Arthur Mees.

In St. Elisabeth, which is published as a concert oratorio, Dannreuther thinks that Liszt has produced something like an opera sacra. Lina Ramann said that when the work was performed with scenic accessories it came as a surprise to the composer. He took his cue from the order of Moritz v. Schwindt's frescoes, which illustrate the history of Elisabeth of Hungary in the restored hall of the Wartburg at Eisenach and planned six scenes for which Otto Roquette furnished the verse. The scenes are: the arrival of the child from Hungary—a bright sunny picture; the rose miracle—a forest and garden scene; the Crusaders—a picture of Medæival pageantry; Elisabeth's expulsion from the Wartburg—a[192] stormy nocturne; Elisabeth's death, solemn burial, and canonisation. Five sections belong to the dramatic presentation of the story. The sixth and last, the burial and canonisation, is an instrumental movement which serves as a prologue. The leitmotive, five in number, consist of melodies of a popular type.

William J. Henderson, who can hardly be accused of being a Lisztianer, wrote of the St. Elisabeth—after a performance some years ago in Brooklyn at the Academy of Music, under the conductorship of Walter Hall—as follows:

"To the great majority of the hearers, and to most of the performers, the work must have been a novelty, and had the attraction of curiosity. It is an early attempt at that dramatic narration, with an illusive 'atmosphere' supplied by the orchestra, which has been so extensively practised since its composition. If Liszt had had the advantage of his own experiment, and of the subsequent failures and successes of other composers in the same attempt, no doubt his work would have been more uniformly successful. As it is, no work which is heard in New York but once in twenty years can be called a popular success. It is true that it is worth a hearing oftener than that. True, also, that in Prague, with the advantage of costumes and scenery, it had a 'run' of some sixty nights. There is a strongly patriotic Magyar strain both in the book and in the music, which would account for popular success in Hungary, if not in Bohemia. But it must be[193] owned that the orchestral introduction is tedious, and much of the music of the first part a very dry recitative. In this respect, however, the work acquires strength by going. The Crusaders' March, which ends the first part, is so effective an orchestral number that it is odd it should never be done in the concert room. In the second part, much of the music allotted to Elisabeth is melodious and pathetic, the funeral scene and the funeral march are effective ensemble writing, and the last series of choruses, largely of churchly 'plain song' for the voices with elaborate orchestral embroidery, are impressive and even majestic."

In 1834 Liszt wrote to the Gazette Musicale and described his own and Berlioz's ideal of romantic religious music thus: "For want of a better term we may well call the new music Humanitarian. It must be devotional, strong, and drastic, uniting—on a colossal scale—the theatre and the church, dramatic and sacred, superb and simple, fiery and free, stormy and calm, translucent and emotional." Berlioz played up to this romantic programme even better than Liszt. Need we adduce the tremendous Requiem! Liszt's Graner-messe follows a close second.

Even if Liszt's bias was essentially histrionic his oratorio Christus (1863-1873) is his largest and most sustained effort and the magnum opus of his later years; you may quite agree with Dannreuther that its conception is Roman Catholic, devotional, and contemplative in a Roman[194] Catholic sense both in style and intended effect. It contains nothing that is not in some way connected with the Catholic ritual or the Catholic spirit; and, more than any other work of its composer, continues our critic, recognises and obeys the restrictions imposed by the surroundings of the Church service. The March of the Three Kings was inspired by a picture in the Cologne Cathedral. The Beatitudes and the Stabat Mater Dolorosa contain pathetic and poignant writing.

"Liszt's Thirteenth Psalm is of especial importance, because the epoch-making ecclesiastical music of the great composer is as yet so little known in America," declares Mr. Finck. "This is the real music of the future for the church, and it is inspired as few things are in the whole range of music. Liszt himself considered it one of his master-works. In one of his letters to Brendel, he says that it 'is one of those I have worked out most fully, and contains two fugue movements and a couple of passages which were written with tears of blood.' He had reason to write with tears of blood; he had given to the world a new orchestral form, had found new paths for sacred music, had done more as a missionary for his art than any other three masters, yet contemporaneous criticism was as bitter against him as if he had been an invading Hun. To him the Psalmist's words, 'How long shall they that hate me, be exalted against me?' had a meaning which could indeed be recorded only in 'tears of blood.' There is a pathos in this psalm that one[195] would seek for in vain in any other sacred work since Bach's St. Matthew's Passion. Liszt himself has well described it in the letter referred to (vol. II, p. 72): 'Were any one of my more recent works likely to be performed at a concert with orchestra and chorus, I would recommend this psalm. Its poetic subject welled up plenteously out of my soul; and besides I feel as if the musical form did not roam about beyond the given tradition. It requires a lyrical tenor; in his song he must be able to pray, to sigh, and lament, to become exalted, pacified, and biblically inspired. Orchestra and chorus, too, have great demands made upon them. Superficial or ordinarily careful study would not suffice.'"

This superb psalm, performed at the recent Birmingham Musical Festival, recalls to an English critic an interesting comment of the composer's in regard to that particular work. When Sir Alexander Mackenzie met Liszt in Florence several years ago, Sir Alexander said he was glad to tell him (Liszt) that a performance of his Thirteenth Psalm had been announced in England. A grim smile passed over the face of the great composer as he replied: "O Herr, wie lang?" ("O Lord, how long?"), the opening words of the psalm.

Mr. Richard Aldrich writes of the Angelus as follows:

"The little Angelus of Liszt is one of the very few pieces of chamber music that he composed—his genius was more at home upon the pianoforte,[196] in the orchestra and in the massive effects of choral singing. This piece has the character suggested in its subtitle: 'Prayer to the Guardian Angels,' and is an expression of the deeply religious, mystical side of his nature that led him to take holy orders in the Church of Rome. It was originally written for a string quartet, but the master added a fifth part for contrabass for a performance of it given in London in 1884 by a large string orchestra under the direction of his pupil, Walter Bache. It is given this afternoon in this form. The sense of yearning, of aspiration and of spiritual elevation toward celestial things is what the composer has aimed to embody in the music. After brief preluding on the muted strings (without the contrabass) the first violins take up a sustained cantabile that soon rises to a fervent climax, fortissimo, and breaking into triplets reaches the highest positions on the first violin, accompanied by full and vibrant harmony on the other instruments, as though publishing feelings of the utmost exaltation. There is a pause and the piece ends with the quiet feeling in which it began."

"A most welcome novelty is the Chorus of Angels, composed by Liszt in 1849 for the celebration of the hundredth birthday of Goethe," said Mr. Finck. "It is a setting of some of the most mystical lines in Faust, originally written for mixed voices and pianoforte, and subsequently arranged for women's voices and harp. Mr. Damrosch used Zoellner's arrangement for choir and orchestra,[197] and in this version it proved to be one of the most ethereal and fascinating of Liszt's creations.

"Now that Mr. Damrosch has begun to explore the stores of Liszt's choral music he will doubtless bring to light many more of these hidden treasures. In doing so he will simply follow in the footsteps of his father, who was one of Liszt's dearest friends, and who steadily preached his gospel in New York. Of this good work an interesting illustration is given in the eighth volume of Liszt's letters, issued a few weeks ago by Breitkopf & Härtel. On December 27, 1876, Liszt wrote to Leopold Damrosch:

"'Esteemed Friend: A few days ago I sent you the score of my Triomphe funèbre du Tasse. This funeral ode came into my mind on the street of Tasso's Lament and Triumph, in which I often walk on the way to my residence on the Monte Mario. The enclosed commentary on it—based on the Tasso biography of Pier Antonio Serassi—I beg you to print on your concert programme in a good English translation.

"'I trust that this work may be received in New York with the same favor that has been accorded to some of my other compositions. Amid the incessant European fault-finding, the American kindness gives me some consolation. Once more, I thank my esteemed friend Damrosch for his admirable interpretations of my works, and remain his cordially devoted

"'Franz Liszt.'"



When Prince Franz Rakoczy II (1676-1735), with his young wife, the Princess Amalie Caroline of Hesse, made his state entry into his capital of Eperjes, his favourite musician, the court violinist Michael Barna, composed a march in honour of the illustrious pair and performed it with his orchestra. This march had originally a festive character, but was revised by Barna. He had heard that his noble patron, after having made peace with the Emperor Leopold I in 1711, was, in spite of the general amnesty, again planning a national rising against the Austrian house. Barna flung himself at the prince's feet and with tears in his eyes, cried "O gracious Prince, you abandon happiness to chase nothing!" To touch his master's heart he took his violin and played the revised melody with which he had welcomed the prince, then happy and in the zenith of his power. Rakoczy died in Turkey, where he, with some faithful followers, among them the gipsy chief Barna, lived in exile.

This Rakoczy March, full of passion, temperament, sorrow, and pain, soon became popular among the music loving gipsies as well as among the Hungarian people. The first copy of the Rakoczy March came from Carl Vaczek, of Jaszo, in Hungary, who died in 1828, aged ninety-three. Vaczek was a prominent dilettante in music, who had often appeared as flautist before[199] the Vienna Court, and enjoyed the reputation of a great musical scholar. Vaczek heard the Rakoczy March from a granddaughter of Michael Barna, a gipsy girl of the name of Panna Czinka, who was famous in her time for her beauty and her noble violin playing throughout all Hungary. Vaczek wrote down the composition and handed the manuscript to the violinist Ruzsitska. He used the Rakoczy Lied as the basis of a greater work by extending the original melody by a march and a "battle music." All three parts formed a united whole.

The original melody composed by Michael Barna remained, however, the one preferred by the Hungarian people. In the Berlioz transcription the composition of Ruzsitska was partially employed. Berlioz worked together the original melody; that is, the Rakoczy Lied proper, and the battle music of Ruzsitska and placed them in his Damnation de Faust.

The Rakoczy March owes its greatest publicity to the above named Panna Czinka. The gipsy girl's great talent as a violinist was recognised by her patron, Joann von Lanyi, who had her educated in the Upper Hungarian city of Rozsnyo, where as a pupil of a German kapellmeister she received adequate musical instruction. When she was fifteen she married a gipsy, who was favourably known as the player of the viola de gamba in Hungary. With her husband and his two brothers, who also were good musicians, she travelled through all Hungary and attracted[200] great attention, especially by the Rakoczy March. Later her orchestra, over which she presided till her death, consisted only of her sons. Her favourite instrument, a noble Amati, which had been presented to her by the Archbishop of Czaky, was, in compliance with her wishes expressed in life, buried with her.

The Rakoczy March has meanwhile undergone countless revisions, of which the most important is beyond doubt that of Berlioz.

Berlioz composed this march while in Hungary, and had it performed there. Its first performance at Pesth led to a scene of excitement which is one of the best-remembered incidents in Berlioz's life. In consequence of its success, Berlioz was asked to leave the original score in Pesth, which he did; requesting, however, to be furnished with a copy without the Coda, as he intended to rewrite that section. The new Coda is the one always played now, the old one having indeed disappeared.

Liszt's arrangement of the same march, it may be remembered, led to a debate in the Hungarian Diet, in which M. Tisza spoke of the march as the work of Franz Rakoczy II. He was wrong; and so was Berlioz mistaken in saying that it is by an unknown composer. Its real author, according to a statement quoted by Liszt's biographer, Miss Ramann, was a military band master named Scholl. Liszt had really made his transcription in 1840, but refrained, out of respect for Berlioz, from publishing it till 1870.




The Russian councillor and the author of the well-known work, Beethoven et Ses Trois Styles, has contributed quite a small library of articles on Liszt, but as it is impossible to quote all of them, we select the following, which refers more particularly to his own intimacy and first acquaintance with the great musician:

"In 1828 I had come to Paris, at the age of nineteen, to continue my studies there, and, moreover, as before, to take lessons on the piano; now, however, with Kalkbrenner. Kalkbrenner was a man of Hebrew extraction, born in Berlin; and in Paris under Charles X he was the Joconde of the drawing-room piano. Kalkbrenner was a Knight of the Legion of Honour, and the fair Camille Mock, afterward Madame Pleyel, who was not indifferent to Chopin or Liszt, was the favourite pupil of the irresistible Kalkbrenner. I heard her, between Kalkbrenner and Onslow, play in the sextuor of the last named composer at the house of Baron Trémont, a tame musical[202] Mæcenas of that day in Paris. She played the piano as a pretty Parisian wears an elegant shoe. Nevertheless I was in danger of becoming Kalkbrenner's pupil, but my stars and Liszt willed it otherwise. Already on the way to Kalkbrenner (who plays a note of his now?), I came to the boulevards, and read on the theatre bills of the day, which had much attraction for me, the announcement of an extra concert to be given by Liszt at the Conservatoire (it was in November), with the piano concerto of Beethoven, in E flat, at the head. At that time Beethoven was, and not in Paris only, a Paracelsus in the concert room. I only knew this much of him, that I had been very much afraid of the very black-looking notes in his D-major trio and choral fantasia, which I had once and again looked over in a music shop of my native town, Riga, in which there was much more done in business than in music.

"If any one had told me as I stood there innocently, and learned from the factotum that there were such things as piano concertos by Beethoven, that I should ever write six volumes in German and two in French on Beethoven! I had heard of a septet, but the musician who wrote that was called J. N. Hummel.

"From the bill on the boulevards I concluded, however, that anyone who could play a concerto of Beethoven in public must be a very wonderful fellow, and of quite a different breed from Kalkbrenner, the composer of the fantasia, Effusio[203] Musica. That this Effusio was mere rubbish I already understood, young and heedless though I was.

"In this way, on the then faithful boulevards of Paris, I met for the first time in my life the name of Liszt, which was to fill the world. This bill of the concert was destined to exert an important influence on my life. I can still see, after so many years, the colours of the important paper—thick monster letters on a yellow ground—the fashionable colour at the time in Paris. I went straight to Schlesinger's, then the musical exchange of Paris, Rue Richelieu.

"'Where does Mr. Liszt live?' I asked, and pronounced it Litz, for the Parisians have never got any further with the name of Liszt than Litz.

"The address of Liszt was Rue Montholon; they gave it me at Schlesinger's without hesitation. But when I asked the price of Litz, and expressed my wish to take lessons from him, they all laughed at me, and the shopmen behind the counters tittered, and all said at once, 'He never gives a lesson; he is no professor of the piano!'

"I felt that I must have asked something very foolish. But the answer, no professor of the piano, pleased me nevertheless, and I went straightway to the Rue Montholon.

"Liszt was at home. That was a great rarity, said his mother, an excellent woman with a true German heart, who pleased me very much; her Franz was almost always in church, and no longer occupied himself with music at all. Those were[204] the days when Liszt wished to become a Saint-Simonist. It was a great time, and Paris the centre of the world. There lived Rossini and Cherubini, also Auber, Halévy, Berlioz and the great violinist, Baillot; the poet, Victor Hugo, had lately published his Orientales, and Lamartine was recovering from the exertion of his Méditations Poétiques. Georges Sand was not yet fairly discovered; Chopin not yet in Paris. Marie Taglioni danced tragedies at the Grand Opéra; Habeneck, a German conductor, directed the picked orchestra of the Conservatoire, where the Parisians, a year after Beethoven's death, for the first time heard something of him. Malibran and Sontag sang at the Italian Opéra the Tournament duet in Tancredi. It was in the winter of 1828-9 Baillot played quartets; Rossini gave his Guillaume Tell in the spring.

"In Liszt I found a thin, pale-looking young man, with infinitively attractive features. He was lounging, deep in thought, lost in himself on a broad sofa, and smoking a long Turkish pipe, with three pianos standing around him. He made not the slightest movement on my entrance, but rather appeared not to notice me at all. When I explained to him that my family had directed me to Kalkbrenner, but I came to him because he wished to play a concerto by Beethoven in public, he seemed to smile. But it was only as the glitter of a dagger in the sun.

"'Play me something,' he said, with indescribable satire, which, however, had nothing to[205] wound in it, just as no harm is done by summer lightning.

"'I play the sonata for the left hand (pour la main gauche principale), by Kalkbrenner,' I said, and thought I had said something correct.

"'That I will not hear; I don't know it, and don't wish to,' he answered, with increased satire and suppressed scorn.

"I felt that I was playing a pitiful part—doing penance, perhaps, for others, for Parisians; but I said to myself, the more I looked at this young man, that this Parisian (for such he seemed to be by his whole appearance) must be a genius, and I would not without further skirmishes be beaten off the field. I went with modest but firm step to the piano standing nearest to me.

"'Not that one,' cried Liszt, without in the least changing his half reclining position on the sofa; 'there, to that other one.'

"I stepped to the second piano. At that time I was absorbed in the 'Aufforderung zum Tanz'; I had married it for love two years before, and we were still in our honeymoon. I came from Riga, where, after the unexampled success of the 'Freischütz,' we had reached the piano compositions of Weber, which did not happen till long after in Paris, where the Freischütz was called Robin des Bois(!). I learnt from good masters. When I tried to play the first three A-flats of the Aufforderung, the instrument gave no sound. What was the matter? I played forcibly, and the notes sounded quite piano. I seemed to myself[206] quite laughable, but without taking any notice I went bravely on to the first entry of the chords; then Liszt rose, stepped up to me, took my right hand without more ado off the instrument, and asked:

"'What is that? That begins well!'

"'I should think so,' I said; 'that is by Weber.'

"'Has he written for the piano, too?' he asked with astonishment. 'We only know here the Robin des Bois.'

"'Certainly he has written for the piano, and more finely than any one!' was my equally astonished answer. 'I have in my trunk,' I added, 'two polonaises, two rondos, four sets of variations, four solo sonatas, one which I learned with Wehrstaedt, in Geneva, which contains the whole of Switzerland, and is incredibly beautiful; there all the fair women smile at once. It is in A flat. You can have no idea how beautiful it is! Nobody has written so for the piano, you may believe me.'

"I spoke from my heart, and with such conviction that I made a visible impression on Liszt. He answered in a winning tone: 'Now, pray bring me all that out of your trunk and I will give you lessons for the first time in my life, because you have introduced me to Weber on the piano, and also were not frightened at this heavy instrument. I ordered it on purpose, so as to have played ten scales when I had played one. It is an altogether impracticable piano. It was a sorry joke of mine. But why did you talk about Kalkbrenner,[207] and a sonata by him for the left hand? But now play me that thing of yours that begins so seriously. There, that is one of the finest instruments in Paris—there, where you were going to sit down first.'

"Now I played with all my heart the 'Aufforderung,' but only the melody marked wiegend, in two parts. Liszt was charmed with the composition. 'Now bring that,' he said; 'I must have a turn at that!'

"At our first lesson Liszt could not tear himself away from the piece. He repeated single parts again and again, sought increased effects, gave the second part of the minor in octaves and was inexhaustible in praise of Weber. With Weber's sonata in A flat Liszt was perfectly delighted. I had studied it in much love with Wehrstaedt at Geneva, and gave it throughout in the spirit of the thing. This Liszt testified by the way in which he listened, by lively gestures and movements, by exclamations about the beauty of the composition, so that we worked at it with both our heads! This great romantic poem for the piano begins, as is well known, with a tremolo of the bass on A flat. Never had a sonata opened in such a manner! It is as sunshine over the enchanted grove in which the action takes place. The restlessness of my master became so great over the first part of this allegro that even before its close he pushed me aside with the words, 'Wait! wait! What is that? I must go at that myself!' Such an experience one had[208] never met with. Imagine a genius like Liszt, twenty years old, for the first time in the presence of such a master composition of Weber, before the apparition of this knight in golden armour!

"He tried his first part over and over again with the most various intentions. At the passage in the dominant (E flat) at the close of the first part (a passage, properly speaking, the sonata has not; one might call it a charming clarinet phrase interwoven with the idea) Liszt said, 'It is marked legato. Now, would not one do it better pp. and staccato? Yet there is a leggieramente as well." He experimented in all directions. In this way it was given me to observe how one genius looks upon another and appreciates him for himself.

"'Now what is the second part of the first allegro like?' asked Liszt, and looked at it. It seemed to me simply impossible that any one could read at sight this thematic development, with octaves piled one on another for whole pages.

"'This is very difficult,' said Liszt, 'yet harder still is the coda,' and the combining of the whole in this close, here at this centrifugal figure (thirteenth bar before the end). The passage (in the second part, naturally in the original key of A flat), moreover, we must not play staccato; that would be somewhat affected; but we must also not play it legato; it is too thin for that. We'll do it spiccato; let us swim between the two waters.'


"If I had wondered at the fire and life, the pervading passion in the delivery of the first part by Liszt, I was absolutely astonished in the second part at his triumphant repose and certainty, and the self-control with which he reserved all his force for the last attack. 'So young, and so wise!' I said to myself, and was bewildered, absorbed, discouraged.

"In the andante of the sonata I learned in the first four bars more from Liszt than in years from my former good teachers. 'You must give out this opening just as Baillot plays a quartet; the accompanying parts consist of the detached semiquavers, but Baillot's parts are very good, and yours must not be worse. You have a good hand, and can learn it. Try it, it is not easy; one might move stones with it. I can just imagine how the hussars of the piano tear it to pieces! I shall never forget that it is through you I have learned to know the sonata. Now you shall learn something from me; I will tell you all I know about our instrument.'

"The demi-semiquaver figure in the bass (at the thirty-fifth bar of this andante) is heard only too often given out as a 'passage' for the left hand; the figure should be delivered caressingly—it should be an amorous violoncello solo. In this manner Liszt played it, but gave out in fearful majesty the outbursts of octaves on the second subject in C major, that Henselt calls the 'Ten Commandments'—an excellent designation. And now, as for menuetto capriccioso and rondo[210] of the sonata. How shall I describe what Liszt made of these genial movements on a first acquaintance? How he treated the clarinet solo in the trio of the menuetto, and the winding of the rondo? How Liszt glorified Weber on the piano; how like an Alexander he marched in triumphant procession with Weber (especially in the 'Concertstück') through Europe, the world knows, and future times will speak of it."


In the preface to Berlioz's published Correspondence, is the following account of Liszt's evenings with the great French composer and his first wife:

"The first years of their married life were full of both hardship and charm. The new establishment, the revenues of which amounted, to begin with, to a lump sum of 300 francs, was migratory—at one time in the Rue Neuve Saint-Marc, at another at Montmartre, and then in a certain Rue Saint-Denis of which it is impossible now to find trace. Liszt lived in the Rue de Province, and paid frequent visits to the young couple; they spent many evenings together, when the great pianist would play Beethoven's sonatas in the dark, in order to produce a greater impression. In his turn, Berlioz took up the cudgels for his friend in the newspapers to which he was accustomed to contribute—the Correspondent,[211] the Revue Européenne and, lastly, the Débats. How angry he became when the volatile Parisians attempted to espouse the cause of Thalberg against his rival! A lion showing his teeth could not have appeared more formidable. Death to him who dared to say Liszt was not the first pianist of all time, past, present, and to come! And when the critic enunciated any musical axiom as being beyond discussion, he really thought it so, for he never went against his own convictions, and bore himself in regard to mediocrities with a contempt savouring of rudeness. Liszt after all gave him back measure for measure, transcribing the Symphonie Fantastique, and playing at the numerous concerts which the young maestro gave during the winter with ever increasing success."

In 1830, after many repeated failures Berlioz won the much coveted "Prix de Rome" at the Paris Conservatoire, which entitled him to reside three years in Italy at the expense of the French Government. Before he started for the musical land of promise, Berlioz gave two concerts, and relates in his Memoirs the circumstances under which he first became acquainted with Liszt:

"On the day before the concert I received a visit from Liszt, whom I had never yet seen. I spoke to him of Goethe's Faust, which he was obliged to confess he had not read, but about which he soon became as enthusiastic as myself. We were strongly attracted to one another, and[212] our friendship has increased in warmth and depth ever since. He was present at the concert, and excited general attention by his applause and enthusiasm."

When Berlioz gave his first concert in Paris, after his return from Italy, he wrote:

"Weber's Concertstück, played by Liszt with the overpowering vehemence which he always puts into it, obtained a splendid success. Indeed I so far forgot myself, in my enthusiasm for Liszt, as publicly to embrace him on the stage—a stupid impropriety which might have covered us both with ridicule had the spectators been disposed to laugh."

Liszt's and Berlioz's intimacy was renewed at Prague, as will be seen from the composer's account:

"I gave six concerts at Prague, either in the theatre or in Sophie's concert room. At the latter I remember to have had the delight of performing my symphony of Romeo and Juliet for Liszt for the first time. Several movements of the work were already known in Prague....

"That day, having already encored several pieces, the public called for another, which the band implored me not to repeat; but as the shouts continued Mr. Mildner took out his watch, and held it up to show that the hour was too far advanced to allow of the orchestra remaining till the end of the concert if the piece was played a second time, since there was an opera at 7 o'clock. This clever pantomime saved us. At[213] the end of the séance, just as I was begging Liszt to serve as my interpreter, and thank the excellent singers, who had been devoting themselves to the careful study of my choruses for the last three weeks and had sung them so bravely, he was interrupted by them with an inverse proposal. Having exchanged a few words with them in German, he turned to me and said: 'My commission is changed; these gentlemen rather desire me to thank you for the pleasure you have given them in allowing them to perform your work, and to express their delight at your evident satisfaction.'"

At a banquet in honour of Berlioz the composer says:

"Liszt was unanimously chosen to make the presentation speech instead of the chairman, who had not sufficient acquaintance with the French language. At the first toast he made me, in the name of the assembly, an address at least a quarter of an hour long, with a warmth of spirit, an abundance of ideas and a choice of expressions, which excited the envy of the orators present, and by which I was profoundly touched. Unhappily, if he spoke well, he also drank well—the treacherous cup inaugurated by the convives held such floods of champagne that all Liszt's eloquence made shipwreck in it. Belloni and I were still in the streets of Prague at 2 o'clock in the morning persuading him to wait for daylight before exchanging shots at two paces with a Bohemian who had drunk better than himself.[214] When day came we were not without anxiety about Liszt, whose concert was to take place at noon. At half-past eleven he was still sleeping; at last some one awoke him; he jumped into a cab, reached the hall, was received with three rounds of applause and played as I believe he has never played in his life before."

Berlioz, in his À Travers Chants, relates the following incident:

"One day Liszt was playing the adagio of Beethoven's sonata in C-sharp minor before a little circle of friends, of which I formed part, and followed the manner he had then adopted to gain the applause of the fashionable world. Instead of those long sustained notes, and instead of strict uniformity of rhythm, he overlaid it with trills and the tremolo. I suffered cruelly, I must confess—more than I have ever suffered in hearing our wretched cantatrices embroider the grand air in the 'Freischütz'; for to this torture was added my distress at seeing an artist of his stamp falling into the snare which, as a rule, only besets mediocrities. But what was to be done? Liszt was then like a child, who when he stumbles, likes to have no notice taken, but picks himself up without a word and cries if anybody holds him out a hand. He had picked himself up splendidly. A few years afterward one of those men of heart and soul that artists are always happy to come across (Mr. Legouvé), had invited a small party of friends—I was one of them.

"Liszt came during the evening, and finding[215] the conversation engaged on the valuable piece by Weber, and why when he played it at a recent concert he had received a rather sorry reception, he went to the piano to reply in this manner to Weber's antagonists. The argument was unanswerable, and we were obliged to acknowledge that a work of genius was misunderstood. As he was about to finish, the lamp which lighted the apartment appeared very soon to go out; one of us was going to relight it: 'Leave it alone,' I said to him; 'if he will play the adagio of Beethoven's sonata in C-sharp minor this twilight will not spoil it.'

"'Willingly,' said Liszt; 'but put the lights out altogether; cover the fire that the obscurity may be more complete.' Then, in the midst of darkness, after a moment's pause, rose in its sublime simplicity the noble elegy he had once so strangely disfigured; not a note, not an accent was added to the notes and the accents of the author. It was the shade of Beethoven, conjured up by the virtuoso to whose voice we were listening. We all trembled in silence, and when the last chord had sounded no one spoke—we were in tears."

Berlioz in a letter to Liszt wrote as follows to the pianist on his playing:

"On my return from Heckingen I stayed some days longer at Stuttgart, a prey to new perplexities. You, my dear Liszt, know nothing of these uncertainties; it matters little to you whether the town to which you go has a good orchestra, whether the theatre be open or the manager place it at[216] your disposal, etc. Of what use indeed would such information be to you? With a slight modification of the famous mot of Louis XIV you may say with confidence, I myself am orchestra, chorus, and conductor. I make my piano dream or sing at pleasure, re-echo with exulting harmonies and rival the most skilful bow in swiftness. Neither theatre, nor long rehearsals, for I want neither musicians nor music.

"Give me a large room and a grand piano, and I am at once master of a great audience. I have but to appear before it to be overwhelmed with applause. My memory awakens, my fingers give birth to dazzling fantasias, which call forth enthusiastic acclamations. I have but to play Schubert's Ave Maria or Beethoven's Adelaïde to draw every heart to myself, and make each one hold his breath. The silence speaks; admiration is intense and profound. Then come the fiery shells, a veritable bouquet of grand fireworks, the acclamations of the public, flowers and wreaths showered upon the priest of harmony as he sits quivering on his tripod, beautiful young women kissing the hem of his garment with tears of sacred frenzy; the sincere homage of the serious, the feverish applause forced from the envious, the intent faces, the narrow hearts amazed at their own expansiveness. And perhaps next day the inspired young genius departs, leaving behind him a trail of dazzling glory and enthusiasm. It is a dream! It is one of those golden dreams inspired by the name of Liszt or Paganini.[217] But the composer who, like myself, must travel to make his work known, has, on the contrary, to nerve himself to a task which is never ending, still beginning, and always unpleasant."

The well-known dramatist, Scribe, once wrote a libretto for Berlioz, but in consequence of some difficulty with the director of the Paris Grand Opéra he demanded the return of the work, and handed it over to Gounod, who subsequently wrote the music. Berlioz devotes some space to these proceedings in his Memoirs, and in the course of his remarks says:

"When I saw Scribe, on my return to Paris, he seemed slightly confused at having accepted my offer, and taken back my poem. 'But, as you know,' said he, 'Il faut que le prêtre vive de l'autêl.' Poor fellow! he could not, in fact, have waited; he has only some 200,000 or 300,000 per annum, a house in town, three country houses etc. Liszt made a capital pun when I repeated Scribe's speech to him. 'Yes,' said he, 'by his hotel'—comparing Scribe to an innkeeper."


D'Ortigue, who is better known as a theorist than a composer and musical critic, was a great admirer of Liszt, as may be seen by the following extract from his writings:

"Beethoven is for Liszt a god, before whom he bows his head. He considered him as a deliverer whose arrival in the musical realm has been illustrated[218] through the liberty of poetical thought, and through the abolishing of old dominating habits. Oh, one must be present when he begins with one of those melodies, one of those posies which have long been called symphonies! One must see his eyes when he opens them as if receiving an inspiration from above, and when he fixes them gloomily on the ground. One must see him, hear him, and be silent.

"We feel here only too well how weak is the expression of our imagination. He conquers everything but his nerves; his head, hands and whole body are in violent motion; in one word, you see a dreadfully nervous man agitatedly playing his piano!"


Baron Blaze de Bury, in a musical feuilleton contributed to the Revue des Deux Mondes, no doubt more in fun than ill feeling, wrote as follows on Liszt and his Hungarian sword:

"We must have dancers, songstresses, and pianists. We have enthusiasm and gold for their tour de force. We abandon Petrarch in the streets to bring Essler to the Capitol; we suffer Beethoven and Weber to die of hunger, to give a sword of honor to Mr. Liszt."

Liszt was furious when this met his eye, and wrote immediately a long letter to the editor of the Revue, of which the following is the essential passage:


"The sword which has been given to me at Pesth is a reward awarded by a nation under a national form. In Hungary—in this country of ancient and chivalrous manners—the sword has a patriotic significance. It is the sign of manhood par excellence; it is the arm of all men who have the right to carry arms. While six out of the most remarkable men of my country presented it to me, with the unanimous acclamations of my compatriots, it was to acknowledge me again as a Hungarian after an absence of fifteen years."


Oscar Commettant, in one of his works, gives the following satirical sketch of Liszt in the height of his popularity in the Parisian concert rooms:

"A certain great pianist, who is as clever a manager as he is an admirable executant, pays women at a rate of 25 frs. per concert to pretend to faint away with pleasure in the middle of a fantasia taken at such a rapid pace that it would have been humanly impossible to finish it. The pianist abruptly left his instrument to rush to the assistance of the poor fainting lady, while everybody in the room believed that, but for that accident, the prodigious pianist would have completed the greatest of miracles. It happened one night that a woman paid to faint forgot her cue and fell fast asleep. The pianist was performing Weber's Concertstück. Reckoning on the fainting of this[220] female to interrupt the finale of the piece, he took it in an impossible time. What could he do in such a perplexing cause? Stumble and trip like a vulgar pianist, or pretend to be stopped by a defective memory? No; he simply played the part which the faintress (excuse the word) ought to have acted, and fainted away himself. People crowded around the pianist, who had become doubly phenomenal through his electric execution, and his frail and susceptible organization. They carried him out into the greenroom. The men applauded as if they meant to bring down the ceiling; the women waved their handkerchiefs to manifest their enthusiasm, and the faintress, on waking, fainted, perhaps really, with despair of not having pretended to faint."


The once celebrated musical publisher and director of the Parisian Italian Opera season gives the following description of Danton's statuette of Liszt, which was exhibited in the Paris salon half a century ago:

"The pianist is seated before a piano, which he is about to destroy under him. His fingers multiply at the ends of his hands; I should think so—Danton made him ten at each hand. His hair like a willow floats over his shoulders. One would say that he is whistling. Now for the account. Liszt saw the statue, and made a grimace. He found that the sculptor had exaggerated[221] the length of his hair. It was a criticism really pulled by the hair. Danton knew it.

"But after Liszt had gone he went again to work and made immediately a second statuette. In this, one only sees a head of hair (the pianist is seen from the back) always seated before the piano. The head of hair, which makes one think of a man hidden behind, plays the piano absolutely like the first model. All the rest is the same."

Leon Escudier also relates an incident at one of Henri Herz's concerts:

"A piece for four pianos was to be played. Herz knew how to choose his competitors. The three other pianists were Thalberg, Liszt, and Moscheles. The room was crowded, as may be imagined. The audience was calm at first; but not without slight manifestations of impatience quite natural under the circumstances. They did not consider the regrettable habit that Liszt had, at this epoch, to make people wait for him. Punctuality, however, is the politeness of kings, and Liszt was a king of the piano. Briefly, the pianists gave up waiting for Liszt; but this resolution was not taken without a little confusion in the artists' room. The musical parts were changed at the piano, and they were going to play a trio instead of a quatour, when Liszt appeared. It was time! They were about to commence without him. While the four virtuosi seated themselves they perceived that the musical parts were not the same which belonged to them. In the confusion which preceded their installation[222] the parts got mixed, and No. 1 had before his eyes the part of No. 3; the No. 2 had No. 1, and so on. What was to be done?—rise and rearrange the parts! The public was already disappointed by the prolonged waiting that they had experienced. They murmured. The four virtuosi looked at each other sternly, not daring to rise, when Herz took a heroic resolution, exclaiming: 'Courage! Allons toujours!' And he gave the signal in passing his fingers over the keyboard. The others played, and the four great pianists improvised each the part of the other. The public did not notice the change, and finished by applauding loudly."


Anton Rubinstein's librettist, in some reminiscences of his collaborateur says:

"It must have been in 1840 that I saw Rubinstein for the first time, when scarcely ten years old; he had travelled in Paris with his teacher, and plucked his first laurels with his childish hands. It was then that Franz Liszt, hearing the boy play, and becoming acquainted with his first compositions, with noble enthusiasm proclaimed him the sole inheritor of his fame. The prediction has been fulfilled; already in the fulness of his activity, Liszt recognised in Rubinstein a rival on equal footing with himself, and since he has ceased to appear before the public he has greeted Rubinstein as the sole ruler in[223] the realm of pianists. When Rubinstein was director of the Musical Society in Vienna, 1876, and the élite of the friends of art gathered every week in his hospitable house, I once had the rare pleasure of hearing him and Liszt play, not only successively during the same evening, but also together on the piano. The question, which of the two surpassed the other, recalled the old problem whether Goethe or Schiller is the greatest German poet. But when they both sat down to play a new concerto by Rubinstein, which Liszt, with incredible intuition, read at sight, it was really as good as a play to watch the gray-haired master, as, smiling good-naturedly, he followed his young artist, and allowed himself, as if on purpose, to be surpassed in fervor and enthusiastic powers."


There are several allusions to Liszt in Moscheles' Diary. Liszt visited London in 1840, and Moscheles records:

"At one of the Philharmonic Concerts he played three of my studies quite admirably. Faultless in the way of execution, by his talent he has completely metamorphosed these pieces; they have become more his studies than mine. With all that they please me, and I shouldn't like to hear them played in any other way by him. The Paganini studies too were uncommonly interesting to me. He does anything he chooses,[224] and does it admirably; and those hands raised aloft in the air come down but seldom, wonderfully seldom, upon a wrong note. 'His conversation is always brilliant,' adds Mrs. Moscheles. 'It is occasionally dashed with satire or spiced with humour. The other day he brought me his portrait, with his hommages respectueux written underneath; and what was the best "hommage" of all he sat down to the piano, and played me the Erl King, the Ave Maria and a charming Hungarian piece.'"

Liszt was again in London in 1841, and Moscheles records that at the Philharmonic Society's concert, on July 14:

"The attention of the audience was entirely centred upon Liszt. When he came forward to play in Hummel's septet one was prepared to be staggered, but only heard the well-known piece which he plays with the most perfect execution, storming occasionally like a Titan, but still in the main free from extravagance; for the distinguishing mark of Liszt's mind and genius is that he knows perfectly the capability of the audience and the style of music he brings before them, and uses his powers, which are equal to everything, merely as a means of eliciting the most varied kinds of effects."

Mrs. Moscheles, in some supplementary notes to her husband's Diary, says:

"Liszt and Moscheles were heard several times together in the Preciosa variations, on which Moscheles remarks: 'It seemed to me that we[225] were sitting together on Pegasus.' When Moscheles showed him his F-sharp and D-minor studies, which he had written for Michetti's Beethoven Album, Liszt, in spite of their intricacies and difficulties, played them admirably at sight. He was a constant visitor at Moscheles' house, often dropping in unexpectedly; and many an evening was spent under the double fascination of his splendid playing and brilliant conversation. The other day he told us: 'I have played a duet with Cramer; I was the poisoned mushroom, and I had at my side my antidote of milk.'"

Moscheles attended the Beethoven Festival at Bonn, in 1845, and on August 10 recorded in his Diary:

"I am at the Hôtel de l'Étoile d'Or, where are to be found all the crowned heads of music—brown, gray or bald. This is a rendezvous for all ladies, old and young, fanatics for music, all art judges, German and French reviewers and English reporters; lastly, the abode of Liszt, the absolute monarch, by virtue of his princely gifts, outshining all else.... I have already seen and spoken to colleagues from all the four quarters of the globe; I was also with Liszt, who had his hands full of business, and was surrounded with secretaries and masters of ceremonies, while Chorley sat quietly ensconced in the corner of a sofa. Liszt too kissed me; then a few hurried and confused words passed between us, and I did not see him again until I met him afterwards in the concert room."


On August 12, Moscheles records:

"I was deeply moved when I saw the statue of Beethoven unveiled, the more so because Hähnel has obtained an admirable likeness of the immortal composer. Another tumult and uproar at the table d'hôte in the 'Stern' Hotel. I sat near Bachez, Fischof and Vesque, Liszt in all his glory, a suite of ladies and gentlemen in attendance on him, Lola Montez among the former."

At the banquet after the unveiling of Beethoven's statue at Bonn, Moscheles records:

"Immediately after the king's health had been proposed, Wolff, the improvisatore, gave a toast which he called the 'Trefoil.' It was to represent the perfect chord—Spohr the key-note, Liszt the connecting link between all parties, the third, Professor Breidenstein, the dominant leading all things to a happy solution. (Universal applause.) Spohr proposes the health of the Queen of England, Dr. Wolff that of Professor Hähnel, the sculptor of the monument, and also that of the brass founder. Liszt proposes Prince Albert; a professor with a stentorian voice is laughed and coughed down—people will not listen to him; and then ensued a series of most disgraceful scenes which originated thus: Liszt spoke rather abstrusely upon the subject of the festival. 'Here all nations are met to pay honour to the master. May they live and prosper—the Dutch, the English, the Viennese—who have made a pilgrimage hither!' Upon this Chelard[227] gets up in a passion, and screams out to Liszt, 'Vous avez oublié les Français.'

"Many voices break in, a regular tumult ensues, some for, some against the speaker. At last Liszt makes himself heard, but in trying to exculpate himself seems to get entangled deeper and deeper in a labyrinth of words, seeking to convince his hearers that he had lived fifteen years among Frenchmen, and would certainly not intentionally speak slightingly of them. The contending parties, however, become more uproarious, many leave their seats, the din becomes deafening and the ladies pale with fright. The fête is interrupted for a full hour, Dr. Wolff, mounting a table, tries to speak, but is hooted down three or four times, and at last quits the room, glad to escape the babel of tongues. Knots of people are seen disputing in every part of the great salon, and, the confusion increasing, the cause of dispute is lost sight of. The French and English journalists mingle in this fray, by complaining of omissions of all sorts on the part of the festival committee. When the tumult threatens to become serious the landlord hits upon the bright idea of making the band play its loudest, and this drowns the noise of the brawlers, who adjourned to the open air.

"The waiters once more resumed their services, although many of the guests, especially ladies, had vanished. The contending groups outside showed their bad taste and ridiculous selfishness, for Vivier and some Frenchmen got Liszt[228] among them, and reproached him in a most shameful way. G. ran from party to party, adding fuel to the fire; Chorley was attacked by a French journalist; M. J. J. (Jules Janin) would have it that the English gentleman, Wentworth Dilke, was a German who had slighted him; I stepped in between the two, so as at least to put an end to this unfair controversy. I tried as well as I could to soothe these overwrought minds, and pronounced funeral orations over those who had perished in this tempest of words. I alone remained shot proof and neutral, so also did my Viennese friends. By 6 o'clock in the evening I became almost deaf from the noise, and was glad to escape."


John S. Dwight, the Boston musical critic, in an article on Dr. von Bülow, written while travelling in Germany with a friend, relates the following interview with Liszt:

"It was in Berlin, in the winter of 1861, that we had the privilege of meeting and hearing Bülow. We were enjoying our first and only interview with Liszt, who had come for a day or two to the old Hôtel de Brandebourg, where we were living that winter. On the sofa sat his daughter, Mrs. von Bülow, bearing his unmistakable impress upon her features; the welcome was cordial, and the conversation on the part of both of them was lively and most interesting;[229] chiefly of course it was about music, artists, etc., and nothing delighted us more than the hearty appreciation which Liszt expressed of Robert Franz, then, strange as it may seem, but very little recognised in Germany. Of some other composers he seemed inclined to speak ironically and even bitterly, as if smarting under some disappointment—perhaps at the unreceptive mood of the Berliners toward his own symphonic poems, to whose glories Bülow had been labouring to convert them.

"Before we had a chance to hint of one hope long deferred, that of hearing Liszt play, he asked, 'Have you heard Bülow?' alluding to him more than once as the pianist to be heard—his representative and heir, on whom his mantle had verily fallen. Thinking it possible that there was some new grand composition by some one of his young disciples to be brought out, and that he had come to Berlin to stand godfather, as it were, to that, we modestly ventured to inquire. He smilingly replied, 'No; I am here literally as godfather, having come to the christening of my grandchild.' Presently the conversation was interrupted by a rap at the door, and in came with lively step a little man, who threw open the furs in which he was buried, Berlin fashion, and approached the presence, bowed his head to the paternal laying on of hands, and we were introduced to Von Bülow."



The author of the charming fairy tales, which are still admired by young as well as old people, in his usual graceful style, gives a description of a Liszt concert in 1840:

"In Hamburg, at the City of London Hotel, Liszt gave a concert. In a few minutes the hall was crowded. I came too late, but I got the best place—close upon the orchestra, where the piano stood—for I was brought up by a back staircase. Liszt is one of the kings in the realm of music. My guide brought me to him, as I have said, up a back stair, and I am not ashamed to acknowledge this. The hall—even the side rooms—beamed with lights, gold chains and diamonds. Near me, on a sofa, reclined a young Jewess, stout and overdressed. She looked like a walrus with a fan. Grave Hamburg merchants stood crowded together, as if they had important business 'on 'Change' to transact. A smile rested on their lips, as though they had just sold 'paper' and won enormously. The Orpheus of mythology could move stones and trees by his playing. The new Liszt-Orpheus had actually electrified them before he played. Celebrity, with its mighty prestige, had opened the eyes and ears of the people. It seemed as if they recognised and felt already what was to follow. I myself felt in the beaming of those many flashing eyes, and that expectant throbbing of the heart, the approach[231] of the great genius who with bold hands had fixed the limits of his art in our time. London, that great capital of machinery, or Hamburg, the trade emporium of Europe, is where one should hear Liszt for the first time; there time and place harmonise; and in Hamburg I was to hear him. An electric shock seemed to thrill the hall as Liszt entered. Most of the ladies rose. A sunbeam flashed across each face, as though every eye were seeing a dear, beloved friend. I stood quite close to the artist. He is a slight young man. Long, dark hair surrounded the pale face. He bowed and seated himself at the instrument. Liszt's whole appearance and his mobility immediately indicate one of those personalities toward which one is attracted solely by their individuality. As he sat at the piano the first impression of his individuality and the trace of strong passions upon his pale countenance made me imagine that he might be a demon banished into the instrument from which the tones streamed forth. They came from his blood; from his thoughts; he was a demon who had to free his soul by playing; he was under the torture; his blood flowed, and his nerves quivered. But as he played the demonia disappeared. I saw the pale countenance assume a nobler, more beautiful expression. The divine soul flashed from his eyes, from every feature; he grew handsome—handsome as life and inspiration can make one. His Valse Infernale is more than a daguerreotype from Meyerbeer's Robert. We do not stand[232] before and gaze upon the well-known picture. No, we transport ourselves into the midst of it. We gaze deep into the very abyss, and discover new, whirling forms. It did not seem to be the strings of a piano that were sounding. No, every tone was like an echoing drop of water. Any one who admires the technic of art must bow before Liszt; he that is charmed with the genial, the divine gift, bows still lower. The Orpheus of our day has made tones sound through the great capital of machinery and a Copenhagener has said that 'his fingers are simply railroads and steam engines.' His genius is more powerful to bring together the great minds of the world than all the railroads on earth. The Orpheus of our day has preached music in the trade emporium of Europe, and (at least for a moment) the people believed the gospel. The spirit's gold has a truer ring than that of the world. People often use the expression 'a sea of sound' without being conscious of its significance, and such it is that streams from the piano at which Liszt sits. The instrument appears to be changed into a whole orchestra. This is accomplished by ten fingers, which possess a power of execution that might be termed superhuman. They are guided by a mighty genius. It is a sea of sound, which in its very agitation is a mirror for the life task of each burning heart. I have met politicians who, at Liszt's playing, conceived that peaceful citizens at the sound of the Marseillaise might be so carried away that they might seize their guns and[233] rush forth from hearths and homes to fight for an idea! I have seen quiet Copenhageners, with Danish autumnal coolness in their veins, become political bacchantes at his playing. The mathematician has grown giddy at the echoing fingers and the reckoning of the sounds. Young disciples of Hegel (and among those the really gifted and not merely the light-headed, who at the mere galvanic stream of philosophy make a mental grimace) perceived in this sea of music the wave-like advances of knowledge toward the shore of perfection. The poet found the rein of his heart's whole lyric, or the rich garment of his boldest delineation. The traveller (yes, I conclude with myself) receives musical pictures of what he sees or will see. I heard his playing as it were an overture to my journey. I heard how my heart throbbed and bled on my leaving home. I heard the farewell of the waves—the waves that I should only hear again on the cliffs of Terracina. Organ tones seemed to sound from Germany's old cathedrals. The glaciers rolled from the Alpine hills, and Italy danced in carnival dresses, and struck with her wooden sword while she thought in her heart of Cæsar, Horace and Raphael. Vesuvius and Ætna burned. The trumpet of judgment resounded from the hills of Greece, where the old gods are dead. Tones that I knew not—tones for which I have no words—pointed to the East, the home of fancy, the poet's second fatherland. When Liszt had done playing the flowers rained down[234] on him. Young, pretty girls, old ladies, who had once been pretty girls, too, threw their bouquets. He had indeed thrown a thousand bouquets into their hearts and brain.

"From Hamburg Liszt was to fly to London, there to strew new tone-bouquets, there to breathe poetry over material working day life. Happy man! who can thus travel throughout his whole life, always to see people in their spiritual Sunday dress—yea, even in the wedding garment of inspiration. Shall I often meet him? That was my last thought, and chance willed it that we meet on a journey at a spot where I and my readers would least expect it—met, became friends, and again separated. But that belongs to the last chapter of this journey. He now went to the city of Victoria—I to that of Gregory the Sixteenth."


There are several reminiscences of Liszt to be found in the collected works of the great German author. Heine, writing in 1844 at Paris, says:

"When I some time ago heard of the marvellous excitement which broke out in Germany, and more particularly in Berlin, when Liszt showed himself there, I shrugged my shoulders and thought quiet, Sabbath-like Germany does not want to lose the opportunity of indulging in a little 'permitted' commotion; it longs to stretch its sleep-stiffened limbs, and my Philistines on the banks of the Spree are fond of tickling them[235]selves into enthusiasm, while one declaims after the other, 'Love, ruler of gods and men!' It does not matter to them, thought I, what the row is about, so long as it is a row, whether it is called George Herwegh (the "Iron Lark"), Fanny Essler or Franz Liszt. If Herwegh be forbidden we turn to the politically 'safe' and uncompromising Liszt. So thought I, so I explained to myself the Liszt mania; and I accepted it as a sign of the want of political freedom on the other side of the Rhine. But I was in error, which I recognised for the first time at the Italian Opera House where Liszt gave his first concert, and before an assembly which is best described as the élite of society here. They were, anyhow, wide-awake Parisians: people familiar with the greatest celebrities of modern times, totally blasé and preoccupied men, who had 'done to death' all things in the world, art included; women equally 'done up' by having danced the polka the whole winter through. Truly it was no German sentimental, Berlin-emotional audience before which Liszt played—quite alone, or rather accompanied only by his genius. And yet, what an electrically powerful effect his mere appearance produced! What a storm of applause greeted him! How many bouquets were flung at his feet! It was an impressive sight to see with what imperturbable self-possession the great conqueror allowed the flowers to rain upon him and then, at last, graciously smiling, selected a red camellia and stuck it in his buttonhole. And this he did[236] in the presence of several young soldiers just arrived from Africa, where it did not rain flowers but leaden bullets, and they were decorated with the red camellias of their own heroes' blood, without receiving any particular notice either here for it. Strange, thought I, these Parisians have seen Napoleon, who was obliged to supply them with one battle after another to retain their attention—these receive our Franz Liszt with acclamation! And what acclamation!—a positive frenzy, never before known in the annals of furore."

Heine relates the following curious conversation he had with a medical man about Liszt:

"A physician whose specialty is woman, whom I questioned as to the fascination which Liszt exercises on his public, smiled very strangely, and at the same time spoke of magnetism, galvanism, and electricity, of contagion in a sultry hall, filled with innumerable wax-lights, and some hundred perfumed and perspiring people, of histrionic epilepsy, of the phenomenon of tickling, of musical cantharides, and other unmentionable matters, which, I think, have to do with the mysteries of the bona dea; the solution of the question, however, does not lie perhaps so strangely deep, but on a very prosaic surface. I am sometimes inclined to think that the whole witchery might be explained thus—namely, that nobody in this world knows so well how to organise his successes, or rather their mise en scène, as Franz Liszt. In this art he is a genius, a Philadelphia, a Bosco, a Houdin—yea, a Meyerbeer. The most[237] distinguished persons serve him gratis as compères, and his hired enthusiasts are drilled in an exemplary way."

This amusing anecdote about Liszt and the once famous tenor, Rubini, is also told by Heine:

"The celebrated singer had undertaken a tour with Franz Liszt, sharing expenses and profits. The great pianist took Signor Belloni about with him everywhere (the entrepreneur in general of his reputation), and to him was left the whole of the business management. When, however, all accounts had been settled up, and Signor Belloni presented his little bill, what was Rubini's horror to find that among the mutual expenses there appeared sundry considerable items for 'laurel wreaths,' 'bouquets,' 'laudatory poems,' and suchlike 'ovation expenses.'

"The naïve singer had, in his innocence, imagined that he had been granted these tokens of public favour solely on account of his lovely voice. He flew into a great rage, and swore he would not pay for the bouquets which probably contained the most expensive camellias."

That Heine could appreciate Liszt seriously, these extracts testify sufficiently:

"He (Liszt) is indisputably the artist in Paris who finds the most unlimited enthusiasm as well as the most zealous opponents. It is a characteristic sign that no one speaks of him with indifference. Without power no one in this world can excite either favourable or hostile passions. One must possess fire to excite men to hatred as[238] well as to love. That which testifies especially for Liszt is the complete esteem with which even his enemies speak of his personal worth. He is a man of whimsical but noble character, unselfish and without deceit. Especially remarkable are his spiritual proclivities; he has great taste for speculative ideas, and he takes even more interest in the essays of the various schools which occupy themselves with the solution of the problems of heaven and earth than in his art itself. It is, however, praiseworthy, this indefatigable yearning after light and divinity; it is a proof of his taste for the holy, for the religious....

"Yes, Franz Liszt, the pianist of genius, whose playing often appears to me as the melodious agony of a spectral world, is again here, and giving concerts which exercise a charm which borders on the fabulous. By his side all piano players, with the exception of Chopin, the Raphael of the piano, are as nothing. In fact, with the exception of this last named artist alone, all the other piano players whom we hear in countless concerts are only piano players; their only merit is the dexterity with which they handle the machine of wood and wire. With Liszt, on the contrary, the people think no more about the 'difficulty overcome'; the piano disappears, the music is revealed. In this respect has Liszt, since I last heard him, made the most astonishing progress. With this advantage he combines now a reposed manner, which I failed to perceive in him formerly. If, for example, he played a storm[239] on the piano we saw the lightning flicker about his features; his limbs fluttered as with the blast of a storm, and his long locks of hair dripped as with real showers of rain. Now when he plays the most violent storm he seems exalted above it, like the traveller who stands on the summit of an Alp while the tempest rages in the valley; the clouds lie deep below him, the lightning curls like snakes at his feet, but his head is uplifted smilingly into the pure ether."

The following remarks on Liszt, to be found in Heine's letters to his friends, are also interesting:

"That such a restless head, driven and perplexed by all the needs and doctrines of his time, feeling compelled to trouble himself about all the necessities of humanity, and eagerly sticking his nose into all the pots in which the good God brews the future—that Franz Liszt can be no quiet piano player for tranquil townfolks and good-natured night-caps is self-evident. When he sits down at the piano, and has stroked his hair back over his forehead several times, and begins to improvise, he often storms away right madly over the ivory keys, and there rings out a wilderness of heaven-height thought, amid which here and there the sweetest flowers diffuse their fragrance, so that one is at once troubled and beatified, but troubled most."

To another he writes:

"I confess to you, much as I love Liszt, his music does not operate agreeably upon my mind;[240] the more so that I am a Sunday child, and also see the spectres which others only hear; since, as you know, at every tone which the hand strikes upon the keyboard the corresponding tone figure rises in my mind; in short, since music becomes visible to my inward eye. My brain still reels at the recollection of the concert in which I last heard Liszt play. It was in a concert for the unfortunate Italians, in the hotel of that beautiful, noble, and suffering princess, who so beautifully represents her material and her spiritual fatherland, to wit, Italy and Heaven. (You surely have seen her in Paris, that ideal form, which yet is but the prison in which the holiest angel-soul has been imprisoned; but this prison is so beautiful that every one lingers before it as if enchanted, and gazes at it with astonishment.) It was at a concert for the benefit of the unhappy Italians where I last heard Liszt, during the past winter, play, I know not what, but I could swear he varied upon themes from the Apocalypse. At first I could not quite distinctly see them, the four mystical beasts; I only heard their voices, especially the roaring of the lion and the screaming of the eagle. The ox with the book in his hand I saw clearly enough. Best of all, he played the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There were lists as at a tournament, and for spectators the risen people, pale as the grave and trembling, crowded round the immense space. First galloped Satan into the lists, in black harness, on a milk-white steed. Slowly rode behind him Death on his pale horse.[241] At last Christ appeared, in golden armour, on a black horse, and with His holy lance He first thrust Satan to the ground, and then Death, and the spectators shouted. Tumultuous applause followed the playing of the valiant Liszt, who left his seat exhausted and bowed before the ladies. About the lips of the fairest played that melancholy smile."

Heine also relates:

"On one occasion two Hungarian countesses, to get his snuff-box, threw each other down upon the ground and fought till they were exhausted!"


The lady whose revelations in her Mémoires about various royal and princely personages furnished the contributors of "Society" papers with a large amount of "copy" at the time of its publication, writes as follows concerning Liszt's intimacy with Prince Lichnowsky in 1844:

"I had heard a great deal in Ratibor of mad Prince Felix Lichnowsky, who lived at his neighbouring country seat, and who furnished an abundant daily supply for the scandal-mongers of the town. Six years before that time the prince had quitted the Prussian service, owing to his debts and other irregularities, and had gone to Spain to evade his unhappy creditors, and to offer his ward to the Pretender, Don Carlos. Three years afterward he had returned from Spain with the rank of Carlist brigadier-general, and now he[242] lived in his hermitage, near Ratibor, by no means a pious hermit. And then, one evening, shortly before the commencement of the 'Letzter Waffengang,' when I was already dressed in my costume, the prince stood before me behind the scanty wings of the Ratibor stage, to renew his acquaintance with me. He had aged, his checkered life not having passed over him without leaving traces; but he was still the same elegant, arrogant libertine he was at Prague, of whom a journalist wrote: 'Prince Felix Lichnowsky, like Prince Pückler, belongs to those dandies, roués, lions who attract the attention of the multitude at any cost by their contempt of men, their triviality, impudence, liaisons, horses, and duels; a kind of modern Alcibiades, every dog cutting the tail of another dog.' Within the first five minutes I learned from the prince's lips: 'My friend Liszt has lately been living with me at my hermitage for several weeks, and we have led a very agreeable life together.' Yes, indeed, in Ratibor, the people related the wildest stories of this pasha life! The following forenoon the prince invited us to a déjeûner à la fourchette at his 'hermitage,' as he liked to call it. We inspected the park, which contained many fine trees; I tried the glorious 'grand' which Liszt had consecrated. But I was not to rise from the table without having had a new skirmish with my prince from Prague—preux chevalier. The conversation turned about Director Nachtigall, and suddenly Lichnowsky said roughly:


"'Just fancy, this Nachtigall had the impudence to call here and invite my friend Liszt to play upon his miserable Ratibor stage. A Liszt, and my guest, to play in Ratibor, and with a Nachtigall—unheard of! You may imagine that I gave this Nachtigall a becoming answer.'

"The bit stuck in my mouth, and, trembling with indignation, I said sharply:

"'My prince, am I not your guest, too? And do not I play in Ratibor, and with a Nachtigall? If your friend Liszt had done nothing worse here than play the piano in Ratibor he would not have degraded himself in any way.'

"'Ah! the town gossip of Ratibor has your ear, too, I see!' Lichnowsky said, with a scornful smile. 'But of course we are not going to quarrel.'"

Caroline Bauer also relates in her Mémoires the following anecdote about Liszt and the haughty Princess Metternich:

"Liszt had been introduced to the princess and paid her a visit in Vienna. He was received and ushered into the drawing-room, in which the princess was holding a lively conversation with another lady. A condescending nod of the head was responded to the bow of the world-renowned artist; a gracious movement of the head invited him to be seated. In vain the proud and spoiled man waited to be introduced to the visitor, and to have an opportunity of joining in the conversation. The princess quietly continued to converse with the lady as if Franz Liszt were not in[244] existence at all, at least not in her salon. At last she asked him in a cool and off-hand manner:

"'Did you do a good stroke of business at the concert you gave in Italy?'

"'Princess,' he replied coldly, 'I am a musician, and not a man of business.'

"The artist bowed stiffly and instantly left.

"Soon after this Prince Metternich proved himself to be as perfect a gentleman as he was a diplomatist. At Liszt's first concert in Vienna he went to him and, entering the artist's room, cordially pressed his hands before everybody, and, with a gracious smile, said softly:

"'I trust you will pardon my wife for a slip of the tongue the other day; you know what women are!'"


Mrs. Kemble, in her chatty book, Records of Later Life, relates a pleasant incident in September, 1842:

"Our temporary fellowship with Liszt procured for us a delightful participation in a tribute of admiration from the citizen workmen of Coblentz, that was what the French call saisissant. We were sitting all in our hotel drawing-room together, the maestro, as usual, smoking his long pipe, when a sudden burst of music made us throw open the window and go out on the balcony, when Liszt was greeted by a magnificent chorus of nearly two hundred men's voices. They[245] sang to perfection, each with his small sheet of music and his sheltered light in his hand; and the performance, which was the only one of the sort I ever heard, gave a wonderful impression of the musical capacity of the only really musical nation in the world."

Mrs. Kemble also gives her impression of Liszt at Munich in 1870:

"I had gone to the theatre at Munich, where I was staying, to hear Wagner's opera of the Rheingold, with my daughter and her husband. We had already taken our places, when S. exclaimed to me, 'There is Liszt.' The increased age, the clerical dress had effected but little change in the striking general appearance, which my daughter (who had never seen him since 1842, when she was quite a child) recognised immediately. I went round to his box, and, recalling myself to his memory, begged him to come to ours, and let me present my daughter to him. He very good-naturedly did so, and the next day called upon us at our hotel and sat with us a long time. His conversation on matters of art (Wagner's music which he and we had listened to the evening before) and literature was curiously cautious and guarded, and every expression of opinion given with extreme reserve, instead of the uncompromising fearlessness of his earlier years; and the Abbé was indeed quite another from the Liszt of our summer on the Rhine of 1842."



The once notorious actress, who, after a series of adventures caused some uproar at Munich, met Liszt during his travels in Germany, and her biographer relates how they divided honours at Dresden in 1842.

"Through the management of influential friends an opening was made for her at the Royal Theatre at Dresden, where she met the celebrated pianist, Franz Liszt, who was then creating such a furore that when he dropped his pocket handkerchief it was seized by the ladies and torn into rags, which they divided among themselves—each being but too happy to get so much as a scrap which had belonged to the great artist. The furore created by Lola Montez' appearance at the theatre in Dresden was quite as great among the gentlemen as was Liszt's among the ladies."

Lola Montez, during the last few years of her life, devoted herself to lecturing in various European cities, and the following is extracted from a published one entitled, "The Wits and Women of Paris":

"There was a gifted and fashionable lady (the Countess of Agoult), herself an accomplished authoress, concerning whom and George Sand a curious tale is told. They were great friends, and the celebrated pianist Liszt was the admirer of both. Things went on smoothly for some[247] time, all couleur de rose, when one fine day Liszt and George Sand disappeared suddenly from Paris, having taken it into their heads to make the tour of Switzerland for the summer together. Great was the indignation of the fair countess at this double desertion; and when they returned to Paris Madame d'Agoult went to George Sand and immediately challenged the great writer to a duel, the weapons to be finger-nails, etc. Poor Liszt ran out of the room and locked himself up in a dark closet till the deadly affray was ended, and then made his body over in charge to a friend, to be preserved, as he said, for the remaining assailant. Madame d'Agoult was married to a bookworm, who cared for naught else but his library; he did not know even the number of children he possessed, and so little the old philosopher cared about the matter that when a stranger came to the house he invariably, at the appearance of the family, said: 'Allow me to present to you my wife's children'; all this with the blandest smile and most contented air."

Lola Montez also says in her lecture:

"I once asked George Sand which she thought the greatest pianist, Liszt or Thalberg. She replied, 'Liszt is the greatest, but there is only one Thalberg. If I were to attempt to give an idea of the difference between Liszt and Thalberg, I should say that Thalberg is like the clear, placid flow of a deep, grand river; while Liszt is the same tide foaming and bubbling and dashing on like a cataract.'"



This lady, in an account of an autumn holiday on the Rhine, relates:

"Liszt, with his wonted kindness, had offered to give a concert in Cologne, the proceeds of which were to be appropriated to the completion of the Cathedral; the Rhenish Liedertafel resolved to bring him with due pomp from the island of Nonnenwerth, near Bonn, where he had been for some days. A steamboat was hired expressly for this purpose, and conveyed a numerous company to Nonnenwerth at 11 in the morning. The Liedertafel then greeted the artist, who stood on the shore, by singing a morning salute, accompanied by the firing of cannons and loud hurrahs. They then marched with wind-instruments in advance to the now empty chapel of the cloister of Nonnenwerth, where they sang, and thence to Rolandseck, where an elegant dinner was prepared for the company. All eyes were fixed on Liszt; all hearts were turned to him. He proposed a toast in honour of his entertainers; and at the conclusion of his speech observed with justice that nowhere in the world could any club be found like the Liedertafel in Germany. When the banquet was over they returned to Nonnenwerth, where a crowd of people from the surrounding country was assembled. The universal wish to hear Liszt was so evident that he was induced to send for a piano to be[249] brought into the chapel, and to gratify the assembly—listening and rapt with delight—by a display of his transcendent powers. The desolate halls of the chapel once more resounded with the stir and voices of life. Not even the nuns, we will venture to say, who in former times used here to offer up prayers to heaven, were impressed with a deeper sense of the heavenly than was this somewhat worldly assembly by the magnificent music of Liszt, that seemed indeed to disclose things beyond this earth. At 7 o'clock the Liedertafel, with Liszt at their head, marched on their return, and went on board the steamboat, which was decorated with coloured flags, amid peals of cannon. It was 9, and quite dark, when they approached their landing. Rockets were sent up from the boat, and a continued stream of coloured fireworks, so that as the city rose before them from the bosom of the Rhine the boat seemed enveloped in a circle of brilliant flame which threw its reflection far over the waters. Music and hurrahs greeted our artist on shore; all Cologne was assembled to give him the splendid welcome which in other times only monarchs received. Slowly the procession of the Liedertafel moved through the multitude to the hotel, where again and again shouts and cheers testified the joy of the people at the arrival of their distinguished guest."



Minasi, the once popular painter, who sketched a portrait of Thalberg during his first sojourn in London, also wrote an account of an interesting conversation about Liszt:

"The purpose of my requesting an introduction to M. Thalberg was, first, to be acquainted with a man of his genius; and next, to request the favour of his sitting for his portrait, executed in a new style with pen and ink. His total freedom from all ceremony and affectation perfectly charmed me. He appointed the next morning at 9 for his first sitting; and in my eagerness to commence my task, and make one of my best studies, I was in his breakfast room a quarter of an hour before my time. While he was taking his breakfast I addressed him in my own language; and when he answered me with a most beautiful accent I was delighted beyond measure. I felt doubly at home with him. Since then I find that he is a perfect scholar, possessing, with his finished pronunciation, a great propriety of conception.

"While I was putting on paper the outlines of his profile (a striking feature of his face), I inquired whether he was acquainted with my friend Liszt in Paris. He remarked that Liszt had disgraced himself with all impartial persons by writing against him with violent acrimony in the public prints; and which act he himself acknowledged[251] was the result of professional jealousy. I was the more grieved to hear this, because I had entertained the highest respect for Liszt, who, as I told Thalberg, would never have demeaned himself had his father been living; whose last words to his son were: 'My son, you have always conducted yourself well; but I fear, after my death, some designing knave will lay hold of and make a dupe of you. Take care, my dear son, with whom you associate.' In one instance, Liszt met Thalberg, and proposed that they should play a duet in public, and that he (Liszt) should appoint the time. Thalberg's answer was: 'Je n'aime pas d'être accompagné,' which greatly amused the Parisians. Upon another occasion, Liszt made free to tell Thalberg that he did not admire his compositions. Thalberg replied: 'Since you do not like my compositions, Liszt, I do not like yours.'

"To the honour of Liszt, however, it should be stated that, having called upon Thalberg, he acknowledged his errors, making him a solemn promise never to offend in the same manner, adding that the cause of his attack upon him arose from jealousy of his rival's high talents, which made him the idol of the Parisians, and by whom he was received with the greatest enthusiasm. Thalberg dismissed the subject with me, by doing justice to himself as a public performer; at the same time declaring that Liszt is one of the greatest pianists in Europe, and he concluded with the following generous admission:[252] 'Nevertheless, after all that has passed between us, I think Liszt would do anything to oblige me.'"


The once popular novelist, the Countess of Blessington, on May 31, 1840, invited many distinguished personages to her London house to meet Liszt, and among those who came were Lord Normanby, Lord Canterbury, Lord Houghton (then Mr. Monckton Milnes), Chorley, Rubini, Stuart Wortley, Palgrave Simpson, and Macready, the famous tragedian. Liszt played several times during the evening, and created an impression on all those present, especially on Macready, who notes in his diary:

"Liszt, the most marvellous pianist I ever heard; I do not know when I have been so excited."


The following recollections of Liszt's first visit to Stuttgart were published in a periodical many years ago. Though they appeared without any signature, the author seems to have been on intimate terms with the great musician:

"Liszt played several times at court, for which he received all possible distinctions which the King of Wurtemberg could confer upon an artist. The list of honours was exhausted when the royal princesses wished to hear once more this magician[253] of the piano keys quite privately in their own apartments. Liszt, our truly chivalric artist, accepted with delight such an invitation, expecting less to show himself as an artist than to express his thanks for the many honours received. It must have been rare enjoyment for a royal family which recognised in art only a graceful pastime and a delightful intoxication of the sense, with an agreeable excitement of the sentiments; for no artist in the world understands better than Liszt how to survey at a glance the character and the most hidden recesses in the hearts of his audience. This very fact is the cause of his wonderful effects, and will secure them to him always. He played on that occasion Weber's Invitation à la Valse, with his own effectual, free, final cadenza, his Chromatic Galop (which causes all nerves to vibrate), and a few of his transcriptions of Schubert's songs—those genuine pearls, the richness and colouring of which none can show so well as himself, being a unique and most perfect master of the art of touch. And, finally, in order to show something at least of his immense bravura, he played a little concert piece. The most gracious words of acknowledgment were showered upon him. Liszt, enraptured by the truly heavenly eyes of one of the princesses, which, rendered still more beautiful by a singular moisture, were fixed upon him, declared his happiness in thus being able to express his thanks for the many honours conferred upon him.


"Among all the princes of Europe, however, there is none so little inclined to accept of services without remuneration as the King of Wurtemberg. This is one of the many chivalric traits in the character of that monarch; no other rewards artists in such royal style. On the next morning I was with Liszt, each of us smoking a real Havana comfortably on one end of the sofa. Liszt was telling me of his last visit to court, when one of its servants entered. He placed a roll of 150 ducats in gold upon the table, and presenting Liszt with an open receipt, asked him to sign it. Liszt read: 'Received for playing,' etc. Aloud, and in a tone of astonishment, Liszt repeated the words, 'Received for my playing?' and, rising with that peculiar aristocratic grace, he says in a mild, condescending tone: 'For my playing—am I to sign this document? My friend, I imagine some clerk of the court treasury has written this scrawl.' Upon which the servant, interrupting, said that it had been written by Herr Tagel, Counsellor of Court and Director of the Court Treasury. 'Well,' said Liszt, 'take back the receipt and money, and tell' (raising his voice) 'the counsellor from me, that neither king nor emperor can pay an artist for his playing—only, perchance, for his lost time, and' (with haughty indignation) 'that the counsellor is a blockhead if he does not comprehend that. For your trouble, my friend,' (giving him 5 ducats) 'take this trifle.'"

The writer goes on to say:


"The servant, in utter astonishment, knew not what to answer, and looked at me. But Liszt's slight figure was erect, his finely cut lips were compressed, his head was boldly thrown back, so that his thick hair fell far down on his shoulders; his nostrils were expanding, the lightning of his keen and brilliant eye was gleaming, his arms were folded, and he showed all his usual indications of inward commotion. Knowing, therefore, that Liszt had by that document been touched in his most sensitive point, and that this was nothing more nor less than a small battle in his great contest for the social position and rights of artists—a contest which, when a boy of fifteen years, he had already taken up—I was well aware of the impossibility of changing his mind for the present, and therefore remained silent, while the discomfited lackey retired with many low bows, taking money and scroll with him. Whether he really delivered the message I know not; but I was still with Liszt when he reappeared and, laying the money upon the table, gave Liszt a large sealed letter, which read as follows: 'The undersigned officer of the Treasury of Court, commanded by His Majesty the King, begs Dr. Liszt to accept, as a small compensation for his lost time with the princesses, the sum of 150 ducats.' Liszt handed me the paper, and with a silent glance I interrogated him in return. It is an old fact that the soul is always most clearly reflected in homely features, and I distinctly read in his face reconciliation and the[256] kindest feeling again. He sat down and wrote on a scrap of paper with pencil: 'Received from the Royal Treasury 150 ducats—Franz Liszt,' and gave it to the servant very politely, accompanied by another rich gift. There was never afterward any further allusion to the affair.

"The price of admission to Liszt's concerts was unusually high, so that they could only be frequented by the wealthier classes. At a party the conversation fell upon the subject, and it was regretted that for such a reason many teachers and scholars, in spite of their great anxiety to hear the great master, were prevented from doing so. I told Liszt this, and he answered: 'Well, arrange a concert for them, only charge as much or as little as you think proper, and let me know when and what I shall play. Immediately a committee was formed, and a concert for teachers and scholars only arranged, to which the price of admission amounted to only 18 kreutzers (about sixpence). Quantities of tickets were sold, and immense galleries had to be erected in the large hall. Liszt viewed with delight the juvenile multitude, whose enthusiasm knew no bounds, and I never heard him play more beautifully. With a delighted heart he stood amid a shower of flowers which thousands of little hands were strewing for him, and when at last six veritable little angels approached in order to thank him, he embraced them with tears in his eyes—not heeding the fact that the grown-up people were appropriating his gloves, handkerchief, and[257] all they could get hold of, tearing them up into a thousand bits to keep in remembrance of him. On the next morning we brought him the proceeds of the concert (nearly 1,000 florins). He declared that he had felt happier at that concert than ever before, and that nothing could induce him to accept the money, with which the committee might do as they pleased, and if, after so much delight, they did not wish really to hurt his feelings he would beg of them never to mention that money to him again. It was appropriated to a Liszt Fund, which will continue to exist forever, and a poor teacher's son, on going to college, is destined to receive the first interest.

"Liszt was once at my house, when a woman was announced to whom I was in the habit of giving quarterly a certain sum for her support. It being a few days before the usual time, she gave as an excuse (it was November) the hard times. While providing for her I told Liszt in an under-tone that she was an honest but very indigent widow of a painter, deceased in his prime, to whom an number of brother artists were giving regular contributions in order to enable her to get along with her two small children. I confess, while telling him this, I hoped that Liszt, whose liberality and willingness to do good had almost become proverbial, would ask me to add something in his name, and was, therefore, surprised to see him apparently indifferent, for he answered nothing and continued looking down in silence. After a few days, however, the widow[258] reappeared, her heart overflowing with thankfulness and her eyes filled with tears of joy, for she and her children had at the expense of a man whose name she was not permitted to know, received beautiful and new winter clothing, while kitchen and cellar had been stored with every necessary for the coming winter. Now all this had been arranged by the landlady of a certain hotel, at which Liszt was then stopping. A piano maker, who had not the means to erect a factory, needed but to convince Liszt of his rare ability, and immediately he had at his command over 80,000 frs. This man is now dead, and Liszt never had received a farthing of that money back."


The English novelist visited Liszt at Weimar in 1854 and records some pleasing recollections:

"About the middle of September the theatre opened. We went to hear Ernani. Liszt looked splendid as he conducted the opera. The grand outline of his face and floating hair was seen to advantage, as they were thrown into the dark relief by the stage lamps. Liszt's conversation is charming. I never met a person whose manner of telling a story was so piquant. The last evening but one that he called on us, wishing to express his pleasure in G——'s article about him, he very ingeniously conveyed that expression in a story about Spontini and Berlioz. Spontini visited Paris while Liszt was living there and[259] haunted the opera—a stiff, self-important personage, with high shirt collars—the least attractive individual imaginable. Liszt turned up his own collars and swelled out his person, so as to give us a vivid idea of the man. Every one would have been glad to get out of Spontini's way; indeed, elsewhere 'on feignait de le croire mort'; but at Paris, as he was a member of the Institute, it was necessary to recognise his existence.

"Liszt met him at Erard's more than once. On one of these occasions Liszt observed to him that Berlioz was a great admirer of his (Spontini), whereupon Spontini burst into a terrible invective against Berlioz as a man who, with the like of him, was ruining art, etc. Shortly after the Vestale was performed and forthwith appeared an enthusiastic article by Berlioz on Spontini's music. The next time Liszt met him of the high collars he said: 'You see I was not wrong in what I said about Berlioz's admiration of you.' Spontini swelled in his collars and replied, 'Monsieur, Berlioz a du talent comme critique.' Liszt's replies were always felicitous and characteristic. Talking of Madame d'Agoult he told us that when her novel, Nélida, appeared in which Liszt himself is pilloried as a delinquent, he asked her, 'Mais pourquoi avez-vous tellement maltraité ce pauvre Lehmann?' The first time we were asked to breakfast at his house, the Altenburg, we were shown into the garden, where in a salon formed by the overarching trees déjeûner was sent out. We found Hoffmann von[260] Fallersleben, the lyric poet, Dr. Schade, a Gelehrter, and Cornelius. Presently came a Herr or Doctor Raff, a musician, who had recently published a volume called Wagnerfrage. Soon after we were joined by Liszt and the Princess Marie, an elegant, gentle-looking girl of seventeen, and at last by the Princess Wittgenstein, with her nephew, Prince Eugene, and a young French artist, a pupil of Scheffer.

"The princess was tastefully dressed in a morning robe of some semi-transparent white material, lined with orange colour, which formed the bordering and ornament of the sleeves, a black lace jacket and a piquant cap on the summit of her comb, and trimmed with violet colour. When the cigars came, Hoffmann was requested to read some of his poetry, and he gave us a bacchanalian poem with great spirit. I sat next to Liszt, and my great delight was in watching him and in observing the sweetness of his expression. Genius, benevolence, and tenderness beam from his whole countenance, and his manners are in perfect harmony with it. Then came the thing I had longed for—his playing. I sat near him so that I could see both his hands and face. For the first time in my life I beheld real inspiration—for the first time I heard the true tones of the piano. He played one of his own compositions, one of a series of religious fantasies. There was nothing strange or excessive about his manner. His manipulation of the instrument was quiet and easy, and his face was simply grand—the[261] lips compressed and the head thrown a little backward. When the music expressed quiet rapture or devotion a smile flitted over his features; when it was triumphant the nostrils dilated. There was nothing petty or egotistic to mar the picture. Why did not Scheffer paint him thus, instead of representing him as one of the three Magi? But it just occurs to me that Scheffer's idea was a sublime one. There are the two aged men who have spent their lives in trying to unravel the destinies of the world, and who are looking for the Deliverer—for the light from on high. Their young fellow seeker, having the fresh inspiration of early life, is the first to discern the herald star, and his ecstasy reveals it to his companions. In this young Magi Scheffer has given a portrait of Liszt; but even here, where he might be expected to idealise unrestrainedly, he falls short of the original. It is curious that Liszt's face is the type that one sees in all Scheffer's pictures—at least in all I have seen.

"In a little room which terminates the suite at the Altenburg there is a portrait of Liszt, also by Scheffer—the same of which the engraving is familiar to every one. This little room is filled with memorials of Liszt's triumphs and the worship his divine talent has won. It was arranged for him by the princess, in conjunction with the Arnims, in honour of his birthday. There is a medallion of him by Schwanthaler, a bust by an Italian artist, also a medallion by Rietschl—very fine—and cabinets full of jewels and precious[262] things—the gifts of the great. In the music salon stand Beethoven's and Mozart's pianos. Beethoven's was a present from Broadwood, and has a Latin inscription intimating that it was presented as a tribute to his illustrious genius. One evening Liszt came to dine with us at the Erbprinz, and introduced M. Rubinstein, a young Russian, who is about to have an opera of his performed at Weimar."


This lady relates a touching incident about Liszt and a young music mistress:

"Liszt was still at Weimar, and no one could venture to encroach upon his scant leisure by a letter of introduction. I saw him constantly at the mid-day table d'hôte. His strange, impressive figure as he sat at the head of the table was a sight to remember; the brilliant eyes that flashed like diamonds, the long hair, in those days only iron gray, the sensitive mouth, the extraordinary play of expression, once seen, could never fade from memory. Everything, indeed, about him was phenomenal—physiognomy, appearance, mental gifts; last, but not least, amiability of character and an almost morbid terror of inflicting pain. This characteristic, of course, led him into many embarrassments, at the same time into the committal of thousands of kind actions; often at the sacrifice of time, peace of mind, and, without doubt, intellectual achievements.


"As I proposed to spend some months at Weimar, I engaged a music mistress, one of Liszt's former pupils, whom I will call Fräulein Marie. 'I will myself introduce you to the Herr Doctor,' she said. 'To his pupils he refuses nothing.' I must add that Fräulein Marie was in better circumstances than most German teachers of music. She had, I believe, some small means of her own, and belonged to a very well-to-do family. The poor girl, who was, as I soon found out, desperately in love with her master, got up a charming little fête champêtre in his honour and my own. A carriage was ordered, picnic baskets packed, and one brilliant summer afternoon hostess and guests started for Tieffurt. The party consisted of Liszt, Fräulein Marie, a violinist of the other sex, a young lady pianist from a neighbouring town, and myself. Liszt's geniality and readiness to enter into the spirit of the occasion were delightful to witness. The places of honour were assigned to the English stranger and the violinist, Liszt insisting on seating a pupil on each side, on the opposite seat of the carriage, not in the least disconcerted by such narrow accommodation. Thus, chatting and laughing, all of us in holiday mood, we reached the pretty park and chateau of Tieffurt.

"As the evening was cool, we supped inside the little restaurant, and here a grievous disappointment awaited our hostess. Tieffurt is celebrated for its trout; indeed this delicacy is as much an attraction to many visitors as its literary and artistic[264] associations. But although trout had been ordered by letter beforehand none was forthcoming wherewith to fête the Maestro. Fräulein Marie was in tears. Liszt's gaiety and affection, however, put everything right. He cut brown bread and butter for the two girls, and made them little sandwiches with the excellent cold wurst. 'Ah, das schmeckt so gut,' they cried, as they thanked him adoringly. He told stories; he made the rest do the same. 'Erzählen von Erfurt' (tell us Erfurt news), he said to the young lady guest. The moments passed all too rapidly. Then in the clear delicious twilight we drove back to Weimar, his pupils kissing his hands reverentially as he quitted us. So far all had been bright, joyous, transparent; but I soon discovered that this charming girl, who possessed the vivacity of a French woman, combined with the schwärmerei or sentimentality of a Teutonic maiden, was rendered deeply unhappy by her love for Liszt.

"He was at that time enmeshed in the toils of another and far less guileless passion. Whilst to his gentle and innocent pupil he could accord only the affection of a loving and sympathetic friend and master, there were other women about him. Fräulein Marie's hapless sentiment could never discredit either herself or its object, but it occasioned a good deal of embarrassment and wretchedness, as we shall see. A few days after this gay al fresco tea she came to me in great distress, begging me forthwith to deliver a little[265] note into the master's hand. I was reluctantly obliged to delegate the delicate mission to a hired messenger. Ill would it have become a stranger to interfere in these imbroglios. Moreover, at that very time Liszt had, as I have hinted, a love affair on his hands—had, in fact, momentarily succumbed to the influence of one of those women who were his evil genius. Just ten years later I revisited Weimar, and my first inquiry of common friends was after my sweet young music mistress. 'Fräulein Marie! Alas!' replied my informant, 'the poor girl has long been in a maison de santé.' Her love for Liszt ended in loss of reason."


Lady Blanche gives an interesting account of Liszt's sojourn at the Monastery on Monte Mario in 1862, shortly after he became an abbé of the Roman Catholic Church. After describing the scenery of the place she says: "Here Liszt had taken up his abode, renting two bare white-walled rooms for the summer, where he looked far more at home than among the splendours of the prelate's reception room or the feminine elegancies of the princess' boudoir. He seemed happier, too—more cheerful, and light-hearted. He said he meant to be a hermit this summer, and the good Dominican lay brother attended to all his creature comforts, while he could solace himself by hearing the daily mass said in the early[266] morning in the little chapel, into which he could step at any moment. His piano stood in one corner of his little cell, his writing table was piled with books and music, and besides these there was nothing of interest in the room. The window looked out upon one of the most glorious views of the world. Here Liszt seemed quite another being. He talked gaily, and suddenly started up, volunteering to play for us—a thing, many of his best friends said, they had not known him do for years.

"It was all his own, yet, though peculiar, the sound did not resemble the sobbing music, the weird chords, his fingers had drawn forth from the keys as he played among conventional people in conventional evening gatherings. There was a freshness, a springiness, in to-day's performance which suited the place and hour, and that visit to the hermit-artist was indeed a fitting leave-taking for us who were so entranced with his pure, strong genius. Still, the artist had not forgotten to initiate us into one of the secrets of his simple retreat. The Dominicans of some remote mountain convent had kindly sent him a present of some wonderful liqueur—one of those impossible beverages associated in one's mind with Hebe's golden cups of flowing nectar, rather than with any commonplace drink. Liszt insisted upon our tasting this: green Chartreuse was nothing to it and we scarcely did more than taste. And this was the last time we saw him, this king-artist. It was a great privilege, and[267] perhaps he, of all living artists we had come across, is the only one who could not disappoint one's ideal of him."


This author, in his Federzeichnungen aus Rom, describes a visit to Liszt in 1867:

"The building in which Liszt resides in Rome is of unpretending appearance; it is, and fancy may have pictured such a place as Liszt's 'Sans Souci,' a melancholy, plain little monastery. But by its position this quiet abode is so favoured that probably few homes in the wide world can be compared to it. Situated upon the old Via Sacra, it is the nearest neighbour of the Forum Romanum, while its windows look toward the Capitol, the ruins of the Palatine Palace and the Colosseum. In such a situation a life of contemplation is forced upon one. I mounted a few steps leading to the open door of the monastery, and all at once grew uncertain what to do, for I saw before me a handsome staircase adorned with pillars, such as I should not have expected from the poor exterior of the building. Had not a notice in the form of a visiting-card over the large door at the top of the stairs met my eye, I should have considered it necessary to make further inquiries. As it was, however, I was able to gain from the card itself the information I needed. I approached and read: 'L'Abbé Franz Liszt.' So, really an Abbé! A visiting-card half supplies[268] the place of an autopsy. After I arranged my necktie and pulled on my gloves more tightly, I courageously grasped the green cord that summoned the porter. Two servants, not in tail coat, it is true, but clad in irreproachable black, received me; one hastened to carry in my card, while the other helped me off with my topcoat.

"My ideas of a genuine monkish life suffered a rude shock. Wherefore two servants before the cell of a monk; or if attendant spirits, why were they not, according to monastic rules, simply lay brothers?

"But I had not long to puzzle my brains with these obtrusive questions, for I was presently plunged into still greater mental confusion. The messenger who had gone to announce me returned and ushered me in with a notification that Signor Abbate requested me to await a moment in—the drawing-room! Yes, actually a drawing-room, in the most elegant acceptation of the word. It wanted nothing either of the requisites for northern comfort or of the contrivances demanded by the climate of Rome, though glaring luxury appeared scrupulously avoided.

"I stood then in the saloon of the Commendatore Liszt! Abbé and Commander! The correct employment of the domestic titles rendered the first interview much more easy than it otherwise would have been. I was by no means so inquisitorial in my survey as to be able to give a Walter Scott-like description of Liszt's salon. Darkness, moreover, prevailed in the large apartment,[269] as, according to Italian usage and necessity, the window shutters were closed against the rays of the morning sun. I was attracted by the album table in the middle of the apartment more than aught else. Upon it lay chiefly Italian works of a religious nature in votive bindings. That Liszt here, too, as Abbate, lives in the midst of creative spirits is proved by these dedicatory offerings.

"The door was opened and the well-known artistic figure advanced in a friendly manner toward me. That the skilful fingers of the great pianist pressed the hand of me, a simple writer, is a fact, which, for the completeness of my narrative, must not remain unmentioned. The first and most immediate impression produced on me by Liszt's appearance was that of surprising youthfulness. Even the unmistakably grizzling, though still thick, long, flowing hair, which the scissors of the tonsure have not dared to touch, detracts but little from the heart entrancing charm of his unusual individuality. Of fretfulness, satiety, monkish abnegation, and so on, there is not a trace to be detected in the feature of Liszt's interesting and characteristic head. And just as little as we find Liszt in a monk's cell do we find him in a monk's cowl. The black soutane sits no less elegantly on him than, in its time, the dress coat. Those who look upon Liszt as a riddle will most decidedly not find the solution of it in his outward appearance.


"After interchanging a few words of greeting, we proceeded to the workroom. After compelling me to take an arm-chair, Liszt seated himself at the large writing-table, apologising to me by stating that he had a letter to despatch in a hurry. Upon this, too, lay a great many things, nearly all pertaining more to the Abbé than the artist. But neatly written sheets of music showed that musical production formed part of the master's daily occupations. The comfortable room bore generally the unmistakable stamp of a room for study, of an artist's workshop. The letter and the address were quickly finished, and handed to the attendant to seal and transmit. I mentioned the report connecting his approaching journey with the grand festival of joy and peace, the Coronation in Hungary. The popular maestro took this opportunity of giving me a detailed history of his Coronation Mass. He said that in the Prince-Primate Scitovsky he had possessed a most kind patron. In course of a joyous repast, as on many other occasions, the Prelate had given lively and hopeful utterance to the wish of his heart that he might yet be able to place the crown upon the head of his beloved king, and at the same time he called upon Liszt, in an unusually flattering and cordial manner, to compose the Coronation Mass, but it must be short, very short, as the entire ceremony would take about six hours.

"Liszt was unable to resist this amiable request, he said, and, drinking a glass of fiery[271] Tokay, gave a promise that he would endeavour to produce some 'Essence of Tokay.' After his return to Rome he immediately set about the sketch. But the prospect of the desired agreement between the Emperor and the Hungarians had, meanwhile, become overcast, and his work remained a mere sketch. Some months ago, however, he was pressed by his Hungarian friends to proceed, and so he finished the mass. It was a question whether it would be performed on the day of the Coronation, since there was a condition that the monarch should bring his own orchestra with him. Liszt said he was perfectly neutral, and in no way wished to run counter to the just ambition of others; for, however the Abbé might be decried as ambitious, he added, with a smile, he was not so after all."

In course of this open-hearted statement Liszt touched upon his relations to the present Prince-Primate of Hungary, and let fall a remark which is the more interesting because it throws a light upon his position in and toward Rome. The Abbé-Maestro said then that he had entered on a correspondence regarding his retirement from the diocese of the Prince of the Church, who had in the interim been raised to the dignity of Primate, and had every reason to believe that he enjoyed the Prelate's favour. He needed, however, a special letter of dismissal in order to be received into the personal lists of the Roman[272] clergy; to this Liszt remarked, parenthetically, were limited all his clerical qualities.

"I do not know more exactly what rights and duties are connected with the insertion of his name in the catalogue of the Roman clergy, though it appears that the nexus into which Liszt has entered toward the clerical world is rather an outward than a deep and inward one.

"The cigar, which did not look, between the lips of the great musician, as if it had been treated with particular gentleness or care, had gone out. Liszt got up to reach the matches. While he was again lighting the narcotic weed he directed my attention to the pretty statuette of St. Elisabeth, which had attracted my gaze when I entered the room. It represents the kind-hearted Landgravine at the moment the miracle of roses is taking place. It required no great power of combination to connect this graceful form, as an ovational gift, with Liszt's oratorio of St. Elisabeth. The popular master named the German hand which had fashioned the marble and offered it to him. He was thus led to speak of his oratorio, and of the Wartburg Festival, for which it was originally intended, and at which it was given, but not until after Hungary had enjoyed the first performance. He spoke also of what he had done at the Grand Ducal Court. I was peculiarly touched by his reminiscences, how he had entered the service of a German prince, how he had 'knocked about' for several years at Weimar,[273] 'without doing anything worth naming.' how his Prince had respected and distinguished him, and had probably never suspected that a permanent sojourn could result from Liszt's trip to Rome.

"Here, where he moved in only a small circle—said Liszt, with marked emphasis, and again referring to the importance Rome possessed for him—here he found the long desired leisure for work. His Elisabeth, he said, had here sprung into existence, and also his oratorio of Petrus. He had, moreover, he remarked, notions which it would take him three years of thorough hard work to carry out.

"He certainly knew, the Abbé-Maestro continued, referring to his art-gospel, that here and there things which in other places had met with some response had been hissed, but he had no more hope for applause than he feared censure. He followed, he said, the path he considered the right one, and could say that he had consistently pursued the direction he had once taken. The only rule he adopted in the production of his works, as far as he had full power, was that of not compromising his friends or of exposing them to the disfavour of the public. Solely for this reason he had thought it incumbent on him, for instance, to refuse to send a highly esteemed colleague the score of his Elisabeth, in spite of two applications.

"I expressed to my friendly host my delight at his good health and vigour, prognosticating[274] a long continuance of fruitful activity. 'Oh! yes, I am quite satisfied with my state of health,' answered the master, 'though my legs will no longer render me their old service.' At the same time, in an access of boisterous merriment, he gave the upper part of his right thigh so hard a slap that I could not consider his regret particularly sincere.

"Another of my remarks was directed to the incomparable site of his abode, which alone might make a middling poet produce great epic or elegiac poetry. 'I live quietly and agreeably,' was the reply, 'both here and at Monte Mario, where there are a few rooms at my service, with a splendid view over the city, the Tiber and the hills.' And not to remain my debtor for the ocular proof of what he said, at least as far as regarded his town residence, he opened a window and gazed silently with me on the overpowering seriousness of the ruined site.

"The amiable maestro then conducted me rapidly through two smaller rooms, one of which was his simple bed-chamber, to a wooden outhouse with a small window, through which were to be seen the Colosseum, in all its gigantic proportions, and the triumphal arch of Constantine close by, overtowered by Mount Coelius, now silent.

"'A splendid balcony might be erected here,' observed Liszt, 'but the poor Franciscan monk has no money for such a purpose!'

"Having returned to his study, I thought the time had arrived for bringing my first visit to a[275] termination. The thanks conveyed in my words on taking leave were warm and sincere. I carried with me out of that quiet dwelling the conviction that in Liszt the true artist far outweighs the virtuoso and the monk, and that only such persons as formerly snobbishly shook their heads because Winkelmann took service and found an asylum with a cardinal, can scoff and make small jokes on Liszt's cell and monkish cowl."

B. W. H.

An American lady who signs herself "B. W. H.," and wrote some reminiscences of the great musician at Weimar in 1877, calls her contribution An Hour Passed with Liszt:

"How much more some of us get than we deserve! A pleasure has come to us unsought. It came knocking at our door seeking entrance and we simply did not turn it away. It happened in this fashion: A friend had been visiting Liszt in Weimar and happened to mention us to the great master, who promised us a gracious reception should we ever appear there. To Weimar then we came, and the gracious reception we certainly had, to our satisfaction and lasting remembrance.

"After sending our cards, and receiving permission to present ourselves at an appointed and early hour, we drove to the small, cosy house occupied by Liszt when here, on the outskirts of the garden of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, and were[276] ushered by his Italian valet into a comfortable, cosy, home-like apartment, where we sat awaiting the great man's appearance. Wide casements opened upon a stretch of lawn and noble old trees; easy-chairs and writing-tables; MS. music, with the pen lying carelessly beside it; masses of music piled up on the floor, a row of books there, too; a grand piano and an upright one; a low dish of roses on the table; a carpet, which is not taken for granted here as with us—altogether the easy, friendly look of a cottage drawing-room at home, where people have a happy use of pleasant things.

"He entered the room after a few minutes and greeted us with a charming amiability, for which we inwardly blessed the absent friend. Of course everybody knows how he looks—tall, thin, with long white hair; a long, black, robe-like coat, being an abbé; long, slight, sensitive hands; a manner used to courts, and a smile and grace rare in a man approaching seventy. He spoke of Anna Mehlig, and of several young artists just beginning their career, whom we personally know. Very graciously he mentioned Miss Cecilia Gaul, of Baltimore; spoke kindly of Miss Anna Bock, one of the youngest and most diligent of artists, and most forcibly perhaps of Carl Hermann, like Anna Mehlig, a pupil in the Stuttgart Conservatory, 'There is something in the young man,' he said with emphasis. So he chatted in the most genial way of things great and small, as if he were not one of the world's geniuses, and[277] we two little insignificant nobodies sitting before him, overcome with a consciousness of his greatness and our nothingness, yet quite happy and at ease, as every one must be who comes within the sphere of his gracious kindliness.

"Suddenly he rose and went to his writing-table, and, with one of his long, sweet smiles, so attractive in a man of his age—but why shouldn't a man know how to smile long, sweet smiles who has had innumerable thrilling romantic experiences with the sex that has always adored him?—he took a bunch of roses from a glass on his table and brought it to us. Whether to kiss his hand or fall on our knees we did not quite know; but, America being less given than many lands to emotional demonstration, we smiled back with composure, and appeared, no doubt, as if we were accustomed from earliest youth to distinguished marks of favour from the world's great ones.

"But the truth is we were not. And these roses which stood on Liszt's writing-table by his MS. music, presented by the hand that has made him famous, are already pressing and will be kept among our penates, except one, perhaps, that will be distributed leaf by leaf to hero-worshipping friends, with date and appropriate inscriptions on the sheet where it rests. How amiable he was, indeed! The roses were much, but something was to come. The Meister played to us. For this we had not even dared to hope during our first visit. No one, of course, ever asks him to[278] play, and whether he does or not depends wholly on his mood. It was beautiful to sit there close by him, the soft lawns and trees, framed by the open casement, making a background for the tall figure, the long, peculiar hands wandering over the keys, the face full of intellect and power. And how he smiles as he plays! We fancied at first in our own simplicity that he was smiling at us, but later it seemed merely the music in his soul illuminating his countenance. His whole face changes and gleams, and grows majestic, revealing the master-spirit as his hands caress while they master the keys. With harrowing experiences of the difficulty of Liszt's compositions, we anticipated, as he began, something that would thunder and crash and teach us what pigmies we were; but as an exquisitely soft melody filled the room, and tones came like whispers to our hearts, and a theme drawn with a tender, magical touch brought pictures and dreams of the past before us, we actually forgot where we were, forgot that the white-haired man was the famous Liszt, forgot to speak as the last faint chord died away, and sat in utter silence, quite lost to our surroundings, with unseeing eyes gazing out through the casement.

"At last he rose, took our hands kindly, and said, 'That is how I play when I am suffering from a cold as at present.' We asked if he had been improvising, or if what he played was already printed. 'It was only a little nocturne,' he said. 'It sounded like a sweet remembrance.'[279] 'And was that,' he replied cordially. Then fearing to disturb him too long, and feeling we had been crowned with favours, we made our adieux, receiving a kind invitation to come the following day and hear the young artists who cluster around him here, some of whom he informed us played 'famos.' And after we had left him he followed us out to the stairway to repeat his invitation and say another gracious word or two. And we went off to drive through Weimar, and only half observed its pleasant homely streets, its flat, uninteresting, yet friendly aspect, its really charming park—so Lisztified we were, as a friend calls our state of mind. The place has, indeed, little to charm the stranger now, except the memories of Goethe and Schiller and all the famous literary stars who once made it glorious, and the presence of Liszt."

The lives of musicians are, in general, so devoid of extraordinary incident, that the relation of them is calculated more to instruct than amuse.

That of Liszt, however, was an exception to the rule. His adventures seemed to have been so many and so various as almost to encourage a belief that in describing them his literary admirers often used the pen of romance.

The last letter that Liszt indited with his own pen is addressed to Frau Sofie Menter, and is dated Bayreuth, July 3, 1886. What proved to be almost a death-bed epistle runs as follows:

"To-morrow, after the religious marriage of my granddaughter Daniela von Bülow to Professor[280] Henry Thode (art-historian), I betake myself to my excellent friends the Munkacsys, Château Colpach, Grand Duchy of Luxemburg. On the 20th July I shall be back here again for the first 7-8 performances of the Festspiel; then alas! I must put myself under the, to me, very disagreeable cure at Kissingen, and in September an operation for the eyes is impending for me with Gräfe at Halle. For a month past I have been quite unable to read, and almost unable to write, with much labour, a couple of lines. Two secretaries kindly help me by reading to me and writing letters at my dictation. How delightful it would be to me, dear friend, to visit you at your fairy castle at Itter! But I do not see any opportunity of doing so at present. Perhaps you will come to Bayreuth, where, from July 20th to the 7th August, will be staying your sincere friend F. Liszt."

The master was spared the infliction of the cure he dreaded at Kissingen, and Frau Menter did not meet him at Bayreuth, for on July 31st Liszt died, what to him must have been a pleasant death, after witnessing the greatest work of the poet-composer whom he had done so much to befriend—Richard Wagner's Tristan und Isolde.



"I am about to make a very bold profession of faith—I adore the piano! All the jests at its expense, all the anathemas that are heaped upon it, are as revolting to me as so many acts of ingratitude, I might say as so many absurdities.

"To me the piano is one of the domestic lares, one of our household gods. It is, thanks to it, and it alone, that we have for ourselves and in our homes the most poetic and the most personal of all the arts—music. What is it that brings into our dwellings an echo of the Conservatory concerts? What is it that gives us the opera at our own firesides? What is it that unites four, five or six harmonious voices in the interpretation of a masterpiece of vocal music, as the trio of Don Juan, the quartet of Moses, or the finale of the Barber of Seville? The piano, and the piano alone. Were the piano to be abolished how could you have the exquisite joy of hearing Faure in your own chamber? I say Faure, but I might say Taffanel, Gillet, all the instrumentalists, for all instruments are its tributaries. They all have need of it; it alone needs none.

"Auber said to me one day: 'What I admire, perhaps, most in Beethoven are some of his sonatas, because in them his thought shows clearly in all its pure beauty, unencumbered by the ornaments of orchestral riches.' But for what instrument were the sonatas of Beethoven composed?[282] For the piano. I cannot forget that the entire work of Chopin was written for the piano. Besides, it is the confidant of the man of genius, of all that he does not write. Ah! if the piano of Weber might repeat what the author of Der Freischütz has spoken to it alone! And, greatest superiority of all, the piano is of all the instruments the only one that is progressive.

"A Stradivarius and an Amati remain superior to all the violins of to-day, and it is not certain that the horn, the flute and the hautbois have not lost as much as they have gained with all the present superabundance of keys and pistons. The piano only has always gained in its transformations, and every one of its enlargements, adding something to its power of expression, has enabled it to improve even the interpretation of the old masters.

"One day when Thalberg was playing at my home a sonata of Mozart on a Pleyel piano, Berlioz said to me: 'Ah! if Mozart were with us, he would hear his admirable andante as he sung it to himself in his breast!'

"One of my most precious musical memories is, then, to have not only known but to have associated with and to have enjoyed in intimacy the three great triumvirs of the piano—Liszt, Thalberg, and Chopin. The arrival of Thalberg in Paris was a revelation, I could willingly say a revolution. I know only Paganini, whose appearance produced the same mélange of enthusiasm and astonishment. Both excited the same feeling[283] that one experiences in the presence of the unknown, the mysterious, the unexplainable. I attended Paganini's first concert (it was at the Opera) in company with De Beriot. De Beriot held in his hand a copy of the piece that Paganini was to play. 'This man is a charlatan,' he said to me, 'he cannot execute what is printed here, because it is not executable.' Paganini began. I listened to the music and watched De Beriot attentively. All at once he exclaimed to himself, 'Ah! the rascal, I understand! He has modified the tuning of his instrument.'

"There was a like surprise at Thalberg's first concert. It was at the Théâtre des Italiens, in the daytime, in the public foyer. I attended in company with Julius Benedict, who was, it was said, Weber's only piano pupil. I shall never forget his stupefaction, his amazement. Leaning feverishly toward the instrument, to which we were very near, his eyes fastened upon those fingers that seemed to him like so many magicians, he could hardly believe his eyes or his ears. For him, as De Beriot, there had been in the printed works of Thalberg something which he could not explain. Only the secret this time was not in the instrument, but in the performer. It was not this time the strings that were changed, it was the fingers.

"A new method of fingering enabled Thalberg to cause the piano to express what it had never expressed before. Benedict's emotion was all the more intense that the poor fellow chanced to[284] be in a very unique frame of mind and heart. His young wife, whom he worshipped, had departed that morning to join her parents at Naples. The separation was to last only for less than six months, but he was profoundly sad, and it was to distract his mind that I had taken him to the concert. But once there, there took place in him the strangest amalgamation of the husband and the pianist. At once despairing and enchanted, he reminded me of the man in Rabelais who, hearing the church bells ring out, at almost the same moment, the baptism of his son and the funeral service of his wife, wept with one eye and laughed with the other. Benedict would break forth into exclamations both comical and touching. He went from his wife to Thalberg and from Thalberg to his wife. 'Ah! dear Adele, this is frightful!' he would exclaim in one breath, and with the next, 'Ah! dear Thalberg, that is delightful!' I have still ringing in my ears the original duo that he sang that day to himself.

"Thalberg's triumph irritated Liszt profoundly. It was not envy. He was incapable of any low sentiment. His was the rage of a dethroned king. He called Thalberg's school disdainfully the Thumb school. But he was not a man to yield his place without defending himself, and there ensued between them a strife that was all the more striking that the antithesis between the two men was as great as the difference in their talents.


"Liszt's attitude at the piano, like that of a pythoness, has been remarked again and again. Constantly tossing back his long hair, his lips quivering, his nostrils palpitating, he swept the auditorium with the glance of a smiling master. He had some little trick of the comedian in his manner, but he was not that. He was a Hungarian; a Hungarian in two aspects, at once Magyar and Tzigane. True son of the race that dances to the clanking of its spurs. His countrymen understood him well when they sent him as a testimonial of honour an enormous sabre.

"There was nothing of the kind about Thalberg. He was the gentleman artist, a perfect union of talent and propriety. He seemed to have taken it for his rule to be the exact opposite of his rival. He entered noiselessly; I might almost say without displacing the air. After a dignified greeting that seemed a trifle cold in manner, he seated himself at the piano as though upon an ordinary chair. The piece began, not a gesture, not a change of countenance! not a glance toward the audience! If the applause was enthusiastic, a respectful inclination of the head was his only response. His emotion, which was very profound, as I have had more than one proof, betrayed itself only by a violent rush of blood to the head, colouring his ears, his face and his neck. Liszt seemed seized with inspiration from the beginning; with the first note he gave himself up to his talent without reserve, as prodigals throw their money[286] from the window without counting it, and however long was the piece his inspired fervour never flagged.

"Thalberg began slowly, quietly, calmly, but with a calm that thrilled. Under those notes so seemingly tranquil one felt the coming storm. Little by little the movement quickened, the expression became more accentuated, and by a series of gradual crescendos he held one breathless until a final explosion swept the audience with an emotion indescribable.

"I had the rare good fortune to hear these two great artists on the same day, in the same salon, at an interval of a quarter of an hour, at a concert given by the Princess Belgiojoso for the Poles. There was then revealed to me palpably, clearly, the characteristic difference in their talent. Liszt was incontestably the more artistic, the more vibrant, the more electric. He had tones of a delicacy that made one think of the almost inaudible tinkling of tiny spangles or the faint explosion of sparks of fire. Never have fingers bounded so lightly over the piano. But at the same time his nervosity caused him to produce sometimes effects a trifle hard, a trifle harsh. I shall never forget that, after a piece in which Liszt, carried away by his fury, had come down very hard upon the keys, the sweet and charming Pleyel approached the instrument and gazed with an expression of pity upon the strings. 'What are you doing, my dear friend?' I asked, laughing. 'I am looking at the field of battle,' he responded[287] in a melancholy tone; 'I am counting the wounded and the dead.'

"Thalberg never pounded. What constituted his superiority, what made the pleasure of hearing him play a luxury to the ear, was pure tone. I have never heard such another, so full, so round, so soft, so velvety, so sweet, and still so strong! How shall I say it? The voice of Alboni.

"At this concert in hearing Liszt I felt myself in an atmosphere charged with electricity and quivering with lightning. In hearing Thalberg I seemed to be floating in a sea of purest light. The contrast between their characters was not less than between their talent. I had a striking proof of it with regard to Chopin.

"It is not possible to compare any one with Chopin, because he resembled no one. Everything about him pertained only to himself. He had his own tone, his own touch. All the great artists have executed and still execute the works of Chopin with great ability, but in reality only Chopin has played Chopin. But he never appeared in public concerts nor in large halls. He liked only select audiences and limited gatherings, just as he would use no other piano than a Pleyel, nor have any other tuner than Frederic. We, fanatics that we were, were indignant at his reserve; we demanded that the public should hear him; and one day in one of those fine flights of enthusiasm that have caused me to make more than one blunder I wrote in Schlesinger's Gazette Musicale:[288] 'Let Chopin plunge boldly into the stream, let him announce a grand soirée musicale and the next day when the eternal question shall arise, "Who is the greater pianist to-day, Liszt or Thalberg?" the public will answer with us, "It is Chopin."'

"To be frank, I had done better not to have written that article. I should have recalled my friendly relations with the two others. Liszt would have nothing to do with me for more than two months. But the day after the one on which my article appeared Thalberg was at my door at ten in the morning. He stretched out his hand as he entered, saying, 'Bravo! your article is only just.'

"At last their rivalry, which in reality had never been more than emulation, assumed a more accentuated, a more striking form. Until then no pianist had ventured to play in the hall of a large theatre with an auditorium of 1,200 or 1,500. Thalberg, impelled by his successes, announced a concert in the Théâtre des Italiens, not in the foyer, but in the main auditorium. He played for the first time his Moses, and his success was a triumph.

"Liszt, somewhat piqued, saw in Thalberg's triumph a defiance, and he announced a concert at the Opera. For his battle horse he took Weber's Concertstück. I was at the concert. He placed a box at my disposal, requesting that I should give an account of the evening in the Gazette Musicale. I arrived full of hope and joy.[289] A first glance over the hall checked my ardour a trifle. There were many, very many, present, but here and there were empty spaces that disquieted me. My fears were not without reason. It was a half success. Between numbers I encountered Berlioz, with whom I exchanged my painful impressions, and I returned home quite tormented over the article I was to write. The next day I had hardly seated myself at my table when I received a letter from Liszt. I am happy to reproduce here the principal part of that letter, for it discloses an unknown Liszt, a modest Liszt. Yes, modest! It only half astonished me, for a certain circumstance had revealed this Liszt to me once before. It was at Scheffer's, who was painting his portrait. When posing Liszt assumed an air of inspiration. Scheffer, with his surpassing brusqueness, said to him: 'The devil, Liszt! Don't put on the airs of a man of genius with me. You know well enough that I am not fooled by it.'

"What response did Liszt make to these rude words? He was silent a moment, then going up to Scheffer he said: 'You are right, my dear friend. But pardon me; you do not know how it spoils one to have been an infant prodigy.' This response seemed to me absolutely delicious in its sweet simplicity—I might say in its humility. The letter that I give below has the same character:

"'You have shown me of late an affection so comprehensive that I ask your permission to[290] speak as a friend to a friend. Yes, my dear Legouvé, it is as to a friend that I am about to confess to you a weakness. I am very glad that it is you who are to write of my concert yesterday, and I venture to ask you to remain silent for this time, and for this time only, concerning the defective side of my talent.'

"Is it possible, I ask, to make a more difficult avowal with more delicacy or greater frankness? Do we know many of the great artists capable of writing 'the defective side of my talent'?

"I sent him immediately the following response:

"'No, my dear friend, I will not do what you ask! No, I will not maintain silence concerning the defective side of your talent, for the very simple reason that you never displayed greater talent than yesterday. Heaven defend me from denying the coldness of the public, or from proclaiming your triumph when you have not triumphed! That would be unworthy of you, and, permit me to add, of me. But what was it that happened? and why this half failure? Ah! blunderer that you were, what a strategic error you committed! Instead of placing the orchestra back of you, as at the Conservatory, so as to bring you directly in contact with your audience, and to establish between you and them an electric current, you cut the wire; you left this terrible orchestra in its usual place. You played across I know not how many violins, violoncellos, horns, and trombones, and the voice of your instrument, to reach us, had to pass through all that warring orchestra![291] And you are astonished at the result! But, my dear friend, how was it two months ago at the Conservatory that with the same piece you produced such a wonderful effect? It was because that, in front alone, with the orchestra behind you, you appeared like a cavalry colonel at the head of his regiment, his horse in full gallop, his sabre in hand, leading on his soldiers, whose enthusiasm was only the accompaniment of his own. At the Opera the colonel abandoned his place at the head of his regiment, and placed himself at its rear. Fine cause for surprise that your tones did not reach us resounding and vibrant! This is what happened, my dear friend, and this is what I shall say, and I shall add that there was no one but Liszt in the world who could have produced under such conditions the effect that you produced. For in reality your failure would have been a great success for any other than you.

"'With this, wretched strategist, I send you a cordial pressure of the hand, and begin my article.'

"The following Sunday my article appeared, and I had the great pleasure to have satisfied him."


"Liszt is now [1840] probably about thirty years old. Every one knows well that he was a child phenomenon; how he was early transplanted to foreign lands; that his name afterward appeared[292] here and there among the most distinguished; that then the rumour of it occasionally died away, until Paganini appeared, inciting the youth to new endeavours; and that he suddenly appeared in Vienna two years ago, rousing the imperial city to enthusiasm. Thus he appeared among us of late, already honoured, with the highest honours that can be bestowed on an artist, and his fame already established.

"The first concert, on the 17th, was a remarkable one. The multitudinous audience was so crowded together that even the hall looked altered. The orchestra was also filled with listeners, and among them—Liszt.

"He began with the Scherzo and Finale of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony. The selection was capricious enough, and on many accounts not happy. At home, in a tête-à-tête, a highly careful transcription may lead one almost to forget the orchestra; but in a large hall, in the same place where we have been accustomed to hear the symphony played frequently and perfectly by the orchestra, the weakness of the pianoforte is striking, and the more so the more an attempt is made to represent masses in their strength. Let it be understood, with all this, we had heard the master of the instrument; people were satisfied; they at least, had seen him shake his mane. To hold to the same illustration, the lion presently began to show himself more powerful. This was in a fantasia on themes by Pacini, which he played in a most remarkable manner.[293] But I would sacrifice all the astonishing, the audacious bravura that he displayed here for the sake of the magical tenderness that he expressed in the following étude. With the sole exception of Chopin, as I have already said, I know not one who equals him in this quality. He closed with the well-known Chromatic Gallop; and as the applause this elicited was endless, he also played his equally well-known bravura waltz.

"Fatigue and indisposition prevented the artist from giving the concert promised for the next day. In the meantime a musical festival was prepared for him, that will never be forgotten by Liszt himself or the others present. The giver of the festival (Felix Mendelssohn) had selected for performance some compositions unknown to his guest: Franz Schubert's symphony (in C); his own psalm, As the Hart Pants; the overture, A Calm Sea and a Prosperous Voyage; three choruses from St. Paul; and, to close with, the D-minor concerto for three pianos by Sebastian Bach. This was played by Liszt, Mendelssohn, and Hiller. It seemed as though nothing had been prepared, but all improvised instantaneously. Those were three such happy musical hours as years do not always bring. At the end Liszt played alone, and wonderfully.

"Liszt's most genial performance was yet to come—Weber's Concertstück, which he played at his second concert. Virtuoso and public seemed to be in the freshest mood possible on that evening, and the enthusiasm before and after his playing[294] exceeded anything hitherto known here. Although Liszt grasped the piece, from the beginning, with such force and grandeur of expression that an attack on a battle-field would seem to be in question, yet he carried this on with continually increasing power, until the passage where the player seemed to stand at the summit of the orchestra, leading it forward in triumph. Here, indeed, he resembled that great commander to whom he has been compared, and the tempestuous applause that greeted him was not unlike an adoring "Vive l'Empereur!" He then played a fantasia on themes from the Huguenots, the Ave Maria and Serenade, and, at the request of the public, the Erl-King of Schubert. But the Concertstück was the crown of his performances on this evening."


"Liszt visited Russia for the first time in 1842," writes Rose Newmarch. "I do not know whether this journey was part of the original scheme of his great two years' tour on the continent (1840-1842), or if he only yielded to the pressing invitations of several influential Russian friends. Early in 1839, among the many concerts which he gave in Rome, none was more brilliant than the recital organised by the famous Russian amateur, Count Bielgorsky, at the house of Prince Galitsin, Governor-General of Moscow, who was wintering in the Italian capital. During the fol[295]lowing year, Liszt spent three days at Ems, where he was presented to the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, to whom he played every evening during his brief visit. The Empress was fascinated by his genius, and enjoined him to visit Russia without delay.

"The phenomenal success of the twenty-two concerts which Liszt gave in Berlin during the winter of 1841-1842, soon became a subject of gossip in Petersburg, and his arrival was awaited with unprecedented excitement. He reached the capital early in April, and was almost immediately presented to Nicholas I. On entering the audience chamber, the Emperor, ignoring the presence of numerous generals and high officials who were awaiting an audience, went straight to Liszt saying, "Monsieur Liszt, I am delighted to see you in Petersburg," and immediately engaged him in conversation. A day or two later, on the 8th of April, Liszt gave his first concert in the Salle de la Noblesse, before an audience of three thousand people. This concert was both a novel and an important event in Russia. Not only was it the first recital ever heard there—for before Liszt's day, no single artist had attempted to hold the public attention by the spell of his own unaided gifts—but it was also the first tie in a close and lasting bond between the great virtuoso and the Russian people. In after years, no one was quicker to discern the attractive qualities of Russian music, nor more assiduous in its propagation than Franz Liszt.


"In the memoirs of contemporary Russian writers there are many interesting references to Liszt's first appearance in Petersburg. Not only do these reminiscences show the extraordinary glamour and interest which invested the personality of the master; they throw some light upon social life in Russia during the first half of the century.

"The brilliant audience which flocked to the Salle de la Noblesse to hear Liszt, numbered no greater enthusiasts than the two young students of the School of Jurisprudence, Stassov and Serov. Both were destined to attain celebrity in after-life; the former as a great critic, and the chief upholder of national art; the latter, as the composer of at least one popular opera, and the leading exponent of the Wagnerian doctrines in Russia. Stassov's reminiscences are highly picturesque. We seem actually to see the familiar figure of the pianist as he entered the magnificent Hall of the Nobility, leaning on the arm of Count Bielgorsky, an "elderly Adonis" and typical dandy of the forties. Bielgorsky was somewhat inclined to obesity, moved slowly, and stared at the elegant assemblage with prominent, short-sighted eyes. His hair was brushed back and curled, after the model of the Apollo Belvedere, while he wore an enormous white cravat. Liszt also wore a white cravat, and over it the Order of the Golden Spur, bestowed upon him a short time previously by the Pope. He was further adorned with various other orders suspended by[297] chains from the lapels of his dress coat. But that which struck the Russians most was the great mane of fair hair reaching almost to his shoulders. Outside the priesthood, no Russian would have ventured on such a style of hair-dressing. Such dishevelment had been sternly discountenanced since the time of Peter the Great. Stassov, afterward one of the warmest admirers of Liszt, both as man and musician, was not altogether favourably impressed by this first sight of the virtuoso. "He was very thin, stooped a great deal, and though I had read much about his famous 'Florentine profile' and his likeness to Dante, I did not find his face beautiful. I was not pleased with his mania for decking himself with orders, and afterwards I was as little prepossessed by his somewhat affected demeanour to those who came in contact with him."

"After the first hush of intense curiosity, the entire assembly began to discuss Liszt in a subdued murmur. Stassov, who sat close to Glinka and a well-known pianist—Madame Palibin—caught the following conversation. Madame Palibin inquired if Glinka had already heard Liszt. He replied that he had met him the night before at Count Bielgorsky's reception. 'Well, what did you think of him?' Glinka answered, without a moment's hesitation, that sometimes Liszt played divinely—like no one else in the world; at other times atrociously, with exaggerated emphasis, dragging the 'tempi,' and adding—even to the music of Chopin, Beethoven,[298] and Bach—tasteless embellishments of his own. 'I was horribly scandalised,' says Stassov. 'What! Did our "mediocre" Russian musician' (this was Stassov's first sight of Glinka, and a short time before the appearance of Russlane and Lioudmilla) 'venture thus to criticise the great genius Liszt, who had turned the heads of all Europe!' Madame Palibin, too, seemed to disapprove of Glinka's criticism, and said laughingly, 'Allons donc, tout cela, ce n'est que rivalité de métier!' Glinka smiled urbanely, shrugged his shoulders, and replied, 'As you please.'

"At this moment Liszt mounted the platform, and, pulling his dog-skin gloves from his shapely white hands, tossed them carelessly on the floor. Then, after acknowledging the thunderous applause—such as had not been heard in Russia for over a century—he seated himself at the piano. There was a silence as though the whole audience had been turned to stone, and Liszt, without any prelude, began the opening bars of the overture to William Tell. Criticism, curiosity, speculation, all were forgotten in the wonderful enchantment of the performance. Among other things, he played his fantasia on Don Juan, his arrangements of Adelaïde, and The Erl King, and wound up the recital with his showy Galop Chromatique.

"'After the concert,' says Stassov, 'Serov and I were like madmen. We scarcely exchanged a word, but hurried home, each to write down his[299] impressions, dreams, and raptures. But we both vowed to keep the anniversary of this day sacred for ever, and never, while life lasted, to forget a single incident of it. We were like men in love, or bewitched. What wonder? Never before had we come face to face with such a gifted, impassioned, almost demoniacal personality as that of Liszt, who seemed alternately to let loose the forces of the whirlwind, or to carry us away on a flood of tenderness, grace, and beauty.'

"Serov felt even more strongly the fascination of Liszt's genius. The same evening he sent to Stassov the following record of his impressions: 'First, let me congratulate you on your initiation into the great mysteries of art, and then—let me think a little. It is two hours since I left the Hall, and I am still beside myself. Where am I? Am I dreaming, or under a spell? Have I indeed heard Liszt? I expected great things from all the accounts I had heard, and still more from a kind of inward conviction—but how far the reality surpassed my expectations! Happy, indeed, are we to be living in 1842, at the same time as such an artist! Fortunate, indeed, that we have been privileged to hear him! I am gushing a great deal—too much for me, but I cannot contain myself. Bear with me in this lyrical crisis until I can express myself calmly.... What a festival it has been! How different everything looks in God's world to-day! And all this is the work of one man and his playing! What a power is music! I cannot collect my[300] thoughts—my whole being seems in a state of abnormal tension, of confused rapture!'

"Do we experience this exaltation nowadays? I think not. Rarely do we partake of the insane root. Are there no more enchanters like Liszt? Or has the capacity of such enthusiasm and expansion passed away for ever with the white stocks, the 'coiffure à l'Apollon Belvédère' and the frank emotionalism of the early Victorian period?"


"The visits of great musicians to our shores have furnished much interesting material to the musical historian," wrote the Musical Times. "Those of Mozart and Haydn, for instance, have been fully and ably treated by the late Carl Ferdinand Pohl, in two volumes which have never been translated, as they deserve to be, into the English language. No less interesting are the sojournings in London and the provinces of Spohr, Weber, Mendelssohn, Chopin, Berlioz, Verdi, and Wagner. 'The King of Pianists' has not hitherto received the attention due to him in this respect, and the following chit-chat upon his English experiences is offered as a small contribution to the existing biographical information concerning a great man.

"Franz was a boy of twelve years of age, when he made his first appearance in London in the year 1824. At that time Rossini shone as the bright particular star in the London musical firmament.[301] The composer of Il Barbiere actually gave concerts. 'Persons desirous of obtaining tickets are requested to send their names to Signor Rossini, 90, Quadrant [Regent Street], 'so the advertisements stated. It was therefore thought desirable to postpone the appearance of the little Hungarian pianist until after Rossini had finished his music-makings.

"The first appearance of Liszt in England was of a semi-private nature. On June 5, 1824, the Annual Festival of the Royal Society of Musicians took place. The account of the dinner given in the Morning Post contains the following information:

"'Master Liszt (a youth from Hungary) performed on a Grand Pianoforte with an improved action, invented by Sebastian Erard, the celebrated Harp-maker, of very great power and brilliancy of tone.

"'To do justice to the performance of Master Liszt is totally out of our power; his execution, taste, expression, genius, and wonderful extemporary playing, defy any written description. He must be heard to be duly appreciated.'

"Among those who heard Master Liszt was a certain Master Wesley (Samuel Sebastian of that ilk), who, as a Chapel Royal Chorister, took part in the glees sung at that festive board. The Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review of 1824 (p. 241) thus referred to the young pianist's performance:

"'We heard this youth first at the dinner of the Royal Society of Musicians, where he extemporised[302] for about twenty minutes before that judgmatical audience of professors and their friends.'

"The announcement of Liszt's concert appeared in the Morning Post in these terms:


"'Master Liszt, aged twelve years, a native of Hungary ... respectfully informs the Nobility, Gentry, and the Public in general, that his Benefit Concert will take place this evening, June 21, 1824, to commence at half-past 8 precisely, when he will perform on Sebastian Erard's new patent Grand Pianoforte, a Concerto by Hummel, New variations by Winkhler, and play extempore on a written Thema, which Master Liszt will request any person of the company to give him....

"'Leader, Mr. Mori. Conductor, Sir George Smart. Tickets, half-a-guinea each, to be had of Master Liszt, 18, Great Marlborough Street.'

"In an account of the concert the Morning Post said: 'Notwithstanding the contrary motions which occurred on Monday night of Pasta's benefit and a Grand Rout given by Prince Leopold, there was a numerous attendance.' The musicians present included Clementi, J. B. Cramer, Ries, Neate, Kalkbrenner, and Cipriani Potter, all of whom 'rewarded Master Liszt with repeated bravos.' The programme included an air with variations by Czerny, played by Liszt, who also took part in Di Tanti Palpiti, performed 'as a concertante with Signor Vimercati on his little mandolin with uncommon spirit.' The remainder[303] of the Morning Post notice may be quoted in full:

"'Sir G. Smart (who conducted the Concert) invited any person in the company to oblige Master Liszt with a Thema, on which he would work (as the phrase is) extemporaneously. Here an interesting pause took place; at length a lady named Zitti, Zitti. The little fellow, though not very well acquainted with the air, sat down and roved about the instrument, occasionally touching a few bars of the melody, then taking it as a subject for a transient fugue; but the best part of this performance was that wherein he introduced the air with his right hand, while the left swept the keys chromatically; then he crossed over his right hand, played the subject with the left, while the right hand descended by semi-tones to the bottom of the instrument! It is needless to add, that his efforts were crowned with the most brilliant success.'

"Liszt took part in two grand miscellaneous concerts given at the Theatre Royal, Manchester, on the 2d and 4th of August, the other chief attraction being The Infant Lyra, a prodigy harpist 'not four years old,' and nine years younger than the juvenile Hungarian pianist. The programme included 'an extempore fantasia on Erard's new patent grand pianoforte of seven octaves by Master Liszt, who will respectfully request a written thema from any person present.' The advertisement of the second concert included the following:

"'Master Liszt being about to return to the[304] Continent where he is eagerly expected in consequence of his astonishing talents, and the Infant Lyra being on his way to London, the only opportunity which can occur for the inhabitants of Manchester to hear them has been seized by Mr. Ward; and to afford every possible advantage to the Voices and Instruments, he has so constructed the Orchestra, that the Harp, and Piano-Forte will be satisfactorily heard in every part of the house.'

"The young gentleman was honoured with a 'command' to perform before King George the Fourth at Windsor Castle. In the words of the Windsor Express of July 31, 1824:

"'On Thursday evening, young Lizt (sic), the celebrated juvenile performer on the pianoforte, was introduced to the King at Windsor by Prince Esterhazy. In the course of the evening he played several pieces of Handel's and Mozart's upon the piano, which he executed in a style to draw forth the plaudits of His Majesty and the company present.'

"In the following year (1825), Master Liszt paid his second visit to England and again appeared in Manchester.

"At his third visit (in 1827), he made the acquaintance of the late Charles Salaman, two years his senior, who heard Liszt play Hummel's Concerto. In his pleasantly-written recollections of pianists of the past (Blackwood's Magazine, September, 1901), Mr. Salaman says:

"'Very shortly afterwards—just before Liszt's morning concert, for which my father had purchased[305] tickets from his father—we became acquainted. I visited him and his father at their lodgings in Frith Street, Soho, and young Liszt came to early family dinner at my home. He was a very charmingly natural and unaffected boy, and I have never forgotten his joyful exclamation, 'Oh, gooseberry pie!' when his favourite dish was put upon the table. We had a good deal of music together on that memorable afternoon, reading several duets. Liszt played some of his recently published Etudes, Op. 6, a copy of which he gave me, and in which he wrote specially for me an amended version of the sixth study, Molto agitato.'

"Here is the programme of the morning concert above referred to:


Has the honour to inform the Nobility, Gentry, and his
Friends, that his
will take place at the above rooms on
Saturday, June 9, 1827

Part I

Overture to Les Deux Journées, arranged by Mr. Moscheles for four performers on two Grand Piano Fortes, Mr. Beale, Master Liszt, Mr. Martin, and Mr. WigleyCherubini
Aria, Mr. BegrezBeethoven
Fantasia, Harp, on Irish Airs, Mr. LabarreLabarre
Duetto, Miss Grant (Pupil of Mr. CRIVELLI at the Royal Academy of Music) and Signor TorriRossini
Concerto (MS.), Piano Forte, with Orchestral Accompaniments, Master LisztMaster Liszt
Song, Miss Stephens. 
Solo, French Horn, Mr. G. SchunkeG. Schuncke
Aria, Miss BettsRossini
Duetto, Miss Fanny Ayton and Mr. Begrez, "Amor! possente nome"Rossini
Fantasia, Violin, Mr. Mori 
Scena, Mr. BrahamZingarelli
Extempore Fantasia on a given subject, Master Liszt. 

Part II

Quartet for Voice, Harp, Piano Forte, and Violin, Miss Stephens, Mr. Labarre, Master Liszt, and Mr. MoriMoscheles and Mayseder
Aria, Miss Fanny Ayton, "Una voce poco fa"Rossini
Solo, Guitar, Mr. HuertaHuerta
Duet, Miss Stephens and Mr. Braham. 
Song, Miss Love, "Had I a heart." 
Fantasia, Flute, Master MinasiMaster Minasi
Song, Miss Grant, "The Nightingale"Crivelli
Brilliant Variations on "Rule Britannia," Master LisztMaster Liszt

Leader, Mr. Mori   Conductor, Mr. Schuncke


Tickets, Half-a-Guinea each, to be had of Mr. Liszt, 46,
Great Marlborough Street, and at all the principal
Music Shops.


"Thirteen years elapsed before Liszt again favoured us with his presence. He had in the meantime passed from boyhood to manhood, from having been a prodigy to becoming a mature artist. The year was 1840—an important one, as we shall presently see. He appeared, for the first time, at the Philharmonic Concert of May 11, 1840, which was conducted by Sir Henry Bishop. Liszt played his own version of Weber's Concertstück in which, according to a contemporary account, 'passages were doubled, tripled, inverted, and transmogrified in all sorts of ways.' Be this as it may, the Philharmonic Directors showed their appreciation of his performance by a presentation, an account of which appeared in a snappy and short-lived paper called the Musical Journal. Here is the extract:

"'Liszt has been presented by the Philharmonic Society with an elegant silver breakfast service, for doing that which would cause every young student to receive a severe reprimand—viz., thumping and partially destroying two very fine pianofortes. The Society has given this to Mr. Liszt as a compliment for performing at two of its concerts gratuitously! Whenever did they present an Englishman with a silver breakfast service for gratuitous performances?'

"The foregoing is written in the strain which characterised the attitude of a section of the musical press towards the great pianist. His use of the word 'Recitals' appears to have been as a red rag to those roaring bulls. The familiar[308] term owes its origin to Liszt's performances. The late Willert Beale records that his father, Frederick Beale, invented the designation, and that it was much discussed before being finally adopted. The advertisement reads thus:


"'M. Liszt will give at Two o'clock on Tuesday morning, June 9, 1840, RECITALS on the PIANOFORTE of the following works:—No. 1. Scherzo and Finale from Beethoven's Pastorale Symphony. No. 2. Serenade, by Schubert. No. 3. Ave Maria, by Schubert. No. 4. Hexameron. No. 5. Neapolitan Tarentelles. No. 6. Grand Galop Chromatique. Tickets 10s. 6d. each; reserved seats, near the Pianoforte, 21s.'

"The 'Recitals'—the plural form of the term will be noticed—took place at the Hanover Square Rooms, and the piece entitled Hexameron (a set of variations on the grand march in I Puritani) was the composition of the following sextet of pianists: Thalberg, Chopin, Herz, Czerny, Pixis, and Liszt, not exactly 'a singular production,' as the Musical World remarked, but 'an uncommon one.' In connection with the 'Recitals,' Mr. Salaman may be quoted:

"'I did not hear Liszt again until his visit to London in 1840, when he puzzled the musical public by announcing "Pianoforte Recitals." This now commonly accepted term had never previously been used, and people asked, "What does he mean? How can any one recite upon[309] the pianoforte?" At these recitals, Liszt, after performing a piece set down in his programme, would leave the platform, and, descending into the body of the room, where the benches were so arranged as to allow free locomotion, would move about among his auditors and converse with his friends, with the gracious condescension of a prince, until he felt disposed to return to the piano.'

"The Musical World referred to the 'Recitals' as 'this curious exhibition'; that the performance was 'little short of a miracle'; and that the Hexameron contained 'some difficulties of inconceivable outrageousness.' Another specimen of critical insight may be quoted—it refers to Liszt's participation in a concert given by John Parry:

"'On being unanimously recalled, he tore the National Anthem to ribbons, and thereby fogged the glory he had just achieved. Let him eschew such hyper-erudite monstrosities—let him stick to the 'recital' of sane and sanative music, and he will attain a reputation above all contemporary musical mono-facturers—and what is more, deserve it.'

"In the autumn of the same year (1840), Liszt formed one of a concert-party, organised by Lavenu, in a tour in the south of England. The party included John Parry, the composer of Wanted, a Governess, and the comic man of the Lavenu troup. Like Mendelssohn, Liszt seems to have taken to the jocose Parry, and he quite[310] entered into the fun of the fair. For instance, at Bath, 'in addition to the pieces announced in the bills, Liszt played an accompaniment to John Parry's Inchape Bell, sung by the author, in which he introduced an extemporaneous storm, which had a most terrific effect.' We can well believe it. This storm was not 'a local disturbance,' as meteorologists would say, but it followed the party wherever they went, and it was doubtless received with thunderous applause.

"In November, a second and more extended tour, also under Lavenu's auspices, was undertaken, and the journey embraced the great provincial towns of England, Ireland, and Scotland. The preliminary announcement was couched in terms more or less pungent:

"'Mr. Lavenu with his corps musicale will enter the lists again on the 23d instant, when it is to be hoped the listless provinces will listen with more attention than on his last experiment, or he will have enlisted his talented list to very little purpose.'

"Liszt again appeared in London in 1841, and took the town by storm. Musical critics of the present day may be glad to enlarge their vocabulary from the following notice, which appeared in the columns of the Musical World of sixty years ago:

"'M. Liszt's Recitals.—We walk through this world in the midst of so many wonders, that our senses become indifferent to the most amazing things: light and life, the ocean, the forest, the[311] voice and flight of the pigmy lark, are unheeded commonplaces; and it is only when some comet, some giant, some tiger-tamer, some new Niagara, some winged being (mental or bodily, and unclassed in the science of ornithology) appears, that our obdurate faculties are roused into the consciousness that miracles do exist. Of the miracle genus is M. Liszt, the Polyphemus of the pianoforte—the Aurora Borealis of musical effulgence—the Niagara of thundering harmonies! His rapidity of execution, his power, his delicacy, his Briareus-handed chords, and the extraordinary volume of sound he wrests from the instrument, are each and all philosophies in their way that might well puzzle all but a philosopher to unriddle and explain.'

"Shortly before the 'recitals' above referred to, Liszt was thrown out of a carriage, and the accident resulted in a sprained wrist. At the performance, he apologised in French to the audience 'for his inability to play all the pieces advertised.'

"It is strange, but true, that no less than forty-five years had come and gone before Liszt again set foot on Albion's shores. In the year 1886, aged seventy-five, he came again, and charmed everybody with the geniality of his presence.

"It was at the invitation of the late Mr. Henry Littleton (then head of the firm of Novello & Co.) that Liszt paid his last visit to England in 1886. The great pianist arrived on May 3, and remained under Mr. Littleton's hospitable roof at Westwood[312] House, Sydenham, during the whole of his sojourn in this country. The events of those seventeen days were a series of triumphs to the grand old man of pianists. A command visit to Windsor Castle, when he played to Queen Victoria; dining with the Prince and Princess of Wales at Marlborough House; a visit to the Baroness Burdett Coutts; attending performances of his oratorio St. Elisabeth (conducted by Sir, then Mr. A. C. Mackenzie) at St. James's Hall and the Crystal Palace; concerts of Chev. Leonard E. Bach; the Royal Amateur Orchestral Society (when he was seated next to the king, then Prince of Wales); Monday Popular; pianoforte recitals by Mr. Frederic Lamond and Herr Stavenhagen; a visit to the Royal Academy of Music; in addition to receptions given by his devoted pupil and attached friend, the late Walter Bache at the Grosvenor Gallery, and the 'at homes' of his host and hostess at Westwood House.

"As an indication of the general interest aroused by the coming of Liszt, Punch burst forth in the following strain:

"'A Brilliant Variation.—Mr. and Mrs. Littleton's reception of the Abbé Franz Liszt, at Westwood House, Saturday night last, was an event never to be forgotten. But it was not until all the Great 'uns had left the Littletons that the Greatest of them all sat at the piano in the midst of a cosy and select circle, and then, when Mr. P-nch had put on his Liszt slippers ... but to[313] say more were a breach of hospitality. Suffice it that on taking up his sharp-and-flat candlestick in a perfectly natural manner the Abbé, embracing Mr. P-nch, sobbed out, "This is the Abbé'ist evening I've ever had. Au plaisir!"—(Extract from a Distinguished Guest's Diary. Privately communicated.)'

"Although he was in his seventy-sixth year at the time of this, his last sojourn in England, his pianoforte technic astonished those who were capable to form an opinion, and who were amazed that he did not 'smash the pianoforte, like his pupils!' He was immensely gratified at his visit, and in parting with Mr. Alfred and Mr. Augustus Littleton, at Calais, he said: 'If I should live two years longer I will certainly visit England again!' But alas! a little more than three months after he had said 'Good-bye' to these friends, Franz Liszt closed his long, eventful, and truly artistic career at Bayreuth on July 31, 1886. Professor Niecks said, 'Liszt has lived a noble life. Let us honour his memory.'"


Grieg himself played his piano concerto at a Leipsic Gewandhaus concert in 1879, but it had already been heard in the same hall as early as February 22, 1872, when Miss Erika Lie played it, and the work was announced as new and "in manuscript." Before this time Grieg had shown[314] the concerto to Liszt. The story is told in a letter of Grieg quoted in Henry T. Finck's biography of the composer:

"I had fortunately just received the manuscript of my pianoforte concerto from Leipsic, and took it with me. Besides myself there were present Winding, Sgambati, and a German Liszt-ite whose name I do not know, but who goes so far in the aping of his idol that he even wears the gown of an abbé; add to these a Chevalier de Concilium and some young ladies of the kind that would like to eat Liszt, skin, hair, and all, their adulation is simply comical.... Winding and I were very anxious to see if he would really play my concerto at sight. I, for my part, considered it impossible; not so Liszt. 'Will you play?' he asked, and I made haste to reply: 'No, I cannot' (you know I have never practised it). Then Liszt took the manuscript, went to the piano, and said to the assembled guests, with his characteristic smile, 'Very well, then, I will show you that I also cannot.' With that he began. I admit that he took the first part of the concerto too fast, and the beginning consequently sounded helter-skelter; but later on, when I had a chance to indicate the tempo, he played as only he can play. It is significant that he played the cadenza, the most difficult part, best of all. His demeanour is worth any price to see. Not content with playing, he at the same time converses and makes comments, addressing a bright remark now to one, now to another of the assembled[315] guests, nodding significantly to the right or left, particularly when something pleases him. In the adagio, and still more in the finale, he reached a climax both as to his playing and the praise he had to bestow.

"A really divine episode I must not forget. Toward the end of the finale the second theme is, as you may remember, repeated in a mighty fortissimo. In the very last measures, when in the first triplets the first tone is changed in the orchestra from G sharp to G, while the pianoforte, in a mighty scale passage, rushes wildly through the whole reach of the keyboard, he suddenly stopped, rose up to his full height, left the piano, and, with big theatric strides and arms uplifted, walked across the large cloister hall, at the same time literally roaring the theme. When he got to the G in question, he stretched out his arms imperiously and exclaimed: 'G, G, not G sharp! Splendid! That is the real Swedish Banko!' to which he added very softly, as in a parenthesis: 'Smetana sent me a sample the other day.' He went back to the piano, repeated the whole strophe, and finished. In conclusion, he handed me the manuscript and said, in a peculiarly cordial tone: 'Fahren Sie fort; ich sage Ihnen, Sie haben das Zeug dazu, und—lassen Sie sich nicht abschrecken!' ('Keep steadily on; I tell you, you have the capability, and—do not let them intimidate you!')

"This final admonition was of tremendous importance to me; there was something in it that[316] seemed to give it an air of sanctification. At times when disappointment and bitterness are in store for me, I shall recall his words, and the remembrance of that hour will have a wonderful power to uphold me in days of adversity."


"I think it was in 1840 or 1841, in Manchester, that I first heard Liszt, then a young man of twenty-eight," wrote the late Richard Hoffman in Scribner's Magazine. "At that time he played only bravura piano compositions, such as the Hexameron and Hungarian March of Schubert, in C minor, arranged by himself. I recollect his curious appearance, his tall, lank figure, buttoned up in a frock coat, very much embroidered with braid, and his long, light hair brushed straight down below his collar. He was not at that time a general favourite in England, and I remember that on this occasion there was rather a poor house. A criticism of this concert which I have preserved from the Manchester Morning Post will give an idea of his wonderful playing. After some introduction it goes on to say: 'He played with velocity and impetuosity indescribable, and yet with a facile grace and pliancy that made his efforts seem rather like the flight of thought than the result of mechanical exertion, thus investing his execution with a character more mental than physical, and making genius give elevation to art. One of the most[317] electrifying points of his performance was the introduction of a sequence of thirds in scales, descending with unexampled rapidity; and another, the volume of tone which he rolled forth in the execution of a double shake. The rapture of the audience knew no bounds,' etc. I fancied I saw the piano shake and tremble under the force of his blows in the Hungarian March. I regret that I never had an opportunity of hearing him later in life, when I am sure I should have had more pleasure both in his playing and his programmes. He had appeared some sixteen years before in Manchester, in 1824, as a youthful phenomenon, in an engagement made for him by Mr. Andrew Ward, my father's partner. He stayed at his house while there, as the following letter specifies; both letters form part of a correspondence between Mr. Ward and the elder Liszt on this matter.

"'London, July 29, 1824.

"'Dear Sir: In answer to your letter of the 27th inst. I beg to inform you that I wish my Son to play as follows: viz:—At the first concert, a grand Concerto for the Piano Forte with orchestral accompaniment composed by Hummel, and the Fall of Paris also with grand orchestral accompaniment composed by Moscheles.

"'At the 2d Concert—Variations with orchestral accompaniments composed by Charles Czerni, and afterwards an Extempore Fantasia on a written Thema which Master Liszt will respectfully[318] request any person of the Company to give him.

"'We intend to start to-morrow afternoon at three o'clock by the Telegraph Coach from the White Horse Fetter lane, and as we are entire strangers to Manchester it will be very agreeable to us if you will send some one to meet us.

"'M. Erard's pianoforte will be in your town on Sunday morning as I shall be glad for my son to play upon that instrument.

"'I remain, Dear Sir,

"'Yr. very humble Servant,

"'15 Gt. Marlborough Street,

"'July 22, 1824.

"'Mr. Liszt presents his compliments to Mr. Roe and begs to say, that the terms upon which he will take his son to Manchester to play at the concerts of the second and fourth of August next will be as follows:

"'Mr. Liszt is to receive one hundred pounds and be provided with board and lodgings in Mr. Ward's house during his stay in Manchester for his son and himself, and Mr. Liszt will pay the travelling expenses to and from Manchester.'"



In Henry Reeves's biography I found this about Liszt:

"Liszt had already played a great fantasia of his own, and Beethoven's Twenty-seventh Sonata in the former part of the concert. After this latter piece he gasped with emotion as I took his hand and thanked him for the divine energy he had shed forth. At last I managed to pierce the crowd, and I sat in the orchestra before the Duchesse de Rauzan's box, talking to her Grace and Madame de Circourt, who was there. My chair was on the same board as Liszt's piano when the final piece began. It was a duet for two instruments, beginning with Mendelssohn's Chants sans Paroles and proceeding to a work of Liszt's. We had already passed that delicious chime of the Song Written in a Gondola, and the gay tendrils of sound in another lighter piece, which always reminded me of an Italian vine, when Mrs. Handley played it to us. As the closing strains began I saw Liszt's countenance assume that agony of expression, mingled with radiant smiles of joy, which I never saw in any other human face except in the paintings of our Saviour by some of the early masters; his hands rushed over the keys, the floor on which I sat shook like a wire, and the whole audience were wrapped in sound, when the hand and frame of the artist gave way. He fainted in the arms of the friend who was turning over for him, and we bore him[320] out in a strong fit of hysterics. The effect of this scene was really dreadful. The whole room sat breathless with fear, till Hiller came forward and announced that Liszt was already restored to consciousness and was comparatively well again. As I handed Madame de Circourt to her carriage we both trembled like poplar leaves, and I tremble scarcely less as I write."


"Have you read the story of Liszt's conversion as told by Emile Bergerat in Le Livre de Caliban?" asks Philip Hale. "I do not remember to have seen it in English, and in the dearth of musical news the story may amuse. I shall not attempt to translate it literally, or even English it with a watchful eye on Bergerat's individuality. This is a paraphrase, not even a pale, literal translation of a brilliant original.

The Conversion
The Abbé Liszt

"And so he will not play any more.

"Well, a pianist cannot keep on playing forever, and if Liszt had not promised to stop, the Pope would never have pardoned him—no, never. For the pianist turned priest because he was remorseful, horror-stricken at the thought of his abuse of the piano. His conversion is a matter of[321] history. When one takes Orders, he swears to renounce Satan, his gauds and his works—that is to say, the piano.

"If he should play he'd be a renegade. Of course he longs to touch the keys. His daddy-long-legs-fingers itch, and he doesn't know what to do with them. But an apostate? Perish the thought! And apostasy grins at him; lurks in the metronome with its flicflac. Here's what I call a dramatic situation.

"Wretched Abbé! Never more will you smash white or black keys; never more will you dance on the angry pedals; O never, never more! Do you not hear the croaking of Poe's raven? Never again, O Father, will you tire the rosewood! Good-bye to tumbling scales and pyrotechnical arpeggios! Thus must you do penance. The president of the Immortals does not love piano playing. He scowls on pianists. He condemns them to thump throughout eternity. In Dante's hell there is a dumb piano, and Lucifer sees to it that they practice without ceasing.

"I am naturally tender-hearted, but I approve of this eternal punishment.

"Yes, Father Liszt, because the piano is not in the scheme of Nature. Even in Society the fewer the pianos the greater the merriment. If the piano were really a thing in Nature the good Lord would have taken at least ten minutes of the seven days and designed a model. But the piano never occurred to Him. Now, as everything, existing or to exist, was foreseen by him, and a[322] part of Him (that is, according to the dogma), I am inclined to think He was afraid of the piano. He recoiled at the responsibility of creating it. And yet the machine exists!

"A syllogism leads us to declare that the piano is an after-thought. Of whom? Why, Satan of course. A grim joke of Satan. The piano is the enemy of man. Liszt finally discovered this, though he was just a little late. So he will only go to Purgatory, and in Purgatory there are no dumb pianos. But there are organs without pipes, without bellows, and many have pulled the stops in vain for centuries. I earnestly beseech you, my Father, to accumulate indulgences.

"They tell many stories about the conversions of Abbé Liszt, and how he found out that the piano is the enemy of humanity. Lo, here is the truth. He once gave a concert in a town where there were many dogs. He was then exceedingly absent-minded; he mistook the date and appeared the night before. Extraordinary to relate, there was no one in the hall, although the concert was announced for the next day! Liszt sat down nevertheless, and played for his own amusement. The effect was prodigious, as George Sand told us in her Lettres d'un Voyageur. The dogs ran to the noise—curs, water spaniels, poodles, greyhounds—all the dogs, including the yellow outcast. They all howled fearfully, and they would fain have fleshed their teeth in the pianist.


"Then Liszt reasoned—in his fashion: 'Since the dog is the friend of man, if he abominates the piano it is because his instinct tells him, "the piano is my friend's enemy!"' Professor Jevons might not have approved the conclusion, but Liszt saw no flaw.

"And then a sculptor wished to make a statue of Liszt. He hewed him as he sat before a piano, and he included the instrument. It was naturally a grand piano, one lent by Madame Erard expressly for the occasion. Liszt went to the studio, saw the clay, and turned green.

"'Where did you get such a ghastly idea?' he asked, and his voice trembled. 'You represent me as playing a music coffin.'

"'What's that? I have copied nature. Is not the shape exact?'

"'Horribly,' said Liszt. 'And thus, thus shall I appear to posterity! I shall be seen hanging by my nails to this funereal box, a virtuoso, ferocious, with dishevelled hair, raising the dead and digging a grave at the same time! The idea puts me in a cold sweat!'

"The sculptor smiled. 'I can substitute an upright.'

"'Then I should seem to be scratching a mummy case. They would take me for an Egyptologist at his sacrilegious work.'

"Homeward he fled. In his own room he arranged the mirrors so that he could see himself in all positions while he was plying his hellish trade. And then salvation came to him. He[324] saw that the machine was demoniacal, that it recalled nothing in the fauna or the flora of the good Lord, that the sculptor was right, that the piano had the appearance of the sure box, in which occurs vague metempsychosis, that is if the box only had a jaw. He was horror-stricken at his past life. Frightened, his soul tormented by doubt, it seemed to him that from under the eighty-five molars, which he snatched hurriedly from the shrieking piano, Astaroth darted his tongue. He ran to Rome and threw himself at the Pope's feet, imploring exorcism.

"The confession lasted three days and three nights. The possessed could not get to an end. There were crimes which the Pope himself knew nothing about, which he had never heard mentioned, professional crimes, crimes peculiar to pianists, horrid crimes in keys natural and unnatural! This confession is still celebrated.

"'Holy Father,' cried the wretch, 'you do not, you cannot know everything! There are pianists and pianists. You believe that the piano, as diabolical as it is, whether it be a Pleyel or an Erard, cannot give out more noise than it holds. You believe that he who makes it exhibit in full its terrible proportions is the strongest, and that piano playing has human limitations. Alas, alas! You say to yourself when in an apartment house of seven stories the seven tenants give notice simultaneously to the trembling landlord, it makes no difference whether the cause of the desperate flight is named Saint-Saëns, Pugno or[325] Chabrier. The tenants run because the piano gives forth all that is inside of it, and the inanimate is acutely animate. How Your Holiness is deceived. There's a still lower depth!'

"Liszt smote his breast thrice, and continued: 'I know a man (or is it indeed a human being?) who never quitted the sonorous coffin until the entire street in which he raged had emigrated. And yet he had only ten fingers on his hands, as you and I, and never did he use his toes. This monster, Holy Father, is at your feet!'

"Pius IX shivered with fright. 'Go on, my son, the mercy of God is unbounded.'

"Then Liszt accused himself:

"Of having by Sabbatic concerts driven the half of civilised Europe mad, while the other half returned to Chopin and Thalberg.

"('There's Rubinstein,' said Pius, and he smiled.) Liszt pretended not to hear him, and he continued:

"'My Father, I have encouraged the trade in shrill mahogany, noisy rosewood and shrieking ebony in the five parts of the acoustic world, so that at this very moment there is not a single ajoupa or a single thatched hut among savages that is without a piano. Even wild men are beginning to manufacture pianos, and they give them as wedding gifts to their daughters.'

"('Just as it is in Europe,' said the Pope.)

"'And also,' added Liszt, 'with instructions how to use them. Mea culpa!'

"Then he confessed that apes unable to scramble[326] through a scale were rare in virgin forests; that travellers told of elephants who played with their trunks the Carnival of Venice variations; and it was he, Franz Liszt, that had served them as a model. The plague of universal "pianisme" had spread from pole to pole. Mea culpa! Mea culpa!

"Overcome with shame, he wished to finish his confession at the piano. But Pius IX had anticipated him. There was no piano in the Vatican. In all Christendom, the Pope was the only one without a boxed harp.

"'Ah! you are indeed the Pope!' cried Liszt as he knelt before him.

"A little after this Liszt took Orders. They that speak without intelligence started the rumour that it was at La Trappe. But at La Trappe there is a piano, and Liszt swore to the Holy Father that he would never touch one.

"To-day the world breathes freely. The monster has been disarmed and exorcised.

"Now when Liszt sees a piano he approaches it with curiosity and asks the use of that singular article of furniture.

"It is true there's one in his room, but he keeps his cassocks in it."




After rambling over Weimar and burrowing in the Liszt museum, one feels tempted to pronounce Liszt the happiest of composers, as Yeats calls William Morris the happiest poet. A career without parallel, a victorious general at the head of his ivory army; a lodestone for men and women; a poet, diplomat, ecclesiastic, man of the world, with the sunny nature of a child, loved by all, envious of no one—surely the fates forgot to spin evil threads at the cradle of Franz Liszt. And he was not a happy man for all that. He, too, like Friedrich Nietzsche had dæmonic fantasy; but for him it was a gift, for the other a curse. Music is a liberation, and Nietzsche of all men would have benefited by its healing powers.

In Weimar Liszt walked and talked, smoked strong cigars, played, prayed—for he never missed early mass—and composed. His old housekeeper, Frau Pauline Apel, still a hale woman, shows, with loving care, the memorials[328] in the little museum on the first floor of the Wohnhaus, which stands in the gardens of the beautiful ducal park.

Pauline Apel
Liszt's housekeeper at Weimar

Here Goethe and Schiller once promenaded in a company that has become historic. And cannot Weimar lay claim to a Tannhäuser performance as early as 1849, the Lohengrin production in 1850, and the Flying Dutchman in 1853? What a collection of musical manuscripts, trophies, jewels, pictures, orders, letters—I saw one from Charles Baudelaire to Liszt—and testimonials from all over the globe, which accumulated during the career of this extraordinary man!

The Steinway grand pianoforte, once so dearly prized by the master, has been taken away to make room for the many cases containing precious gifts from sovereigns, the scores of the Christus, Faust Symphony, Orpheus, Hungaria, Berg Symphony, Totentanz, and Festklänge. But the old instrument upon which he played years ago still stands in one of the rooms. Marble casts of Liszt's, Beethoven's, and Chopin's hands are on view; also Liszt's hand firmly clasping the slender fingers of the Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein. Like Chopin, Liszt attracted princesses as sugar buzzing flies.

There is a new Weimar—not so wonderful as the two old Weimars—the Weimar of Anna Amalia and Karl August, of Goethe, Wieland, Herder, and Schiller, Johanna Schopenhauer and her sullen son Arthur, the pessimistic philosopher—and[329] not the old Weimar of Franz Liszt and his brilliant cohort of disciples; nevertheless, a new Weimar, its intellectual rallying-point the home of Elisabeth Foerster-Nietzsche, the tiny and lovable sister of the great dead poet-philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche.

To drift into this delightful Thuringian town; to stop at some curious old inn with an eighteenth century name like the Hotel Zum Elephant; to walk slowly under the trees of the ducal park, catching on one side a glimpse of Goethe's garden house, on the other Liszt's summer home, where gathered the most renowned musicians of the globe—these and many other sights and reminiscences will interest the passionate pilgrim—interest and thrill. If he be bent upon exploring the past glories of the Goethe régime there are bountiful opportunities; the Goethe residence, the superb Goethe and Schiller archives, the ducal library, the garden house, the Belvidere—here we may retrace all the steps of that noble, calm Greek existence from robust young manhood to the very chamber wherein the octogenarian uttered his last cry of "More light!" a cry that not only symbolised his entire career, but has served since as a watchword for poetry, science, and philosophy.

If you are musical, is there not the venerable opera-house wherein more than a half century ago Lohengrin, thanks to the incredible friendship and labour of Franz Liszt, was first given a hearing? And this same opera-house—now no[330] more—is a theatre that fairly exhales memories of historic performances and unique dramatic artists. Once Goethe resigned because against his earnest protest a performing dog was allowed to appear upon the classic boards which first saw the masterpieces of Goethe and Schiller.

But the new Weimar! During the last decade whether the spot has a renewed fascination for the artistic Germans or because of its increased commercial activities, Weimar has worn another and a brighter face. The young Grand Duke Ernst, while never displaying a marked preference for intellectual pursuits, is a liberal ruler, as befits his blood.

Great impetus has been given to manufacturing interests, and the city is near enough to Berlin to benefit by both its distance and proximity. Naturally, the older and conservative inhabitants are horrified by the swift invasion of unsightly chimneys, of country disappearing before the steady encroachment of railroads, mills, foundries, and other unpicturesque but very useful buildings. And the country about Weimar is famed for its picturesque quality—Jena, Tiefurt, Upper Weimar, Erfurt, museums, castles, monuments, belvideres, wayside inns, wonderful roads overhung by great aged trees. But other days, other ways.

Weimar has awakened and is no longer proud to figure merely as a museum of antiquities. With this material growth there has arisen a fresh movement in the stagnant waters of poetic and[331] artistic memories—new ideas, new faces, new paths, new names. It is a useless, though not altogether an unpleasant theme, to speculate upon the different Weimar we would behold if Richard Wagner's original plan had been put into execution as to the location of his theatre. Most certainly Bayreuth would be a much duller town than it is to-day—and that is saying much. But emburgessed prejudices were too much for Wagner, and a stuffy Bavarian village won his preference, thereby becoming historical.

However, Weimar is not abashed or cast down. A cluster of history-making names are hers, and who knows, fifty years hence she may be proud to recall the days when one Richard Strauss was her local Kapellmeister and that within her municipal precincts died a great poetic soul, the optimistic philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche.

Now, Weimar is the residence and the resort of a brilliant group of poets, dramatists, novelists, musicians, painters, sculptors, and actors. Professor Hans Olde, who presides over the imposing art galleries and art school, has gathered about him an enthusiastic host of young painters and art students.

There have been recently two notable exhibitions, respectively devoted to the works of the sculptor-painter, Max Klinger, and the French sculptor, Auguste Rodin. Nor is the new artistic leaven confined to the plastic arts. Ernst von Wildenbruch, a world-known novelist and dramatist (since dead); Baron Detlev von Liliencron,[332] one of Germany's most gifted lyric poets; Richard Dehmel, a poet of the revolutionary order, whose work favourably compares with the productions of the Parisian symbolists; Paul Ernst, poet; Johannes Schlaf, who a few years ago with Arno Holz blazoned the way in Berlin for Gerhart Hauptmann and the young realists—Schlaf is the author of several powerful novels and plays; Count Kessler, a cultured and ardent patron of the fine arts and literature, and Professor van de Velde, whose influence on architecture and the industrial arts has been great, and the American painter Gari Melchers, are all in the Weimar circle.

In the summer Conrad Ansorge, a man not unknown to the New York musical public, gathers around him in pious imitation of his former master, Liszt, a class of ambitious pianists. A former resident of New York, Max Vogrich, pianist and composer, has taken up his residence at Weimar. In its opera-house, which boasts an excellent company of singers, actors, and a good orchestra, the première of Vogrich's opera Buddha occurred in 1903. Gordon Craig, the son of Ellen Terry, often visits the city, where his scheme for the technical reform of the stage—lighting, scenery, costumes, and colours—was eagerly appreciated, as it was in Berlin, by Otto Brahm, director of the Lessing Theatre. Mr. Craig is looked upon as an advanced spirit in Germany. I wish I could praise without critical reservation the two new statues of Shakespeare[333] and Liszt which stand in the park; but neither one is of consummate workmanship or conception.

When I received the amiable "command" of Elisabeth Foerster-Nietzsche, bidding me call at a fixed hour on a certain day, I was quite conscious of the honour; only the true believers set foot within that artistic and altogether charming Mecca at the top of the Luisenstrasse.

The lofty and richly decorated room where repose the precious mementos of the dead thinker is a singularly attractive one—it is a true abode of culture. Here Nietzsche died in 1900; here he was wheeled out upon the adjacent balcony, from which he had a surprising view of the hilly and delectable countryside.

His sister and devoted biographer is a comely little lady, vivacious, intellectual, bright of cheek and eye, a creature of fire and enthusiasm, more Gallic than German. I could well believe in the legend of the Polish Nietzskys, from whom the philosopher claimed descent, after listening to her spirited discussion of matters that pertained to her dead brother. His memory with her is an abidingly beautiful one. She says "my poor brother" with the accents of one speaking of the vanished gods.

His sister showed me all her treasures—many manuscripts of early and still unpublished studies; his original music, for he composed much during his intimacy with Richard Wagner; the grand pianoforte with which he soothed his tortured[334] nerves; the stately bust executed by Max Klinger; the painful portrait etched by Hans Olde, and many other souvenirs.

Mrs. Foerster-Nietzsche, who once lived in South America—she speaks English, French, and Italian fluently—assured me that she sincerely regretted the premature publication in English of The Case of the Wagner. This book, so terribly personal, is a record of the disenchanting experiences of a shattered friendship.

Madame Foerster spoke most feelingly of Cosima Wagner and deplored the rupture of their intimate relations. "A marvellous woman! a fascinating woman!" she said several times. What with her correspondence in every land, the publication of the bulky biography and the constant editing of unpublished essays, letters and memorabilia, this rare sister of a great man is, so it seems to me, overtaxing her energies. The Nietzsche bibliography has assumed formidable proportions, yet she is conversant with all of it. A second Henrietta Renan, I thought, as I took a regretful leave of this very remarkable woman, not daring to ask her when Nietzsche's unpublished autobiography, Ecce Homo, would be given to the world. (This was written in 1904; Ecce Homo has appeared in the meantime.)

Later, down in the low-ceilinged café of the Hotel zum Elephant, I overheard a group of citizens, officers, merchants—all cronies—discussing Weimar. Nietzsche's name was mentioned, and one knight of this round table—a gigantic[335] officer with a button head—contemptuously exclaimed:—"Nietzsche Rauch!" (smoke). Yes, but what a world-compelling vapour is his that now winds in fantastic spirals over the romantic hills and valleys of the new Weimar and thence about the entire civilised globe! Friedrich Nietzsche, because of his fiery poetic spirit and ecstatic pantheism, might be called the Percy Bysshe Shelley of philosophers.


My first evening in Budapest was a cascade of surprises. The ride down from Vienna is not cheery until the cathedral and palace of the primate is reached, at Gran, a superb edifice, challenging the valley of the Danube. Interminable prairies, recalling the traits of our Western country, swam around the busy little train until this residence of the spiritual lord of Hungary was passed. After that the scenery as far as Orsova, Belgrade, and the Iron Gates is legendary in its beauty.

To hear the real Hungarian gipsy on his own heath has been long my ambition. In New York he is often a domesticated fowl, with aliens in his company. But in Budapest! My hopes were high. The combination of that peppery food, paprika gulyas, was also an item not to be overlooked. I soon found an establishment where[336] the music is the best in Hungary, the cooking of the hottest. After the usual distracting tuning the band splashed into a fierce prelude.

Fancy coming thousands of miles to hear the original of all the cakewalks and eat a preparation that might have been turned out from a Mexican restaurant! It was too much. It took exactly four Czardas and the Rakoczy march to convince me that I was not dreaming of Manhattan Beach.

But this particular band was excellent. Finding that some of the listeners only wished for gipsy music, the leader played the most frantically bacchanalian in his repertory. Not more than eight men made up the ensemble! And such an ensemble. It seemed to be the ideal definition of anarchy—unity in variety. Not even a Richard Strauss score gives the idea of vertical and horizontal music—heard at every point of the compass, issuing from the bowels of the earth, pouring down upon one's head like a Tyrolean thunderstorm. Every voice was independent, and syncopated as were the rhythms. There was no raggedness in attack or cessation.

Like a streak of jagged, blistering lightning, a tone would dart from the double bass to the very scroll of the fiddles. In mad pursuit, over a country black as Servian politics went the cymbalom, closely followed by two clarinets—in B and E flat. The treble pipe was played by a jeweller in disguise—he must have been a jeweller, so fond was he of ornamentation and cataracts[337] of pearly tones. He made a trelliswork behind which he attacked his foes, the string players. In the midst of all this melodic chaos the leader, cradling his fiddle like something alive, swayed as sways a tall tree in the gale. Then he left the podium and hat in hand collected white pieces and kronen. It was disenchanting.

The tone of the band was more resilient, more brilliant than the bands we hear in America. And there were more heart, fire, swing and dash in their playing. The sapping melancholy of the Lassan and the diabolic vigour of the Friska are things that I shall never forget. These gipsies have an instinctive sense of tempo. Their allegretto is a genuine allegretto. They play rag-time music with true rhythmic appreciation for the reason that its metrical structure is grateful to them.

In Paris the cakewalk is a thing of misunderstood, misapplied accents. The Budapest version of the Rakoczy march is a revelation. No wonder Berlioz borrowed it. The tempo is a wild quickstep; there is no majestic breadth, so suggestive of military pomp or the grandeur of a warlike race. Instead, the music defiled by in crazy squads, men breathlessly clinging to the saddles of their maddened steeds; above them hung the haze of battle, and the hoarse shouting of the warriors was heard. Five minutes more of this excitement and heart disease might have supervened. Five minutes later I saw the band grinning over their tips, drinking and looking absolutely[338] incapable of ever playing such stirring and hyperbolical music.

After these winged enchantments I was glad enough to wander next morning in the Hungarian Museum, following the history of this proud and glorious nation, in its armour, its weapons, its trophies of war and its banners captured from the Saracen. Such mementos re-create a race. In the picture gallery, a modest one, there are some interesting Munkaczys and several Makarts; also many specimens of Hungarian art by Kovacs, Zichy (a member of a noble and talented family), Székely, and Michael Zichy's cartoon illustrations to Mádach's The Tragedy of Mankind.

Munkaczy's portrait of Franz Liszt is muddy and bituminous. Two original aquarelles by Doré were presented by Liszt. I was surprised to find in the modern Saal the Sphynx of Franz Stuck, a sensational and gruesome canvas, which made a stir at the time of first hanging in the Munich Secession exhibition. Budapest purchased it; also a very characteristic Segantini, an excellent Otto Sinding, and Hans Makart's Dejanira. A beautiful marble of Rodin's marks the progressive taste of this artistic capital.

It would seem that even for a municipality of New York's magnitude the erection of such a Hall of Justice and such a Parliament building would be a tax beyond its purse. Budapest is not a rich city, but these two public buildings, veritable palaces, gorgeously decorated, proclaim her as a highly civilised centre. The opera-house,[339] which seats only 1,100, is the most perfectly appointed in the world; its stage apparatus is better than Bayreuth's. And the natural position of the place is unique. From the ramparts of the royal palace in Buda—old Ofen—your eye, promise-crammed, sweeps a series of fascinating façades, churches, palaces, generous embankments, while between its walls the Danube flows torrentially down to the mysterious lands where murder is admired and thrones are playthings.

In the Liszt museum is the old, bucolic pianino upon which his childish hands first rested at Raiding (Dobrjàn), his birthplace. His baton; the cast of his hand and of Chopin's and the famous piano of Beethoven, at which most of the immortal sonatas were composed, and upon which Liszt Ferencz played for the great composer shortly before his death in 1827. The little piano has no string, but the Beethoven—a Broadwood & Sons, Golden Square, London, so the fall-board reads—is full of jangling wires, the keys black with age. Liszt presented it to his countrymen—he greatly loved Budapest and taught several months every winter at the Academy of Music in the spacious Andrassy strasse.

A harp, said to have been the instrument most affected by Marie Antoinette, did not give me the thrill historic which all right-minded Yankees should experience in strange lands. I would rather see a real live tornado in Kansas than shake hands with the ghost of Napoleon.



The pianoforte virtuoso, Richard Burmeister, and one of Liszt's genuine "pet" pupils, advised me to look at Liszt's hotel in the Vicolo Alibert, Rome. It is still there, an old-fashioned place, Hotel Alibert, up an alley-like street off the Via Babuino, near the Piazza del Popolo. But it is shorn of its interest for melomaniacs, as the view commanding the Pincio no longer exists. One night sufficed me, though the manager smilingly assured me that he could show the room wherein Liszt slept and studied. A big warehouse blocks the outlook on the Pincio; indeed the part of the hotel Liszt inhabited no longer stands. But at Tivoli, at the Villa d'Este, with its glorious vistas of the Campagna and Rome, there surely would be memories of the master. The Sunday I took the steam-tramway was a threatening one; before Bagni was reached a solid sheet of water poured from an implacable leaden sky. It was not a cheerful prospect for a Liszt-hunter. Arrived at Tivoli, I waited in the Caffé d'Italia hoping for better weather. An old grand pianoforte, the veriest rattletrap stood in the eating salle; but upon its keys had rested many times the magic-breeding fingers of Liszt. Often, with a band of students or with guests he would walk down from the villa and while waiting for their[341] carriages he would jestingly sweep the keyboard. At the Villa d'Este itself the cypresses, cascades, terraces, and mysterious avenues of green were enveloped in a hopeless fog. It was the mistiest spot I ever visited. Heaven and earth, seemingly, met in fluid embrace to give me a watery welcome. Where was Liszt's abode is a Marianite convent. I was not permitted to visit his old room which is now the superior's. It was at the top of the old building, for wherever Liszt lived he enjoyed a vast landscape. I could discover but one person who remembered the Abbate; the conciêrge. And his memories were scanty. I wandered disconsolately through the rain, my mood splenetic. So much for fame. I bitterly reflected in the melancholy, weedy, moss-infested walks of the garden.

As I attempted to point out to our little party the particular window from which Liszt saw the miraculous Italian world, I stepped on a slimy green rock and stretched my length in the humid mud. There was a deep, a respectful silence as I was helped to my feet—the gravity of the surroundings, the solemnity of our recollections choked all levity; though I saw signs of impending apoplexy on several faces. To relieve the strain I sternly bade our guide retire to an adjacent bosky retreat and there roar to his heart's content. He did. So did we all. The spell broken we returned to the "Sirene" opposite the entrance to the famous Tivoli water-falls and there with Chianti and spaghetti tried[342] to forget the morning's disappointments. But even there sadness was invoked by the sight of a plaster bust of Liszt lying forlorn in the wet grass. The head waiter tried to sell it for twenty liri; but it was too big to carry; besides its nose was missing. He said that the original was somewhere in Tivoli.

Sgambati in Rome keeps green the memory of the master in his annual recitals; but of the churchly compositions no one I encountered had ever heard. At Santa Francesca Romana, adjoining the Forum, Liszt once took up his abode; there I saw in the cloister an aged grand pianoforte upon which he had played in a concert given at the Church of Santa Maria Maggiore many years ago. About an hour from Rome is the Oratory of the Madonna del Rosario on Monte Mario. There Liszt lived and composed in 1863. But his sacred music is never sung in any of the churches; the noble Graner Mass is still unheard in Rome. Even the Holy Father refers to the dead Hungarian genius as, "il compositore Tedesco!" It was different in the days of Pius IX, when Liszt's music was favoured at the Vatican. Is it not related that Pio Nono bestowed upon the great pianist the honour of hearing his confession at the time he became an abbé? And did he not after four or five hours of worldly reminiscences, cry out despairingly to his celebrated penitent:

"Basta, Caro Liszt! Your memory is marvellous. Now go play the remainder of your sins[343] upon the pianoforte." They say that Liszt's playing on that occasion was simply enchanting—and he did not cease until far into the night.

Liszt's various stopping-places in and around Rome were: Vicolo de Greci (No. 43), Hotel Alibert, Vicolo Alibert, opposite Via del Babuino; Villa d'Este with Cardinal Hohenlohe, also at the Vatican; in 1866 at Monte Mario, Kloster Madonna del Rosario, Kloster Santa Francesca Romana, the Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein first resided in the Via del Babuino, later (1881) at the Hotel Malaro. Monsignor Kennedy of the American College shows the grand piano upon which Liszt once played there.

Perhaps Rome, at a superficial glance, still affects the American as it did Taine a half century ago, as a provincial city, sprawled to unnecessary lengths over its seven hills, and, despite the smartness of its new quarters, far from suggesting a Weltstadt, as does, for example, bustling, shining Berlin or mundane Paris. But not for her superb and imperial indifference are the seductive spells of operatic Venice or the romantic glamour of Florence. She can proudly say "La ville c'est moi!" She is not a city, but the city of cities, and it needs but twenty-four hours' submergence in her atmosphere to make one a slave at her eternal chariot wheels. The New York cockney, devoted to his cult of the modern—hotels, baths, cafés and luxurious theatres—soon wearies of Rome. He prefers Paris or Naples. Hasn't some one said, "See Naples[344] and die—of its smells?" As an inexperienced traveller I know of no city on the globe where you formulate an expression of like or dislike so quickly. You are Rome's foe or friend within five minutes after you leave its dingy railway station. And it is hardly necessary to add that its newer quarters, pretentious, cold, hard and showy, are quite negligible. One does not go to Rome to seek the glazed comforts of Brooklyn.

The usual manner of approaching the Holy Father is to go around to the American Embassy and harry the good-tempered secretary into a promise of an invitation card, that is, if you are not acquainted in clerical circles. I was not long in Rome before I discovered that both Mgr. Kennedy and Mgr. Merry del Val were at Frascati enjoying a hard-earned vacation. So I dismissed the ghost of the idea and pursued my pagan worship at the Museo Vaticano. Then the heavy hoofs of three hundred pilgrims invaded the peace of the quiet Hotel Fischer up in the Via Sallustiana. They had come from Cologne and the vicinity of the Upper Rhine, bearing Peter's pence, wearing queer clothes and good-natured smiles. They tramped the streets and churches of Rome, did these commonplace, pious folk. They burrowed in the Catacombs and ate their meals, men and women alike, with such a hearty gnashing of teeth, such a rude appetite, that one envied their vitality, their faith, their wholesale air of having accomplished the conquest of Rome.

Their schedule, evidently prepared with great[345] forethought and one that went absolutely to pieces when put to the test of practical operation, was wrangled over at each meal, where the Teutonic clans foregathered in full force. The third day I heard of a projected audience at the Vatican. These people had come to Rome to see the Pope. Big-boned and giantlike Monsignor Pick visited the hotel daily, and once after I saw him in conference with Signor Fischer I asked him if it were possible——

"Of course," responded the wily Fischer, "anything is possible in Rome." Wear evening dress? Nonsense! That was in the more exacting days of Leo XIII. The present Pope is a democrat. He hates vain show. Perhaps he has absorbed some of the Anglo-Saxon antipathy to seeing evening dress on a male during daylight. But the ladies wear veils. All the morning of October 5 the hotel was full of eager Italians selling veils to the German ladies.

Carriages blocked the streets and almost stretched four square around the Palazzo Margherita. There was noise. There were explosive sounds when bargains were driven. Then, after the vendors of saints' pictures, crosses, rosary beads—chiefly gentlemen of Oriental persuasion, comical as it may seem—we drove off in high feather nearly four hundred strong. I had secured from Monsignor Pick through the offices of my amiable host a parti-hued badge with a cross and the motto, "Coeln—Rom., 1905," which, interpreted, meant "Cologne—Rome." I[346] felt like singing "Nach Rom," after the fashion of the Wagnerians in act II of Tannhäuser, but contented myself with abusing my coachman for his slow driving. It was all as exciting as a first night at the opera.

The rendezvous was the Campo Santo dei Tedeschi, which, with its adjoining church of Santa Maria della Pieta, was donated to the Germans by Pius VI as a burying-ground. There I met my companions of the dining-room, and after a stern-looking German priest with the bearing of an officer interrogated me I was permitted to join the pilgrims. What at first had been a thing of no value was now become a matter of life and death.

After standing above the dust and buried bones of illustrious and forgotten Germans we went into the church and were cooled by an address in German from a worthy cleric whose name I cannot recall. I remember that he told us that we were to meet the Vicar of Christ, a man like ourselves. He emphasised strangely, so it appeared to me, the humanity of the great prelate before whom we were bidden that gloomy autumnal afternoon. And then, after intoning a Te Deum, we filed out in pairs, first the women, then the men, along the naked stones until we reached the end of the Via delle Fundamenta. The pilgrims wore their everyday clothes. One even saw the short cloak and the green jägerhut. We left our umbrellas at a garderobe; its business that day was a thriving one. We mounted innumerable[347] staircases. We entered the Sala Regia, our destination—I had hoped for the more noble and spacious Sala Ducale.

Three o'clock was the hour set for the audience; but His Holiness was closeted with a French ecclesiastical eminence and there was a delay of nearly an hour. We spent it in staring at the sacred and profane frescoes of Daniele da Volterra, Vasari, Salviati and Zucchari staring at each other. The women, despite their Italian veils, looked hopelessly Teutonic, the men clumsy and ill at ease. There were uncouth and guttural noises. Conversation proceeded amain. Some boasted of being heavily laden with rosaries and crucifixes, for all desired the blessing of the Holy Father. One man, a young German-American priest from the Middle West, almost staggered beneath a load of pious emblems. The guilty feelings which had assailed me as I passed the watchful gaze of the Swiss Guards began to wear off. The Sala Regia bore an unfamiliar aspect, though I had been haunting it and the adjacent Sistine Chapel daily for the previous month. An aura, coming I knew not whence, surrounded us. The awkward pilgrims, with their daily manners, almost faded away, and when at last a murmur went up, "The Holy Father! the Holy Father! He approaches!" a vast sigh of relief was exhaled. The tension had become unpleasant.

We were ranged on either side, the women to the right, the men to the left of the throne, which[348] was an ordinary looking tribune. It must be confessed that later the fair sex were vigorously elbowed to the rear. In America the women would have been well to the front, but the dear old Fatherland indulges in no such new fangled ideas of sex equality. So the polite male pilgrims by superior strength usurped all the good places. A tall, handsome man in evening clothes—solitary in this respect, with the exception of the Pope's body suite—patrolled the floor, obsequiously followed by the Suiss in their hideous garb—a murrain on Michelangelo's taste if he designed such hideous uniforms! I fancied that he was no less than a prince of the royal blood, so masterly was his bearing. When I discovered that he was the Roman correspondent of a well-known North German gazette my respect for the newspaper man abroad was vastly increased. The power of the press——!

"His Holiness comes!" was announced, and this time it was not a false alarm. From a gallery facing the Sistine Chapel entered the inevitable Swiss Guards; followed the officers of the Papal household, grave and reverend seigniors; a knot of ecclesiastics, all wearing purple; Monsignor Pick, the Papal prothonotary and a man of might in business affairs; then a few stragglers—anonymous persons, stout, bald, officials—and finally Pope Pius X.

He was attired in pure white, even to the sash that compassed his plump little figure. A cross depended from his neck. He immediately and[349] in the most matter of fact fashion held out his hand to be kissed. I noted the whiteness of the nervous hand tendered me, bearing the ring of Peter, a large, square emerald surrounded by diamonds. Though seventy, the Pope looks ten years younger. He is slightly under medium height. His hair is white, his complexion dark red, veined, and not very healthy. He seems to need fresh air and exercise; the great gardens of the Vatican are no compensation for this man of sorrows, homesick for the sultry lagoons and stretches of gleaming waters in his old diocese of Venice. If the human in him could call out it would voice Venice, not the Vatican. The flesh of his face is what the painters call "ecclesiastical flesh," large in grain. His nose broad, unaristocratic, his brows strong and harmonious. His eyes may be brown, but they seemed black and brilliant and piercing. He moved with silent alertness. An active, well-preserved man, though he achieved the Biblical three-score and ten in June, 1905. I noted, too, with satisfaction, the shapely ears, artistic ears, musical ears, their lobes freely detached. A certain resemblance to Pius IX there is; he is not so amiable as was that good-tempered Pope who was nicknamed by his intimate friend, the Abbé Liszt, Pia Nina, because of his musical proclivities. Altogether, I found another than the Pope I had expected. This, then, was that exile—an exile, yet in his native land; a prisoner in sight of the city of which he is the spiritual ruler; a prince over all[350] principalities and dominions, yet withal a feeble old man, whose life might be imperilled if he ventured into the streets of Rome.

The Pope had now finished his circle of pilgrims and stood at the other end of the Sala. With him stood his chamberlains and ecclesiastics. Suddenly a voice from the balcony, which I saw for the first time, bade us come nearer. I was thunder-struck. This was back to the prose of life with a vengeance. We obeyed instructions. A narrow aisle was made, with the Pope in the middle perspective. Then the voice, which I discovered by this time issued from the mouth of a bearded person behind a huge, glittering camera, cried out in peremptory and true photographer style:——

"One, two, three! Thank your Holiness."

And so we were photographed. In the Vatican and photographed! Old Rome has her surprises for the patronising visitors from the New World. It was too business-like for me, and I would have gone away, but I couldn't, as the audience had only begun. The Pope went to his throne and received the heads of the pilgrims. A certain presumptuous American told him that the church musical revolution was not much appreciated in America. He also asked, rash person that he was, why an example was not set at St. Peter's itself, where the previous Sunday he had heard, and to his horror, a florid mass by Milozzi, as florid and operatic as any he had been forced to endure in New York before the new[351] order of things. A discreet poke in the ribs enlightened him to the fact that at a general audience such questions are not in good taste.

The Pope spoke a few words in a ringing barytone voice. He said that he loved Germany, loved its Emperor; that every morning his second prayer was for Germany—his first, was it for the hundredth wandering sheep of the flock, France? That he did not explain. He blessed us, and his singing voice proved singularly rich, resonant and pure in intonation for an old man. Decidedly Pius X is musical; he plays the pianoforte it is said, with taste. The pilgrims thundered the Te Deum a second time, with such pious fervour that the venerable walls of the Sala Regia shook with their lung vibrations. Then the Papal suite followed the sacred figure out of the chamber and the buzzing began. The women wanted to know—and indignant were their inflections—why a certain lady attired in scarlet, hat and all, was permitted within the sacred precincts. The men hurried, jostling each other, for their precious umbrellas. The umbrella in Germany is the symbol of the mediæval sword. We broke ranks and tumbled into the now sunny daylight, many going on the wings of thirst to the Piazza Santi Apostoli, which, notwithstanding its venerable name, has amber medicine for parched German gullets.

Pius X is a democratic man. He may be seen by the faithful at any time. He has organised a number of athletic clubs for young Romans,[352] taking a keen interest in their doings. He is an impulsive man and has many enemies in his own household. He has expressed his intention of ridding Rome of its superfluous monks, those unattached ones who make life a burden by their importunings and beggaries in Rome.

His personal energy was expressed while I was in Rome by his very spirited rebuke to some members of the athletic clubs at an audience in the Vatican. There was some disorder while the Pontiff spoke. He fixed a noisy group with an angry glance:—"Those who do not wish to hear me—well, there is the open door!"

Another incident, and one I neglected to relate in its proper place;—As Pius proceeded along the line of kneeling figures during the German audience he encountered a little, jolly-looking priest, evidently known to him. A smile, benign, witty, delicately humourous, appeared on his lips. For a moment he seemed more Celt than Latin. There was no hint of the sardonic smile which is said to have crossed the faces of Roman augurs. It was merely a friendly recognition tempered by humility, as if he meant to ask:—"Why do you need my blessing, friend?" And it was the most human smile that I would imagine worn by a Pope. It told me more of his character than even did his meek and resigned pose when the official photographer of the Vatican called out his sonorous "Una, due, tre!"



Here is a list of the pupils who studied with Liszt. There are doubtless a thousand more who claim to have been under his tutelage but as he is dead he can't call them liars. All who played in Weimar were not genuine pupils. This collection of names has been gleaned from various sources. It is by no means infallible. Many of them are dead. No attempt is made to denote their nationalities, only sex and alphabetical order is employed. Place aux dames.

Vilma Barga Abranyi, Anderwood, Baronne Angwez, Julia Banholzer, Bartlett, Stefanie Busch, Alice Bechtel, Berger, Robertine Bersen-Gothenberg, Ida Bloch, Charlotte Blume-Ahrens, Anna Bock, Bödinghausen, Valerie Boissier-Gasparin, Marianne Brandt, Antonie Bregenzer, Marie Breidenstein, Elisabeth Brendel-Trautmann, Ingeborg Bronsart-Stark, Emma Brückmann, Burmester, Louisa Cognetti, Descy, Wilhelmine Döring, Victoria Drewing, Pauline Endry, Pauline Fichtner Erdmannsdörfer, Hermine Esinger, Anna Mehlig-Falk, Amy Fay, Anna Fiebinger, Fischer, Margarethe Fokke, Stefanie Forster, Hermine Frank, H.[354] von Friedländer, Vilma von Friedenlieb, Stephanie von Fryderyey, Hirschfeld-Gärtner, Anna Gáll, Cecilia Gaul, Kathi Gaul, Ida Seelmuyden, Geyser, Gilbreth, Goodwin, Gower, Amalie Greipel-Golz, Margit Groschmied, Emma Grossfurth, Ilona Grunn, Emma Guttmann von Hadeln, Adele Hastings, Piroska Hary, Howard, Heidenreich, Nadine von Helbig (née Princesse Schakovskoy), Gertrud Herzer, Hippins, Hodoly, Höltze, Aline Hundt, Marie Trautmann Jaell, Olga Janina (Marquise Cezano), Jeapp, Jeppe, Julia Jerusalem, Clothilde Jeschke, Helene Kähler, Anna Kastner, Clemence Kautz-Kreutzer, Kettwitz, Johanna Klinkerfuss-Schulz, Emma Koch, Roza Koderle, Manda Von Kontsky, Kovnatzka, Emestine Kramer, Klara Krause, Julia Rivé King, Louisè Krausz, Josefine Krautwald, Isabella Kulissay, Natalie Kupisch, Marie La Mara (Lipsius), Adèle Laprunarède (Duchesse de Fleury), Vicomtesse de La Rochefoucauld, Julie Laurier, Leu Ouscher, Elsa Levinson, Ottilie Lichterfeld, Hedwig von Liszt, Hermine Lüders, Ella Máday, Sarah Magnus-Heinze, Marie von Majewska-Sokal, Martini, Sofie Menter, Emilie Merian Genast, Emma Mettler, Olga de Meyendorff (née Princesse Gortschakoff), Miekleser, Von Milde-Agthe, Henrietta Mildner, Comtesse de Miramont, Ella Modritzky, Marie Mösner, De Montgolfier, Eugenie Müller-Katalin, Herminie de Musset, Ida Nagy, Gizella Neumann, Iren Nobel, Adele Aus der Ohe, Sophie Olsen, Paramanoff, Gizella[355] Paszthony-Voigt de Leitersberg, Dory Petersen, Sophie Pflughaupt-Stehepin, Jessie Pinney-Baldwin, Marie Pleyel-Mock, Pohl-Eyth, Toni Raab, Lina Ramann, Kätchen von Ranuschewitsch, Laura Rappoldi-Kahrer, Duchesse de Rauzan, Ilonka von Ravacz, Gertrud Remmert, Martha Remmert, Auguste Rennenbaum, Klara Riess, Anna Rigo, Anna Rilke, Rosenstock, M. von Sabinin, Comtesse Carolyne Saint-Criq d'Artignan (Liszt's first love), Gräfin Sauerma, Louise Schärnack, Lina Scheuer, Lina Schmalhausen, Marie Schnobel, Agnes Schöler, Adelheid von Schorn, Anna Schuck, Elly Schulze, Irma Schwarz, Arma Senkrah (Harkness), Caroline Montigny-Remaury (Serres), Siegenfeld, Paula Söckeland, Ella Solomonson, Sothman, Elsa Sonntag, Spater, Anna Spiering, H. Stärk, Anna Stahr, Helene Stahr, Margarethe Stern-Herr, Neally Stevens, Von Stvicowich, Hilda Tegernström, Vera von Timanoff, Iwanka Valeska, Vial, Pauline Viardot-Garcia, Hortense Voigt, Pauline von Voros, Ida Volkmann, Josephine Ware, Rosa Wappenhaus, Ella Wassemer, Olga Wein-Vaszilievitz, Weishemer, Margarethe Wild, Etelka Willheim-Illoffsky, Winslow, Janka Wohl, Johanna Wenzel-Zarembska.

Among the men were: Cornel Abranyi, Leo d'Ageni, Eugen d'Albert, Isaac Albeniz, C. B. Alkan, Nikolaus Almasy, F. Altschul, Conrad Ansorge, Emil Bach, Walter Bache, Carl Baermann, Albert Morris Bagby, Josef Bahnert, Johann Butka, Antonio Bazzini, J. von Beliczay,[356] Franz Bendel, Rudolf Bensey, Theodore Ritter, Wilhelm Berger, Arthur Bird, Adolf Blassmann, Bernhard Boekelmann, Alexander Borodin, Louis Brassin, Frederick Boscovitz, Franz Brendel, Emil Brodhag, Hans von Bronsart, Hans von Bülow, Buonamici, Burgmein (Ricordi), Richard Burmeister, Louis Coenen, Herman Cohen ("Puzzi"), Chop, Peter Cornelius, Bernhard Cossmann, Leopold Damrosch, William Dayas, Ludwig Dingeldey, D' Ma Sudda-Bey, Felix Draeseke, Von Dunkirky, Paul Eckhoff, Theodore Eisenhauer, Imre Elbert, Max Erdsmannsdörfer, Henri Falcke, August Fischer, C. Fischer, L. A. Fischer, Sandor Forray, Freymond, Arthur Friedheim, W. Fritze, Ferencz Gaal, Paul Geisler, Josef Gierl, Henri von Gobbi, August Göllerich, Karl Göpfurt, Edward Götze, Karl Götze, Adalbert von Goldschmidt, Bela Gosztonyi, A. W. Gottschlag, L. Grünberger, Guglielmi, Luigi Gulli, Guricks, Arthur Hahn, Ludwig Hartmann, Rudolf Hackert, Harry Hatch, J. Hatton, Hermann, Carl Hermann, Josef Huber, Augustus Hyllested, S. Jadassohn, Alfred Jaell, Josef Joachim, Rafael Joseffy, Ivanow-Ippolitoff, Aladar Jukasz, Louis Jungmann, Emerich Kastner, Keler, Berthold Kellermann, Baron Von Keudell, Wilhelm Kienzl, Edwin Klahre, Karl Klindworth, Julius Kniese, Louis Köhler, Martin Krause, Gustav Krausz, Bela Kristinkovics, Franz Kroll, Karl Von Lachmund, Alexander Lambert, Frederick Lamond, Siegfried Langaard, Eduard Lassen, W. Waugh[357] Lauder, Georg Leitert, Graf de Leutze, Wilhelm Von Lenz, Otto Lessmann, Emil Liebling, Georg Liebling, Saul Liebling, Karlo Lippi, Louis Lönen, Joseph Lomba, Heinrich Lutter, Louis Mass, Gyula Major, Hugo Mansfeldt, L. Marek, William Mason, Edward MacDowell, Richard Metzdortf, Baron Meyendorff, Max Meyer, Meyer-Olbersleben, E. Von Michalowich, Mihlberg, F. Von Milde, Michael Moszonyi, Moriz Moszkowski, J. Vianna da Motta, Felix Mottl, Franz Müller, Müller-Hartung, Johann Müller, Paul Müller, Nikol Nelisoff, Otto Neitzel, Arthur Nikisch, Ludwig Nohl, John Orth, F. Pezzini, Robert Pflughaupt, Max Pinner, William Piutti, Richard Pohl, Karl Pohlig, Pollack, Heinrich Porges, Wilhem Posse, Silas G. Pratt, Dionys Prückner, Graf Pückler, Joachim Raff, S. Ratzenberger, Karoly Rausch, Alfred Reisenauer, Edward Remenyi, Alfonso Rendano, Julius Reulke, Edward Reuss, Hermann Richter, Julius Richter, Karl Riedel, F. W. Riesberg, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Karl Ritter, Hermann Ritter, Moriz Rosenthal, Bertrand Roth, Louis Rothfeld, Joseph Rubinstein, Nikolaus Rubinstein, Camille Saint-Saëns, Max van de Sandt, Emil Sauer, Xaver Scharwenka, Hermann Scholtz, Bruno Schrader, F. Schreiber, Karl Schroeder, Max Schuler, H. Schwarz, Max Seifriz, Alexander Seroff, Franz Servais, Giovanni Sgambati, William H. Sherwood, Rudolf Sieber, Alexander Siloti, Edmund Singer, Otto Singer, Antol Sipos, Friederich Smetana, Goswin Söckeland, Wilhelm[358] Speidel, F. Spiro, F. Stade, L. Stark, Ludwig Stasny, Adolph Stange, Bernhard Stavenhagen, Eduard Stein, August Stradal, Frank Van der Stucken, Arpad Szendy, Ladislas Tarnowski, Karl Tausig, E. Telbicz, Otto Tiersch, Anton Urspruch, Baron Vegh, Rudolf Viole, Vital, Jean Voigt, Voss, Henry Waller, Felix Weingartner, Weissheimer, Westphalen, Joseph Wieniawsky, Alexander Winterberger, Theador de Witt, Peter Wolf, Jules Zarembsky, Van Zeyl, Geza Zichy (famous one-armed Hungarian pianist), Hermann Zopff, Johannes Zschocher, Stephen Thoman, Louis Messemaekers, Robert Freund. And how many more?

All the names above mentioned were not pianists. Some were composers, later celebrated, conductors, violinists—Joachim and Remenyi, and Van Der Stucken, for example—harpists, even musical critics who went to Liszt for musical advice, advice that he gave with a royal prodigality. He never received money for his lessons. "Am I a piano teacher?" he would thunder if a pupil came to him with faulty technic.

Frl. Paraninoff   Frau Friedheim   Mannsfeldt
Rosenthal   Frl. Drewing   Liszt
Liebling   Silotti   Friedheim   Sauer   Reisenauer   Gottschalg
Liszt and His Scholars, 1884

What became of Part Third of the Liszt Piano Method? It was spirited away and has never been heard of since. In his Franz Liszt in Weimar, the late A. W. Gottschalg discusses the mystery. A pupil, a woman, is said to have been the delinquent. The Method, as far as it goes is not a work of supreme importance. Liszt was not a pedagogue, and abhorred technical drudgery.


As to the legend of his numerous children, we can only repeat Mark Twain's witticism concerning a false report of his death—the report has been much exaggerated. At one time or another Alexander Winterberger, a pupil (since dead), the late Anton Seidl, Servais, Arthur Friedheim, and many others have been called "sons of Liszt." And I have heard of several ladies who—possibly thinking it might improve their technic—made the claim of paternity. At one time in Weimar, Friedheim smilingly assured me, there was a craze to be suspected an offspring of the Grand Old Man—who like Wotan had his Valkyrie brood. When Eugen d'Albert first played for Liszt he was saluted by him as the "Second Tausig." That settled his paternity. Immediately it was hinted that he greatly resembled Karl Tausig, and although his real father was a French dance composer—do you remember the Peri Valse?—everyone stuck to the Tausig legend. I wonder what the mothers of these young Lisztians thought of their sons' tact and delicacy?

Liszt denied that Thalberg was the natural son of Prince Dietrichstein of Vienna, as was commonly believed. To Göllerich he said that his early rival was the son of an Englishman. Richard Burmeister told me when Servais visited Weimar the Lisztian circle was agitated because of the remarkable resemblance the Belgian bore to the venerable Abbé. At the whist-table—the game was a favourite one with the[360] Master—some tactless person bluntly put the question to Liszt as to the supposed relationship. He fell into a rage and growlingly answered: "Ich kenne seine Mutter nur durch Correspondenz, und so was kann man nicht durch Correspondenz abmachen." Then the game was resumed.

Liszt admired the brilliant talents of the young Nietzsche, but he distrusted his future. Nietzsche disliked the pianist and said of him in one of his aphorisms: "Liszt the first representative of all musicians, but no musician. He was the prince, not the statesman. The conglomerate of a hundred musicians' souls, but not enough of a personality to cast his own shadow upon them." In his Roving Expeditions of an Inopportune Philosopher, Nietzsche even condescends to a pun on Liszt as a piano teacher: "Liszt, or the school of running—after women" (Schule der Geläufigkeit).


Over a quarter of a century has passed since the death of Karl Tausig, a time long enough to dim the glory of the mere virtuoso. Many are still living who have heard him play, and can recall the deep impressions which his performances made on his hearers. Whoever not only knew Karl Tausig at the piano, but had studied his genuinely artistic nature, still retains a living image of him. He stands before us in all his[361] youth, for he died early, before he had reached the middle point of life; he counted thirty years at the time of his death, when his great heart, inspired with a love for all beauty, ceased to beat; when those hands, Tes mains de bronze et des diamants, as Liszt named them in a letter to his pupil and friend, grew stiff in death.

It was through many wanderings and perplexities that Karl Tausig rose to the height which he reached in the last years of his life. A friendless childhood was followed by a period of Sturm und Drang, till the dross had been purged away and the pure gold of his being displayed. The essence of his playing was warm objectivity; he let every masterpiece come before us in its own individuality; the most perfect virtuosity, his incomparable surmounting of all technical means of expression, was to him only the means, never the end. Paradoxical as it may appear, there never was, before or since, so great a virtuoso who was less a virtuoso. Hence the career of a virtuoso did not satisfy him; he strove for higher ends, and apart from his ceaseless culture of the intellect, his profound studies in all fields of science and the devotion which he gave to philosophy, mathematics, and the natural sciences, what he achieved in the field of music possesses a special interest, as he regarded it as merely a preparation for comprehensive creative activity. Some of these compositions are still found in the programmes of all celebrated pianists, while the arrangements that he made for pedagogic purposes occupy a[362] prominent place in the courses of all conservatories.

Karl Tausig came to Berlin in the beginning of the sixties. Alois Tausig, his father, a distinguished piano teacher at Warsaw, who had directed the early education of the son, whom he survived by more than a decade, had already presented him to Liszt at Weimar. Liszt at once took the liveliest interest in the astonishing talents of the boy and made him a member of his household at Altenburg, at Weimar, where this prince in the realm of art kept his court with the Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein, surrounded by a train of young artists, to which Hans von Bülow, Karl Klindworth, Peter Cornelius (to name only a few) belonged. With all these Karl Tausig formed intimate friendships, especially with Cornelius, who was nearest to him in age. An active correspondence was carried on between them, even when their paths of life separated them. Tausig next went to Wagner at Zürich, and the meeting confirmed him in his enthusiasm for the master's creations and developed that combativeness for the works and artistic struggles of Wagner which resulted in the arrangement of orchestral concerts in Vienna exclusively for Wagner's compositions, a very hazardous venture at that period. He directed them in person, and gave all his savings and all his youthful power to them without gaining the success that was hoped for. The master himself, when he came to Vienna for the rehearsals of the[363] first performances of Tristan und Isolde, had sad experiences; his young friend stood gallantly by his side, but the performance did not take place. Vienna was then a sterile soil for Wagner's works and designs. Tausig returned in anger to Berlin, where he quickly became an important figure and a life-giving centre of a circle of interesting men. He founded a conservatory that was sought by pupils from all over the world, and where teachers like Louis Ehlert and Adolf Jensen gave instruction. When Richard Wagner came to Berlin in 1870 with a project for erecting a theatre of his own for the performance of the Nibelungen Ring it was Tausig who took it up with ardent zeal, to which the master bore honourable testimony in his account of the performance.

In July, 1871, Tausig visited Liszt at Weimar and accompanied him to Leipsic, where Liszt's grand mass was performed in St. Thomas' Church by the Riedle Society. After the performance he fell sick. A cold, it was said, prostrated him. In truth he had the seeds of death in him, which Wagner, in his inscription for the tomb of his young friend, expressed by the words, "Ripe for death!" The Countess Krockow and Frau von Moukanoff, who on the report of his being attacked by typhus hastened to discharge the duties of a Samaritan by his sick-bed in the hospital, did all that careful nursing and devoted love could do, but in vain, and on July 17 Karl Tausig breathed his last.


His remains were carried from Leipsic to Berlin, and were interred in the new cemetery in the Belle Alliance Strasse. During the funeral ceremony a great storm burst forth, and the roll of the thunder mingled with the strains of the Funeral March from the Eroica which the Symphony Orchestra performed at his grave. Friends erected a simple memorial. An obelisk of rough-hewn syenite bears his portrait, modelled in relief by Gustav Blaesar. Unfortunately wind and weather in the course of years injured the marble of the relief, so that its destruction at an early period was probable, and the same friends substituted a bronze casting for the marble, which on the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death was adorned with flowers by loving hands.

Karl Tausig represents the very opposite pole in "pianism" to Thalberg; he was fire and flame incarnate, he united all the digital excellencies of the aristocratic Thalberg, including his supreme and classic calm to a temperament that, like a comet, traversed artistic Europe and fired it with enthusiastic ideals. If Karl Tausig had only possessed the creative gift in any proportion to his genius for reproduction he would have been a giant composer. As a pianist he has never had his equal. With Liszt's fire and Bülow's intellectuality he nevertheless transcended them both in the possession of a subtle something that defied analysis. We see it in his fugitive compositions that revel on technical heights hitherto unscaled. Tausig had a force, a virility combined[365] with a mental insight, that made him peer of all pianists. It is acknowledged by all who heard him that his technic outshone all others; he had the whispering and crystalline pianissimo of Joseffy, the liquidity of Thalberg's touch, with the resistless power of a Rubinstein.

He literally killed himself playing the piano; his vivid nature felt so keenly in reproducing the beautiful and glorious thoughts of Bach, Beethoven and Chopin, and, like a sabre that was too keen for its own scabbard, he wore himself out from nervous exhaustion. Tausig was many-sided, and the philosophical bent of his mind may be seen in the few fragments of original music he has vouchsafed us. Take a Thalberg operatic fantaisie and a paraphrase of Tausig's, say of Tristan and Isolde, and compare them; then one can readily gauge the vast strides piano music has taken. Touch pure and singing was the Thalbergian ideal. Touch dramatic, full of variety, is the Tausig ideal. One is vocal, the other instrumental, and both seem to fulfill their ideals. Tausig had a hundred touches; from a feathery murmur to an explosive crash he commanded the entire orchestra of contrasts. Thalberg was the cultivated gentleman of the drawing-room, elegiac, but one who never felt profoundly (glance at his étude on repeated notes). Elegant always, jocose never. Tausig was a child of the nineteenth century, full of its ideals, its aimless strivings, its restlessness, its unfaith and desperately sceptical tone. If he had only lived he[366] would have left an imprint on our modern musical life as deep as Franz Liszt, whose pupil he was. Richard Wagner was his god and he strove much for him and his mighty creations.


"You, I presume, do not wish for biographical details—of my appearances as a boy in Vienna and later in St. Petersburg, of my early studies with Joseffy and later with Liszt," asked the great virtuoso. "You would like to hear something about Liszt? As a man or as an artist? You know I was with him ten years, and can flatter myself that I have known him intimately. As a man, I can well say I have never met any one so good and noble as he. Every one knows of his ever-ready helpfulness toward struggling artists, of his constant willingness to further the cause of charity. And when was there ever such a friend? I need only refer you to the correspondence between him and Wagner, published a year ago, for proof of his claims to highest distinction in that oft-abused capacity. One is not only compelled to admire the untiring efforts to assist Wagner in every way that are evidenced in nearly each one of his letters, but one is also obliged to appreciate such acts for which no other documents exist than the history of music in our day. The fact alone that Liszt, who had every stage of Germany open to him if he had so wished, never composed an opera, but used[367] his influence rather in behalf of Wagner's works, speaks fully as eloquently as the many letters that attest his active friendship. For Liszt the artist, my love and admiration are equally great. Even in his inferior works can be discovered the stamp of his genius. Do you know the Polonaise, by Tschaïkowsky, transcribed by him? Is it not a remarkable effort for an old gentleman of seventy-two? And the third Mephisto Waltz for piano? Certain compositions of his, such as Les Prèludes, Die Ideale, Tasso, the Hungarian Rhapsodies, and some of the songs and transcriptions for piano, will unquestionably continue to be performed and enjoyed for many, many years to come.

"You ask how he played? As no one before him, and as no one probably will ever again. I remember when I first went to him as a boy—he was in Rome at the time—he used to play for me in the evening by the hour—nocturnes by Chopin, études of his own—all of a soft, dreamy nature that caused me to open my eyes in wonder at the marvellous delicacy and finish of his touch. The embellishments were like a cobweb—so fine—or like the texture of costliest lace. I thought, after what I had heard in Vienna, that nothing further would astonish me in the direction of digital dexterity, having studied with Joseffy, the greatest master of that art. But Liszt was more wonderful than anybody I had ever known, and he had further surprises in store for me. I had never heard him play anything[368] requiring force, and, in view of his advanced age, took for granted that he had fallen off from what he once had been."


Arthur Friedheim was born of German parentage in St. Petersburg, October 26, 1859. He lost his father in early youth, but was carefully reared by an excellent mother. His musical studies were begun in his eighth year, and his progress was so rapid that he was enabled to make his artistic début before the St. Petersburg public in the following year by playing Field's A-flat major concerto. He created a still greater sensation, however, after another twelve months had elapsed, with his performance of Weber's difficult piano concerto, reaping general admiration for his work. Despite these successes, the youth was then submitted to a thorough university education, and in 1877 passed his academical examination with great honours. But now the musical promptings of his warm artist soul, no longer able to endure this restraint, having revived, Friedheim with all his energy again devoted himself to his musical advancement, including the study of composition, and it proved a severe blow, indeed, to him when his family soon afterward met with reverses, in losing their estates, thus robbing the young artist of his cheery home surroundings.

From this time Friedheim's artistic wanderings[369] began, and fulfilling a long cherished desire, he, with his mother, first paid a visit to that master of masters, Franz Liszt. Then he went to Dresden, continuing in the composition of an opera begun at St. Petersburg, entitled The Last Days of Pompeii. In order to acquire the necessary routine he accepted a position as conductor of operas for several years, when an irresistible force once more led his steps toward Weimar, where, after he had produced the most favourable impression by the performance of his own piano concerto, with Liszt at a second piano, he took up his permanent abode with the master, accompanying him to Rome and Naples. Meantime Friedheim concertised in Cairo, Alexandria, and Paris, also visiting London in 1882. At the request of Camille Saint-Saëns fragments of his works were produced during his stay in Paris.

Friedheim next went to Vienna, where his concerts met with brilliant success, and later on to Northern Germany, where his renown as a great pianist became firmly established. He enjoyed positive triumphs in Berlin, Leipsic and Carlsruhe. Friedheim's technic, his tone, touch, marvellous certainty, unequalled force and endurance, his broad expression and that rare gift—a style in the grand manner—are the qualities that have universally received enthusiastic praise. In later years he travelled extensively, and more particularly in 1884 to 1886, in Germany. In 1887 he conducted a series of concerts in Leipsic, in 1888 he revisited London, in 1889 he made a[370] tour through Russia and Poland; a second tour through Russia was made in 1890, including Bohemia, Austria, and Galicia, while in 1891 he played numerous engagements in Germany and also in London, whence he came to this country to fulfil a very short engagement.

Albert Morris Bagby wrote as follows in his article, "Some Pupils of Liszt," in the Century about twenty years ago:

"Friedheim! What delightful musical memories and happy recollections are the rare days spent together in Weimar that name excites! D'Albert left there before my time, and though I met him on his flying visits to Weimar, I generally think of him as I first saw him, seated at a piano on the concert platform.

"One late afternoon in August, 1885, Liszt stood before a wide-open window of his salon on the second floor of the court gardener's residence in Weimar, and his thoughtful gaze wandered out beyond the long row of hothouses and narrow beds of rare shrubs to the rich leafy growth which shaded the glorious park inclosing this modest home. He was in a serene state of mind after an hour at whist in which he had won the rubber, and now, while his young companions were putting the card-tables and chairs back into their accustomed places about the room, he stood silent and alone. Any one of us would have given more than 'a penny for his thoughts,' a fact which he probably divined, for, without turning his head, he said; 'Friedheim did indeed play[371] beautifully!' referring to the young pianist's performance of his A major concerto that afternoon in the class lesson.

"'And the accompaniment was magnificently done, too!' added one of the small party.

"'Ah!' exclaimed the master, with an animated look and gesture which implied, 'that goes without saying.' 'Friedheim,' said he, and lifted his hand with a proud sweep to indicate his estimation of his favourite pupil, who had supplied the orchestral part on a second piano. After Friedheim's triumphal début at Leipsic in the spring of 1884, Liszt was so much gratified that he expressed with unwonted warmth his belief that the young man would yet become the greatest piano virtuoso of the age. He was then just twenty-four years old, and his career since that event points toward the fulfilment of the prophecy.

"Arthur Friedheim is the most individual performer I have ever heard. A very few executants equal him in mere finger dexterity, but he surpasses them all in his gigantic strength at the instrument and in marvellous clearness and brilliancy. At times he plays with the unbridled impetuosity of a cyclone; and even while apparently dealing the piano mighty blows, which from other hands would sound forced and discordant, they never cease to be melodious. This musical, penetrating quality of touch is the chief charm of Friedheim's playing. He makes the piano sing, but its voice is full and sonorous. If he plays a[372] pianissimo passage the effect is as clear and sweet as a perfectly attuned silver bell, and his graduated increase or diminution of tone is the acme of artistic finish. No living pianist performs Liszt's compositions so well as Friedheim. This fact was unanimously mentioned by the critics upon his first appearance in Berlin in a 'Liszt concert,' in conjunction with the fear that he would not succeed as an interpreter of Beethoven and Chopin; which, however, the new virtuoso has since proved groundless. Friedheim is one of the most enjoyable and inspiriting of the great pianists. His playing of Liszt's second rhapsody produces an electric shock; and once heard from him La Campanella remains in the memory an ineffaceable tone poem. To me he has made likewise indelible Chopin's lovely D-flat major prelude.

"Friedheim is of medium height and weight; has regular, clear-cut features, dark brown eyes, and hair pushed straight back from a high, broad forehead and falling over his coat collar, artist fashion. In his street dress, with a bronze velvet jacket, great soft felt hat and a gold medallion portrait of Liszt worn as a scarf pin, he is the typical musician. His resemblance to the early pictures of Liszt is as marked as that of D'Albert to Tausig. He was born and bred in St. Petersburg, though his parents are German. I know nothing of his early instructors, but it is sufficient to say that he was at least nine years with Liszt. Fortune favoured him with a relative of unusual[373] mental power who has made his advancement her life work. To these zealous mothers of musicians the world is indebted for some of the greatest artistic achievements of every time and period. There are many celebrated instances where application is almost entirely lacking or fluctuating in the child of genius, and the mother supplied the deficiency of character until the artist was fully developed, and steadiness of purpose had become routine with him. One evening I was sitting with Friedheim and his mother in one of those charming restaurant gardens which abound in Weimar when we were joined by two of the Lisztianer, convivial spirits who led a happy-go-lucky existence. 'Come, Arthur,' said one, 'we will go to the "Armbrust" for a few minutes—music there to-night. Will be right back, Mrs. Friedheim.' 'No,' replied the mother, pleasantly, 'Arthur remains with me this evening.' 'But, mother, we will be gone only a few minutes, and I have already practiced seven hours to-day,' entreated the son. 'Yes, dear child, and you must practice seven more to-morrow. I think you had better remain with me,' responded his parent. Friedheim good-naturedly assented to his mother's speech, for the nocturnal merry-makings of a certain clique of divers artists at the 'Hotel zum Elephanten' were too well-known to risk denial."



Descent counts for much in matters artistic as well as in the breeding of racehorses. "Tell me who the master is and I will describe for you the pupil," cry some theorists who might be called extremists. How many to-day know the name of Anton Rubinstein's master? Yet the pedagogue Villoing laid the foundation of the great Russian pianist's musical education, an education completed by the genial Franz Liszt. In the case, however, of Rafael Joseffy he was a famous pupil of a famous master. There are some critics who claim that Karl Tausig represents the highest development of piano playing in this century of piano-playing heroes. His musical temperament so finely fibred, his muscular system like steel thrice tempered is duplicated in his pupil, who, at an age when boys are gazing at the world across the threshold of Toy-land, was an accredited artist, a virtuoso in knee-breeches!

Rafael Joseffy stands to-day for all that is exquisite and poetic in the domain of the piano. His touch is original, his manipulation of the mechanism of the instrument unapproachable, a virtuoso among virtuosi, and the beauty of his tone, its velvety, aristocratic quality, so free from any suspicion of harshness or brutality, gives him a unique position in the music-loving world. There is magic in his attack, magic and moonlight in[375] his playing of a Chopin nocturne, and brilliancy—a meteor-like brilliancy—in his performance of a Liszt concerto.

This rare combination of the virtuoso and the poet places Joseffy outside the pale of popular "pianism." From Tausig he inherited his keen and severe sense of rhythm; from his native country, Hungary, he absorbed brilliancy and colour sense. When Joseffy was young he delighted in the exhibition of his fabulous technic, but he has mellowed, he has matured, and superimposed upon the brilliancies of his ardent youth are the thoughtful interpretations of the intellectual artist. He is a classical pianist par excellence, and his readings of Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, and Brahms are authoritative and final. To the sensitive finish he now unites a breadth of tone and feeling, and you may gauge the catholicity of the man by his love for both Chopin and Brahms.

There you have Joseffy, an interpreter of Brahms and Chopin! No need to expatiate further on his versatility! His style has undergone during the past five years a thorough purification. He has successfully combated the temptation of excess in colour, of the too lusty exuberance in the use of his material, of abuse of the purely decorative side of his art. Touching the finer rim of the issues of his day Joseffy emulates the French poet, Paul Verlaine, in his devotion to the nuance, to the shade within shade that may be expressed on the keyboard of the[376] piano. Yet his play never lacks the robust ring, the virile accent. He is no mere pianissimist, striving for effects of the miniaturist; rather in his grasp of the musical content of a composition does he reveal his acuity and fine spiritual temper.


"To Franz Liszt, who towers high above all his predecessors, must be given pride of place.

"In 1870 I had the good fortune to go with Tausig to the Beethoven Festival held at Weimar by the Allgemeiner Musik Verein, and there I met Liszt for the first time. I had the opportunity of learning to know him from every point of view, as pianist, conductor, composer, and, in his private capacity, as a man—and every aspect seemed to me equally magnificent.

"His remarkable personality had an indescribable fascination, which made itself felt at once by all who came into contact with him. This wonderful magnetism and power to charm all sorts and conditions of men was illustrated in a delightful way. He was walking down Regent Street one day, on his way to his concert at the St. James' Hall. As he passed the cab-rank, he was recognised, and the cabbies as one man took off their hats and gave three rousing cheers for 'The Habby Liszt.' The man who can evoke the enthusiasm of a London cabby, except by paying him treble his fare, is indeed unique and inimitable!


"As a Conductor, the musical world owes him an undying debt of gratitude for having been the first to produce Wagner's Lohengrin, and to revive Tannhäuser in the face of the opprobrium heaped upon this work by the whole of the European press. It was he, too, who first produced Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini and many other works, which, though neglected and improperly understood at that time, have since come into their kingdom and received due recognition.

"As a Composer, I do not think that Liszt has hitherto been esteemed as highly as he deserves. If only for having invented the symphonic poem, which was an absolutely new form of orchestral composition, he has merited the highest honours; while his pre-eminence is still undisputed in the bravura style of pianoforte works, without one or more of which no pianoforte recital seems complete. The same compliment is not paid his orchestral works, which are performed far too rarely.

"Words cannot describe him as a Pianist—he was incomparable and unapproachable."


There are interesting anecdotes of great musicians. Rossini was her intimate friend and adviser for years. In Paris she knew Chopin, who came to the house often and would only play for them if "la petite Clara would recite Peter Piper Picked." She remembered waltzing to[378] his and Thalberg's playing. Later, when she was studying in Milan and knew Liszt, she sang at one of his concerts when no one else would do so, because he had offended the Milanese by a pungent newspaper article. He gave her courage to have a tooth out by playing Weber's Concertstück. She remembered hearing Paganini play when that arch-trickster took out a pair of scissors and cut three of the strings of his violin so that they hung down loose, and on the fourth performed his Witches' Dance, so that "the lights seemed to turn blue."


We are not accustomed to thinking of the composer of Carmen as a pianist, but the following anecdote from the London Musical Standard throws new light upon the subject:

"It may not be generally known that the French composer, Bizet, possessed to a very high degree two artistic qualities: a brilliant technique and an extraordinary skill in score reading. On various occasions he gave proof of this great ability. One of the most interesting is the following:

"Bizet's fellow-countryman, the composer Halévy, who filled the position of secretary to the Academy of Fine Arts in Paris, had gathered a few of his friends at his house for a little supper. In the circle were Liszt and Bizet. After they had finished their repast, the company went to the host's music room. Gathered around the[379] fireplace, which increased the charm or comfort, and with cigars and coffee, the guests gave themselves up to an animated conversation; finally Liszt seated himself at the piano. The famous master played one of his compositions which was unknown to those present. He overcame its tremendous difficulties with the customary audacity and strength. A storm of applause followed the brilliant execution. Liszt ended with a brilliant passage which seemed absolutely impossible to mortal fingers. Every one pressed around the great pianist, shaking his hands enthusiastically and admiring not only his unequalled playing, but praising also the clever composition, which could have been written only by so masterful a composer.

"'Yes,' replied Liszt, 'the piece is difficult, terribly difficult, and in all Europe I know only two pianists who are able to play it with the interpretation which belongs to it, and in the tempo which I have used, Von Bülow and myself!'

"Halévy, with whom Bizet had studied, had also joined the circle around the piano and complimented the master. Suddenly turning to the young Bizet, whose fine memory and ability he well knew, he said:

"'Did you notice that passage?' He accompanied the question with a few chords which sketched the passage in question, which had aroused his attention. Accepting the implied invitation, Bizet took his place at the piano, and, without the slightest hesitation, repeated the[380] passage which had drawn out the admiration of his teacher.

"Liszt observed the clever youngster with astonishment, while Halévy, smiling slyly, could scarcely suppress his joy over Liszt's surprise.

"'Just wait a moment, young man, just wait!' said Liszt, interrupting. 'I have the manuscript with me. It will help your memory.'

"The manuscript was quickly brought, and placed upon the piano rack. Bizet, to the general astonishment, immediately took up the difficult piece, and played it through to the final chord with a verve and rapidity which no one had expected from him. Not once was there a sign of weakness or hesitation. An enthusiastic and long clapping of hands followed the playing. Halévy continued to smile, enjoying to the full the triumph of his favourite pupil.

"But Liszt, who always rose to an occasion and was never chary of praise for others, stepped to the young man's side after the wave of applause had subsided, pressed his hand in a friendly manner, and said with irresistible kindness, 'My young friend, up to the present time I believed that there were only two men capable of overcoming the tremendous difficulties which I wrote in that piece, but I deceived myself—there are three of us; and I must add, in order to be just, that the youngest of us is perhaps the cleverest and the most brilliant.'"



"One of the pioneers of classical music in Italy, and one of its most talented composers of chamber music and in symphonic forms, is Giovanni Sgambati, born in Rome, May 18, 1843," writes Edward Burlingame Hill, in the Etude. "His father was a lawyer; his mother, an Englishwoman, was the daughter of Joseph Gott, the English sculptor. There had been some idea of making a lawyer of young Sgambati, but the intensity of his interest in music and his obvious talent precluded the idea of any other career. When he was but six years old, his father died, and he went with his mother to live in Trevii, in Umbria, where she soon married again. Even at this early age he played in public, sang contralto solos in church, and also conducted small orchestras. When a little older he studied the piano, harmony and composition with Natalucci, a pupil of Zingarelli, a famous teacher at the Naples conservatory. He returned in 1860 to Rome, where he became at once popular as a pianist, in spite of the severity of his programmes, for he played the works of Beethoven, Chopin and Schumann, and the fugues of Bach and Handel. Many of these works were entirely unknown to Italian audiences; he thus became an ardent propagandist of the best literature of the piano. His next teacher was Professor Aldega, master of the Capella Liberiana of Santa Maria Maggiore. He was on[382] the point of leaving for Germany for further study when Liszt came to Rome, became interested in Sgambati and took him in charge for special instruction in the mysteries of higher piano playing. He soon became the leading exponent of the Liszt school of technic and interpretation. Sgambati was the soloist in a famous series of classical chamber music concerts inaugurated in Rome by Ramaciotti; he was (as mentioned before) the first interpreter of the works of Schumann, who in the years 1862-63 was virtually unknown in Italy. Later he began to give orchestral concerts at which the symphonies and concertos of the German masters were given for the first time. In 1866, when the Dante Gallery was inaugurated, Liszt chose Sgambati to conduct his Dante symphony. On this occasion Beethoven's Eroica symphony was given for the first time in Rome.

"In 1869, he travelled in Germany with Liszt, meeting many musicians of note, among them Wagner, Rubinstein, and Saint-Saëns, hearing The Rhinegold at Munich. Wagner, in particular, became so much interested in Sgambati's compositions that he secured a publisher for them by his emphatic recommendations. On returning to Rome, Sgambati founded a free piano class at the Academy of St. Cecilia, since adopted as a part of its regular course of instruction. In 1878, he became professor of the piano at the Academy, and at present is its director. In 1896, he founded the Nuova Società Musicale Romana[383] (the Roman New Musical Society) for increasing interest in Wagnerian opera. Sgambati has been an occasional visitor to foreign cities, notably London and Paris, both in the capacity of pianist and as conductor; he has led performances of his symphonies in various Italian cities, and at concerts where the presence of royalty lent distinction to the audience.

"Miss Bettina Walker, a pupil of Sgambati in 1879, gives a most delightful picture of Sgambati in her book, My Musical Experiences. A few extracts may assist in forming an idea of his personality. 'He then played three or four pieces of Liszt's, winding up the whole with a splendid reading of Bach's Chromatic Fantasy. In everything that he played, Sgambati far exceeded all that I could have anticipated. His lovely, elastic touch, the weight and yet the softness of his wrist staccato, the swing and go of his rhythmic beat, the colouring rich and warm, and yet most exquisitely delicate, and over all the atmosphere of grace, the charm and the repose which perfect mastery alone can give'—'But to return to the relation of my studies with Sgambati. He gave me the scales to practice in thirds, and arpeggios in the diminished sevenths, for raising the fingers from the keyboard—recommending these as the best possible daily drills for the fingers. He also gave me some guidance in the first book of Kullak's octave-studies and he tried to initiate me into the elastic swing and movement of the wrist, so important in the octave-playing[384] of modern compositions. Sgambati's playing of Liszt was, now that I compare him with many others whom I have since heard, more poetical than any. In the sudden fortissimi so characteristic of the school his tone was always rich and full, never wooden or shrill; while his pianissimi were so subtle and delicate, and the nuances, the touches of beauty, were fraught with a sighing, lingering, quite inimitable sweetness, which one could compare to nothing more material than the many hues where sky and ocean seem to melt and blend, in a dream of tender ecstasy, along the coast-line between Baia and Naples.'"


Walter Bache died April, 1888, and the London Figaro gives the following sketch of this artist:

"The awfully sudden death of poor Walter Bache on Monday night sent a shock through the whole of the London world of music. Some of his most intimate friends were present at the final popular concert on that evening, but none of them knew anything at all of the death. We have it on the authority of a member of his family that not even those whom he held most dear were in the slightest degree aware that he was in any danger. Only a few days ago he was present at a concert in St. James' Hall. But it seems he caught a chill. Next day he became worse, the cold doubtless settled upon his lungs, and the[385] third day he died. Notification of the death did not reach even the daily papers until midnight. The obituary writers were then certainly not assisted by Sir George Grove, who, in the thousands of pages which form the four gigantic volumes of his so-called Dictionary of Musicians, could not spare a paragraph to narrate the story of the life of one who for a quarter of a century has been a central figure of English musical life, and who from his gentleness, his gifts and his son-like affection for his master Liszt will shine as a bright picture in the pages of English musical history.

"We need not go very deeply into the history of Walter Bache's life. He was born in June, 1842, at Birmingham, and was the son of an Unitarian minister. From his birth till his death two special points stand out boldly in his career. Until his 'prodigy' brother Edward died in 1858 he was taught only by Stimpson, of Birmingham. The death of his brother was the first great incident of his life. His own education was then more thoroughly cared for than before, and he was sent to Leipsic, where, under Plaidy, Moscheles, Richter (not the conductor) and Hauptman, he was a fellow student of Sullivan, Carl Rosa, J. F. Barnett and Franklin Taylor. All five boys have since become eminent, but each one in a totally different line, and, indeed, it may fairly be said that to a great extent the Leipsic class of that period held the fortunes of modern musical England. When the[386] class broke up in 1861 Bache travelled in Italy, and in 1862 at his meeting with Liszt occurred the second great incident in his career. From that time Liszt and Bache were fast friends. But Bache to the day of his death never aspired to be more than the pupil of his master.

"Teach he must do for daily bread, but compose he would not, as he knew he could not surpass Liszt, although all his savings were devoted to the Liszt propaganda. It is not for us, standing as we do on the brink of the grave of a good man, to determine whether he was right or wrong. It will suffice that Walter Bache's devotion to Liszt was one of the most beautiful and the most sentimental things of a musically material age. Liszt rewarded him on his last visit to London by attending a reception which Bache, at great expense, gave in his honour at the Grosvenor Gallery. Bache is now dead; a blameless and a useful life cut short in its very prime."


"Antoine Rubinstein, of whom no one in Paris had ever heard before, for this great artist had the coquettish temerity to disdain the assistance of the press, and no advance notice, none at all, you understand, had announced his apparition," has written Saint-Saëns, "made his appearance in his concerto in G major, with orchestra, in the lovely Herz concert room, so novel in construction and so elegant in aspect, of which one can[387] no more avail himself to-day. Useless to say, there was not a single paying hearer in the room, but next morning, nevertheless, the artist was celebrated, and at the second concert there was a prodigious jam. I was there at the second concert, and at the first notes I was overthrown and chained to the car of the conqueror.

"Concerts followed one another, and I did not miss a single one. Some one proposed to present me to the great artist, but in spite of his youth (he was then twenty-eight), and in spite of his reputation for urbanity, he awakened in me a horrible timidity; the idea of being near him, of addressing a word to him, terrified me profoundly. It was only at his second coming to Paris, a year later, that I dared to brave his presence. The ice between us two was quickly broken. I acquired his friendship in deciphering upon his own piano the orchestral score of his Ocean Symphony. I read very well then, and his symphonic music, written large and black, was not very difficult to read.

"From this day a lively sympathy united us; the simplicity and evident sincerity of my admiration touched him. We were together assiduously, often played together for four hands, subjected to rude tests the piano which served as our field of battle, without regard to the ears of our hearers. It was a good time! We made music with passion simply for the sake of making it, and we never had enough. I was so happy to have encountered an artist who was wholly an[388] artist, exempt from the littleness which sometimes makes so bad a barrier around great talent. He came back every winter, and always enlarged his success and consolidated our friendship."


With the exception of the Bachs, who were noted musicians for six generations, and the Viennese branch of the Strauss dynasty, there is perhaps no musical family that affords a more interesting illustration of heredity in a special talent than the Garcias. The elder Garcia, who was born in 1775, was not only a great tenor and teacher, but a prolific composer of operas. His two famous daughters also became composers, as well as singers. Madame Viardot (who died in 1910) was so lucky as to be able to base her operettas on librettos written by Turgenev. Liszt said of her that "in all that concerns method and execution, feeling and expression, it would be hard to find a name worthy to be mentioned with that of Malibran's sister," and Wagner was amazed and delighted when she sang the Isolde music in a whole act of his Tristan at sight. She studied the piano with Liszt and played brilliantly.



Memorial tablets have been placed on each of the two houses at Weimar in which Liszt used to reside. He first lived at the Altenburg and later on at the Hofgärtnerei. The act of piety was undertaken by the Allgemeiner Deutscher Musikverein, of which organisation Liszt was the president up to the time of his death.

It has been asserted that Liszt was a Freemason after his consecration as a priest. This has been contradicted, but the following from the Freemason's Journal appears to settle the question:

"On the 31st of July last one of the greatest artists and men departed at Bayreuth for the eternal east, who had proved himself a worthy member of our brotherhood by his deeds through his whole eventful life. It is Brother Franz Liszt, on whose grave we deposit an acacia branch. Millions of florins Franz Liszt had earned on his triumphal career—for others. His art, his time, his life, were given to those who claimed it. Thus he journeyed, a living embodiment of the St. Simonism to which he once belonged, through his earthly pilgrimage. Brother Franz Liszt was admitted into the brotherhood in the year 1844, at the lodge 'Unity' ('Zur Einigkeit'), in Frankfort-on-the-Main, by George Kloss, with the composer, W. Ch. Speyer as witness, and in the presence of Felix von Lichnowsky. He was promoted to the second degree[390] in a lodge at Berlin, and elected master in 1870, as member of the lodge 'Zur Einigkeit,' in Budapest. Since 1845 he was also honorary member of the L. Modestia cum Libertate at Zurich. If there ever was a Freemason in favour with Pope Pius IX it was Franz Liszt, created abbé in 1865 in Rome."


A letter from Paris to the Vienna Monday Review says that in the salon of the Champ de Mars a picture is on exhibition, called Italian Bagpiper. While its artistic points are hardly worthy of special mention the striking resemblance of this work by Michael Vallet to the facial traits of Franz Liszt puzzled the jury not a little, and will doubtless create much interest among the visitors of the gallery. The model for the subject was a boat-hand of Genoa named Angelo Giocati-Buonaventi, fifty-six years of age. It was while strolling about the Genoese wharves that Vallet noticed the sparse form of Angelo, whose beardless face recalled to him at once Franz Liszt's.

Angelo consented willingly to pose for the piper, but all questions as to his family extraction were answered with a laconic Chi lo sa? Vallet, by making inquiries in other directions, learned that Angelo came originally from Albano. He took a trip to that place, and after the lapse of a few days wrote a friend in Paris: "Found! Found! The surmise regarding my Angelo is[391] correct. This boathand is without any doubt a son of Countess d'Agoult, whose relations with Franz Liszt are known throughout the world, and was born here in the year 1834. I found a picture of the countess in the home of a sister-in-law of a lately deceased peasant woman, Giocati-Buonaventi. This latter was the nurse and later the woman who had the motherly care of my Angelo...."

It happened that at the same time, as if to corroborate Vallet's statement, the Review de Paris published an interesting correspondence between Georges Sand and Countess d'Agoult. The latter writes from Albano under date of June 9, 1839: "It was our intention to present our respects to the Sultan this summer, but our trip to Constantinople came to naught. A little fellow that I had the caprice to bring here into the world prevented the carrying out of the plan. The boy promises to be a beauty. One of the handsomest women of Palestrina furnishes the milk for his nourishment. It is to be regretted that Franz has again one of his fits of melancholy. [She speaks of Liszt repeatedly in this letter, giving him the pet name crétin.] The thought of being father to three little children seems to depress his mind...."

The three children being accounted for, the story of Vallet regarding Angelo has no foundation in fact, and we would not even mention it if it was not making the rounds of the Continental press.



In these days of virtuosity let us hear what Liszt, the master of all virtuosi, says:

"What, then, makes the virtuoso on an instrument?" asks the master, and we gain on this occasion the most comprehensive and the most decisive information on the point ourselves. Is he really a mere spiritless machine? Do his hands only attend to the office of a double winch on a street organ? Has he to dispense with his brain and with his feelings in his mechanical execution of the prescribed performance? Has he to supply the ear only with a photograph of the object before him? Such representations bring him to the somewhat proud remark: "We know too well how many amongst those who enjoy great praise, unable to translate even to the letter the original that is on the desk before them, degrade its sense, carrying on the art as a trade, and not understanding even the trade itself. However victorious a counterfeit may be, it does not destroy the power of the real authors and poet virtuosi; they are for those who are 'called' to an extent of which a degraded public, under an illegitimate and ignorant 'dominion,' has no idea. You hear the rolling of the thunder, the roaring of the lion, the far-spreading sound of man's strength. For the words virtuosity and virtus are derived from the Latin 'vir'; the execution of both is an act of manly power," says[393] he, and characterises now his 'artist' as follows: "The virtuoso is not a mason, who, with the chisel in his hand, faithfully and conscientiously cuts his stone after the design of the architect. He is not a passive tool that reproduces feeling and thought without adding himself. He is not the more or less experienced reader of works that have no margin for his notes, and which make no paragraph necessary between the lines. These spiritedly written musical works are in reality for the virtuoso only the tragic and touching putting-in-scene of feelings; he is called upon to let these speak, weep, sing, sigh—to render these to his own consciousness. He creates in this way like the composer himself, for he must embrace in himself those passions which he, in their complete brilliancy, has to bring to light. He breathes life into the lethargic body, infuses it with fire, and enlivens it with the pulse of gracefulness and charm. He changes the clayey form into a living being, penetrating it with the spark which Prometheus snatched from the flash of Jupiter. He must make this form wander in transparent ether; he must arm it with a thousand winged arms; he must unfold scent and blossom and breathe into it the breath of life. Of all artists the virtuoso reveals perhaps most immediately the overpowering forces of the god who, in glowing embraces of the proud muse, allures every hidden secret."




"Weimar, November, 1883.

"Mr. Steinway:

"Most Esteemed Sir: Again I owe you many and special thanks. The new Steinway Grand is a glorious masterpiece in power, sonority, singing quality, and perfect harmonic effects, affording delight even to my old piano-weary fingers. Ever continuing success remains a beautiful attribute of the world-renowned firm of Steinway & Sons. In your letter, highly esteemed sir, you mention some new features in the Grand Piano, viz., the vibrating body being bent into form out of one continuous piece, and that portion of the strings heretofore lying dormant being now a part of and thus incorporated as partial tones into the foundation tones. Their utility is emphatically guaranteed by the name of the inventor. Owing to my ignorance of the mechanism of piano construction I can but praise the magnificent result in the 'volume and quality of sound.' In relation to the use of your welcome tone-sustaining pedal I inclose two examples: Danse des Sylphes, by Berlioz, and No. 3 of my Consolations. I have to-day noted down only the introductory bars of both pieces, with this proviso, that, if you desire it, I shall gladly complete the whole transcription, with exact adaptation of your tone-sustaining pedal.

"Very respectfully and gratefully,
"F. Liszt."



"While Liszt has been immensely written about as pianist and composer, sufficient stress has not been laid upon what the world owes him as a teacher of pianoforte playing," writes Amy Fay. "During his life-time Liszt despised the name of 'piano-teacher,' and never suffered himself to be regarded as such. 'I am no Professeur du Piano,' he scornfully remarked one day in the class at Weimar, and if any one approached him as a 'teacher' he instantly put the unfortunate offender outside of his door.

"I was once a witness of his haughty treatment of a Leipsic pupil of the fair sex, who came to him one day and asked him 'to give her a few lessons.' He instantly drew himself up and replied in the most cutting tone:

"'I do not give lessons on the piano; and,' he added with a bow, in which grace and sarcasm were combined, 'you really don't need me as a teacher.'

"There was a dead silence for a minute, and then the poor girl, not knowing what to do or say, backed herself out of the room. Liszt, turning to the class, said:

"'That is the way people fly in my face, by dozens! They seem to think I am there only to give them lessons on the piano. I have to get rid of them, for I am no Professor of the Piano. This girl did not play badly, either,' concluded he, half ashamed of himself for his treatment of her.


"For my part, I was awfully sorry for the girl, and I was tempted to run after her and bring her back, and intercede with Liszt to take her; but I was a new-comer myself, and did not quite dare to brave the lion in his den. Later, I would have done it, for the girl was really very talented, and it was a mere want of tact on her part in her manner of approaching Liszt which precipitated her defeat. She brought him Chopin's F minor concerto, and played the middle movement of it, Liszt standing up and thundering out the orchestral accompaniment, tremolo, in the bass of the piano. I wondered it did not put the girl out, but she persisted bravely to the end, and did not break down, as I expected she would.

"She came at an inopportune moment, for there were only five of us in the room, and we were having a most entertaining time with Liszt, that lovely June afternoon, and he did not feel disposed to be interrupted by a stranger. In spite of himself, he could not help doing justice to her talent, saying: 'She did not play at all badly.' This, however, the poor girl never knew. She probably wept briny tears of disappointment when she returned to her hotel.

"While Liszt resented being called a 'piano-teacher,' he nevertheless was one, in the higher sense of the term. It was the difference between the scientific college professor of genius and the ordinary school-teacher which distinguished him from the rank and file of musical instructors.

"Nobody could be more appreciative of talent[397] than Liszt was—even of talent which was not of the first order—and I was often amazed to see the trouble he would give himself with some industrious young girl who had worked hard over big compositions like Schumann's Carnival, or Chopin's sonatas. At one of the musical gatherings at the Frauleins' Stahr (music-teachers in Weimar, to whose simple home Liszt liked to come) I have heard him accompany on a second piano Chopin's E minor concerto, which was technically well played, by a girl of nineteen from the Stuttgart Conservatory.

"It was a contrast to see this young girl, with her rosy cheeks, big brown eyes, and healthy, everyday sort of talent, at one piano, and Liszt, the colossal artist, at the other.

"He was then sixty-three years old, but the fire of youth burned in him still. Like his successor, Paderewski, Liszt sat erect, and never bent his proud head over the 'stupid keys,' as he called them, even deprecating his pupils' doing so. He was very picturesque, with his lofty and ideal forehead thrown back, and his magnificent iron-gray hair falling in thick masses upon his neck. The most divine expression came over his face when he began to play the opening measures of the accompaniment, and I shall never forget the concentration and intensity he put into them if I live to be a hundred! The nobility and absolute 'selflessness' of Liszt's playing had to be heard to be understood. There was something about his tone that made you weep, it was so apart from earth and so ethereal!"



"I look forward eagerly," Bülow wrote to a friend, "to your Chopin, that immortal romanticist par excellence, whose mazurkas alone are a monument more enduring than metal. Never will this great, deep, sincere, and at the same time tender and passionate poet become antiquated. On the contrary, as musical culture increases, he will appear in a much brighter light than to-day, when only the popular Chopin is in vogue, whereas the more aristocratic, manly Chopin, the poet of the last two scherzi, the last two ballads, the barcarole, the polonaise-fantaisie, the nocturnes, Op. 9, No. 3; Op. 48; Op. 55, No. 2, etc., still awaits the interpreters who have entered into his spirit and among whom, if God grants me life, I should like to have the pride of counting myself.

"You know from my introduction to the études how highly I esteem Chopin. In his pieces we find Lenau, Byron, Musset, Lamartine, and at the same time all sorts of heathen Apollo priests. You shall learn through me to love him dearly.

"We must grant Chopin the great distinction of having in his works fixed the boundaries between piano and orchestral music, which other romanticists, notably Robert Schumann, confused, to the detriment of both.

"There are two Chopins—one an aristocrat, the other democratic."

Concerning the mazurka, Op. 50, No. 1, he[399] said: "In this mazurka there is dancing, singing, gesticulating.

"Chopin's pupils issued in Paris an edition of his works. Chopin's pupils are, however, as unreliable as the girls who pose as Liszt's pupils. Use the Klindworth edition.

"Liszt's ballads and polonaises have proved most strikingly that it was possible after Chopin to write ballads and polonaises. In the polonaises in particular Liszt opened many new points of view for the widening and spiritualising of that form, quite apart from the individual peculiarities of his productions, which put in place of the national Polish colour an entirely new element, thus making possible the filling out of this form with new contents."

In one of his essays Bülow indignantly attacks the current notion that Liszt's pieces are all unplayable except by concert pianists: "Some day I shall make a list of all of Liszt's pieces for piano which most amateurs will find much easier to master and digest than the chaff of Thalberg or the wheat of Henselt or Chopin. But it seems that the name of Liszt as composer for the piano has become associated inseparably with the words 'inexecutable,' and making 'colossal demands.' It is a harmless prejudice of the ignorant, like many others, but for all that none the less objectionable.

"Liszt does not represent virtuosity as distinguished from music—very far from it.

"The Liszt ballade in B minor is equal in poetic content to Chopin's ballades."


Concerning Liszt's Irrlichter and Gnomenreigen, he said: "I wish the inspired master had written more pieces like these, which are as perfect as any song without words by Mendelssohn."


Weingartner's reminiscences of Liszt throw many interesting lights on the personality of that great composer and greatest of teachers. The gathering of famous artists at his house are well described, and his own mannerisms excellently portrayed. His playing was always marked by the ripest perfection of touch. He did not incline to the impetuous power of his youthful days, but sat almost without motion before the keyboard. His hands glided quietly over the keys, and produced the warm, magnetic stream of tone almost without effort.

His criticism of others was short, but always to the point. His praise would be given heartily, and without reserve, while blame was always concealed in some kindly circumlocution. Once, when a pretty young lady played a Chopin ballade in execrable fashion, he could not contain ejaculations of disgust as he walked excitedly about the room. At the end, however, he went to her kindly, laid his hand gently on her hair, kissed her forehead, and murmured, "Marry soon, dear child—adieu."

Another young lady once turned the tables on the composer. It was the famous Ingeborg von[401] Bronsart, who came to him when eighteen years old, in the full bloom of her fair Northern beauty. Liszt asked her to play, inwardly fearing that this was to be one more of the petted incompetents. But when she played a Bach fugue for him, with the utmost brilliancy, he could not contain his admiration. "Wonderful," he cried, "but you certainly didn't look like it." "I should hope I didn't look like a Bach fugue," was the swift retort, and the two became lifelong friends.


Liszt's importance in this field is not overlooked.

"In Germany, the land of seriousness, organ music had acquired a character so heavy and so uniformly contrapuntal that, by the middle of last century, almost any decently trained Capellmeister could produce a sonata dull enough to be considered first-rate. There were, doubtless, many protests in the shape of unorthodox works which left no mark; but two great influences, which are the earliest we need notice, came in the shape of Liszt's Fantasia on the name of Bach and Julius Reubke's Sonata on the Ninety-fourth Psalm. Without minute analysis we may say that the former, though not an entirely great work, was at all events something entirely new. It showed the possibility of freedom of form without shapelessness, of fairly good counterpoint without dulness, of the adaptation of piano technic[402] to the organ in a way never before attempted; and the whole work, brilliant and effective, never outraged in the smallest degree the natural dignity of the instrument."


Rudolf Breithaupt thus wrote of the technical elements in Liszt's playing in Die Musik:

"What we hear of Liszt's technic in his best years, from 1825 to 1850, resembles a fairy tale. As artists, Liszt and Paganini have almost become legendary personages. In analysing Liszt's command of the piano we find that it consists first and foremost in the revelation of a mighty personality rather than in the achievement of unheard of technical feats. Though his admirers will not believe it, technic has advanced since his day. Tausig excelled him in exactness and brilliancy; Von Bülow was a greater master of interpretation: Rubinstein went beyond him in power and in richness of tone-colour, through his consummate use of the pedal. Even contemporary artists, e.g., Carreño, d'Albert, Busoni, and in part, Godowsky, are technically equal to Liszt in his best days, and in certain details, owing to the improved mechanism of the piano, even his superior.

"It is time to do away with the fetich of Liszt's technic. It was mighty as an expression of his potent personality, mighty in its domination of all instrumental forms, mighty in its full command[403] of all registers and positions. But I believe that if the Liszt of former days—not the old man whose fingers did not always obey his will, but the young, vigorous Titan of the early nineteenth century—were to play for us now, we should be as little edified as we should probably be by the singing of Jenny Lind or by the playing of Paganini. Exaggeration finds no more fruitful field than the chronicling of the feats of noted artists.

"We hear, for instance, much of Liszt's hand, of its vampire-like clutch, of its uncanny, spidery power of extension—as a child I firmly believed that he could reach two octaves without difficulty. These stories are all fables. His fingers were long and regular, the thumb abnormally long; a more than usual flexibility of muscles and sinews gave him the power of spanning a twelfth. Klindworth tells us that he did some things with his left thumb that one was led to believe it twice the length of an ordinary thumb.

Liszt's Hand

"What chiefly distinguished Liszt's technic was the absolute freedom of his arms. The secret lay in the unconstrained swinging movement of the arm from the raised shoulder, the bringing out of the tone through the impact of the full elastic mass on the keys, a thorough command and use of the freely rolling forearm. He had the gift for which all strove, the rhythmic dance of the members concerned—the springing arm, the springing hand, the springing finger. He played by weight—by a swinging and a hurling of weight from a loosened shoulder that had nothing in common[404] with what is known as finger manipulation. It was by a direct transfer of strength from back and shoulders to fingers, which explains the high position of hands and fingers.

"At the time of his most brilliant period as virtuoso he paid no attention to technic and its means; his temperament was the reverse of analytical—what he wished to do he did without concerning himself as to the how or why. Later in life he did attempt to give some practical suggestions in technic, but these were of but doubtful worth. A genius is not always to be trusted when it comes to theoretical explanation of what he does more by instinct than by calculation.

"His power over an audience was such that he had only to place his hands on the keyboard to awaken storms of applause. Even his pauses had life and movement, for his hands spoke in animated gesture, while his Jupiter-like head, with its mane of flowing hair, exercised an almost hypnotic effect on his entranced listeners.

"From a professional stand-point his execution was not always flawless. His great rival, Thalberg, had greater equality of touch in scales and runs; in what was then known as the jeu perle (literally, pearly playing) his art was also finer. Liszt frequently struck false notes—but ears were closed to such faults; his hearers appeared not to notice them. These spots on the sun are mentioned only to put an end once for all to the foolish stories that are still current about Liszt's wonderful technic. This greatest of all reproductive[405] artists was but a man, and often erred, though in a large and characteristic fashion.

"Liszt's technic is the typical technic of the modern grand piano (Hammerklavier). He knew well the nature of the instrument, its old-fashioned single-tone effects on the one hand, its full harmonic power and polyphonic capabilities on the other. While to his predecessors it was simply a medium for musical purposes, under his hands it was a means of expression for himself, a revelation of his ardent temperament. In comparison with the contracted five-finger positions of the classical technic, its broken chords and arpeggios, Liszt's technic had the advantage of a fuller, freer flow, of greater fulness of tone and increased brilliancy. Chopin has discovered more original forms; his style of writing is far more delicate and graceful; his individual note is certainly more musical, but his technic is special in its character; it lacks the broad sweep that gives Liszt's technic its peculiar freedom and adaptability to the instrument.

"Take Schumann and Brahms also, and compare their manner of writing for the piano with Liszt's. Both have written much that is noble and beautiful considered as music, but so clumsily put on the instrument that it is unduly difficult for the player. With Liszt, however, no matter what the difficulty of the means may be, they are always precisely adapted to the end in view, and everything he writes sounds well. It is no merely theoretical combination, but meant to be played[406] on the piano, and is in strict accordance with the nature of the instrument. The player finds nothing laboriously put together and requiring study for its disentanglement. Liszt considers the structure of the hand, and assigns it tasks suited to its capabilities.

"Among the distinctively original features of Liszt's technic are the bold outline, the large form, the imitative effects of organ and clavier, the orchestral timbre it imparts to the piano. We thank him also for the use of the thumb in the declamation of pathetic cantilena, for a breadth of melodic characterisation which resembles that of the horn and violoncello, for the imitation of brass instruments, for the great advance in all sorts of tremolos, trills and vibratos, which serve to give colour and intensity to moments of climax. His finger passages are not merely empty runs, but are like high lights in a picture; his cadenzas fairly sparkle like comet trains and are never introduced for display alone. They are preparatory, transitional or conclusive in character; they point contrasts, they heighten dramatic climaxes. His scales and arpeggios have nothing in common with the stiff monotony of the Czerny school of playing; they express feeling, they give emotional variety, they embellish a melody with ineffable grace. He often supplies them with thirds and sixths, which fill out their meagre outlines and furnish support to hands and fingers.

"In his octave technic Liszt has embodied all the elementary power and wildness of his nature.[407] His octaves rage in chromatic and diatonic scales, in broken chords and arpeggios, up and down, hither and thither, like zigzag flashes of lightning. Here he is seen at his boldest, e.g., in his Orage, Totentanz, Mazeppa, Don Juan fantasia, VI Rhapsody, etc. In the trill, too, he has given us such novel forms as the simple trill with single fingers of each hand, the trill in double thirds in both hands, the octave trill—all serving to intensify the introduction or close of the salient divisions of a composition.

"From Liszt dates the placing of a melody in the fullest and most ringing register of the piano—that corresponding to the tenor or baritone compass of voice; also the division of the accompaniment between the two hands and the extension of hand-crossing technic. To him we owe exactness in the fixing of tempo, the careful designation of signs for dynamics and expression, the use of three staves instead of two for the sake of greater clearness of notation, as well as the modern installation of the pedal.

"In short, Liszt is not only the creator of the art of piano playing as we have it to-day, but his is the strongest musical influence in modern musical culture. But granting this, those thinkers who declare this influence not unmixed with harm are not altogether wrong. It is not the fault of genius, however, that undesirable consequences follow in its wake. It is also my opinion that it will do no harm to retrace our steps and revive the more simple times when there was less piano playing and more music."



Busoni is preparing a complete edition of Liszt's compositions, to be published by Breitkopf & Härtel. Concerning the studies, which are to appear in three volumes, he says:

"These études, a work which occupied Franz Liszt from childhood on up to manhood, we believe should be put at the head of his piano compositions. There are three reasons for this: the first is the fact that the études were the first of his works to be published; the second is that in Liszt's own catalogue of his works (Themat. Verz. Br. H. 1855), he puts the études at the very beginning; and the third and most patent is that these works in their entirety reflect as do no others Liszt's pianistic personality in the bud, shoot, and flower.

"These fifty-eight piano pieces alone would serve to place Liszt in the ranks of the greatest piano composers since Beethoven—Chopin, Schumann, Alkan, and Brahms; but proof of his superiority over these is found in his complete works, of which the études are only a small part.

"They afford a picture of him in manifold lights and poses, giving us an opportunity to know and observe him in the different phases of his character: the diabolic as well as the religious—those who acknowledge God do not make light of the devil—the refined and the animated; now as an illustrative interpreter of every style and again as a marvellous transformation artist who[409] can with convincing mimicry don the costume of any country. This collection consists of a work for piano which contains within its circumference every phase, nation, and epoch of musical expression from Palestrina to Parsifal, whereby Liszt shows himself as a creator of twofold character—both subjective and objective."


"Nothing is easier than to estimate Liszt the pianist, nothing more difficult than to estimate Liszt the composer. As to Liszt the pianist, old and young, conservatives and progressives, not excepting the keyboard specialists, are perfectly agreed that he was unique, unsurpassed, and unsurpassable," says Professor Niecks. "As to Liszt the composer, on the other hand, opinions differ widely and multifariously—from the attribution of superlative genius to the denial of the least talent. This diversity arises from partisanship, individuality of taste, and the various conceptions formed of the nature of creative power. Those, however, who call Liszt a composer without talent confess themselves either ignorant of his achievements, or incapable of distinguishing good from bad and of duly apportioning praise and blame. Those, on the other hand, who call Liszt a creative genius should not omit to observe and state that his genius was qualitatively unlike the genius of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, and Schumann. With him the[410] creative impulse was, in the main, and, as a rule, an intellectual impulse. With the great masters mentioned, the impulse was of a general origin, all the faculties co-operating. While with them the composition was always spontaneous, being, however great the travail, a birth, not a making; with Liszt it was often reflective, the solution of a problem, an experiment, a caprice, a defiance of conventional respectability, or a device for the dumfounding and electrification of the gaping multitude. In short, Liszt was to a larger extent inventive than creative. The foregoing remarks do not pretend to be more than a suggestive attempt at explaining the inexplicable differences of creative power. That Liszt could be spontaneous and in the best sense creative, he has proved by whole compositions, and more frequently by parts of compositions. That has to be noted; as well as that his love of experimenting and scorn for the familiar, not to mention the commonplace, led him often to turn his back on the beautiful and to embrace the ugly.

"As a composer of pianoforte music, Liszt's merits are more generally acknowledged than as a composer of any other kind. Here indeed his position is a commanding one. We should be obliged to regard him with respect, admiration, and gratitude, even if his compositions were æsthetically altogether a failure. For they incorporate an original pianoforte style, a style that won new resources from the instrument, and opened new[411] possibilities to the composer for it, and the player on it. The French Revolution of 1830 aroused Liszt from a state of lethargy. A year after this political revolution, there occurred an event that brought about in him an artistic revolution. This event was the appearance of Paganini in Paris. The wonderful performances of the unique violin virtuoso revealed to him new ideas. He now began to form that pianoforte style which combined, as it were, the excellences of all the other instruments, individually and collectively. Liszt himself called the process "the orchestration of the pianoforte." But before the transformation could be consummated, other influences had to be brought to bear on the architect. The influence of Chopin, who appeared in Paris soon after Paganini, must have been great, but was too subtle and partial to be easily gauged. It is different with Berlioz, whose influence on Liszt was palpable and general, affecting every branch of his art-practice. Thalberg has at least the merit of having by his enormous success in 1836 stimulated Liszt to put forth his whole strength.

"The vast mass of Liszt's pianoforte compositions is divisible first into two classes—the entirely original compositions, and the compositions based to a more or less extent on foreign matter. The latter class consist of transcriptions of songs (Schubert, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Franz, etc.), symphonies and overtures (Berlioz, Beethoven, Rossini, Wagner, etc.), and operatic[412] themes (from Rossini and Bellini to Wagner and Verdi), and of fifteen Hungarian rhapsodies; the former consists of studies, brilliant virtuosic pieces, musical poems, secular and sacred, picturesque, lyrical, etc. (such as Années de Pélerinage, Harmonies, poétiques et religieuses, Consolations, the legends, St. François d'Assise: La Prédication aux oiseaux, and St. François de Paule marchant sur les flots, etc.), and one work in sonata form, but not the conventional sonata form. Although not unfrequently leaving something to be desired in the matter of discretion, his transcriptions of songs are justly famous masterpieces. Marvellous in the reproduction of orchestral effects are the transcriptions of symphonies and overtures. The operatic transcriptions (Illustrations, Fantasies), into which the geistreiche Liszt put a great deal of his own, do not now enjoy the popularity they once enjoyed; the present age has lost some of its love for musical fireworks and the tricking-out and transmogrification by an artist of other artists' ideas. The Hungarian Rhapsodies, on the other hand, which are still more fantasias on the adopted matter than the operatic transcriptions, continue to be favourites of the virtuosi and the public.

"As to the original compositions, they are very unequal in artistic value. Many of them, however, are undoubtedly of the greatest beauty, and stand whatever test may be applied to them. No one would think of numbering with these exquisite perfect things the imposing sonata. It[413] cannot be placed by the side of the sonatas of Beethoven, whose ideal and formative power Liszt lacked. Nevertheless it is impossible for the unprejudiced not to recognise in it a noble effort of a highly-gifted and ardently-striving mind. Technically, instead of three or four self-contained separate movements, we have there a long uninterrupted series of continuous movements, in which, however, we can distinguish three complexes corresponding to the three movements of the orthodox sonata. The Andante Sostenuto and Quasi Adagio form the simpler middle complex. Although some of the features of the orthodox sonata structure are discernible in Liszt's works, most of them are absent from it or irrecognisably veiled. The most novel and characteristic features are the unity and the evolution by metamorphosis of the thematic material—that is to say, the motives of the first complex reappear in the following ones, and are metamorphosed not only in the later but also in the first. Nothing could characterise the inequality of Liszt's compositions better than the fact that it is possible to draw up a programme of them wholly irreproachable, admirable, and delightful, and equally possible to draw up one wholly objectionable, abhorrent, and distressful. All in all, Liszt is a most remarkable and interesting and, at the same time, an epoch-making personality, one that will remain for long yet a living force in music, and for ever a striking figure in the history of the art."



Frederick Smetana, the greatest of Bohemian composers, founded in the year 1848 the institute which he conducted for the teaching of the piano in Prague. In this year it was that the composition for piano named Morceaux Caractéristiques, he dedicated to Liszt (which dedication Liszt accepted with the greatest cordiality, writing him a most complimentary letter), was the means of his becoming personally acquainted with Liszt, whom he until this time only knew by report. He obtained for the young composer an introduction to the publisher Kistner, in Leipsic, who brought out his six piano pieces called Stammbuchblaetter.


"Of all the Slav composers Rimsky-Korsakoff is perhaps the most charming, and as a musician the most remarkable," writes the music-critic of the Mercure de France. "He has not been equalled by any of his compatriots in the art of handling timbres, and in this art the Russian school has been long distinguished. In this respect he is descended directly from Liszt, whose orchestra he adopted and from whom he borrowed many an old effect. His inspiration is sometimes exquisite; the inexhaustible transformation of his themes is always most intelligent[415] or interesting. As all the other Russians, he sins in the development of ideas through the lack of cohesion, of sustained enchainment, and especially through the lack of true polyphony. The influence of Berlioz and of Liszt is not less striking in his manner of composition. Sadko comes from Liszt's Ce qu'on entend sur la montagne, Antar and Scheherazade at the same time from Harold and the Faust symphony. The Oriental monody seems to throw a spell over Rimsky-Korsakoff which spreads over all his works a sort of 'local colour,' underlined here by the chosen subjects. In Scheherazade, it must be said, the benzoin of Arabia sends forth here and there the sickening empyreuma of the pastilles of the harem. In the second and the third movements of Antar the composer has approached nearest true musical superiority. The descriptive, almost dramatic, intention is realised there with an unusual sureness, and, if the brand of Liszt remains ineffaceable, the ease of construction, the breadth and the co-ordinated progressions of combinations mark a mastery and an originality that are rarely found among the composers of the far North, and that no one has ever possessed among the 'five.'

"Chopin's well-known saying in regard to Liszt, when he heard that the latter was going to write a notice of his concert, tells more," says Professor Niecks, "than whole volumes. These are the words: [416]'Il me donnera un petit royaume dans son empire,' which were said to Ernest Legouvé by Chopin. Now here is another side-light on Chopin and his opinion of the great virtuoso. He is referring to Liszt's notice of some concert, apparently at Cologne. He is amused at the 'fifteen hundred men counted, at the president of the Phil [harmonic] and his carriage, etc.,' and he feels sure that Liszt will 'some day be a deputy, or king of Abyssinia, or of the Congo; his melodies (themes), however, will rest alongside the two volumes of German poetry'—two volumes which did not seem destined, apparently, to achieve immortality."


Last Picture of Liszt, 1886, Aged Seventy-five Years

Many artists have immortalised "that profile of ivory." They are, Ingres who was a friend of Liszt, and of whom he always had a tender recollection; in his best days it was Kaulbach and Lenbach. William Kaulbach's portrait is celebrated for the grand look; the chivalrous and fine-gentleman character of the artist is expressed in it in a masterly way. Not less remarkable is a marble bust by the famous Bartolini, souvenir of the master's visit to Florence in 1838. The painter Leyraud shows us Liszt at the time when he took orders. He depicts him as a thin, thoughtful man, leaning against a piano, his arms crossed, and looking at the world from the height of his wisdom. David d'Angers has made a very fine medallion of him. "We have several[417] portraits by Kriehuber, one, among others—Liszt in a travelling cloak—drawn hurriedly while Liszt, surrounded by friends seeing him off, was shaking hands all round. Tilgner sculptured a bust of him two years ago at Vienna; and Baron Joukovsky painted his portrait. Our great Munkàcsy, who beautified the last moments of the master's life, painted him seated at the piano. Boehm, the celebrated Hungarian sculptor, has just made his bust in London. Then we have at Budapest, at the entrance to the opera house, a splendid statue, chiselled by our young artist Strobl. It wants finish, but on the other hand admirably renders Liszt's features and expression. And lastly, we have one by Wolkof, on the stove of a friend of Liszt's," adds Janka Wohl. There are so many more that they defy classification. The Munkàcsy is not attractive, but the sketch made by Ingres at Rome in 1839 is a very happy interpretation of the still youthful virtuoso. The Kriehuber lithograph is a famous study of perennial interest. Then there are the portraits by the American Healey and the Italian Stella, excellent though not master-works. In the Lenbach portrait the eyes look like incandescent grapes.



Artistic pianoforte playing is no longer rare. The once jealously guarded secrets of the masters have become the property of conservatories. Self-playing instruments perform technical miracles, and are valuable inasmuch as they interest a number of persons who would otherwise avoid music as an ineluctable mystery. Furthermore, the unerring ease with which these machines despatch the most appalling difficulties has turned the current toward what is significant in a musical performance: touch, phrasing, interpretation. While a child's hand may set spinning the Don Juan Fantasie of Liszt, no mechanical appliance yet contrived can play a Chopin ballade or the Schumann concerto as they should be played.

I mention purposely these cunning inventions because I do not think that they have harmed the public interest in pianoforte recitals; rather have they stimulated it. Never before has the standard of execution and interpretation been so high. The giant wave of virtuosity that broke over Europe in the middle of the nineteenth century has not yet receded. A new artist on the keyboard is eagerly heard and discussed. If he be a Paderewski or a Joseffy, he is the centre of[419] a huge admiration. The days of Liszt were renewed when Paderewski made his tours in America. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration to say that not until now has good playing been so little of a rarity.

But a hundred years ago matters were different. It was in 1839 that Franz Liszt gave the first genuine pianoforte recital, and, possessing a striking profile, he boldly presented it to his audiences; before that pianists either faced or sat with their backs to the public. No matter what avenue of music the student travels, he will be sure to encounter the figure of Liszt. Yet neither Liszt nor Chopin was without artistic ancestors. That they stemmed from the great central tree of European music; that they at first were swept down the main current, later controlled it, are facts that to-day are the commonplaces of the schools; though a few decades ago those who could see no salvation outside of German music-making, be it never so conventional, failed to recognise the real significance of either Liszt or Chopin. Both men gave Europe new forms, a new harmonic system, and in Liszt's case his originality was so marked that from Wagner to Tschaïkowsky and the Russians, from Cornelius to Richard Strauss, Arnold Schoenberg and the still newer men, all helped themselves at his royal banquet; some, like Wagner, a great genius, taking away all they needed, others glad to catch the very crumbs that fell. But the innovators in form have not always proved supreme[420] creators. In the case of Wagner the plumed and serried phrases of Liszt recall the rôle played by Marlowe in regard to Shakespeare.

Liszt's very power, muscular, compelling, set pianoforte manufacturers to experimenting. A new instrument was literally made for him, an instrument that could thunder like an orchestra, sing like a voice, or whisper like a harp. Liszt could proudly boast, "le piano—c'est moi!" With it he needed no orchestra, no singers, no scenery. It was his stage, and upon its wires he told the stories of the operas, sang the beautiful, and then novel, lieder of Schubert and Schumann, revealed the mastery of Beethoven, the poetry of Chopin, and Bach's magical mathematics. He, too, set Europe ablaze; even Paganini was forgotten, and the gentlemanly Thalberg with his gentlemanly playing suddenly became insipid to true music lovers. Liszt was called a charlatan, and doubtless partially deserved the appellation, in the sense that he very often played for effect's sake, for the sake of dazzling the groundlings. His tone was massive, his touch coloured by a thousand shades of feeling, his technic impeccable, his fire and fury bewildering.

And if Liszt affected his contemporaries, he also trained his successors, Tausig, Von Bülow, and Rubinstein—the latter was never an actual pupil, though he profited by Liszt's advice and regarded him as a model. Karl Tausig, the greatest virtuoso after Liszt and his equal at many points, died prematurely. Never had the[421] world heard such controlled, plastic, and objective interpretations. His iron will had drilled his Slavic temperament so that his playing was, as Joseffy says, "a series of perfectly painted pictures." His technic, according to those who heard him, was perfection. He was the one pianist sans peur et sans reproche. All schools were at his call. Chopin was revived when he played; and he was the first to hail the rising star of Brahms—not critically, as did Schumann, but practically, by putting his name on his eclectic programmes. Mr. Albert Ross Parsons, the well-known New York pianist, critic, and pedagogue, once told the present writer that Tausig's playing evoked the image of some magnificent mountain. "And Joseffy?" was asked—for Joseffy was Tausig's favourite pupil. "The lovely mist that enveloped the mountain at dusk," was Mr. Parsons's happy answer. Since then Joseffy has condensed this mist into something more solid, while remaining quite as beautiful.

Rubinstein I heard play his series of historical recitals, seven in all; better still, I heard him perform the feat twice. I regret that it was not thrice. If ever there was a heaven-storming genius, it was Anton Rubinstein. Nicolas Rubinstein was a wonderful artist; but the fire that flickered and flamed in the playing of Anton was not in evidence in the work of his brother. You felt in listening to Anton that the piece he happened to be playing was heard by you for the first time—the creative element in his nature was so[422] strong. It seemed no longer reproductive art. The same thing has been said of Liszt. Often arbitrary in his very subjective readings, Rubinstein never failed to interest. He had an overpowering sort of magnetism that crossed the stage and enveloped his audience with a gripping power. His touch, to again quote Joseffy, was like that of a French horn. It sang with a mellow thunder. An impressionist in the best sense of that misunderstood expression, he was the reverse of his rival and colleague, Hans von Bülow.

The brother-in-law, à la main gauche, of that Brother of Dragons, Richard Wagner, Von Bülow was hardly appreciated during his first visit to America in 1876-77. Rubinstein had preceded him by three seasons and we were loath to believe that the rather dry, angular touch and clear-cut phrasing of the little, irritable Hans were revelations from on high. Nevertheless, Von Bülow, the mighty scholar, opened new views for us by his Beethoven and Bach playing. The analyst in him ruled. Not a colourist, but a master of black and white, he exposed the minutest meanings of the composer that he presented. He was the first to introduce Tschaïkowsky's brilliant and clangorous B-flat minor concerto. Of his Chopin performances, I retain only the memory of the D-flat Nocturne. That was exquisite, and all the more surprising coming from a man of Von Bülow's pedantic nature. His last visit to this country, several decades ago, was better appreciated, but I found his playing almost insupportable.[423] He had withered in tone and style, a mummy of his former alert self.

The latter-day generation of virtuosi owe as much to Liszt as did the famous trinity, Tausig, Rubinstein, Von Bülow. Many of them studied with the old wizard at Rome, Budapest, and Weimar; some with his pupils; all have absorbed his traditions. It would be as impossible to keep Liszt out of your playing—out of your fingers, forearms, biceps, and triceps,—as it would be to return to the naïve manner of an Emmanuel Bach or a Scarlatti. Modern pianoforte-playing spells Liszt.

After Von Bülow a much more naturally gifted pianist visited the United States, Rafael Joseffy. It was in 1879 that old Chickering Hall witnessed his triumph, a triumph many times repeated later in Steinway Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera House, and throughout America. At first Joseffy was called the Patti of the Pianoforte, one of those facile, alliterative, meaningless titles he never merited. He had the coloratura, if you will, of a Patti, but he had something besides—brains and a poetic temperament. Poetic is a vague term that usually covers a weakness in technic. There are different sorts of poetry. There is the rich poetry of Paderewski, the antic grace and delicious poetry of De Pachmann. The Joseffian poetry is something else. Its quality is more subtle, more recondite than the poetry of the Polish or the Russian pianist. Such miraculous finish, such crystalline tone[424] had never before been heard until Joseffy appeared. At first his playing was the purest pantheism—a transfigured materialism, tone, and technic raised to heights undreamed of. Years later a new Joseffy was born. Stern self-discipline, as was the case with Tausig, had won a victory over his temperament as well as his fingers. More restrained, less lush, his play is now ruled by the keenest of intellects, while the old silvery and sensuous charm has not vanished. Some refused to accept the change. They did not realise that for an artist to remain stationary is decadence. They longed for graceful trifling, for rose-coloured patterns, for swallow-like flights across the keyboard, by a pair of the most beautiful piano hands since Tausig's. In a word, these people did not care for Brahms and they did care very much for the Chopin Valse in double notes. But the automatic piano has outpointed every virtuoso except Rosenthal in the matter of mere technic. So we enjoy our Brahms from Joseffy, and when he plays Liszt or Chopin, which he does in an ideal style, far removed from the tumultuous thumpings of the average virtuoso, we turn out in numbers to enjoy and applaud him. His music has that indefinable quality which vibrates from a Stradivarius violin. His touch is like no other in the world, and his readings of the classics are marked by reverence and authority. In certain Chopin numbers, such as the Berçeuse, the F-minor ballade, the barcarolle, and the E-minor concerto,[425] he has no peer. Equally lucid and lovely are his performances of the B-flat major Brahms concerto and the A-major concerto of Liszt. Joseffy is unique.

There was an interregnum in the pianoforte arena for a few years. Joseffy was reported as having been discovered in the wilds above Tarrytown playing two-voiced inventions of Bach, and writing a new piano school. Arthur Friedheim appeared and dazzled us with the B-minor Sonata of Liszt. It was a wonder-breeding, thrilling performance. Alfred Grünfeld, of Vienna, caracoled across the keys in an amiably dashing style. Rummel played earnestly. Ansorge also played earnestly. Edmund Neupert delivered Grieg's Concerto as no one before or since has done. Pugno came from Paris, Rosenthal thundered; Sauer, Stavenhagen, Siloti, Slivinski, Mark Hambourg, Burmeister, Hyllested, Faelten, Sherwood, Godowsky, Gabrilowitsch, Vogrich, Von Sternberg, Jarvis, Richard Hoffmann, Boscovitz—to go back some years; Alexander Lambert, August Spanuth, Klahre, Lamond, Dohnanyi, Busoni, Baerman, Saint-Saëns, Stojowski, Lhévinne, Rudolph Ganz, MacDowell, Otto Hegner, Josef Hofmann, Reisenauer—none of these artists ever aroused such excitement as Paderewski, though a more captivating and brilliant Liszt player than Alfred Reisenauer has been seldom heard.

It was about 1891 that I attended a rehearsal at Carnegie Hall in which participated Ignace[426] Jan Paderewski. The C-minor concerto of Saint-Saëns, an effective though musically empty work, was played. There is nothing in the composition that will test a good pianist; but Paderewski made much of the music. His tone was noble, his technic adequate, his single-finger touch singing. Above all, there was a romantic temperament exposed; not morbid but robust. His strange appearance, the golden aureoled head, the shy attitude, were rather puzzling to public and critic at his début. Not too much enthusiasm was exhibited during the concert or next morning in the newspapers. But the second performance settled the question. A great artist was revealed. His diffidence melted in the heat of frantic applause. He played the Schumann concerto, the F-minor concerto of Chopin, many other concertos, all of Chopin's music, much of Schumann, Beethoven, and Liszt. His recitals, first given in the concert hall of Madison Square Garden, so expanded in attendance that he moved to Carnegie Hall. There, with only his piano, Paderewski repeated the Liszt miracle. And year after year. Never in America has a public proved so insatiable in its desire to hear a virtuoso. It is the same from New Orleans to Seattle. Everywhere crowded halls, immense enthusiasms. Now to set all this down to an exotic personality, to occult magnetism, to sensationalism, would be unfair to Paderewski and to the critical discrimination of his audiences. Many have gone to gaze upon him, but they remained[427] to listen. His solid attainments as a musician, his clear, elevated style, his voluptuous, caressing touch, his sometimes exaggerated sentiment, his brilliancy, endurance, and dreamy poetry—these qualities are real, not imaginary.

No more luscious touch has been heard since Rubinstein's. Paderewski often lets his singing fingers linger on a phrase; but as few pianists alive, he can spin his tone, and so his yielding to the temptation is a natural one. He is intellectual and his readings of the classics are sane. Of poetic temperament, he is at his best in Chopin, not Beethoven. Eclectic is the best word to apply to his interpretations. He plays programmes from Bach to Liszt with commendable fidelity and versatility. He has the power of rousing his audience from a state of calm indifference to wildest frenzy. How does he accomplish this? He has not the technic of Rosenthal, nor that pianist's brilliancy and power; he is not as subtle as Joseffy, nor yet as plastic in his play; the morbid witchery of De Pachmann is not his; yet no one since Rubinstein—in America at least—can create such climaxes of enthusiasm. Deny this or that quality to Paderewski; go and with your own ears and eyes hear and witness what we all have heard and witnessed.

I once wrote a story in which a pianist figured as a mesmeriser. He sat at his instrument in a crowded, silent hall and worked his magic upon the multitude. The scene modulates into madness. People are transported. And in all the[428] rumour and storm, the master sits at the keyboard but does not play. I assure you I have been at Paderewski recitals where my judgments were in abeyance, where my individuality was merged in that of the mob, where I sat and wondered if I really heard; or was Paderewski only going through the motions and not actually touching the keys? His is a static as well as a dramatic art. The tone wells up from the instrument, is not struck. It floats languorously in the air, it seems to pause, transfixed in the air. The Sarmatian melancholy of Paderewski, his deep sensibility, his noble nature, are translated into the music. Then with a smashing chord he sets us, the prisoners of his tonal circle, free. Is this the art of a hypnotiser? No one has so mastered the trick, if trick it be.

But he is not all moonshine. The truth is, Paderewski has a tone not as large as mellow. His fortissimo chords have hitherto lacked the foundational power and splendour of d'Albert's, Busoni's, and Rosenthal's. His transition from piano to forte is his best range, not the extremes at either end of the dynamic scale. A healthy, sunny tone it is at its best, very warm in colour. In certain things of Chopin he is unapproachable. He plays the F-minor concerto and the E-flat minor scherzo—from the second Sonata—beautifully, and if he is not so convincing in the Beethoven sonatas, his interpretation of the E-flat Emperor concerto is surprisingly free from morbidezza; it is direct, manly, and musical. His[429] technic has gained since his advent in New York. This he proved by the way he juggled with the Brahms-Paganini variations; though they are still the property of Moritz Rosenthal. He is more interesting than most pianists because he is more musical; he has more personal charm; there is the feeling when you hear him that he is a complete man, a harmonious artist, and this feeling is very compelling.

The tricky elf that rocked the cradle of Vladimir de Pachmann—a Russian virtuoso, born in Odessa (1848), of a Jewish father and a Turkish mother (he once said to me, "My father is a Cantor, my mother a Turkey")—must have enjoyed—not without a certain malicious peep at the future—the idea of how much worriment and sorrow it would cause the plump little black-haired baby when he grew up and played the pianoforte like the imp of genius he is. It is nearly seventeen years since he paid his first visit to us. His success, as in London, was achieved after one recital. Such an exquisite touch, subtlety of phrasing, and a technic that failed only in broad, dynamic effects, had never before been noted. Yet De Pachmann is in reality the product of an old-fashioned school. He belongs to the Hummel-Cramer group, which developed a pure finger technic and a charming euphony, but neglected the dramatic side of delivery. Tone for tone's sake; absolute finesse in every figure; scales that are as hot pearls on velvet; a perfect trill; a cantilena like the voice; these, and repose[430] of style, are the shibboleth of a tradition that was best embodied in Thalberg—plus more tonal power in Thalberg's case. Subjectivity enters largely in this combination, for De Pachmann is "modern," neurotic. His presentation of some Chopin is positively morbid. He is, despite his marked restrictions of physique and mentality, a Chopin player par excellence. His fingers strike the keys like tiny sweet mallets. His scale passages are liquid, his octave playing marvellous, but en miniature—like everything he attempts. To hear him in a Chopin polonaise is to realise his limitations. But in the larghetto of the F-minor concerto, in the nocturnes and preludes—not of course the big one in D minor—études, valses, ah! there is then but one De Pachmann. He can be poetic and capricious and elfish in the mazurkas; indeed, it has been conceded that he is the master-interpreter of these soul-dances. The volume of tone that he draws from his instrument is not large, but it is of a distinguished quality and very musical. He has paws of velvet, and no matter what the difficulty, he overcomes it without an effort. I once called him the pianissimist because of his special gift for filing tones to a whisper. His pianissimo begins where other pianists end theirs. Enchanting is the effect when he murmurs in such studies as the F minor of Chopin and the Concert study of Liszt of the same tonality; or in mounting unisons as he breathlessly weaves the wind through the last movement of[431] Chopin's B-flat minor sonata. Less edifying are De Pachmann's mannerisms. They are only tolerated because of his exotic, lovely, and disquieting music.

Of a different and a gigantic mould is the playing of Moritz Rosenthal. He is a native of Lemberg, in Galician Poland, a city that has held among other artists, Marcella Sembrich and Carl Mikuli, a pupil of Chopin and editor of an edition of his works. When a mere child, twelve years or so, Moritz walked from Lemberg to Vienna to study with Joseffy. Even at that age he had the iron will of a superman. He played for Joseffy the E-minor concerto of Chopin, the same work with which the youthful Joseffy years before had won the heart of Tausig. Setting aside Tausig—and this is only hearsay—the world of "pianism" has never matched Rosenthal for speed, power, endurance; nor is this all. He is both musical and intellectual. He is a doctor of philosophy, a bachelor of arts. He has read everything, is a linguist, has travelled the globe over, and in conversation his unerring memory and brilliant wit set him as a man apart. To top all these gifts, he plays his instrument magnificently, overwhelmingly. He is the Napoleon, the conqueror among virtuosi. His tone is very sonorous, his touch singing, and he commands the entire range of nuance from the rippling fioritura of the Chopin barcarolle to the cannon-like thunderings of the A-flat polonaise. His octaves and chords baffle all critical experience[432] and appraisement. As others play presto in single notes, so he dashes off double notes, thirds, sixths, and octaves. His Don Juan fantaisie, part Liszt, part Mozart, is entirely Rosenthalian in performance. He has composed at his polyphonic forge a Humoreske. Its interweaving of voices, their independence, the caprice and audacity of it all are astounding. Tausig had such a technic; yet surely Tausig had not the brazen, thunderous climaxes of this broad-shouldered young man! He is the epitome of the orchestra and in a tonal duel with the orchestra he has never been worsted. His interpretations of the classics, of the romantics, are of a superior order. He played the last sonatas of Beethoven or the Schumann Carneval with equal discrimination. His touch is crystal-like in its clearness, therefore his tone lacks the sensuousness of Paderewski and De Pachmann. But it is a mistake to set him down as a mere unemotional mechanician. He is in reality a Superman among pianists.

Eugen d'Albert has played in America several times, the first time in company with Sarasate, the Spanish violin virtuoso. Liszt called d'Albert, of whom he was very fond, the "second Tausig." The Weimar master declared that the little Eugen looked like, played like, his former favourite, Karl Tausig. In his youth d'Albert was as impetuous as a thunderbolt; now he is more reflective than fiery, and he is often careless in his technical work. Another pianist who has[433] followed the lure of composition; but a great virtuoso, a great interpreter of the classics. His music suggests a close study of Brahms, and in his piano concertos he is both Brahmsian and Lisztian.

The first time I heard Saint-Saëns was in Paris the year 1878. He played at the Trocadero palace—it was the Exposition year—his clever variations on a Beethoven theme for two pianos, Madame Montigny-Remaury being his colleague. In 1896 I attended the fiftieth anniversary of his first public appearance. The affair took place at a piano hall in Paris. And several years ago I heard the veteran, full of years and honours, in New York. He had changed but little. The same supple style, siccant touch, and technical mastery were present. Not so polished as Planté, so fiery—or so noisy—as Pugno, Saint-Saëns is a greater musician than either at the keyboard. His playing is Gallic—which means it is never sultry, emotional, and seldom poetic. The French pianists make for clearness, delicacy, symmetry; France never produced a Rubinstein, nor does she cordially admire such volcanic artists.

Ossip Gabrilowitsch has been for me always a sympathetic pianist. He has improved measurably since his previous visits here. The poet and the student still preponderate in his work; he is more reflective than dramatic, though the fiery Slav in him often peeps out, and if he does not "drive the horses of Rubinstein," as Oscar Bie once wrote, he is a virtuoso of high rank.[434] The Bie phrase could be better applied to Mark Hambourg, who sometimes is like a full-blooded runaway horse with the bit between its teeth. Hambourg has Slavic blood in his veins and it courses hotly. He is an attractive player, a younger Tausig—before Tausig taught himself the value of repose and restraint. Recklessly Hambourg attacks the instrument in a sort of Rubinsteinian fury. Of late he has, it is said, learned the lesson of self-control. His polyphony is clearer, his tone, always big, is more sonorous and individual. It was the veteran Dr. William Mason who predicted Hambourg's future. Exuberance and excess of power may be diverted into musical channels—and these Mark Hambourg has. It is not so easy to reverse the process and build up a temperament where little naturally exists.

Josef Hofmann, from a wonder child who influenced two continents, has developed into an artist who has attained perfection—a somewhat cool perfection, it may be admitted. But what a well-balanced touch, what a broad, euphonious tone, what care in building climaxes or shading his tone to mellifluous whisper! Musically he is impregnable. His readings are free from extravagances, his bearing dignified, and if we miss the dramatic element in his play we are consoled by the easy sweep, the intellectual grasp, and the positively pleasure-giving quality of his touch. Eclectic in style, Hofmann is the "young-old" master of the pianoforte. And he is Polish in[435] everything but Chopin. But well-bred! Perhaps Rubinstein was right when he said, so is the report—at Dresden, "Jozio will never have to change his shirt at a recital as I did."

Harold Bauer is a great favourite in America as well as in Paris. He has a quiet magnetism, a mastery of technical resources, backed by sound musicianship. He was a violinist before he became a pianist; this fact may account for his rich tone-quality—Bauer could even make an old-fashioned "square" pianoforte discourse eloquently. He, too, is an eclectic; all schools appeal to him and his range is from Bach to Cæsar Franck, both of whom he interprets with reverence and authority. Bauer played Liszt's Dance of Death in this country, creating thereby a reputation for brilliant "pianism." The new men, Lhévinne, Ganz, Scriabine, Stojowski, are forging ahead, especially the first two, who are virtuoso artists. The young Swiss, Ganz, is a very attractive artist, apart from his technical attainments; he is musical, and that is two-thirds of the battle. Two men who once resided in America, Ferrucio Busoni and Leopold Godowsky, went abroad and conquered Europe. Busoni is called the master-interpreter of Bach and Liszt; the master-miniaturist is the title bestowed upon the miracle-working Godowsky, whose velvety touch and sensitive style have been better appreciated in Europe than America.

The fair unfair sex has not lacked in representative piano artists. Apart from the million[436] girls busily engaged in manipulating pedals, slaying music and sleep at one fell moment, there is a band of keyboard devotees that has earned fame and fortune, and an honourable place in the Walhalla of pianoforte playing. The modern female pianist does not greatly vary from her male rival except in muscular power, and even in that Sofie Menter and Teresa Carreño have vied with their ruder brethren. Pianists in petticoats go back as far as Nanette Streicher and come down to Paula Szalit, a girl who, it is said, improvises fugues. Marie Pleyel, Madame de Szymanowska—Goethe's friend at Marienbad, in 1822—Clara Schumann, Arabella Goddard, Sofie Menter, Annette Essipoff—once Paderewski's adviser, and a former wife of Leschetitzky; Marie Krebs, Ingeborg Bronsart, Aline Hundt, Fannie Davies, Madeliene Schiller, Julia Rivé-King, Helen Hopekirk, Nathalie Janotha, Adele Margulies, the Douste Sisters, Amy Fay, Dory Petersen, Cecilia Gaul, Madame Paur, Madame Lhévinne, Antoinette Szumowska, Adele Aus der Ohe, Cécile Chaminade, Madame Montigny-Remaury, Madame Roger-Miclos, Marie Torhilon-Buell, Augusta Cottlow, Mrs. Arthur Friedheim, Laura Danzinger Rosebault, Olga Samaroff, Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler—these are a few well-known names before the public during the past and in the present.

Walter Bache   Solati   Reisenauer   Carl V. Lachmund
Mrs. Scott-Siddons   Harry Waller
The Final Liszt Circle at Weimar
(Liszt at the upper window)

It may be assumed that the sex which can boast among its members such names as Jane Austen, George Sand, George Eliot, novelists; Vigée Lebrun,[437] Mary Cassatt, Cecilia Beaux, and Berthe Morisot, painters; Sonia Kovalevsky, mathematician; Madame Curie, science; Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Christina Rossetti, poetry, would not fail in the reproductive art of pianoforte playing. Clara Schumann was an unexcelled interpreter of her husband's music; Sofie Menter the most masculine of Liszt's feminine choir; Essipoff unparalleled as a Chopin player; Carreño has a man's head, man's fingers, and woman's heart; Fannie Bloomfield Zeisler, an artist of singular intensity and strong personality—these women have admirably contributed to the history of their art and need not fear comparisons on the score of sex.

How far will the pursuit of technic go, and what will be the effect upon the mechanical future of the instrument? It is both a thankless and a dangerous task to prophesy; but it seems that technic quâ technic has ventured as far as it dare. Witness the astounding arrangements made by the ingenious Godowsky, the grafting of two Chopin studies, both hands autonomous, racing at full speed! The thing is monstrous—yet effective; but that way musical madness lies. The Janko keyboard, a sort of ivory toboggan-slide, permitted the performance of incredible difficulties; glissandi in chromatic tenths! But who in the name of Apollo cares to hear chromatic tenths sliding pell-mell down-hill! Music is music, and a man or woman must make it, not alone an instrument. The tendency now is[438] toward the fabrication of a more sensitive, vibrating sounding-board. Quality, not brutal quantity, is the desideratum. This, with the more responsive and elastic keyboard action of the day, which permits all manner of finger nuance, will tell upon the future of the pianoforte. Machine music has usurped our virtuosity; but it can never reign in the stead of the human artist. And therefore we now demand more of the spiritual and less of the technical from our pianists. Music is the gainer thereby, and the old-time cacophonous concerto for pianoforte and orchestra will, we hope, be relegated to the limbo of things inutile. The pianoforte was originally an intimate instrument, and it will surely go back, though glorified by experience, to its first, dignified estate.

I have written more fully of the pianists that I have had the good fortune to hear with my own ears. This is what is called impressionistic criticism. Academic criticism may be loosely defined as the expression of another's opinion. It has decided historic interest. In a word, the former tells how much you enjoyed a work of art, whether creative or interpretive; the latter what some other fellow liked. So, accept these sketches as a mingling of the two methods, with perhaps a disproportionate stress laid upon the personal element—the most important factor, after all, in criticism.



This book, projected in 1902, was at that time announced as a biography of Liszt. However, a few tentative attacks upon the vast amount of raw material soon convinced me that to write the ideal life of the Hungarian a man must be plentifully endowed with time and patience. I preferred, therefore, to study certain aspects of Liszt's art and character; and as I never heard him play I have summoned here many competent witnesses to my aid. Hence the numerous contradictions and repetitions, arguments for and against Liszt in the foregoing volume, frankly sought for, rather than avoided. The personality, or, strictly speaking, the various personalities of Liszt are so mystifying that they would require the professional services of a half-dozen psychologists to untangle their complex web. As to his art, I have quoted from many conflicting authorities, hoping that the reader will evolve from the perhaps confusing pattern an authentic image of the man and his music. And all the biographies I have seen—Lina Ramann's, despite its violent parti pris, is the most complete (an urquell for its successors)—read like glorified time-tables. Now, no man is a hero to his biographer, but the practice of jotting down unimportant[440] happenings makes your hero very small potatoes indeed. An appalling number of pages are devoted to the arrival and departure of the master at or from Weimar, Rome, or Budapest. "Liszt left Rome for Budapest at 8.30 A. M., accompanied by his favourite pupil Herr Fingers," etc.; or, "Liszt returned to Weimar at 9 P. M., and was met at the station by the Baroness W. and Professor Handgelenk." A more condensed method is better, though it may lack interest for the passionate Liszt admirers. As for the chronicling of small-beer, I hope I have provided sufficient anecdotes to satisfy the most inveterate of scandal-mongers. I may add that for over a quarter of a century I have been collecting Lisztiana; not to mention the almost innumerable conversations and interviews I have enjoyed with friends and pupils of Liszt.

I wish to acknowledge the help and sympathy of: Camille Saint-Saëns, Frederick Niecks, Rafael Joseffy, the late Anton Seidl, Felix Weingartner, Arthur Friedheim, Richard Burmeister, Henry T. Finck, Philip Hale, W. F. Apthorp, the late Edward Dannreuther, Frank Van der Stucken, August Spanuth, Emil Sauer, Moritz Rosenthal, Eugen d'Albert, Amy Fay, Rosa Newmarch, Jaroslaw de Zielinski, the late Edward A. MacDowell, John Kautz, of Albany (who first suggested to me the magnitude of Liszt's contribution to the art of rhythms), Charles A. Ellis, of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and Edward[441] E. Ziegler. I am also particularly indebted to the following publications for their courtesy in the matter of reproduction of various articles: Scribner's Magazine, New York Sun, Evening Post, Herald, Times, The Etude, Everybody's Magazine, and The Musical Courier.

An exhaustive list of the compositions has yet to be made, though Göllerich in his Franz Liszt consumes fifty-five pages in enumerating the works—compiled from Lina Ramann, Breitkopf and Härtel, and Busoni—some of which never saw the light of publication; such as the opera Don Sancho, the Revolutionary Symphony, etcetera; when Breitkopf and Härtel finish their cataloguing no doubt the result will be more satisfactory. The fact is that out of the known 1,300 compositions, only 400 are original and of these latter how many are worth remembering? Liszt wrote too much and too often for money. His best efforts will survive, of course; but I do not see the use of making a record of ephemeral pot-boilers. It is the same with the bibliography. I give the sources whenever I can of my information; impossible, however, is it to credit the authorship of all the flotsam and jetsam. Kapp in his ponderous biography actually devotes twenty-seven pages to the books, magazines, and newspapers which have dealt with the theme, though even his Teutonic industry has not rendered flawless his drag-net.

Liszt was the most caricatured man in Europe save Wagner and Louis Napoleon, and he was[442] painted, sculptured, and photographed oftener than any operatic or circus celebrity who ever sang or swung in the break-neck trapeze. Naturally the choice of illustrations for this study was narrowed down to a few types, with here and there a novelty (dug up from some ancient album); yet sufficient to reveal Liszt as boy, youth, man; fascinating, dazzling, enigmatic artist, comedian, abbé, rhapsodist, but ever the great-souled Franz Liszt.

J. H.



Acton, Lord, 14.

Adam, Madame Edmond. (See Juliette Lamber.)

Adelaide (Beethoven's), 216.

Albano, 79.

Aldega, Professor, 381.

Aldrich, Richard, 195.

Alkan, 63, 408.

Allegri, 84.

Allmers, W., 79.

Altenburg, The (Liszt's house at Weimar), 21, 24, 47, 48, 53, 261, 362, 389.

Amalia, Anna, 328.

Amalie Caroline, Princess of Hesse, 198.

Amiel, 64.

Andersen, Hans Christian, account of a Liszt concert, 230-234.

Anfossi, 80.

Ansorge, Conrad (pupil), 98, 332, 425.

Antonelli, Cardinal, 22, 49, 50.

Apel, Frau Pauline (Liszt's housekeeper), 327.

"Après une lecture de Dante" (Hugo), 152.

Apthorp, W. F., 172, 173;
analysis of the Concerto in A major, 173, 174.

Arnim, Countess Bettina von, 42, 43, 261;
Graf von, 89, 261.

Auber, 172, 204, 281.

Auerbach, Berthold, 139.

Aufforderung zum Tanz (Weber), 93, 205, 207, 253.

Augener & Company, 181.

August, Karl, 328.

"Aus der Glanzzeit der Weimaren Altenburg" (La Mara), 44.

Aus der Ohe, Adèle (pupil), 24, 436.

Austen, Jane, 436.

Ave Maria (Schubert's), 216.

Bach, 32, 62, 185, 375, 381, 425, 435;
Chevalier Leonard E., 312.

Bache, Walter (pupil), 196, 312, 384-386.

Bachez, 226.

Baerman, 425.

Bagby, Albert Morris (pupil), 370.

Baillot, 204, 209.

Bakounine, 38.

Ballads (Chopin), 186, 399, 424.

Ballanche, 78.

Balzac, 26, 39.

Barber of Bagdad (Cornelius), 48.

Barcarolle (Chopin), 424, 431.

Barna, Michael, 198, 199.

Barnett, J. F., 385.

Barry, C. A., 127, 139.

Bartolini, 416.

Baudelaire, 19.

Bauer, Caroline, Reminiscences of, 241-244;
Harold, 174, 435.

Beale, Frederick, 308;
Willert, 308.

"Béatrix" (Balzac), 39.

Beato, Fra, 84.

Beethoven, 4, 5, 6, 10, 13, 30, 31, 32, 52, 54, 55, 62, 67, 84, 105, 115, 120, 160, 171, 179, 185, 186, 202, 204, 210, 217, 281, 375, 381, 408, 409, 411, 413, 420, 432;
festival at Bonn, 225, 376;
his piano, 262, 339;
statue of, unveiled, 226.

"Beethoven et Ses Trois Styles" (von Lenz), 201.

Belgiojoso, Princess Cristina, 8, 14, 16, 42, 82, 286.

Belloni, 213, 237.

Bendix, Max, 66.

Benedict, Julius, 283, 284.

[444]Berceuse (Chopin), 186, 424.

Bergerat, Emile, 320.

Beringer, Oscar, 376, 377.

Berlioz, 5, 6, 8, 10, 17, 19, 20, 26, 28, 29, 30, 31, 36, 47, 53, 55, 64, 67, 82, 85, 105, 145, 155, 157, 158, 169, 171, 183, 186, 193, 200, 204, 258, 259, 282, 300, 337, 411, 415;
account of his friendship with Liszt, 210-217;
letter to Liszt, 215-217.

Berne, 81.

Berta, 91.

Bethmann, Simon Maritz, 15.

Bie, Oscar, 433.

Bielgorsky, Count, 294, 296, 297.

Birmingham Musical Festival, 195.

Bishop, Sir Henry, 307.

Bismarck, 179.

Bizet, 378-380.

Blackwood's Magazine, 304.

Blaze de Bury, Baron, article on Liszt, 218, 219.

Blessington, Countess of, 252.

Bocella, 165.

Bock, Anna, 276.

Borodin, 24, 27.

Boscovitz, 425.

Bösendorfer, 171.

Bossuet, 26.

Bourget, Paul, 141.

Bovary, Emma, 16.

Brahm, Otto, 332.

Brahms, 9, 19, 53, 57, 153, 185, 187, 375, 405, 408, 421, 424, 425, 433.

Brandes, Georg, 5.

Breidenstein, Professor, 226.

Breithaupt, Rudolf, 402.

Breitkopf and Härtel, 94, 197, 408.

Brendel, Franz (pupil), 194.

Breughel, 28.

"Briefe und Schriften" (von Bülow), 179.

Bright, John, 11.

Broadwood piano, 339.

Bronsart, Hans von (pupil), 172;
Ingeborg von, 401, 436.

Bulgarin, 124.

Bülow, Daniela von, 279;
Hans von (Liszt's favorite pupil), 15, 19, 21, 45, 93, 96, 101, 136-138, 168, 176, 177, 179, 228, 229, 362, 402, 420, 422, 423;
Appreciation of Die Ideale, 136;
Criticism of, 398, 400.

Bunsen, Von, 83.

Burmeister, Richard (pupil), 24, 52, 177, 178, 340, 359, 425.

Burne-Jones, 18.

Busoni, Ferrucio, 402, 408, 425, 428, 435.

Byron, 11, 16, 34, 115, 124, 398.

Cabaner, 29.

Callot, 28.

Calvocoressi, 56.

Campo Santo of Pisa, 175.

Canterbury, Lord, 252.

Carolsfield, J. Schnorr von, 79.

Carreño, Teresa, 402, 436, 437.

Casanova, 34.

Catarani, Cardinal, 49.

Catel, 89.

Cezano, Marquise. (See Olga Janina.)

Chamber music, 195.

Chaminade, Cécile, 436.

Chantavoine, Jean, 56.

Charpentier, 10.

Chateaubriand, 11, 26, 29, 43, 64.

Chelard, 226.

Cherubini, 204.

Chopin, Frédéric François, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 14, 15, 17, 19, 26, 29, 38, 39, 40, 43, 59, 60, 63, 73-77, 145, 186, 201, 204, 238, 282, 287, 288, 300, 308, 328, 367, 372, 375, 381, 405, 408, 415, 416, 418, 419.

Chorley, 225, 228, 252.

Christophe, Jean; description of Liszt, 2.

Church music, 187, 188, 190, 193, 194.

Cimarosa, 80.

Circourt, Madame de, 319, 320.

Clementi, 62, 302.

Coblentz, Tribute from citizens of, 244.

Cognetti, Mademoiselle, 98.

Collin, Von, 115.

[445]Cologne, cathedral at, 248.

Colpach (Munkaçzy's castle in Luxemburg), 25, 44, 280.

Commettant, Oscar, satirical sketch of, 219, 220.

Concerto (Bach), 293.

Concerto (Beethoven), 202.

Concerto (Chopin), 396, 424, 426, 428, 430.

Concerto (Tschaikowsky), 422.

Concertstück (Weber's), 212, 219, 288, 293.

Consalvi, Cardinal, 79.

Constant, Benjamin, 11.

"Conversation on Music" (Rubinstein), 156.

Coriolanus (Beethoven's), 115.

Cornelius, Peter (pupil), 19, 22, 27, 28, 83, 89, 139, 165, 260, 362, 419.

Correggio, 28.

Correspondent, The, 210.

Cosima von Bülow Wagner, 15, 20, 23, 25, 44, 49, 58, 93, 96, 101, 141, 228.

Cottlow, Augusta, 436.

Coutts, Baroness Burdett, 312.

Craig, Gordon, 332.

Cramer, J. B., 62, 184, 225, 302.

Crux Fidelis (choral), 133.

Crystal Palace, London, 139.

Cymbal effects in piano-playing, 161.

Czaky, Archbishop of, 200.

Czerny, Carl, 13, 72, 73, 182, 184, 302, 308, 317, 406.

Czinka, Pauna, a gypsy girl, 199.

D'Agoult, Comte Charles, 15;
Countess (Marie Sophie de Flarigny), 3, 14, 15, 25, 37, 39-41, 43, 80, 85, 86, 87, 246, 247, 259, 391.

D'Albert, Eugen (pupil), 24, 174, 359, 370, 372, 402, 428, 432.

Damnation de Faust (Berlioz), 199.

Damrosch, Leopold (pupil), 118, 138, 139, 174, 197.

D'Angers, David, 416.

Dannreuther, 20, 152, 181, 191, 193.

Dante, 8, 147-152, 155;
gallery (Rome), 382.

Danton, 220, 221.

Danube flood, 81.

Danzinger-Rosebault, Laura, 436.

Davies, Fannie, 436.

Da Vinci, 28.

Debats, The, 211.

De Beriot, 283.

Debussy, 10, 31.

Dehmel, Richard, 332.

Delacroix, 5.

Delaroche, 16, 28.

De Musset, 39.

De Pachmann, Vladimir, 24, 61, 423, 427, 429-431, 432.

De Quincy, 27.

Devrient, Ludwig, 139.

Dictionary of Musicians, 385.

Dietrichstein, Prince, 359.

Dilke, Wentworth, 228.

Dinglested, 48.

Diorama, The, 152.

Dobrjan (Liszt's birthplace). (See Raiding.)

Doehler, 17.

Dohnanyi, 425.

Don Carlos, 241.

Donizetti, 63, 86.

Doppler, Franz, 158.

Doré, Gustave, 28.

D'Ortigue on Liszt, 217, 218.

Douste sisters, 436.

Draeseke, 21.

Dukas, 10.

Du Plessis, Marie, 19.

Dupré, Jules, 11.

Dwight, John S. (Boston musical critic), interview with Liszt, 228, 229.

Eckermann, 64.

Edict of Louis XII, 80.

"L'Education Sentimentale" (Flaubert), 26.

Ehlert, Louis, 17, 363.

El Greco, 28.

Eliot, George, 43, 47, 53, 436;
Weimar recollections of, 258.

Ellet, Mrs., account of a Liszt concert in Cologne, 248, 249.

Ellis, Havelock, 12

Enfantin, Père Prosper, 14.

Eperjes, 198.

[446]Erard piano, 59, 301, 318, 323.

Ernani, 258.

Ernst, Paul, 332.

Escudier, Leon, description of Danton's statuette of Liszt, 220, 221;
incident at one of Henri Herz's concerts, 221, 222.

Essipoff, Annette, 436, 437.

Essler, Fanny, 235.

Esterhazy, Prince, 304;
estates, 12.

Etruscan Museum, 83.

Etude, The, 381.

Etudes (Chopin), 75.

Euryanthe, Overture to, 181.

Faelten, 425.

Fallersleben, Hoffmann von (lyric poet), 165, 260.

Fantasia (Bach), 383.

Fantasia (Schumann), 57.

Faure, 281.

Faust (Lenau's), 71.

Faust Ouverture, Eine (Wagner's), 143.

Fay, Amy, 38, 436.

Feodorovna, Empress Alexandra, 295.

Fétis and Moscheles, 185.

Feuerbach, 89.

Fichtner, Pauline, 24.

Field, 368.

Figaro, The (London), 384.

Finck, Henry T., 165, 179, 194, 196, 314.

Fischer, Signor, 345;
Wilhelm, 147.

Fischof, 226.

Flaubert, Gustave, 16, 26.

Flavigny, Vicomte de, 15.

Foyatier, 18.

Francia, 84.

Francis Joseph, king of Hungary, 96.

Franck, Caesar, 435.

Franz, Robert, 19, 66, 229, 411.

Frederic (piano tuner), 287.

"Frederick Chopin" (Niecks), 74.

Freemason's Journal, The, 389.

Freischütz (Weber's), 205, 214.

Friedheim, Arthur (pupil), 24, 70, 359, 368-373, 425.
Mrs. Arthur, 436.

Gabrilowitsch, Ossip, 425, 433.

Galitsin, Prince (governor-general of Moscow), 294.

Galleria Dantesca, 102.

Garcia, Viardot, 388.

Garibaldi, 89.

Gaul, Cecilia, 276, 436.

Gautier, Judith, 17;
Marguerite, 40;
Théophile, 5, 11.

Gauz, Rudolph, 425, 435.

Gazette Musicale (Paris), 77, 179, 193, 287, 288.

Geneva, 15, 81.

Genoa, 81.

George IV, 304.

Gericke (conductor), 147, 151.

Gervais, 359.

Gille, 21.

Gillet, 281.

Giocati-Buonaventi, A., 390.

Giorgione, 28.

Glinka, 297, 298.

Gluck, 30, 84.

Goddard, Arabella, 436.

Godowsky, Leopold, 402, 425, 435, 437.

Goethe, 9, 11, 15, 19, 22, 34, 43, 47, 64, 78, 84, 85, 88, 89, 113, 145, 146, 155, 165, 167, 196, 211, 223, 279, 328, 329, 330, 436;
foundation, 48.

Goethe-Schiller monument, unveiling of, 133.

Göllerich, August (pupil and biographer), 44, 49, 55, 57, 58, 98, 118, 359.

Goncourt, 26.

Gott, Joseph, 381.

Gottschalg, A. W. (pupil), 21, 56;
"Franz Liszt in Weimar," 358.

Gounod, 217.

Gradus (Clementi), 59.

Gräfe, 280.

Gran (Hungary), Basilica at, 188.

Gregorovius, 78, 79, 88, 89, 91, 93, 98, 102.

Gregory VII, 56;
XIV, 83.

Grieg, Eduard, 24, 425;
piano concerto, 313-316.

Grove, Sir George, 385.

Grünfeld, Alfred, 425.

[447]Grünwald, Matthew, 28.

Guido of Arezzo, 73.

Gumprecht, 29.

Habeneck (conductor), 204.

Hackett, Francis, 14.

Hagn, Charlotte von, 42.

Hahn, Arthur, 112.

Hähnel, Professor, 226.

Hale, Philip, 5, 66, 127, 135, 151, 171, 174, 320.

Halévy, 204, 378.

Hall, Walter (conductor), 192.

Hambourg, Mark, 425, 434.

Handel, 31, 120, 304, 381.

Handley, Mrs., 319.

Hanslick, Eduard, 53, 139, 171.

Harold, 106.

Harmonic system, 419.

Hauptmann, 385.

Hayden, 10.

Haydn, Joseph, 12, 31, 84, 105, 142, 160, 172, 409.

Healey, 417.

Hegel, 233.

Hegner, Otto, 425.

Heine, 9, 11, 17, 124, 165;
reminiscences of Liszt, 234-241.

Helbig, Madame Nadine (Princess Nadine Schakovskoy) (pupil), 42, 102.

Henderson, W. J., 192;
on the St. Elisabeth Legend, 192, 193.

Henselt, 209.

Herder, Jonathan Gottfried, 130, 328.

Hermann, Carl (pupil), 276.

Herwegh, George, 235.

Herz, Henry, 17, 65, 221, 222, 308.

Herz-Parisian school, 59.

Hill, Edward Burlingame, 381.

Hiller, Ferdinand, 3, 35, 53, 293, 320.

History of Charles XII (Voltaire), 124;
of the French Revolution (François Mignet), 14.

Hoffman, Richard, 425;
recollections of Liszt, 316-318.

Hofgärtnerei, The (Liszt's residence in Weimar), 23, 58, 389.

Hofmann, Josef, 425, 434.

Hohenlohe, Cardinal Prince, 22, 93, 94, 97.

Hohenlohe-Schillingsfürst, Prince, 48.

Hopekirk, Helen, 436.

Hotel d'Alibert (Liszt's residence in Rome), 98, 340.

"Hour Passed with Liszt, An" (By B. W. H.), 275-279.

Hueffer, Dr., 166.

Hugo, Victor, 5, 108, 124, 152, 165, 204.

Huguenots (Meyerbeer's), 145.

Humboldt, 48, 78.

Hummel, J. N., 12, 13, 73, 202, 224;
concerto, 304, 317.

Hundt, Aline, 436.

Hungarian Diet, debate in, 200;
Museum (Budapest), 338.

Hyllested, 425.

Ideale, Die (Schiller), 133, 134.

Idealism, 59.

Ibsen, 71.

"Inchape Bell" (Parry), 310.

Ingres, Jean Auguste Dominique, 83, 84, 416, 417.

Irving, Henry, 32.

Ivanowski, Peter von (father of the Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein), 45.

James, Henry, 27, 141.

Janin, Jules, 40, 228.

Janina, Olga (pupil), 41.

Janko keyboard, 437.

Janotha, Nathalie, 436.

Jarvis, 425.

Jensen, Adolf, 363.

Joachim, Joseph (pupil), 3, 19, 53, 57, 358.

Joseffy, Rafael (pupil), 24, 57, 63, 66, 374-376, 418, 421, 425, 427, 431.

Jonkovsky, Baron, 417.

Kahrer, Laura, 24.

Kalkbrenner, 17, 65, 201, 202, 204, 205-207, 302.

Kapellmeister, 21.

Kapp, Julius, 55, 56, 57.

Karlsruhe (music festival at), 93.

[448]Kaulbach, Wilhelm von, 9, 28, 84, 132, 416.

Kemble, Fanny, 244;
impression of Liszt, 245.

Kennedy, Mgr., 343, 344.

Kessler, Count, 332.

Kieff, 45.

Kindworth, Karl (pupil), 362, 403.

Kirkenbuhl, Karl, extracts from his "Federzeichnungen aus Rom," 267-275.

Kissingen, 280.

Kistner (Leipsic publisher), 414.

Klahre, Edwin (pupil), 425.

Kleinmichael's piano score, 142.

Klindworth, Agnes Street, 42.

Klinger, Max, 331, 334.

Klinkerfuss, Johanna, 24.

Kloss, George, 389.

Kohler, Louis (pupil), 138.

Kovacs, 338.

Kovalensky, Sonia, 437.

Kraftmayr (Von Wolzogen), 57.

Krebs, Marie, 436.

Krehbiel, H. E., 10.

Kremlin, 29.

Kriehuber, 417.

Krockow, Countess, 363.

Kullak, 383.

La Mara (Marie Lipsius) (pupil), 35, 39, 41, 44, 49.

Lamartine, 9, 204, 398.

Lamb, Charles, 30.

Lamber, Juliette, criticism of George Sand, 39.

Lambert, Alexander (pupil), 174, 425.

Lamenais, 14, 79.

Lamond, Frederick, 312, 425.

Landes Musikakademie, 97.

Lanyi, Joann von, 199.

Laprunarède, Adèle (Duchesse de Fleury) (pupil), 37.

Lassen, 19.

Laussot, Jessie Hillebrand, 42.

Lavenu, 309, 310.

Legouvé, Ernest, 214;
comparison of Liszt and Thalberg's playing, 281-291, 416.

Lehmann, 259.

Leipsic school, 52.

Lenau, 71, 398.

Lenbach, 416, 417.

Lenz, Von (pupil), account of his acquaintance with Liszt, 201-210.

Leonora Overture (Beethoven's), 153.

Leo XII, 80;
XIII, 345, 390.

Leopold I, Emperor, 198.

Leschetitzky, 436.

"Lettres d'un Voyageur" (George Sand), 322.

Leyrand, 416.

Lewald, Fanny, 79.

Lewes, George Henry 43, 48.

Lhévinne, 425, 435;
Madame, 436.

Lichnowsky, Prince Felix, 241-243.

Liedertafel, Rhenish, 248, 249.

Lie, Erika, 313.

Liliencron, Baron Detlev von, 331.

Lind, Jenny, 403.

Lindemann-Frommel, 89.

Liondmilla, 298.

Lipsius, Marie. (See La Mara.)

Listemann (conductor), 147.

Liszt, Adam, 12, 317;
Anna Lager, 12;
Blandine, 15, 90, 97;
Cosima (see Cosima von Bülow Wagner);
Daniel, 15, 16, 97;
Edward, 169.

Liszt, Franz, abuse of, in Germany, 3;
affectation in his work, 157;
alters harmonic minor scale, 163;
amiability of, 21;
amusing story of conversion, 320-326;
anecdotes, 57, 58, 101, 142, 180, 221, 237, 243, 254, 255, 378;
appreciation of Saint-Saëns, 104, 105;
as a teacher, 14, 23;
as Abbé, 18, 50, 97, 267, 275;
biographers of, 51, 55, 56, 101;
birth of, 11, 12;
birthplace of, 13;
boyhood of, 13, 14, 300-305;
in Budapest, 97;
character of his music, 29, 30, 78;
children of, 15, 16, 86, 359;
chivalry of, 11, 34, 56;
Chopin's obligation to, 6, 73-77;
comment on his 13th Psalm, 194, 195;
comparison of established symphonic form with that devised by Liszt, 140;
[449]compared with Wagner, 108, 143, 144;
as composer, 1, 2, 13, 14, 20, 31, 35, 43, 52-56, 86, 90, 103, 144, 327, 377, 409-413;
concerts of, 34, 212, 221, 223, 224, 230, 235, 248, 288, 292, 293, 302, 305, 319;
as conductor, 2, 87, 135, 258, 377;
conducts at Aix-la-Chapelle, 135;
conducts in Berlin, 137;
conducts at Prague, 136;
conducts at Pesth, 94, 96;
conducts in Rome, 94;
conducts in Weimar, 88;
conversation of, 258, 259, 276;
court musical director (Weimar), 22, 46, 47;
creator of the symphonic poem, 26, 27, 106, 139, 140;
criticisms regarding, 2, 8, 14, 17, 21, 64, 153-158, 194, 360, 399;
and the Countess d'Agoult, 14-16, 80, 81, 85, 391;
daily mode of life, 99, 100;
death of, 1, 2, 25, 280;
dedications, 57, 100, 169, 172;
description of his ideal of romantic religious music, 193;
in England, 300-313;
fascinating personality of, 45, 235, 236, 241, 246, 256, 257;
feminine friendships of, 34-43;
fingering, 74, 187;
Freemason, 389;
friendship with Berlioz, 212;
friendship with Cardinal Prince Hohenlohe, 22;
friendship with Chopin, 14, 40;
friendship with Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 83, 84;
and Marguerite Gautier, 40;
generosity of, 24, 101, 257, 258;
gifts from sovereigns, 328;
greatest contribution to art, 4;
hand of, 328, 339;
illness of, 44, 135;
impressionability of, 8, 10, 11;
improvisations of, 82, 180, 181;
indebtedness to Chopin, 76;
influence of Berlioz, 17, 55, 411;
influence of Chopin, 17, 145, 411;
influence of gipsy music, 160;
influence of Meyerbeer, 145;
influence of Paganini, 17;
influence of Wagner, 191;
ingratitude of Schumann, 57;
on instruments of percussion, 170, 171;
interest in German art, 90;
interest in Tausig, 362;
interpretation, 87;
interview with, 228, 229;
intimacy with Prince Lichnowsky, 241-243;
intrigues against, 22;
introduces interlocking octaves, 77;
introduces the piano recital, 71, 419;
and Olga Janina, 41;
lack of appreciation of, 31, 141, 229;
and the Countess Adèle Laprunarède, 37;
letters of, 9, 35, 37, 44, 46, 92, 135, 136, 138, 143, 150, 169, 170, 171, 179, 194, 195, 197, 219, 279, 280, 289, 290, 394, 414;
literary work of, 19, 20;
in London, 300-313;
loss of Piano Method, Part III, 358;
love affairs of, 2, 3, 19-23, 36-41, 88;
and Lola Montez, 40, 41;
musical style of, 4, 181;
musical imagination, 8, 146;
notation, 187;
number of compositions, 56;
orchestral form, 194;
orchestral instrumentation, 157;
orchestral music of, 32, 123, 190;
as organ composer, 401, 402;
original compositions of, 412, 413;
on origin of his Tasso, 115;
on origin of his Orpheus, 121;
parents of, 12, 14, 251;
in Paris, 13, 24;
patience of, 27;
pedalling, 62, 99, 187;
pen picture of, 57;
personal appearance, 18, 82, 98, 204, 231, 255, 262, 269, 276, 296, 297;
personal characteristics, 2, 3, 17, 66, 71, 327;
pianoforte virtuoso, 1, 2, 8, 14, 16, 18, 43, 56, 73, 94, 106, 247, 251, 252, 420;
piano music of, 10, 11, 53, 66, 123, 168, 187, 409-413;
piano recitals, 82, 83, 179, 308-311, 419;
piano reform, 91;
piano of, 328, 340, 342, 343, 394;
and the Countess Louis Plater, 37;
playing of, 17, 60-64, 87, 99, 141, 161, 208, 214, 223, 224, 232, 233, 238-240, 253, 266, 277, 278, 285, 292, 314, 316, 421;
plays Weber's Sonatas, 207, 208;
[450]plays at Berlioz's, 210;
at Bizet's, 379;
at court of Wurtemburg, 252;
at Karlsruhe, 93;
at Legouvé's, 215;
at Munkaçzy's, 25;
at Tolstoy's, 102;
at Windsor Castle, 304;
portraits of, 16, 18, 42, 261, 289, 338, 416, 417;
prediction at birth of, 12;
predominating artistic influences, 17;
prophecy of, 100;
public speaking of, 179, 213, 226, 227;
pupils of, 24, 36, 42, 51, 52, 57, 91, 98, 185, 263, 353-388;
alphabetical list of pupils, 353-358;
reading of, 14;
realism of, 67;
reformer of church music, 2;
religious fervor of, 89-92, 97, 98, 196;
residences in and around Rome, 343;
revolutionist, 142;
romanticism of, 11, 14, 28;
in Rome, 78-85, 89-97, 102;
in Russia, 294-300;
and Caroline de Saint-Criq, 36, 37;
and George Sand, 39, 40, 247;
and the Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein, 19-24, 43-51;
Schumann's indebtedness to, 56;
as song writer, 165-168;
started new era in Hungarian music, 160;
statues of, 13, 18, 220, 221, 332;
success of, 13, 52;
as teacher, 14, 97, 100, 209, 339, 358, 395-397;
technique of, 34, 62, 70, 72, 152, 313, 402, 407, 421, 437;
temperament of, 28, 29;
tempo, 164, 165, 187;
testimonials, 328;
theological studies of, 95;
theory of gipsy music, 20;
thought his career a failure, 26;
tirelessness of, 17;
tomb of, 25, 58;
the triangle, 170-172;
tribute by Wagner, 23;
variety of rhythms of, 31;
versatility of, 51, 88, 144;
on virtuosity, 392, 393;
Wagner's indebtedness to, 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 31, 55, 141-144;
Wagner's praise, 9, 103, 142;
wanderings of, 34, 70, 81, 85, 87, 93, 94-96, 97;
in Weimar, 19, 23, 46, 47, 87, 88, 96, 169, 329;
writing for solo and choral voices, 190.

Liszt, Franz—Works:
Alleluja, 92.
Angelus, 195, 196.
Apparitions, The, 66.
Ave Maria, 92, 224, 294.
Ballad in B minor, 399.
Ballades, 66, 186.
Bénédiction de Dieu, 143.
Berceuse, 186.
Chöre zu Herder's Entfesselte Prometheus, 130, 131.
Chorus of Angels, 196, 197.
Concert Study, 430.
Concertos, 168-174, 187;
Concerto Pathétique in E minor, 66, 177, 178;
Concerto for piano and orchestra, No. 1, in E flat, 67, 168-172;
Concerto for piano, No. 2, in A major (Concert Symphonique), 66, 172-174.
Consolations, 187, 412.
Don Sancho, 14.
Elegier, The, 66.
Etudes, 66, 72, 181-185, 305, 408;
Etude in D flat, 99;
Etude in F minor, No. 10, 72;
Etudes de Concert (three), 72, 184;
Etudes d'execution transcendante (twelve), 72, 86, 181, 182;
Etudes en douze exercices, Op. 1, 181;
Etudes, second set of, 182;
Ab-Irato, 66, 72, 184, 185;
Au Bord d'une Source, 70, 72;
Au Lac de Wallenstadt, 72;
Danse Macabre, 84, 182, 187;
Feux-follets, 72, 184;
Gnomenreigen, 72, 92, 184, 400;
Harmonies du Soir, 72, 183, 184;
Irrlichter, 400;
Ricordanza, 72, 184, 187;
Studies of Storm and Dread, 183;
Vision, 183;
Wilde Jagd, 183;
Waldesrauschen, 72, 92, 184;
Excelsior, 143.
Evocatio in der Sixtinischen Kapelle, 90, 143.
Fantasias, 179-181, 401;
Années de Pèlerinage, 11, 66, 70, 86, 152, 187, 412;
[451]Fantasia on Don Juan, 298, 407, 418, 432;
Fantasia Dramatique, 187;
Fantasia on Reminiscences of Puritani, 82;
Fantasia on Themes by Pacini, 292;
Fantaisie quasi sonata après une lecture de Dante, 86;
Il Penseroso, 84, 86;
operatic fantasias, 180, 181;
Lucia, 63, 180;
Sonnambula, 180;
Sposalizio, 84, 86;
Tre Sonetti di Petrarca, 86, 187.
Funeral March on occasion of Maximilian of Mexico's death, 96.
Galop Chromatique, 293, 298.
Glanes de Woronice, 25.
Harmonies, 412;
Harmonies Péstiques et Religieuses, 66.
Heilige Cäcelia, Die (essay), 84.
Hungarian gipsy music, book on, 19.
Hungarian March, 317.
Legends, 66, 412;
Legend of St. Elisabeth, 88, 90, 143, 191-193, 272, 273, 312;
St. Francis of Assisi's Hymn to the Sun, 88;
St. Francis of Assisi Preaching to the Birds, 92, 186, 412;
St. Francis de Paula Stepping on the Waves, 92, 186, 412.
Masses, 4, 54, 187-194;
"Graner Festmesse, 29, 30, 53, 92, 95, 188, 190, 191, 193, 342;
Hungarian Coronation Mass, 95, 96, 189, 190, 270, 271.
Mazurkas, 66, 186.
Mephisto, Waltz, 71, 178, 231.
Nocturnes, 66.
Oratorios, 4, 54;
Oratorio of Christus, 54, 90, 95, 101, 104, 193, 194, 328;
Oratorio of Petrus, 273.
Organ variations on Bach themes, 92, 93;
organ and trombone composition, 88.
Piano arrangements, 86;
Adelaide, 294, 298;
Beethoven symphonies, 87, 90;
Beethoven quartets, 93, 95;
Erlkönig, 93, 224, 294, 298.
Polonaises, 25, 70, 186.
Psalms, 13, 18, 23, 90, 92, 137, 194, 195;
Thirteenth Psalm, 92, 194, 195.
Rakoczy March, 94, 189, 198-200, 337.
Requiem, 97.
Rhapsodies Hongroises, 53, 65, 100, 157, 158-165, 178, 187, 189, 367, 407, 412;
list of, 158, 159.
Scherzo und Marsch in D minor, 186.
Serenade, 294.
Soirées de Vienne, 25.
Sonata in B minor, 29, 57, 59-70, 186, 187, 425.
Songs, 165-168.
Sonnets after Petrarch, 66.
Studies and fragments, 82.
Study of Chopin, 19.
Symphonic poems, 4, 9, 10, 26, 27, 52, 53, 54, 72, 103, 104, 106-158, 168, 172, 377;
La bataille des Huns, after Kaulbach (Hunnenschlacht), 84, 107, 132, 133, 143, 153;
Ce qu'on Entend sur la montagne (Berg Symphony), 107, 108-112, 153, 328, 415;
Fest-klänge, 107, 126-129, 136, 153, 328;
From the Cradle to the Grave, 132;
Hamlet, 107, 132, 153;
Héroïde funèbre, 107, 131, 153, 178;
Hungaria, 132, 153, 328;
L'Idéal, after Schiller, 107, 133-139, 143, 153, 367;
Mazeppa, 72, 103, 107, 123-126, 183, 407;
Orphée, 103, 107, 121, 122, 143, 328;
Les Préludes, after Lamartine, 107, 119-121, 136, 153, 367;
Prométhée, 107,122, 123, 130, 131;
Tasso, Lamento and Trionfo, 107, 113-118, 136, 153, 367;
[452]Le Triomphe funèbre du Tasse (epilogue), 97, 118, 197.
Dante Symphony, 11, 19, 38, 53, 94, 102, 104, 143, 146-155;
Faust Symphony, 22, 38, 53, 58, 141-146, 154, 155, 328, 415;
Revolutionary Symphony, 14, 38, 132, 142.
Todtentanz, 174-177, 238, 407, 435.
Transcriptions, 65, 66, 86, 90, 93, 95, 96, 97, 211, 253, 412;
Isolde's Liebestod, 96;
Paganini studies, 184, 185, 223;
Symphonie Fantastique, 211.
Valse-impromptu, 186;
Valse Oubliée, 66.

Liszt fund, 257.

"Liszt und die Frauen" (La Mara), 35, 42.

Litolff, Henri, 19, 169.

Littleton, Alfred, 311;
Augustus, 313;
Henry, 311, 312.

"Le Livre de Caliban" (Bergerat), 320.

Lohengrin (Wagner), 19, 47, 54, 137, 188, 329, 377.

Lorenzetti, Pietro and Ambrogio, 175.

Lotto, Lorenzo, 18.

Louis I, of Bavaria, 89.

Louis, Rudolf (Liszt biographer), 101.

Lytton, Lord, 133.

MacColl, D. S., tribute to music, 32, 33.

MacDowell, Edward (pupil), 24, 425.

Mackenzie, Sir A. C., 195, 312.

Macready (tragedian), notes from diary of, 252.

Madach, "The Tragedy of Mankind," 338.

Madonna del Rosario (cloister), 90.

Maeterlinck, 71.

Mahler, Gustav, 65.

Mai, Cardinal, 83.

Maiden's Lament, The (Schubert's), 167.

Makart, Hans, 338.

Malibran, 82, 204.

Manet, Edouard, 32.

Manns, August, 139.

Marcello, 84.

Margulies, Adele, 436.

Marschner, 6.

Mason, Dr. William (pupil), 19, 143, 434.

Massocia, 79.

Matisse, 28.

Maupassant, Guy de, 26.

Maximilian of Mexico, 96.

Mazurka (Chopin), 65, 186.

Meditations Poétiques (Lamartine's), 119, 204.

Mees, Arthur (conductor), 191.

Mehlig, Anna, 276.

Meistersinger, Die (Wagner), 7.

Melchers, Gari, 332.

Melena, Elpis, 42.

"Memories of a Musical Life" (William Mason), 143.

Mendelssohn, Felix, 3, 31, 53, 66, 73, 85, 105, 293, 300, 309, 400, 409, 411;
Psalm, As the Hart Pants, 293;
Songs without Words, 319.

Menter, Sofie (pupil), 24, 42, 171, 279, 280, 436, 437.

Mercadante, 86.

Merian-Genast, Emilie, 42.

Merry del Val, Mgr., 344.

Mertens-Schaaffhausen, Frau Sibylle, 89.

Méthode des Méthodes, 185.

Metternich, Prince, 244.

Metternich Princess, 243, 244.

Meyendorff, Baroness Olga de (pupil), 42.

Meyerbeer, 129, 145, 180, 236.

Mezzofanti, Cardinal, 83.

Michelangelo, 9, 28, 84.

Michetti's Beethoven Album, 225.

Mignet, François, 14.

Mildner, 212.

Milnes, Monckton (Lord Houghton), 252.

Milozzi, 350.

Minasi, account of conversation with Liszt, 250-252.

Minghetti, Princess, 100.

Mischka (Liszt's servant), 101.

Mock, Camille. (See Madame Pleyel.)

[453]Monday Review, The (Vienna), 390.

Montauban, 84.

Monte Mario, Dominican cloister of, 50, 90, 91, 93, 94, 100, 197, 265, 274, 342.

Montez, Lola, 19, 40, 226;
extracts from "Wits and Women of Paris," 246, 247.

Montigny-Remaury, Madame, 433, 436.

Moore, George, 26, 29.

Mori, 302.

Morning Post (Manchester), 301-303, 316.

Morris, William, 327.

Moscheles, 185, 221, 317, 385;
extracts from diary of, 223-228.

Mosenthal, comments on Liszt, 222.

Mouchanoff-Kalergis, Marie von, 42, 363.

Mozart, 10, 31, 32, 62, 84, 105, 142, 282, 304, 409, 432;
his piano, 262.

Müllerlieder (Schubert's), 167.

Munch, Edward, 28.

Munkaczy, 25, 44, 280, 417;
portrait of Liszt, 338.

Murphy, Lady Blanche, account of Liszt's sojourn at Monte Mario in 1862, 265-267.

Musenalmanach, The, 133.

Musical Journal (London), 307;
Standard, The, 378;
Times (London), 300;
World (London), 308-310.

Musset, Alfred de, 5, 398.

"My Literary Life" (Madame Edmond Adam), 39.

Nachtigall (director), 242.

Natalucci, 381.

Neate, 302.

"Nélida" (by Countess d'Agoult), 41, 259.

Neo-German school, 53.

Nerenz, 89.

Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, 92.

Neupert, Edmund, 425.

Newmarch, Rose, on Liszt in Russia, 293-300.

New museum, Berlin, 132.

Newman, Ernest, 7, 10.

Nicholas I, Emperor, 295.

Niecks, Dr. Frederick, 40, 73, 74, 77, 134, 313, 409, 414.

Nietzsche, Friedrich, 21, 38, 144, 327, 329, 331, 333-335, 360;
Elisabeth Foerster, 329, 333, 334.

Nohant, 81.

Norma (Thalberg's), 63

Normanby, Lord, 252.

Novello, Clara, 377, 378.

Obermann, 9.

Odescalchi, Princess, 49.

Olde, Professor Hans, 331.

Ollivier, Emile, 15;
Madame Emile. (See Blandine Liszt.)

Onslow, 201.

Orcagna, Andrea, 28, 84, 175.

Order of the Golden Spur, 296.

Orpheus (Gluck's), 121.

Overbeck, 80, 83.

"Oxford History of Music," 187.

Pacini, 292.

Paderewski, 16, 17, 418, 419, 423, 425-428, 432, 436.

Paer, 80.

Paganini, 2, 17, 73, 76, 282-284, 292, 378, 402, 403, 411;
caprices, 185.

Paganini Studies (Schumann's), 73.

Paisiello, 80.

Palestrina, 84.

Palibin, Madame, 297, 298.

Paroles d'un Croyant (Lamenais), 14.

Parry, John, 309, 310.

Parsons, Albert Ross, 421.

Passini, 89.

Paur, 144;
Madame, 436.

Pavlovna, Grand Duchess Maria, 3, 42, 46, 47, 128.

Pavlovna, Princess Maria, 22.

Petersen, Dory, 436.

Petrarca, 165.

Philharmonic Society, London, 171, 223, 224, 307.

Pianoforte music, notation of, 186, 187.

Piano-playing, 60-66, 423.

Picasso, 28.

Piccini, 80.

Pick, Mgr., 345.

[454]Pietagrua, Angela, 36.

Pisa, Giovanni da, 84.

Pius IX, 45, 48, 50, 91, 92, 101, 342, 349, 390;
Pius X, 50;
an audience with, 345-352.

Pixis, 82, 308.

Pixis-Göhringer, Francilla, 82.

Plaidy, 385.

Planché, Gustave, 39.

Planté, 433.

Plater, Countess Louis (Gräfin Brzostowska), witticism of, 35, 37.

Pleyel, 286;
piano, 282;
Marie Camille, 17, 42, 201, 436.

Podoska, M. Calm, 49;
Pauline (mother of the Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein), 45.

Pohl, Carl Ferdinand, 300;
Richard (pupil), 126, 127, 130, 149, 151.

Polonaise (Chopin), 70, 75, 186, 430.

Porges, Heinrich (pupil), 92.

Potter, Cipriani, 302.

Prätorius, Michael, 172.

Préludes (Chopin), 75.

Programme music, 106, 115, 156, 186.

Prückner, Dionys (pupil), 19, 171.

Pückler, Prince (pupil), 242.

Pugna, 425, 433.

Punch (London), 312.

Quarterly Musical Magazine and Review (London), 301.

Raab, Toni, 24.

Raff Joachim (pupil), 19, 27, 67, 260.

Raiding (or Reiding), Liszt's birthplace, 13, 60, 66, 339.

Rakoczy, Prince Franz, 198, 200.

Ramaciotti, 382.

Ramann, Lina (pupil and biographer), 49, 50, 74-76, 128, 168, 171, 191, 200.

Raphael, 9, 28, 80, 84, 233.

Rauzan, Duchesse de, 319.

Ravel, 10.

Realism, 61, 62.

Récamier, Madame de, 43.

"Records of Later Life" (Kemble), 244.

Reeves, Henry, extract from his biography, 319, 320.

Reger, 10, 30.

Reichstadt, Duc de, 11.

Reisenauer, Alfred (pupil), 24, 425.

Rembrandt, 28.

Remenyi, Edward (pupil), 19, 358.

Reminiscences of Liszt:
Andersen, Hans Christian, 230-234.
Anonymous German Admirer, 252-258.
Anonymous Lady Admirer, 262-265.
B. W. H., 275-280.
Bauer, Caroline, 241-244.
Beringer, Oscar, 376, 377.
Berlioz, 210-217.
Commettant, Oscar, 219, 220.
De Bury, Blaze, 218, 219.
D'Ortigue, 217, 218.
Dwight, 228, 229.
Eliot, George, 258-262.
Ellet, Mrs., 248, 249.
Escudier, Leon, 220-222.
Grieg, Eduard, 313-316.
Heine, 234-241.
Hoffman, Richard, 316-318.
Kemble, Fanny, 244, 245.
Kirkenbuhl, Karl, 267-275.
Legouvé, Ernest, 281-291.
Macready, 252.
Minasi, 250-252.
Montez, Lola, 246, 247.
Moscheles, 223-228.
Mosenthal, 222, 223.
Murphy, Lady Blanche, 265-267.
Novello, Clara, 377, 378.
Reeves, Henry, 319-320.
Rosenthal, 366-368.
Schumann, Robert, 291-294.
Von Lenz, 201-210.
Weingartner, 400, 401.

Renan, Henrietta, 334.

Requiem (Berlioz), 193.

Reulke, Julius (pupil), 401.

Reviczy, Countess, 100.

Revolutionary Study (Chopin's), 6.

Revue des Deux Mondes, 218;
Européenne, 211;
du Monde Catholique, 88;
[455]de Paris, 391.

Richter, 385;
Jean Paul, 134.

Riedel, Karl (pupil), 89.

Riedle Society, The, 363.

Ries, 302.

Rietschl, 261.

Righini, 80.

Rimsky-Korsakoff (pupil), 27, 414-416.

Ring, Nibelungen (Wagner), 7, 142-144, 188, 245, 363.

Rivé-King, Julia, 436.

Robert (Meyerbeer's), 231

Rodin, Auguste, 331, 338.

Roger-Miclos, Madame, 436.

Roman New Musical Society, 382.

Romantic school, 5, 28, 63.

Romeo and Juliet (Berlioz), 212.

"Römischen Tagebüchern" (Gregorovius), 88.

Roquette, Otto, 191.

Rosa, Carl, 385; Salvator, 28.

Rosenthal, Moriz (pupil), 24, 57, 366, 367, 424, 425, 427-429, 431.

Rospigliosi, Fanny, Princess, 42.

Rossetti, Christina, 437.

Rossini, 63, 80, 84, 86, 101, 204, 300, 377, 411, 412.

Rougon-Macquart series, 26.

Rousseau, J. J., 11.

Royal Amateur Orchestral Society (London), 312;
Society of Musicians (London), 301.

Rubini, 237, 252.

Rubinstein, 17, 19, 24, 63, 145, 156, 171, 222, 223, 262, 374, 382, 386-388, 402, 420-423, 427, 433, 435;
Nicolas (pupil), 421.

Rückert, 165.

Rummel, Franz, 174, 425.

Runciman, John F., 21.

Russlane, 298.

Ruzsitska, 199.

Sacchini, 80.

Sainte-Beuve, 9, 11.

Saint-Criq, Comtesse Caroline de (pupil), 36, 37.

St. Matthew's Passion (Bach), 195.

Saint-Saëns, Camille (pupil), 24, 27, 54, 64, 65, 67, 104, 176, 177, 181, 369, 382, 386, 425, 426, 433.

Saint-Simon, 14.

Salaman, Charles, 304, 308.

Salieri, 13.

Salviati, 347.

Samaroff, Olga, 436.

Sand, George, 15, 16, 19, 39, 40, 43, 81, 204, 246, 247, 391, 436.

Santa Francesca Romana, cloister, 95.

Sarasate, 432.

Sarti, 80.

Sauer, Emil (pupil), 24, 57, 425.

Sauerma, Countess, Rosalie (pupil), 42.

Sayn-Wittgenstein, Princess, 8, 19, 20, 22-24, 39, 42-45, 47-50, 53, 56, 99, 100, 127, 128, 135-138, 146, 260, 328, 362.

Scarlatti, 423.

Schade, Dr., 260.

Schadow, 28.

Schakovskoy, Princess Nadine. (See Helbig.)

Scheffer, Ary, 16, 28, 260, 261, 289.

Scherzo (Chopin), 75, 76, 428.

Schiller, 47, 165, 167, 223, 279, 328-330;
Madeleine, 436.

Schindler, 13.

Schlaf, Johannes, 332.

Schlesinger's Gazette Musicale, 203, 287.

Schlözer, Kurt von, 89, 94.

Schmidt, Dr. Leopold, 190.

Schoenberg, Arnold, 419.

Scholl (band master), 200.

Schopenhauer, Arthur, 328;
Madame Johanna, 89, 328.

Schorn, Adelheid von (pupil), 44.

Schubert, 66, 105, 160, 166, 167, 293, 411, 420.

Schule der Geläufigkeit, (Czerny), 182.

Schumann, Robert, 5, 19, 53, 56, 57, 60, 62, 66, 73, 105, 172, 182, 183, 185, 375, 381, 397, 398, 405, 408, 409, 418, 420, 421, 432;
on Liszt's playing, 201-294;
[456]Clara, 53, 56, 57, 436, 437.

Schwanthaler, 261.

Schwarz, Frau von, 89.

Schweinfurt, 89.

Schwindt, Moritz v., 191.

Scriabine, 435.

Scribe, 217.

Scudo, 17.

Segantini, 338.

Segnitz, Eugene, 49, 79, 84, 85, 89, 92.

Seidl, Anton, 359.

Sembrich, Marcella, 431.

Serassi, Pier Antonio, 197.

Serov, 296, 298, 299.

Servais, Franz (pupil), 359.

Sgambati, Giovanni (pupil), 91, 314, 342, 381-384.

Sherwood, William H. (pupil), 425.

Siloti, Alexander (pupil), 24, 174, 415.

Simpson, Palgrave, 252.

Sinding, Otto, 338.

Slivinski, 425.

Smart, Sir G., 302, 303.

Smetana, Frederick (pupil), 414.

Society of Music Friends, 139.

Solfanelli, Abbé, 96.

Sonata (Beethoven), 6, 38, 59, 214, 215, 319, 428.

Sonata (Wagner), 142.

Sonata (Weber), 207-210.

"Songs and Song Writers" (H. T. Finck), 165.

Sonntag, 82, 204.

Sophie, Princess, of Holland, 46.

"Souvenirs d'une Cosaque" (Olga Janina), 41.

Sowinski, 75.

Spanuth, August (analysis of the Hungarian Rhapsodies), 160-165, 425.

Speyeras, W. C., 389.

Spohr, 42, 226, 300.

Spontini, 258, 259.

Stahr, Ad., 79.

Stahr, Fräuleins, 397.

Stassor (Russian critic), 296-298.

Stavenhagen, Bernhard (pupil), 24, 98, 312, 425.

Steinway & Sons, 394.

Stella, 417.

Stendhal, 4, 5, 11, 34, 35, 64, 141.

Stern, Daniel (pen name of the Countess d'Agoult), 16.

Sternberg, von, 425.

Stimson, 385.

Stojowski, 425, 435.

Stradal, August (pupil), 98-100.

Strauss, Richard, 8, 27, 29, 31, 52, 54, 145, 146, 168, 331, 419.

Streicher, Nanette, 436.

Strobl, 417.

Studies (Chopin), 75, 437.

Sullivan, 385.

Symphony (Beethoven), 105, 171, 292, 382.

Symphony (Berlioz), 106.

Symphony (Haydn), 172.

Symphony (Herold), 106.

Symphony (Schubert), 293.

Symphony (Schumann), 172.

"Symphony Since Beethoven" (Weingartner), 153.

Szalit, Paula, 436.

Székely, 338.

Szumowska, Antoinette, 436.

Szymanowska, Madame de, 436.

Tadema, Alma, 100.

Taffanel, 281.

Tageblatt, The, 190.

Tagel (Wurtemburg counsellor of court), 254, 255.

Taglioni, Marie, 204.

Taine, 343.

Taj Mahal, 29.

Tancredi, Tournament duet in, 204.

Tannhäuser (Wagner), 181, 188, 377.

Tasso, 100.

"Tasso" (Byron's), 115.

"Tasso" (Goethe's), 113, 115.

Tausig, Alois, 362;
Karl (pupil), 17, 19, 58, 62, 63, 73, 95, 138, 359-366, 374, 376, 402, 420, 421, 423, 424, 431, 432, 434.

Taylor, Franklin, 385.

Thackeray, W. M., 11, 28, 47.

[457]Thalberg, 16, 17, 60, 63, 81, 211, 221, 247, 250, 251, 282-285, 287, 288, 308, 359, 378, 399, 411, 420, 430.

Théâtre des Italiens (Paris), 104, 223, 285, 288.

Theatre Royal (Manchester), 303.

Theiner, Pater, 91.

Thiers, 104.

Thode, Professor Henry, 280.

Thomas, Theodore, 132, 133.

Thorwaldsen, 78, 80.

Tilgner, 417.

Tintoretto, 28.

Tisza, 200.

Titian, 28, 84.

Tolstoy, Countess, 98.

Torhilon-Buell, Marie, 436.

Trémont, Baron, 201.

Tristan and Isolde (Wagner), 6, 7, 25, 55, 143, 280, 363.

Triumph of Death (fresco), 175.

Tschaikowsky, 27, 145, 146, 367, 419, 422.

Turgenev, 388.

Uhland, 165.

Ungarische Tänze (Brahms'), 190.

Unger-Sabatier, Caroline, 42.

Urspruch, Anton (pupil), 24.

Vaczek, Carl, 198, 199.

Valle dell' Inferno, 100.

Vallet, Michael, 390, 391.

Valse-impromptu (Chopin), 186.

Van der Stucken (pupil), 24, 358.

Vasari, 347.

Vatican, The, 49, 79, 83, 92, 93, 94, 342, 352.

Veit, 83.

Velde, Professor van de, 332.

Verdi, 96, 180, 300, 412.

Verlaine, Paul, 10, 62, 63, 375.

Vernet, Horace, 124.

Veronese, 28.

Vesque, 226.

Viardot-Garcia, Pauline, 42.

Victoria, Queen, 24, 312.

Viennese pianos, 62, 182.

Villa d'Este, 9, 96, 341.

Villa Medici, 83.

Vimercati, 302.

Vivier, 227.

Vogrich, Max, 332, 425;
Opera Buddha, 332.

Voltaire, 124.

Volterra, Daniele da, 347.

Wagner, Richard, 1, 2, 5-10, 18-21, 23, 27, 29-32, 38, 43, 45, 47, 53-55, 57, 58, 63, 65, 67, 96, 101, 103, 108, 119, 140-144, 146, 147, 150, 151, 157, 158, 167, 171, 180, 186, 188, 189, 191, 280, 300, 333, 362, 363, 382, 411, 412, 419, 420, 422;
Madame Richard (see Cosima von Bülow Wagner);
Siegfried, 26.

"Wagnerfrage" (Raff), 260.

Wales, Prince and Princess of, 312.

Walker, Bettina, 383;
"My Musical Experiences," 383.

Ward, Andrew, 304, 317, 319.

Wartburg festival, 96, 272.

Watteau, 120.

Weber, 6, 105, 205-207, 215, 282, 283, 300, 368.

Wehrstaedt, 206, 207.

Weimar, Duchess of, (see Pavlovna);
Ernst, Grand Duke, 330;
Grand Duke Carl Alexander of, 3, 42, 44, 46.

Weingartner, Felix (pupil), 153, 400, 401;
on Liszt's symphonic works, 153-156.

Wesendonck, Mathilde, 20, 43.

Wesley, Samuel Sebastian, 301.

Wieland, 328.

Wiertz, 28.

Wild, Jonathan, 79.

Wildenbruch, Ernst von, 331.

William Tell, Overture to, 82, 298.

Winckelmann, 78, 275.

Winding, 314.

Windsor Express (London), 304.

Winterberger, Alex. (pupil), 359.

Wiseman, Cardinal, 79.

Wittgenstein, Princess, (see Sayn-Wittgenstein);
Prince Nikolaus, 46, 47, 50.

Wohl, Janka, (pupil), 56, 417.

[458]Wolff, Dr., 226, 227.

Wolffenbüttel, 172.

Wolkenstein, Countess, 42.

Wolkof, 417.

Wolzogen, Von, 57.

Worcester festival, 191.

Woronice (estate of Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein), 45-47.

Wortley, Stuart, 252.

Wurtemburg, King of, 252, 254, 255.

Yeats, 327.

Zampa, Overture to, 181.

Zeisler, Fannie Bloomfield, 431, 436, 437.

Zichy, Geza (pupil), 24;
Michael, 338.

Zingarelli, 381.

Zoellner, 196.

Zucchari, 347.




Franz Liszt. Illustrated. 12mo. (Postage extra)net, $2.00
Promenades of an Impressionist., $1.50
Egoists: A Book of Supermen. 12mo,net, $1.50
Iconoclasts: A Book of Dramatists. 12mo,net, $1.50
Overtones: A Book of Temperaments. 12mo,net, $1.50
Mezzotints in Modern Music. 12mo,$1.50
Chopin: The Man and His Music. With Portrait. 12mo,$2.00
Visionaries. 12mo,$1.50
Melomaniacs. 12mo,$1.50

of an

$1.50 net

Contents: Paul Cézanne—Rops the Etcher—Monticelli—Rodin—Eugene Carrière—Degas—Botticelli—Six Spaniards—Chardin—Black and White—Impressionism—A New Study of Watteau—Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec—Literature and Art—Museum Promenades.

"The vivacity of Mr. Huneker's style sometimes tends to conceal the judiciousness of his matter. His justly great reputation as a journalist critic most people would attribute to his salient phrase. To the present writer, the phrase goes for what it is worth—generally it is eloquent and interpretative, again merely decorative—what really counts is an experienced and unbiassed mind at ease with its material. The criticism that can pass from Goya, the tempestuous, that endless fount of facile enthusiasms, and do justice to the serene talent of Fortuny is certainly catholic. In fact, Mr. Huneker is an impressionist only in his aversion to the literary approach, and in a somewhat wilful lack of system. This, too, often seems less temperamental than a result of journalistic conditions, and of the dire need of being entertaining.

"We like best such sober essays as those which analyze for us the technical contributions of Cézanne and Rodin. Here, Mr. Huneker is a real interpreter, and here his long experience of men and ways in art counts for much. Charming, in the slighter vein, are such appreciations as the Monticelli, and Chardin. Seasoned readers of Mr. Huneker's earlier essays in musical and dramatic criticism will naturally turn to the fantastic titles in this book. Such border-line geniuses as Greco, Rops, Meryon, Gustave Moreau, John Martin, are treated with especial gusto. We should like to have an appreciation of Blake from this ardent searcher of fine eccentricities. In the main the book is devoted to artists who have come into prominence since 1870, the French naturally predominating, but such precursors of modern tendencies or influential spirits as Botticelli, Watteau, Piranesi are included. Eleven 'Museum promenades,' chiefly in the Low Countries and in Spain, are on the whole less interesting[460] than the individual appreciations—necessarily so, but this category embraces a capital sketch of Franz Hals at Haarlem, while the three Spanish studies on the Prado Museum, Velasquez, and Greco at Toledo, are quite of the best. From the Velasquez, we transcribe one of many fine passages:

"'His art is not correlated to the other arts. One does not dream of music or poetry or sculpture or drama in front of his pictures. One thinks of life and then of the beauty of the paint. Velasquez is never rhetorical, nor does he paint for the sake of making beautiful surfaces as often does Titian. His practice is not art for art as much as art for life. As a portraitist, Titian's is the only name to be coupled with that of Velasquez. He neither flattered his sitters, as did Van Dyck, nor mocked them like Goya. And consider the mediocrities, the dull, ugly, royal persons he was forced to paint! He has wrung the neck of banal eloquence, and his prose, sober, rich, noble, sonorous, rhythmic, is, to my taste, preferable to the exalted, versatile volubility and lofty poetic tumblings in the azure of any school of painting.'

"Here we see how winning Mr. Huneker's manner is and how insidious. Unless you immediately react against that apparently innocent word 'tumblings,' your faith in the grand style will begin to disintegrate. It is this very sense of walking among pitfalls that will make the book fascinating to a veteran reader. The young are advised to temper it with an infusion of Sir Joshua Reynolds's 'Discourses,' quantum sufficit."—Frank Jewett Mather, Jr., in New York Nation and Evening Post.


With Portrait and Fac-simile Reproductions

12mo. $1.50 net; Postpaid $1.65

Contents: Stendhal—Baudelaire—Flaubert—Anatole France—Huysmans—Barrès—Hello—Blake—Nietzsche—Ibsen—Max Stirner.

"The work of a man who knows his subject thoroughly and who writes frankly and unconventionally."—The Outlook.

"Stimulating, provocative of thought."—The Forum.


A Book of Dramatists

12mo. $1.50 net

Contents: Henrik Ibsen—August Strindberg—Henry Becque—Gerhart Hauptmann—Paul Hervieu—The Quintessence of Shaw—Maxim Gorky's Nachtasyl—Hermann Sudermann—Princess Mathilde's Play—Duse and D'Annunzio—Villiers de l'Isle Adam—Maurice Maeterlinck.

"His style is a little jerky, but it is one of those rare styles in which we are led to expect some significance, if not wit, in every sentence."—G. K. Chesterton, in London Daily News.

"No other book in English has surveyed the whole field so comprehensively."—The Outlook.

"A capital book, lively, informing, suggestive."—London Times Saturday Review.

"Eye-opening and mind-clarifying is Mr. Huneker's criticism; ... no one having read that opening essay in this volume will lay it down until the final judgment upon Maurice Maeterlinck is reached."—Boston Transcript.

A Book of Temperaments


12mo. $1.25 net

Contents: Richard Strauss—Parsifal: A Mystical Melodrama—Literary Men who loved Music (Balzac, Turgenieff, Daudet, etc.)—The Eternal Feminine—The Beethoven of French Prose—Nietzsche the Rhapsodist—Anarchs of Art—After Wagner, What?—Verdi and Boito.

"The whole book is highly refreshing with its breadth of knowledge, its catholicity of taste, and its inexhaustible energy."—Saturday Review, London.

"In some respects Mr. Huneker must be reckoned the most brilliant of all living writers on matters musical."—Academy, London.

"No modern musical critic has shown greater ingenuity in the attempt to correlate the literary and musical tendencies of the nineteenth century."—Spectator, London.




12mo. $1.50

"Mr. Huneker is, in the best sense, a critic; he listens to the music and gives you his impressions as rapidly and in as few words as possible; or he sketches the composers in fine, broad, sweeping strokes with a magnificent disregard for unimportant details. And as Mr. Huneker is, as I have said, a powerful personality, a man of quick brain and an energetic imagination, a man of moods and temperament—a string that vibrates and sings in response to music—we get in these essays of his a distinctly original and very valuable contribution to the world's tiny musical literature."—J. F. Runciman, in London Saturday Review.


12mo. $1.50.

Contents: The Lord's Prayer in B—A Son of Liszt—A Chopin of the Gutter—The Piper of Dreams—An Emotional Acrobat—Isolde's Mother—The Rim of Finer Issues—An Ibsen Girl—Tannhäuser's Choice—The Red-Headed Piano Player—Brynhild's Immolation—The Quest of the Elusive—An Involuntary Insurgent—Hunding's Wife—The Corridor of Time—Avatar—The Wegstaffes give a Musicale—The Iron Virgin—Dusk of the Gods—Siegfried's Death—Intermezzo—A Spinner of Silence—The Disenchanted Symphony—Music the Conqueror.

"It would be difficult to sum up 'Melomaniacs' in a phrase. Never did a book, in my opinion at any rate, exhibit greater contrasts, not, perhaps, of strength and weakness, but of clearness and obscurity. It is inexplicably uneven, as if the writer were perpetually playing on the boundary line that divides sanity of thought from intellectual chaos. There is method in the madness, but it is a method of intangible ideas. Nevertheless, there is genius written over a large portion of it, and to a musician the wealth of musical imagination is a living spring of thought."—Harold E. Gorst, in London Saturday Review (Dec. 8, 1906).



12mo. $1.50 net

Contents: A Master of Cobwebs—The Eighth Deadly Sin—The Purse of Aholibah—Rebels of the Moon—The Spiral Road—A Mock Sun—Antichrist—The Eternal Duel—The Enchanted Yodler—The Third Kingdom—The Haunted Harpsichord—The Tragic Wall—A Sentimental Rebellion—Hall of the Missing Footsteps—The Cursory Light—An Iron Fan—The Woman Who Loved Chopin—The Tune of Time—Nada—Pan.

"The author's style is sometimes grotesque in its desire both to startle and to find true expression. He has not followed those great novelists who write French a child may read and understand. He calls the moon 'a spiritual gray wafer'; it faints in 'a red wind'; 'truth beats at the bars of a man's bosom'; the sun is 'a sulphur-colored cymbal'; a man moves with 'the jaunty grace of a young elephant.' But even these oddities are significant and to be placed high above the slipshod sequences of words that have done duty till they are as meaningless as the imprint on a worn-out coin.

"Besides, in nearly every story the reader is arrested by the idea, and only a little troubled now and then by an over-elaborate style. If most of us are sane, the ideas cherished by these visionaries are insane; but the imagination of the author so illuminates them that we follow wondering and spellbound. In 'The Spiral Road' and in some of the other stories both fantasy and narrative may be compared with Hawthorne in his most unearthly moods. The younger man has read his Nietzsche and has cast off his heritage of simple morals. Hawthorne's Puritanism finds no echo in these modern souls, all sceptical, wavering and unblessed. But Hawthorne's splendor of vision and his power of sympathy with a tormented mind do live again in the best of Mr. Huneker's stories."—London Academy (Feb. 3, 1906).

The Man and His Music


12mo. $2.00

"No pianist, amateur or professional, can rise from the perusal of his pages without a deeper appreciation of the new forms of beauty which Chopin has added, like so many species of orchids, to the musical flora of the nineteenth century."—The Nation.

"I think it not too much to predict that Mr. Huneker's estimate of Chopin and his works is destined to be the permanent one. He gives the reader the cream of the cream of all noteworthy previous commentators, besides much that is wholly his own. He speaks at once with modesty and authority, always with personal charm."—Boston Transcript.


Transcriber's Notes

The illustrations (and captions in the text version) have been moved so that they do not break up paragraphs and so that they are next to the text they illustrate. Thus the page number of an illustration might not match the page number in the List of Illustrations, and the order of illustrations may not be the same in the List of Illustrations and in the book.

An advertisement listing books available from the author has been moved from the front of the book to the end, where it precedes full advertisements for the books; a heading thus duplicated ("BOOKS BY JAMES HUNEKER") has been removed.

The text contains many inconsistencies in spelling and hyphenation, which have been left unchanged. In particular, Liszt's works are referred to inconsistently by their titles in various languages, and names of keys are inconsistently hyphenated (e.g. "A-flat" and "A flat").

Words in other languages were sometimes printed without their diacritics, e.g. "Fraulein" for "Fräulein", and "czardas" for "czárdás". On page 13, "Dobrjan" appears to have been printed with a diaeresis on the "j"; this has been omitted, while the two other spellings used ("Dobrjàn" and "Dobrjan") have been retained.

Other inconsistencies include:

Inconsistent punctuation in the sentence beginning "Masterpieces, besides those already" on p. 153 has been retained.

Some apparent errors have been retained:

Obvious errors in spelling and punctuation have been corrected as follows:

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Franz Liszt, by James Huneker


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