Born: 1811, Raiding, Hungary
Died: 1886, Bayreuth, Germany
"You cannot imagine how it spoils one to have been a child prodigy."
Liszt’s life and work virtually defined the Romantic era. As a touring celebrity he pushed the bounds of what pianos – and pianists – could do. As music director for the city of Weimar he created the genre of the symphonic poem and championed the radical music of Wagner – who became his son-in-law – and Berlioz. As a semi-reclusive mystic, he extended harmonic language and developed forms that pre-figured the music of the next century.
Further listening: Sonata in B minor (1852-1853) Alfred Brendel, piano (Philips)
A Faust Symphony (1854-1857) Boston Symphony, Leonard Bernstein (DG)