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An inaugural address delivered at the International Liszt Congress ”Liszt and the Arts“ held in Budapest, November 17–20, 2011.

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Before ending his performance career by concerts in Odessa and Elizabethgrad in 1847, Franz Liszt visited Istanbul, gave a number of public concerts and performed twice for Sultan Abdul-Medgid in the Tcheragan Palace. A widely reported incident in relation to this trip concerns an impostor named Listmann, a historically unidentified character, who supposedly passed himself off as Liszt in Istanbul and who received valuable presents from the Sultan under this pretext. According to some accounts Listmann almost caused Liszt to be arrested upon his arrival. The purpose of this work is to present historical data on this folkloric Liszt-Listmann tale. We present primary sources that show that Herr Listmann of the Liszt-Listmann incident was in fact a German Tonkünstler and a man of letters named Eduard Litzmann who toured Spain and the orient, and who was apparently a pretty competent pianist. The sources indicate that notwithstanding Liszt’s own letter to his cousin Henriette, numerous colorful aspects of the incident as reported in the literature result from self-perpetuating transformations of fiction and cannot be substantiated.

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In Memoriam Id. Liszt Nándor dr. 1895–1932. Vidéki Orvosok és Gyógyszerészek Lapja, Debrecen, 1932, 9, 193–194. Liszt, N.: Az orvostörténelem fontosságáról, gyógytan fejlődésének rövid

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Im Franz Liszts Jubileumsjahr 1936 wurden Liszt-Reliquien aus dem Nachlaß Bernhard Schnappaufs von seinem Sohn, Dr. Hans Schnappauf, der Ungarischen Liszt-Gesellschaft geschenkt. B. Schnappauf war Liszts letzter Pfleger. Die Reliquien (das zuletzt getragene Hemd und ein Taschentuch Liszts, eine Photographie mit eigenhändiger Unterschrift und einer Haarlocke, Totenmaske Liszts) befinden sich im Budapester Liszt-Museum. Im Herbst 2004 hat Dr. Frau Czétényi der Liszt-Gesellschaft neuere Liszt-Dokumente geschenkt. Unter den Dokumenten befand sich eine Schreibmaschinen-Abschrift: Schnappaufs Bericht über den letzten Lebenstag, Tod und Beerdigung des Abbé Dr. von Liszt. Nur der in dieser Abschrift existierende Bericht, samt seiner Rechnung kann für verläßlich und authentisch anerkannt werden.

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Franz Liszts Paraphrase über Dies irae (Totentanz) rückte im 20. Jahrhundert in den Mittelpunkt der Aufmerksamkeit ihrer Ausleger, vor allem im Zusammenhang mit der europäischen Kulturgeschichte der Gattung Totentanz. Aus den Quellen eindeutig hervorgeht, daß die Konzeption vom Liszts Totentanz zwischen ca. 1847 und 1859, im ersten Jahrzehnt seiner Entstehungsgeschichte (1847–65) grundlegende Unterschiede zu seiner endgültigen Fassung aufwies. Während die Musikquellen vor 1859 zwei gregorianische Stoffe enthalten (Dies irae und Psalm 129/130 mit den Anfangsworten De profundis). Die De profundis-Episode blieb in der endgültigen Fassung weg. Der Psalm De profundis war für Liszt mit einer konkreten Person, dem Abbé Félicité de Lamennais, verknüpft. Es ist die Frage, was die Inspirationsquelle vom Totentanz war: die Holzschnittreihe von Holbein dem Jüngeren betitelt Imagines mortis, das heißt Todtentanz oder das berühmte Fresko Trionfo della morte im Camposanto zu Pisa, das seinerzeit Orcagna zugeschrieben wurde. Die Variationsform und der Haupttitel verraten, daß die Inspirationsquelle der Komposition die 1538 herausgegebene Reihe von Holzschnitte Holbeins war, was Liszt in seinen Briefen von 1848–49 ausdrücklich bestätigte.

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1889 the Weimar Theatre intendant invited Richard Strauss to join the staff of the Hofoper as second Kapellmeister. Weimar was a tempting proposition for the recent convert to the New German School. The Lisztian effect was soon make itself felt in Strauss symphonic works. His Liszt studies were crucial to his musical development. Weimar offered him the opportunitiy to translate theory into practice. Liszt's orchestral music had been largely shunned and despised in the great tratidional performing centres of Europe during his life-time. He occupied a more commanding position in Munich's concert life (1894–99). In the Akademie season 1894–95 Strauss conducted in Berlin. He actively supported Liszt's music (Mephisto-Waltz, Die Ideale, Mazeppa, 2nd Piano Concerto). It was undoubtedly Liszt's perception of the complementary nature of form and expression that was attractive to Strauss. Form and content apart, Strauss's was also intrigued by Liszt's unconventional harmonic procedures and, by his indiviual style of orchestration. In 1898 Strauss moved to Berlin as erster königliche Kapellmeister at the Staatsoper. His modern concerts (1910–1903) featured Liszt symphonic poems. His admiration for Liszt's music and its seminal impact upon his own work is beyound doubt. His devotion to the Lisztian cause is transparent and was enduring: witness his tireless and activities on behalf of the Liszt Gesamtausgabe. Strauss kept Liszt's orchestral works in the public domain by making them the focal point of his permanent repertoire (Graner Messe, Mazeppa, Mephisto Walltz, Les Préludes, Orpheus, Faustsinfonie etc.). Liszt's music was a life-long obsession for Strauss.

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In the autumn of 1879, Franz Liszt composed his only piano work based on Handel, the Sarabande and Chaconne from Handel's Almira.

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Békefi E.: Liszt Ferenc származása és családja. Zeneműkiadó, Budapest, 1973. Békefi E. Liszt

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Auszug: Vier Briefe von Fanz Liszt an Alexander de Villers (1812-1880) sind hier zum erstenmal veröffentlicht. 1830 hat Villers Liszt in Paris kennengelernt. Villers unterhielt enge Kontakte zu Liszt bis 1846. Die manchmal ganz persönlichen Briefe dokumentieren den Lebensabschnitt des Virtuosen Liszt.

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The article examines the topic of spleen (mal du siècle) as one of the main types of organization in the expressive structures of Liszt’s compositions. A series of relevant literary works are considered, which were read by Liszt and inspired a revolution in his musical language as early as 1834. The writings of Chateaubriand, Senancour, Byron (and a forerunner, Schiller), classified by Albert Thibaudet as the literature of emigration of the first romantic generation, drastically changed the classical concept of the Sublime, while the writings of Lamennais and Lamartine, labelled as the religious literature of the second generation, offered a remedy against the deep malaise by involving the faith in God. Views of another literary historian are also employed: Paul Bénichou distinguishes the spiritual counter-revolution in royalist and Catholic poetry (Chateaubriand), the rather exceptional case of Senancour who rejected religion remaining faithful to the spirit of the eighteenth century, and the humanist Romantic movement hallmarked by Lamartine’s optimism and Lamennais’s vision of Christian democracy. The musical analyses reveals that the themes and doctrines of the intellectual party of the counter-revolution, of emigration, and of Senancour led to Liszt’s use of instrumental recitativo, of French and Italian indications to the performer expressing the mal du siècle and the “negative sublime,” and of a harmonic system extended to the twelve tones Ernő Lendvai called in the 1950s the axis system, in reference to Bartók’s music. The influence of the romantic “humanitarian” literary current is presented in the area of Liszt’s formal conception and use of isotopies. From the synthesis of the narrative strategies, including some of Liszt’s major compositions, it becomes obvious that there is a simple model, invariably going through four stages or thematic complexes (Vallée d’Obermann), which is extended with two or three further isotopies in the case of longer pieces.

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