Monday, April 9, 2012

Franz Liszt: Later Life (1839-1886)

Franz Liszt was born on October 22, 1811. He died July 31, 1886 at the age of 74. He was the best pianist of his time. He was also a great teacher, composer, and conductor.

In our essay of April 6, we discussed Franz Liszt’s early life. Today we will talk about his later life.

5. Touring (1839-1847)
The composer Ludwig van Beethoven was born in Bonn in 1770. He died in Vienna in 1827. In 1835 a group of people in Bonn started to raise money to pay for a statue of Beethoven. Four years later, they still had little money.

When Liszt heard this, he decided he would raise money for the statue by playing the piano in concerts all over Europe. Liszt had met the great composer years earlier in Vienna.

Marie D’Agoult, Liszt’s lover and partner at this time, returned to Paris with their children and left them there with Liszt’s mother Anna. D'Agoult's relationship with Liszt ended in 1844.

Liszt gave concerts all over Europe for the next eight years. He became so popular that people would fight each other to take home a piece of his handkerchief or glove. After fighting for a seat at one of his concerts, people hearing Liszt play the piano would be happier than they had ever been before.

Most of the money for the Beethoven statue in Bonn came from Liszt. He also gave money to the Hungarian National School of Music in Pest as well as for the building of churches in Pest and Cologne.

6. Wiemar (1848-1861)
While on tour in Kiev, Liszt met a princess named Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein. She became very important to him and would remain so for the rest of his life.

Sayn-Wittgenstein persuaded Liszt to stop performing so that he could concentrate on composing. He took the job of court musician in Wiemar in 1848. He lived there with Sayn-Wittgenstein until 1861.

During this time he gave piano lessons to many promising students including Hans von B├╝low. He also conducted concerts, wrote magazine articles in support of Berlioz and Wagner, and wrote or rewrote most of the music for which he is now famous.

In December 1859, Liszt’s son Daniel died of tuberculosis. In October 1861, his intimate relationship with Sayn-Wittgenstein came to an end. In September 1862, his oldest child Blandine died. In June 1863, Liszt began to live in a Franciscan monastery close to Rome. In February 1866 he lost his mother.

7. RomeWeimarBudapest (1861-1886)
From 1871 until his death, Liszt divided his time between Rome, Weimar, and Budapest. He taught piano to people who were already excellent players. He died in Bayreuth, Germany, of pneumonia.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven Farsaci. All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.