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Reflections On Liszt
"Liszt was first presented to Beethoven by his teacher Carl Czerny, while he was a boy of eleven. . . . At the end of the meeting, Beethoven bestowed the famous ‘kiss of consecration’ on the boy’s forehead, which Liszt thereafter regarded as a benediction on his career. In later life, he often spoke of this meeting, the memory of which was a powerful...
"Liszt was first presented to Beethoven by his teacher Carl Czerny, while he was a boy of eleven. . . . At the end of the meeting, Beethoven bestowed the famous ‘kiss of consecration’ on the boy’s forehead, which Liszt thereafter regarded as a benediction on his career. In later life, he often spoke of this meeting, the memory of which was a powerful stimulus to the further study and performance of Beethoven’s music."—from Chapter Two In a series of lively essays that tell us much not only about the phenomenon that was Franz Liszt, but also about the musical and cultural life of nineteenth-century Europe, Alan Walker muses on aspects of Liszt’s life and work that he was unable to explore in his acclaimed three-volume biography of the great composer and pianist. Topics include Liszt’s contributions to the Lied, the lifelong impact of his encounter with Beethoven, his influence on students who became famous in their own right, his accomplishments in transcribing and editing the works of other composers, and his innovative piano technique. One chapter is devoted to the Sonata in B Minor, perhaps Liszt’s single most celebrated composition. Walker draws heavily on Liszt’s astonishingly large personal correspondence with other composers, critics, pianists, and prominent public figures. All the essays reveal Walker’s broad and deep knowledge of Liszt and Romantic music generally and, in some cases, his impatience with contemporary performance practice.
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