Franz Liszt: The Virtuoso Years, 1811-1847 Paperback – Feb 16 1988
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From Publishers Weekly
This second volume of Walker's monumental, extremely enjoyable study examines the 12 years during which the remarkable piano virtuoso, a Roman Catholic, settled in Weimar, a Protestant city, with the even-more-devout but married Princess Carolyne. During this difficult period Liszt conducted the court orchestra in many world premieres but concentrated mostly on composing the major works on which his fame is based. Walker's range and knowledge are astonishing. Chapters full of details not hitherto published are given over to Liszt as conductor, writer and teacher, his relations with his children, the ducal court and other composers and performers, the house he shared with Carolyne, the links between the marriage of her daughter Marie and her attempts to annul her own marriage so that she could wed Liszt. One of the most interesting sections, "Liebestraum," discusses Liszt's emotional attachment to his piano pupil Agnes Street-Klindworth, a political agent who bore a child by Ferdinand Lassalle, revolutionary and friend of Karl Marx. Walker confirms that, for Liszt, the artist was "a sacred vessel through which the Beautiful passed," and that his chief concern was that artists should be helped, "not for their own sake but for the sake of Art." Illustrations not seen by PW.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Alan Walker is Professor of Music at McMaster University. He was awarded the Commemorative Plaque of the Budapest Liszt Society for his contributions to Liszt scholarship.
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Top Customer Reviews
In a word: Incredible !!! Get it!
Perhaps the only small minus is that Walker seems to fall in love with his subject. I suppose this is bound to happen. There is no disputing Liszt's impact on piano history, but still see such works as the Transcendental and Pagannini Studies as on slightly outside the core of the piano literature of today, while for example Chopin's Etudes are still right at the center. As a composer, I think Liszt is still more flash than content, although the technical challenges are enormous.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
It's taken me over 35 years of studying piano and music to get to the point where I would read this wonderful biography of Liszt, and my eyes have been opened even wider about the wonderful artistic character of Liszt and his completely indespensible role in 19th century music.
This book (I have all three) is a wonderful read, at some times it is "laugh out loud" funny, and is filled with musical examples that perfectly illustrate the points that Mr. Walker makes.
If you are a musician interested in the piano, or the Romantic period, you owe it to yourself to let the scales fall from your eyes, and read this enlightening exposition.
Besides the fact that it is very well written some other things have to be said as well. Walker is very careful when talking about the periodes of which we know very little, he always makes it clear whenever a source or something else isn't 100% reliable. Another remarkable thing is the way he describes the people around Liszt, he gives us a detailed background story on all of the artists who has infulenced Liszt or in other ways been important to him. This background detail serves to give us more insight into the world of Liszt. It must have taken Walker ages to gather all the information in this book, but it is certainly all worth it!
I'd recommend this book to anyone who is interested in Liszt and want to know more about this unique artist. But beware! This is only the first in a series of three, so it's a 1200 page biography! it's not something you "just sit down and read". I have only read the first volume but I'm dying to get started on the next and then the third. This is without doubt the most complete biography I have ever read. Many thanks to Mr. Walker for his huge efforts in making this book.
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