Liszt’s travels in Britain in 1840-1841 were extensive. He made four visits during that time, including two extensive tours, organised by an impresario, Louis Lavenu. Joining Liszt on the first tour were a motley crew of other musicians and singers, including John Orlando Parry, who kept a diary. Tours then, as now, could feature travel problems, unreliable audience numbers, piano shortcomings and so on, plus the great fun of being with other musicians. Parry recounts it all.
To hear Chopin play in England or Scotland in 1848, you would have had to be in London, Manchester, Glasgow or Edinburgh. But even residents of Lyme Regis in Dorset, or those of Boston in Lincolnshire, had the opportunity to hear Liszt in 1840, as well as those in cites such as Oxford, Bath and Dublin. And he played in the east, too -Bury St Edmunds (2 concerts), Norwich (2 concerts), Ipswich, Colchester and Chelmsford.
The Norwich Mercury advertised a Grand Concert on Monday 21 September, 1840, at 1pm -Donizetti, Pacini, Mozart and Rossini. My guess is that Liszt played the William Tell Overture by Rossini. The Ipswich concert followed soon after.
My recitals are at the Royal Hospital School in Holbrook at 7.30 on Thursday May 5, and at St Andrew’s, Rushmere at 3pm on Sunday May 8. Works by Chopin, Mendelssohn, Alkan, Liszt and Hewitt Jones. I do hope you can join me.
Illustrations – above, St Lawrence Church, Ipswich in 1840; right – St Lawrence Church today.