Franz Liszt

Biography

Born: 1811   Died: 1886   Country: Hungary   Period: Romantic
Liszt was the only contemporary whose music Richard Wagner gratefully acknowledged as an influence upon his own. His lasting fame was an alchemy of extraordinary digital ability -- the greatest in the history of keyboard playing -- an unmatched instinct for showmanship, and one of the most progressive musical imaginations of his time. Hailed by some as a visionary, reviled by others as a symbol of empty Romantic excess, Franz Liszt wrote his name Read more across music history in a truly inimitable manner.

From his youth, Liszt demonstrated a natural facility at the keyboard that placed him among the top performing prodigies of his day. Though contemporary accounts describe his improvisational skill as dazzling, his talent as a composer emerged only in his adulthood. Still, he was at the age of eleven the youngest contributor to publisher Anton Diabelli's famous variation commissioning project, best remembered as the inspiration for Beethoven's final piano masterpiece. An oft-repeated anecdote -- first recounted by Liszt himself decades later, and possibly fanciful -- has Beethoven attending a recital given by the youngster and bestowing a kiss of benediction upon him.

Though already a veteran of the stage by his teens, Liszt recognized the necessity of further musical tuition. He studied for a time with Czerny and Salieri in Vienna, and later sought acceptance to the Paris Conservatory. When he was turned down there -- foreigners were not then admitted -- he instead studied privately with Anton Reicha. Ultimately, his Hungarian origins proved a great asset to his career, enhancing his aura of mystery and exoticism and inspiring an extensive body of works, none more famous than the Hungarian Rhapsodies (1846-1885).

Liszt soon became a prominent figure in Parisian society, his romantic entanglements providing much material for gossip. Still, not even the juiciest accounts of his amorous exploits could compete with the stories about his wizardry at the keyboard. Inspired by the superhuman technique -- and, indeed, diabolical stage presence -- of the violinist Paganini, Liszt set out to translate these qualities to the piano. As his career as a touring performer, conductor, and teacher burgeoned, he began to devote an increasing amount of time to composition. He wrote most of his hundreds of original piano works for his own use; accordingly, they are frequently characterized by technical demands that push performers -- and in Liszt's own day, the instrument itself -- to their limits. The "transcendence" of his Transcendental Etudes (1851), for example, is not a reference to the writings of Emerson and Thoreau, but an indication of the works' level of difficulty. Liszt was well into his thirties before he mastered the rudiments of orchestration -- works like the Piano Concerto No. 1 (1849) were orchestrated by talented students -- but made up for lost time in the production of two "literary" symphonies (Faust, 1854-1857, and Dante, 1855-1856) and a series of orchestral essays (including Les préludes, 1848-1854) that marks the genesis of the tone poem as a distinct genre.

After a lifetime of near-constant sensation, Liszt settled down somewhat in his later years. In his final decade he joined the Catholic Church and devoted much of his creative effort to the production of sacred works. The complexion of his music darkened; the flash that had characterized his previous efforts gave way to a peculiar introspection, manifested in strikingly original, forward-looking efforts like Nuages gris (1881). Liszt died in Bayreuth, Germany, on July 31, 1886, having outlived Wagner, his son-in-law and greatest creative beneficiary. Read less
Tchaikovsky, Liszt: Piano Concertos / Alice Sara Ott
Release Date: 10/25/2010   Label: Deutsche Grammophon  
Catalog: 001477802   Number of Discs: 1
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Grand Piano - Chopin, Liszt, Beethoven, Et Al / Cortot
Release Date: 04/21/1998   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 8814   Number of Discs: 1
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Nojima Plays Liszt
Release Date: 01/05/1993   Label: Reference Recordings  
Catalog: 25   Number of Discs: 1
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Brahms: Sonata No 3;  Liszt, Schumann / Mark Anderson
Release Date: 06/20/1995   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 5422   Number of Discs: 1
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Grand Piano - Josef Hofmann - Liszt, Beethoven, Et Al
Release Date: 06/15/1999   Label: Nimbus  
Catalog: 8818   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Liebesträume for Piano, S 541: no 3, O Lieb, so lang

Browse 1-25 of 275 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Night Stories - Nocturnes / Jenny Lin
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 98037 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Claude Debussy,  Gabriel Fauré,  Alexander Glazunov  ... 
    Performer:  Jenny Lin
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  • 2.
    Dances Of The Dolls
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 81014 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  He Lu Ting,  Zhao Yi,  Geng Chen Fu,  Tan Dun  ... 
    Performer:  Serena Wang
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  • 3.
    RCA Living Stereo Collection Vol 2
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 300350 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 60
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Richard Strauss,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Byron Janis,  Gary Graffman,  Vladimir Horowitz  ... 
    Conductor:  Josef Krips,  Fritz Reiner,  Pierre Monteux,  Charles Munch  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Symphony of the Air,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 4.
    Love & War - Prokofiev: Sonata No 6; Chopin Liszt, Lees / Barbara Nissman
    Label: Three Oranges Recordings   Catalog: 5638269062 Release Date: 04/02/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Franz Liszt,  Benjamin Lees  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Nissman
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  • 5.
    100 Hits: Classical Greats
    Label: 100 Hits   Catalog: 1017490 Release Date: 02/25/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Myra Hess,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Geraint Jones,  Karl Münchinger,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Myra Hess  ... 
    Conductor:  Geraint Jones,  Karl Münchinger,  Yehudi Menuhin,  Leopold Stokowski  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Musici,  Members of the Vienna Octet (Members)
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  • 6.
    Piano Reflections
    Label: Classic Fm   Catalog: 1077947 Release Date: 02/04/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Franz Schubert,  Wencheng Lü  ... 
    Performer:  Ji Liu
    On sale! $33.99
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  • 7.
    Best Of Classic
    Label: Profil   Catalog: 7016 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Bedrich Smetana,  Christoph W. Gluck,  Jacques Offenbach,  Jules Massenet  ... 
    Performer:  Artur Rubinstein,  Patrice Fontanarosa,  Günther Körner,  Thierry Amadi  ... 
    Conductor:  Denise Cloutier,  Frank Shipway,  Libor Pesek,  Arturo Leonard  ... 
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  • 8.
    Liszt Recital
    Label: Fondamenta   Catalog: 901003 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Jean Muller
    CD: $21.49
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  • 9.
    Bartlett & Robertson: Selected Recordings 1927-1947
    Label: Apr   Catalog: 6012 Release Date: 01/14/2014   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ethel Bartlett,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Robert Schumann,  Camille Saint-Saëns  ... 
    Performer:  Rae Robertson,  Ethel Bartlett
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
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  • 10.
    Piano Dreams
    Label: Bella Musica   Catalog: 312449 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Yuko Yamashiro
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  • 11.
    Steinway, The Beautiful
    Label: Fim (1st Impression)   Catalog: 87 Release Date: 11/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Yellow River Composers' C,  Robert Schumann,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Todd Crow
    On sale! $43.98
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  • 12.
    The Expressive Voice Of The Flute
    Label: Divine Art   Catalog: 21222 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ralph Vaughan Williams,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Howard Blake,  William Lloyd Webber  ... 
    Performer:  Kenneth Smith,  Paul Rhodes
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  • 13.
    Depictions - Liszt / Warren Mailley-smith
    Label: Sleeveless   Catalog: 1005 Release Date: 10/08/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Warren Mailley-Smith
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  • 14.
    Gary Graffman - The Complete RCA & Columbia Album Collection
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 546239 Release Date: 09/24/2013   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Sergei Prokofiev,  Franz Schubert,  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Gary Graffman,  Berl Senofsky,  Shirley Trepel,  Dick Hyman  ... 
    Conductor:  George Szell,  Enrique Jorda,  Charles Munch,  Walter Hendl  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland Orchestra,  San Francisco Symphony Orchestra,  Boston Symphony Orchestra  ... 
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  • 15.
    The Most Relaxing Classics For Work In The Universe
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 17953 Release Date: 09/03/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Johann Pachelbel,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
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  • 16.
    Best Of Pops / Arthur Fiedler, Boston Pops Orchestra
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 3580 Release Date: 07/02/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Jacob Gade,  Leroy Anderson,  Victor Young,  Meredith Willson  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 17.
    Shura Cherkassky - The Complete UK World Record Club Solo Recordings
    Label: Guild   Catalog: 2398/99 Release Date: 06/11/2013   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann,  Carl Tausig  ... 
    Performer:  Shura Cherkassky
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  • 18.
    Lullaby & Nocturne / David Hays, Peter Collins
    Label: Msr   Catalog: 1436 Release Date: 05/14/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Xaver Neruda,  Igor Stravinsky,  Sergei Lyapunov,  Fritz Kreisler  ... 
    Performer:  Peter Collins,  David Hays
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  • 19.
    L'Excellence Se Fete - A Celebration of Excellence
    Label: Analekta   Catalog: 297257 Release Date: 04/09/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  André Mathieu,  Antonín Dvorák,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Alain Lefčvre,  Marie-Nicole Lemieux,  Louise-Andrée Baril,  Valerie Milot  ... 
    Conductor:  Yoav Talmi,  Bruno Weil,  Jeanne Lamon,  Jean-Philippe Tremblay  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alcan String Quartet,  Tafelmusik,  La Pieta  ... 
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  • 20.
    Top 50 Favourite Classical Chillout Tunes
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94659 Release Date: 03/26/2013   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Antonín Dvorák,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Klára Würtz,  Sara Crombach,  Wladislav Warenberg,  Alexander Goldenweiser  ... 
    Conductor:  Dirk Vermeulen,  Paavo Järvi,  Roy Goodman,  Gil Sharon  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prima La Musica,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra,  Hanover Band  ... 
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  • 21.
    50 Best Romantic Piano Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333232 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Edvard Grieg,  Franz Liszt,  Frédéric Chopin  ... 
    Performer:  Cécile Ousset,  Leif Ove Andsnes,  John Ogdon,  Garrick Ohlsson  ... 
    Conductor:  Simon Rattle,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jerzy Maksymiuk,  Mariss Jansons  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Rostal & Schaefer Piano Duo
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  • 22.
    50 Best Sensual Classics
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 333022 Release Date: 02/26/2013   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  James Horner,  Pietro Mascagni,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Nino Rota  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Bernard Pommier,  Cécile Ousset,  Mikhail Rudy,  Natasha Marsh  ... 
    Conductor:  Mariss Jansons,  Lawrence Foster,  Simon Rattle,  François-Xavier Roth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Cellists,  Ahn Trio,  Virtuosi
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  • 23.
    A Liszt Recital / Vanessa Benelli Mosell
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94357 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Vanessa Benelli Mosell
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  • 24.
    Liszt: Piano Sonata In B Minor / Vardan Mamikonian
    Label: Dynamic   Catalog: 730 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Vardan Mamikonian
    CD: $19.99
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  • 25.
    Liszt: Transcriptions / Niu Niu
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 253322 Release Date: 01/22/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Niu Niu
    CD: $18.99
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