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Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was born on the estate of Prince Esterházy and received his first musical training from his father. He gave his first concert at the age of eleven and was then taken to Vienna, where he studied with Czerny and Salieri. Although first and foremost a pianist, Liszt showed considerable ability as an organist. He was an astounding improviser, and it is known that he played the organ a lot in middle and later life and on visits to Paris could even be found in the organ loft at St. Sulpice with Widor.
In 1834, Liszt wrote a short piece entitled Harmonies poetiques et réligieuses, which became the starting point for a set of eight pieces collectively given the same title and written between 1845 and 1852. Funérailles, the seventh piece of this set, is a heroic lament for those killed in the 1848-49 Hungarian Revolution. Unlike the diabolic sparkle of many of his works, Funérailles takes us into a world of somber magnificence. In it Liszt conjures up the hoofbeats of the Polish cavalry he once heard in the central episode of Chopin's A-flat Polonaise, yet maintained throughout is a strong sense of his own identity. It is also an ode to Chopin whose death in 1849 left Liszt with both a sense of loss and a certain relief.