Franz Liszt, born on October 22, 1911, was a revered composer, teacher, and pianist of the ‘Romantic era.’ He rose to fame in 19th-century Europe for his maestro as a pianist. Few composers are said to represent the instrument like Listz, whose virtuoso was unparalleled. An idealist by nature, he used his platform for moral good, lent a helping hand to those in need, and donated much of his earnings to charity. On this special day let’s pay tribute to the world’s first rockstar, Franz Liszt.
Franz Liszt was born in the Austrian empire’s kingdom of Hungary to parents Adam and Anna Liszt. His father played the violin, guitar, cello, and piano in the service of Prince Nicholas II. Adam Liszt also had a personal acquaintance with Beethoven, Haydn, and Hummel, who were noted artists at the time and are considered virtuosos to this day.
When he was six years of age, Liszt started listening closely to his father as he played the piano. He further gained exposure to the world of music by attending masses and traveling with Romani bands who toured the countryside of Hungary. Moreover, his father started giving him lessons on the piano when Liszt was just seven years old. Astonishingly, he began composing music in an elementary manner when he was eight. In 1820, when he was nine, he performed in concerts in Pressburg and Sopron. After witnessing his splendid performance, wealthy sponsors proposed to finance his musical education in Vienna.
When in Vienna, the artist attended piano lessons from the notable Austrian composer Carl Czerny, who had also been a pupil of Hummel and Beethoven. In addition, Liszt took lessons in composition from Antonio Salieri and Ferdinando Paer. In October 1822, the maestro kick-started his musical career and made a debut at the Landständischer Saal concert in Vienna, which was a huge success. Following his father’s unfortunate passing in 1827, he moved to Paris with his mother. On April 20, 1832, he attended a charity concert and listened to Paganini on the violin. Deeply moved by his artistry, Liszt decided to become as extraordinary a maestro on the piano as Paganini was on the violin.
Liszt plays at a concert in Vienna.
The artist’s first composition of a waltz publishes.
The artist receives the honorary position of ‘Kapellmeister Extraordinaire’ of Weimar.
Liszt composes the famous ‘Three Concert Études.’
Why We Love Franz Liszt
Liszt was considered the “Elvis of his time”
Listz was Elvis before Elvis was Elvis. He was surrounded by a sort of fan frenzy, which was then called ‘Lisztomania’ that included women fainting and acting erratically during his performances. Moreover, on some occasions, doctors were called to treat such fans, who thought ‘Lisztomania’ was an epidemic of mental illness!
His performances were groundbreaking
Liszt’s long list of admirers is not confined to women. Upon attending his performance, a critic named Yuri Arnold wrote about going back home, flinging himself on the sofa, and crying the sweetest and bitterest of tears. Another critic, Hans Anderson, wrote about the artist that it felt like an electric shock passed through the saloon when Liszt entered. He added that it seemed like a ray of sunshine passed over every face.
He was a hard worker
He did not just rise to fame — he worked extremely hard for it. The musician practiced for several hours a day and performed finger exercises while reading. He once wrote to a friend that his fingers and mind were practicing for four to five hours a day, and if only he does not go mad, he will become an artist.
5 Surprising Facts
His performances were string-breaking
As pianos of his time were not as strong, he would often break piano strings while playing.
He drew inspiration from industry gurus
Liszt deeply admired the famous composer Richard Wagner.
He created a musical diary
Liszt’s solo suites, ‘Années de Pèlerinage’ were inspired and written while he toured Europe.
He created a genre of music
Liszt created an entire genre of music called ‘the symphonic poem.’
He loved his pets
He had a guard dog called Rappo and a cat named Madame Esmeralda.
Franz Liszt FAQs
What is Franz Liszt’s most famous piece?
Although his entire body of work is extraordinary, the ‘Piano Sonata in B minor’ is considered his masterpiece.
Who was Franz Liszt’s wife?
He was married to Countess Marie D’Agoult for about 12 years.
How many kids did Franz Liszt have?
He had three kids namely Cosima Wagner, Daniel Liszt, and Blandine Liszt.
Franz Liszt’s birthday dates