Franz Liszt


January 18, 2022

This article is about the composer. For the criminal law theorist, the composer's cousin, see Franz von Liszt. Franz Liszt, born October 22, 1811 in Raiding in the then Kingdom of Hungary in the Kingdom of Austria (in the state of Burgenland belonging to Austria since 1920), died July 31, 1886 in Bayreuth, Bavaria, was a Hungarian-Austrian composer in the New German school and famous as unusually skilled piano virtuoso. Franz Liszt was christened Franciscus, when the official language of Hungary until 1844 was Latin. He was the father of Cosima Wagner and the grandfather of Siegfried Wagner, and the cousin of the lawyer Franz von Liszt. Franz Liszt's ethnicity is disputed (see this paragraph) but is generally considered to be about half Hungarian, as his mother Maria (1788–1866) was of German-Austrian descent, with his grandmother born in Bavaria. The father's family was descended from Austrians who had recently begun to call themselves Hungarians, like the rest of the upper class of varying ethnicities in the Hungarian Empire. There is also information about the Slovak ancestry of his grandmother. Sometimes you also see the partly Hungarian name form Liszt Ferencz that he himself could use (or Liszt Ferenc in modern Hungarian). In Hungary, Liszt is considered a "national treasure", and has been honored in many ways, including the name of the airport in Budapest. He used to call himself "Hungarian" ("je suis hongrais"), but he never learned to speak Hungarian, despite attempts in his 70s. His mother tongue was German, but after settling in Paris he switched to French as his first language, for example in letters to his German-speaking mother, like much of the European nobility of the time, which had prestige. He also spoke Italian fluently, good Latin and to some extent English.


(The biography information is mainly based on Alan Walker's reference work "Franz Liszt" in 3 volumes) Childhood in Austria / Hungary Franz Liszt was born into a musical family and his father, Adam Liszt (1776-1827), played several instruments and had been a cellist at the court of Hungarian Prince Nicholas II Esterházy de Galantha in Eisenstadt, and was personally acquainted with several great composers such as Haydn and Beethoven. The father taught Liszt to play the piano before the age of seven when the boy was interested in watching his father play, and soon he began composing music on his own. At the age of nine he participated in concerts, for example he performed with Ferdinand Rie's piano concerto in E flat major and later with his own improvisation with Baron von Braun in Ödenburg. As a result, sponsors became interested in supporting his further musical education. The father stated that Franz for two years went through all the piano works by Beethoven, Mozart, Bach, Hummel and others. Franz Liszt's first hired piano teacher was Carl Czerny (Hummel, who had been Mozart's student, had asked for high fees). However, Liszt was sent to Vienna early and never learned Hungarian. In Vienna he received piano lessons from Carl Czerny and composition from Antonio Salieri. Czerny considered Liszt to be talented but with incorrect fingering which resulted in "chaotic play".

Teenage life in Paris

Franz Liszt made his debut as a concert pianist in 1822 and quickly became popular and moved in the aristocratic circles where he associated with the musical elite, and is said to have received a "lucky kiss" from Beethoven. A year later, his first composition was published in print. He started touring in many different countries and in 1823 the family moved to Paris. The father took over the role of teacher because the Conservatoire de Paris stopped providing space for non-French students, and Franz had to practice daily transposing fugues by Bach and more. The father was a constant companion on the journeys with his "prodigy", who was sometimes equated with Mozart, but the mother stayed at home because the journeys became very burdensome, which affected the boy emotionally with loss. In 1824, Franz was made king

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