Franz Liszt

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Portrait of Franz Liszt (1839)

Franz Liszt (Hungarian: Liszt Ferenc) (October 22, 1811July 31, 1886) was a Hungarian virtuoso pianist, organist and composer.


  • Brahms' Variations are better than mine, but mine were written before his.
    • As quoted in Arthur Friedheim and Alexander Siloti, Remembering Franz Liszt (1961) p. 138.
  • Sorrowful and great is the artist's destiny.
    • As quoted in Joseph Machlis, The Enjoyment of Music: An Introduction to Perceptive Listening (1963) Page 107.
  • Wasting time is one of the worst faults of the world. Life is so short, every moment is so precious and yet, we live as if life will never end.
    • As quoted in Alan Walker, Franz Liszt : The Virtuoso Years, 1811-1847 (1987) Page 117.
  • When you write the story of two happy lovers, place them on the shores of Lake Como. I do not know a district more manifestly blessed by heaven; I've never seen another where the charms of a life of love would seem more natural [...] and start it with these words: "On the shores of Lake Como."
    • As quoted From the letter to Louis de Ronchaud dated 20 September 1837
  • I carry a deep sadness of the heart which must now and then break out in sound.
    • As quoted in Walker, 1997.

Quotes about Liszt

  • His playing was free, poetic, replete with imaginative shadings, and, at the same time, characterized by noble, artistic repose. And his technique, his virtuosity? I hesitate to speak if it. It suffices to observe that he has not lost it but has rather added to it in clarity and moderation. What a remarkable man! After a life incomparably rich and active, full of excitement, passion, and pleasure, he returns at the age of sixty-two and plays the most difficult music with the ease and strength and freshness of a youth….
    • Eduard Hanslick, Music Criticisms. Translated by Henry Pleasants, Baltimore: Penguin Books Ltd., 1963, p.109-110.
  • Perhaps the greatest source of wonder in Liszt's life was that he composed anything at all, let alone anything of lasting greatness. The man who, from an early age, had crisscrossed Europe as the greatest travelling virtuoso, providing, with the onset of puberty, much material for gossip columns, might have been forgiven for taking the Wildean view, 'My art is my life', and leaving it at that. [...] Exactly how Liszt could have found the time to compose is difficult to imagine.
    • Kenneth Hamilton, Liszt: Sonata in B Minor (1996), Ch. 1 : Introduction

See also

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