Quotes about Franz Liszt
12 Sourced Quotes
Chopin's biography remains obscure. He withheld himself all his life, in diametrical contrast to the openness and accessibility of his contemporary Franz Liszt. Chopin always conveyed the impression of a suffering soul, not to say a martyr, almost as if this was to nourish or even underpin his inspiration. Striving for crystalline perfection, he never ventured outside his own domain. You know, the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard is said to have given, as a child, martyr as his chosen career. Chopin must have shared this cult of the 'Pater dolorosus.'
For Beethoven, music was still shape, realized and inflected by instrumental sonority: other realizations may be as absurd as arrangements of the Hammerklavier, for example, always are, but the musical conception takes precedence over its realization in sound. The sonority serves the music. For Schumann, however, as for Chopin and Liszt, the conception was worked out directly within the sonority as a sculptor works directly in clay or marble. The instrumental sound is shaped into music.
Such abstruse ideas are totally alien to Chopin. The Romantic interweaving of music and literature that was characteristic of Schumann and Liszt was a negligible source of inspiration. Schumann dedicated Kreisleriana to Chopin, but in fact Chopin's consciousness for classical strength and form had nothing in common with the exalted, torn, eccentric and confused character of the work.
We'll win, of course," he said. "You don't want that," said the demon. "Why not, pray? Listen," said Crowley desperately, "how many musicians do you think your side have got, eh? First grade, I mean." Aziraphale looked taken aback. "Well, I should think-" he began. "Two," said Crowley. "Elgar and Liszt. That's all. We've got the rest. Beethoven, Brahms, all the Bachs, Mozart, the lot. Can you imagine eternity with Elgar?
The extraordinary stylistic changes of late eighteenth-century music may have provided much of the inspiration for the literature of the turn of the century, but the literary forms that resulted were deeply eccentric. It was these works—paradoxical, anticlassical, often with startlingly unbalanced proportions—which in turn influenced the music of the generation of composers that followed. The most clearly affected by literature and art were Schumann, Berlioz, and Liszt, but neither Mendelssohn nor Chopin remained untouched by literary developments, like the revival of Celtic and medieval poetry, as the overtures of Mendelssohn and the Ballades of Chopin explicitly demonstrate.
He [Gilels] played in an easy, natural manner, with strong but unassuming musicianship. His technique was brilliant; years later Neuhaus, still astonished, was to recall Gilels's incredible octaves in Liszt's Spanish Rhapsody. Yet Gilels was never looked upon as a mere virtuoso. As a matter of fact, his programs did not often include music pour epater le bourgeois. He played a stedy diet of Beethoven (the Hammerklavier was a work that strongly engaged his last years), Schubert, Schumann, Chopin and Brahms. In many respects, the great virtuoso who put his authoritative stamp on whatever he played was, at the same time, a thinking man's pianist.
I have met Rossini, Cherubini, Baillot, etc.—also Kalkbrenner. You would not believe how curious I was about Herz, Liszt, Hiller, etc. — They are all zero beside Kalkbrenner. I confess that I have played like Herz, but would wish to play like Kalkbrenner. If Paganini is perfection, Kalkbrenner is his equal, but in quite another style.
Once while listening Liszt playing a Beethoven sonata:Must he play everything in such a declamatory manner?
The cause of freedom, in music as elsewhere, is now very nearly triumphant; but at a time when its adversaries were many and powerful, we can hardly imagine the sacred bridge of liberty kept by a more stalwart trio than Schubert the Armorer, Chopin the Refiner, and Liszt the Thunderer.