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
Liszt: The Complete Wagner & Verdi Transcriptions / Campanella
Release Date: 03/26/2013   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 94610   Number of Discs: 3
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Franz Liszt und seine Zeit / Pritschet, Renner Ensemble Regensburg
Release Date: 07/29/2016   Label: Ars Produktion  
Catalog: ARS38202   Number of Discs: 1
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Liszt: Angelus - Sacred Piano Music / Russo
Release Date: 07/29/2016   Label: Brilliant Classics  
Catalog: 5067343   Number of Discs: 2
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Liszt: Dante Symphony / Conlon, Rotterdam Philharmonic
Release Date: 03/31/2003   Label: Apex  
Catalog: 7498162   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Liebesträume for Piano, S 541: no 3, O Lieb, so lang

Browse 1-25 of 232 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Felipe Browne, Vol. 3
    Label: Claudio   Catalog: CR6034-2 Release Date: 08/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Felipe Browne
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  • 2.
    Felipe Browne, Vol. 3 [DVD Audio]
    Label: Claudio   Catalog: CR6034-6 Release Date: 08/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johannes Brahms,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Felipe Browne
    DVD Audio: $24.99
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  • 3.
    Piano Daydreams / Argerich, Barenboim, Lang
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: B002529802 Release Date: 08/12/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Erik Satie,  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Jean-Marc Luisada,  Dino Ciani,  Alexis Weissenberg,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    CD: $6.99
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  • 4.
    100 Best Classics
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 556480 Release Date: 08/05/2016   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Maurice Ravel,  George Frideric Handel,  Antonio Vivaldi  ... 
    Performer:  Yehudi Menuhin,  Barry Tuckwell,  Mikhail Rudy,  Maria-Joao Pires  ... 
    Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Kent Nagano,  Sir Thomas Beecham,  Alberto Lysy  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Camerata Lysy,  St. Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra  ... 
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  • 5.
    Purple Classics Presents: The Classical Music Collection
    Label: Naxos   Catalog: 8578336-37 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Edvard Grieg,  Franz Liszt,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Hĺvard Gimse,  Jenö Jandó,  Lucy Van Dael
    Conductor:  Richard Edlinger,  Bjarte Engeset,  Alexander Rahbari,  Barry Wordsworth  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Scottish National Orchestra,  Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $9.99
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  • 6.
    Sixteen Love Songs / William Howard
    Label: Orchid Classics   Catalog: 100056 Release Date: 06/24/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Bedrich Smetana,  Antonín Dvorák,  Zdenék Fibich  ... 
    Performer:  William Howard
    CD: $17.99
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  • 7.
    Discover Piano Classics
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 0300719 Release Date: 05/27/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Erik Satie,  Felix Mendelssohn  ... 
    Performer:  Friedrich Gulda,  Andrej Hoteev,  Jeroen van Veen,  Matthias Kirschnereit  ... 
    Conductor:  Kurt Masur
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
    CD: $11.99
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  • 8.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall (Selected Highlights)
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 530420 Release Date: 05/06/2016   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Paul de Schlözer,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Ronald Turini,  Artur Rubinstein,  Jorge Bolet,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonard Bernstein,  Arturo Toscanini,  André Previn
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  Orchestra of St. Luke's
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  • 9.
    Great Moments at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 503227 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 43
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Roy Harris,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Christoph W. Gluck  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Jussi Björling,  Frederick Schauwecker,  Van Cliburn  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Serge Koussevitzky,  Bruno Walter,  Leonard Bernstein  ... 
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  • 10.
    The Romantic Piano, Vol. 1 / Coop
    Label: Skylark Digital   Catalog: 702 Release Date: 04/29/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Robert Schumann,  Claude Debussy  ... 
    Performer:  Jane Coop
    CD: $17.99
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  • 11.
    Dino Ciani, Vol. 2
    Label: Doremi Records   Catalog: 80446 Release Date: 02/05/2016   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Dino Ciani
    Conductor:  Aldo Ceccato
    On sale! $59.98
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  • 12.
    Solo / McCarthy
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 554225 Release Date: 02/05/2016   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ludovico Einaudi,  Pietro Mascagni,  Giacomo Puccini,  Vincenzo Bellini  ... 
    Performer:  Nicholas McCarthy
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  • 13.
    Kathryn Stott: The Complete Solo Recordings
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 88875135622 Release Date: 11/13/2015   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Franz Liszt,  Gabriel Fauré  ... 
    Performer:  Kathryn Stott
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  • 14.
    Jerome Rose Plays Liszt - 40th Anniversary Collection
    Label: Medici Classics   Catalog: 40022 Release Date: 06/16/2015   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Jerome Rose
    CD: $37.99
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  • 15.
    Vassily Sapellnikoff, Xaver Scharwenka: The Complete Recordings
    Label: Apr (Appian)   Catalog: 6016 Release Date: 05/12/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Mily Balakirev,  Anton Rubinstein,  Anatole Liadov  ... 
    Performer:  Vassily Sapellnikoff,  Franz Xaver Scharwenka
    Conductor:  Stanley Chapple
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  • 16.
    111 - The Piano - Legendary Recordings
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002281002 Release Date: 04/21/2015   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Robert Schumann,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms  ... 
    Performer:  Pierre-Laurent Aimard,  Géza Anda,  Martha Argerich,  Daniel Barenboim  ... 
    CD: $168.99
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  • 17.
    Dark Hours: Mystic Moments Of Classical Music
    Label: Berlin Classics   Catalog: 300613 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Gustav Mahler,  Franz Schubert,  Sergei Prokofiev  ... 
    Performer:  Siegfried Lorenz,  Elka Mitzewa,  Cécile Ousset,  Rosemarie Lang  ... 
    Conductor:  Helmut Koch,  Otmar Suitner,  Norman Shetler,  Witold Rowicki  ... 
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  • 18.
    Liebestraum: Romantic Piano Music
    Label: Brilliant Classics   Catalog: 94989 Release Date: 01/27/2015   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Misha Goldstein
    CD: $11.99
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  • 19.
    100 Classical Masterworks
    Label: Dg Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 002188102 Release Date: 01/06/2015   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Richard Strauss,  Edvard Grieg,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Lorin Maazel,  Neeme Järvi,  Herbert von Karajan,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Conductor:  Lorin Maazel,  Neeme Järvi,  Herbert von Karajan,  Carlo Maria Giulini  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bolshoi Theater Violin Ensemble,  Ansbach Bach Week Soloists Union,  Salzburg Mozarteum Camerata Academica  ... 
    CD: $29.99
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  • 20.
    Franz Liszt: En Reve
    Label: Gall (Formerly Gallo)   Catalog: 1402 Release Date: 10/14/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Ludmilla Guilmault
    On sale! $22.98
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  • 21.
    Liebestraume, Todesahnung
    Label: Gramola   Catalog: 99013 Release Date: 09/09/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Spoken Word,  Franz Liszt,  Franz Schubert  ... 
    Performer:  Eva Lingens
    CD: $18.99
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  • 22.
    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
    CD: $18.99
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  • 23.
    Dances of the Dolls
    Label: Channel Classics   Catalog: 81014 Release Date: 05/13/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Geng Chen Fu,  Tan Dun,  Theodor Oesten,  Dmitri Shostakovich  ... 
    Performer:  Serena Wang
    CD: $15.99
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  • 24.
    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  ... 
    On sale! $125.98
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  • 25.
    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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