So we come to New Year’s Eve, the final day of 2011 and of the Liszt bicentenary. I set out on this online Année de Pèlerinage through Liszt’s music nearly a year ago, and it has been a fantastic experience. Thank you to all who have travelled with me in this blog, and warm greetings to all who have discovered Liszt’s music in concerts, broadcasts and recordings. And if his music is not for you – so be it! (But don’t give up…)
For further exploration of Liszt’s contribution to the Concert Etude genre, the Two Concert Etudes Waldesrauschen and Gnomenreigen, the Three Concert Etudes Il Lamento, La Leggierezza and Un Sospiro, and the Etude Ab Irato are well worth a look.
And for Liszt’s writings about music and about his travels in Switzerland and Italy, ‘An Artist’s Journey’, translated and annotated by Charles Suttoni, published by the University of Chicago Press, is invaluable and absorbing.
Finally, some words from the man himself; an excerpt from a letter written in Budapest on January 2nd, 1877 to his cousin Eduard Liszt in Vienna. Liszt’s correspondence was huge, and his letters (many of them online ) are a great read. Like many of us, at this time of year his thoughts are part sacred, part secular, part professional – and part financial…
Dearest, Most Honoured Cousin,
I always remain faithful to you in heartiest agreement with your
thoughts and feelings. Every year brings us nearer to the fulfilment of our hope in Jesus Christ the Saviour!
“He that endureth to the end shall be saved!”
I am now quite recovered from my little attack. If there were
nothing worse in this world than sprained legs and physical
suffering, one could be quite satisfied. Moreover I belong to the
very favoured and happy ones, even as regards physical suffering.
There is nothing particular going on here which I need mention.
Four times weekly I have a class for pianists and pianistes,
native and foreign. Half a dozen of these distinguish themselves
and will be able to grow into capable public artists.
Unfortunately there are far too many concerts and concert-
players. As Dingelstedt quite truly said, “The theater is a
necessary evil, the concert a superfluous one.” I am trying to
impress this sentence on my disciples of the Hungarian Academy of
Heartiest greetings to your family, and au revoir in Schottenhof
[Eduard Liszt’s home in Vienna] in the middle of March, on the
occasion of the “Beethoven-Monument Concerts.”
The Christmas week has beggared me. Be so good as to send me very quickly 500 gulden, for I have hardly 60 left.