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Letters of Franz Liszt -- Volume 1 from Paris to Rome: Years of Travel as a Virtuoso   By: (1811-1886)

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Letters of Franz Liszt, Volume 1, "From Paris to Rome: Years of Travel as a Virtuoso"

by Franz Liszt; letters collected by La Mara and translated by Constance Bache

CONTENTS

BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH DEDICATION PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH EDITION, BY CONSTANCE BACHE TABLE OF LETTER CONTENTS THE LETTERS OF FRANZ LISZT, VOL. 1 INFO ABOUT THIS E TEXT EDITION

BRIEF BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

The Austrian composer Franz Liszt (1811 1886) was a pianistic miracle. He could play anything on site and composed over 400 works centered around "his" instrument. Among his key works are his Hungarian Rhapsodies, his Transcendental Etudes, his Concert Etudes, his Etudes based on variations of Paganinini's Violin Caprices and his Sonata, one of the most important of the nineteenth century. He also wrote thousands of letters, of which 260 are translated into English in this first of a 2 volume set of letters.

Those who knew him were also struck by his extremely sophisticated personality. He was surely one of the most civilized people of the nineteeth century, internalizing within himself a complex conception of human civility, and attempting to project it in his music and his communications with people. His life was centered around people; he knew them, worked with them, remembered them, thought about them, and wrote about them using an almost poetic language, while pushing them to reflect the high ideals he believed in. His personality was the embodiment of a refined, idealized form of human civility. He was the consummate musical artist, always looking for ways to communicate a new civilized idea through music, and to work with other musicians in organizing concerts and gatherings to perform the music publicly. He also did as much as he could to promote and compliment those whose music he believed in.

He was also a superlative musical critic, knowing, with few mistakes, what music of his day was "artistic" and what was not. But, although he was clearly a musical genius, he insisted on projecting a tonal, romantic "beauty" in his music, confining his music to a narrow range of moral values and ideals. He would have rejected 20th century music that entertained cynical notions of any kind, or notions that obviated the concept of beauty in any way. There is no Prokofiev, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Cage, Adams and certainly no Schoenberg in Liszt's music. His music has an ideological "ceiling," and that ceiling is "beauty." It never goes beyond that. And perhaps it was never as "beautiful" as the music of Mozart, Bach or Beethoven, nor quite as rational (Are all the emotions in Liszt's music truly "controlled?"). But it certainly was original and instructive, and it certainly will linger.

DEDICATION

To the Memory of MY BROTHER WALTER, AND TO OUR DEAR AND HONORED FRIEND A.J. HIPKINS, ESQ., I DEDICATE THIS TRANSLATION.

C.B.

PREFACE TO THE ENGLISH EDITION, BY CONSTANCE BACHE

In writing a few words of Preface I wish to express, first and foremost, my appreciation of the extreme care and conscientiousness with which La Mara has prepared these volumes. In a spirit of no less reverence I have endeavored, in the English translation, to adhere as closely as possible to all the minute characteristics that add expression to Liszt's letters: punctuation has, of necessity, undergone alteration, but italics, inverted commas, dashes and other marks have been strictly observed. It may be objected that unnecessary particularity has been shown in the translation of various titles, names of Societies or newspapers, quotations, etc.; but there are many people who, while understanding French, do not read German, and vice versa, and therefore it has seemed better to translate everything. Where anything has been omitted in the printed letters I have adhered to the sign . . employed by La Mara to indicate the hiatus. It has seemed best to preserve the spelling of all proper names as written by Liszt, and not to Anglicise any, as it is impossible to do all; and therefore, even at the risk of a seeming affectation, the original form of the name has been preserved... Continue reading book >>


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