Franz Liszt: A Chronicle of His Life in Pictures and Documents

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9780691091334: Franz Liszt: A Chronicle of His Life in Pictures and Documents


This innovative documentary biography of Franz Liszt is a triumph of scholarship, as well as a magnificent achievement in the art of book design and production. Ernst Burger presents an enormous amount of new information about the life, times, and works of this quintessential nineteenth-century musical genius, and he organizes that information in a beautiful and accessible format. He supports his account of Liszt's dramatically successful career as performer and composer with an exceptional range of gloriously reproduced illustrations. The text is further enhanced by running chronologies of Liszt's compositions and of the salient events in his life. A large proportion of the documents presented here are being made available for the first time, and the numerous testimonies of Liszt's contemporaries include many that have not appeared in any other Liszt biography. "When Liszt died, he made the mistake of leaving behind an unusual legacy of envy," Alfred Brendel points out in his foreword to the volume. Liszt's boundless pianistic skill and his originality as a composer were "barely forgivable," especially when combined with his personal magnetism, masculine beauty, and energetic love life. He began his concert career as a child prodigy, hailed by a dazzled public as a second Mozart. In his later years, he took Holy Orders--a decision that may have been the culmination of a personal quest for the numinous, or the crowning public-relations coup, or both. Objective and yet contagiously enthusiastic, this book has a unique place in the current rehabilitation of any part of Liszt's prestige that was tarnished by resentment or jealousy. It enriches our appreciation of Liszt's genius and his musical influence, and of the selflessness and generosity that were important parts of his character. "In its wealth of (in part unpublished) material, in the manageability and care with which the material has been arranged, and in the extraordinary visual quality of the layout as chosen by the author himself, Ernst Burger's astonishing documentary study of Liszt must be reckoned among the most important and lasting works to be published on nineteenth-century cultural history; as such, I hope that it may open many readers' eyes, if not also their ears, to Liszt."--Alfred Brendel Ernst Burger was born in Munich in 1937. After attending his local grammar school, he studied at the Munich Conservatoire. In addition to his activities as a concert pianist, he teaches at the Richard-Strauss-Konservatorium in his home town. The present study is the result of many years of intensive interest in the music, literature, and painting of the nineteenth century, and in particular in the life and works of Franz Liszt. Stewart Spencer is a free-lance writer and translator living in London. He is the editor, with Barry Millington, of Selected Letters of Richard Wagner (Norton).


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Text: English, German (translation)

From Publishers Weekly:

A concert pianist and teacher based in Munich, Burger seeks to rescue Liszt (1811-1886) from those who would trivialize his music or deny him a place among the greatest composers. This invaluable documentary study splices into the biographical text 650 illustrations (many rare or hitherto unpublished) and a wealth of source documents such as letters, memoirs and reviews, along with chronologies of the fiery virtuoso's life and works. Burger clears up myths surrounding Liszt, such as the claim that Cosima ignored her father during his dying days. Through paintings, lithographs, scores, programs, photographs and cartoons, Liszt springs to life as we follow his tours as child prodigy, his relationships with women, his involvement in Saint-Simonian Christian socialism and his retirement from the concert stage at age 35 to become the most independent of Romantic composers, a lifelong exile.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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