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 at the Opera / Louis Lortie
Release Date: 10/29/2013   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10793   Number of Discs: 1
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Liszt, Mendelssohn, Clementi: Music For Piano & Chamber Orchestra
Release Date: 01/26/2010   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 9028   Number of Discs: 1
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Bach: Original Works And Transcriptions By Franz Liszt / Schmidt
Release Date: 05/31/2011   Label: Profil  
Catalog: 11025   Number of Discs: 1
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Liszt: The Complete Annees De Pelerinage / Louis Lortie
Release Date: 03/29/2011   Label: Chandos  
Catalog: 10662   Number of Discs: 2
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Yoonie Han - Works By Granados, Haydn, Liszt, Bach-Busoni, Albeniz-Godowsky
Release Date: 07/09/2013   Label: Victor Elmaleh Collection  
Catalog: 105   Number of Discs: 1
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Work: Sonata for Piano in B minor, S 178

Browse 1-25 of 227 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Annie Fischer - The Centennial Collection
    Label: Hungaroton   Catalog: 41011 Release Date: 05/27/2014   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Franz Schubert,  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Annie Fischer
    Conductor:  Heribert Esser,  Ervin Lukács
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Budapest Symphony Orchestra
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  • 2.
    Journeys Of The Soul - From Bach To Balakirev / Barbara Nissman
    Label: Three Oranges Recordings   Catalog: 5638269058 Release Date: 04/02/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Maurice Ravel,  Franz Liszt,  Alexander Scriabin  ... 
    Performer:  Barbara Nissman
    CD: $24.99
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  • 3.
    Superstar!: Music Of Franz Liszt / Barbara Nissman
    Label: Three Oranges Recordings   Catalog: 5638267244 Release Date: 04/01/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Barbara Nissman
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  • 4.
    Carnegie Recital / Daniil Trifonov
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001989102 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alexander Scriabin,  Franz Liszt,  Frédéric Chopin,  Nikolai Medtner
    Performer:  Daniil Trifonov
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  • 5.
    Icon: Witold Malcuzynski - The Polish Master Pianist
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 924428 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Sergei Rachmaninov  ... 
    Performer:  Witold Malcuzynski
    Conductor:  Walter Susskind,  Paul Kletzki,  Fritz Rieger
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra,  French National Radio Orchestra
    CD: $39.99
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  • 6.
    Liszt - Solo Recordings / Claudio Arrau
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001225941 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Claudio Arrau
    On sale! $44.99
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  • 7.
    BBC Legends - Great Recordings from the Archive
    Label: Ica Classics   Catalog: 5113 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 20
    Composer:  Gustav Mahler,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Robert Schumann,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Beryl Hatt,  Agnes Giebel,  Joyce Barker,  Kerstin Meyer  ... 
    Conductor:  Jascha Horenstein,  Yevgeny Mravinsky,  Arturo Toscanini,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Orpington Junior Singers,  Goldsmiths' Choral Union  ... 
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  • 8.
    Romantic Sonatas / Boris Giltburg
    Label: Orchid Classics   Catalog: 100035 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Edvard Grieg,  Franz Liszt,  Sergei Rachmaninov
    Performer:  Boris Giltburg
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  • 9.
    Yojo, 17: Piano
    Label: Tyx Art   Catalog: 13028 Release Date: 10/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Klaus Caspers,  Ludwig van Beethoven
    Performer:  Yojo
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  • 10.
    Vladimir Horowitz Live at Carnegie Hall
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 548417 Release Date: 09/30/2013   Number of Discs: 42
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Modest Mussorgsky,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Muzio Clementi  ... 
    Performer:  Vladimir Horowitz,  Mstislav Rostropovich,  Isaac Stern,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau  ... 
    Conductor:  Arturo Toscanini,  Leonard Bernstein,  Lyndon Woodside,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  NBC Symphony Orchestra,  New York Philharmonic,  Oratorio Society of New York
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  • 11.
    Grieg, Liszt, Mozart: Piano Sonatas In Concert, 1971
    Label: First Hand Records   Catalog: 19 Release Date: 09/10/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Edvard Grieg,  Paul Pabst,  Alexander Scriabin  ... 
    Performer:  Shura Cherkassky
    On sale! $21.98
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  • 12.
    Liszt: Piano Sonata; Petrarch Sonnets; Mephisto-waltz; La Campanella
    Label: Orchid Classics   Catalog: 100031 Release Date: 06/25/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Alexei Grynyuk
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  • 13.
    Fiorentino Edition Vol 2 - The Complete Liszt Recordings
    Label: Piano Classics   Catalog: 41 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Sergio Fiorentino
    CD: $32.49
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  • 14.
    Liszt: Sonata In B Minor; Petrarch Sonnets; Granados: El Amor Y La Muerte
    Label: Odradek   Catalog: 303 Release Date: 02/12/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt,  Enrique Granados
    Performer:  Domenico Codispoti
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  • 15.
    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
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  • 16.
    Alfred Cortot: Anniversary Edition
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 4907 Release Date: 11/19/2012   Number of Discs: 40
    Composer:  Isaac Albeniz,  Claude Debussy,  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Alfred Cortot,  Pablo Casals,  Jacques Thibaud,  Charles Panzera  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  International String Quartet
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  • 17.
    Schumann: Carnaval, Op. 9; Liszt: Piano Sonata In B Minor / Sophie Pacini
    Label: Cavi Music   Catalog: 8553269 Release Date: 11/13/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Sophie Pacini
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  • 18.
    Emil Gilels Plays Concertos & Sonatas
    Label: Sony (Nax615)   Catalog: 1991362 Release Date: 11/06/2012   Number of Discs: 4
    Composer:  Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky,  Frédéric Chopin,  Johannes Brahms,  Franz Liszt  ... 
    Performer:  Emil Gilels
    Conductor:  Zubin Mehta,  Fritz Reiner,  Eugene Ormandy
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New York Philharmonic,  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Philadelphia Orchestra
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  • 19.
    Daria Scarano Plays Franz Liszt
    Label: Centaur Records   Catalog: 3207 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Daria Scarano
    CD: $17.99
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  • 20.
    Visions Of Liszt
    Label: Cambria   Catalog: 1206 Release Date: 10/30/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Rufus Choi
    CD: $17.99
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  • 21.
    Label: Gramola   Catalog: 98952 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Sergei Rachmaninov,  Franz Liszt
    Performer:  Ketevan Sepashvili
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  • 22.
    Icon - John Ogdon
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 4637 Release Date: 09/18/2012   Number of Discs: 17
    Composer:  Paul Dukas,  Henri Dutilleux,  Florent Schmitt,  Béla Bartók  ... 
    Performer:  John Ogdon
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Lawrence Foster,  Paavo Berglund,  John Pritchard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra,  New Philharmonia Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 23.
    Clifford Curzon Edition - Complete Recordings [23 CDs + DVD]
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001728400 Release Date: 09/11/2012   Number of Discs: 24
    Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven,  Johannes Brahms,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Robert Schumann  ... 
    Performer:  Clifford Curzon,  Irmgard Seefried,  Horst Günther,  Julius Patzak  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Knappertsbusch,  George Szell,  Benjamin Britten,  Eduard Van Beinum  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 24.
    Solo Piano Works / Shura Cherkassky
    Label: Nimbus   Catalog: 17330 Release Date: 08/14/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Robert Schumann,  Johannes Brahms,  Josef Hofmann  ... 
    Performer:  Shura Cherkassky
    On sale! $33.98
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  • 25.
    Alexandra Dariescu Plays Schumann, Liszt, Chopin
    Label: Champs Hill Records   Catalog: 35 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frédéric Chopin,  Franz Liszt,  Robert Schumann
    Performer:  Alexandra Dariescu
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