Franz Liszt was one of the greatest pianists of all time. But not only that, he was also a great human being that Beethoven kissed on the forehead when he was just a child and from whom the great Richard Wagner said that “without him, you would never have heard a single note of my music”.
He had a fragile health and personality. At the same time, an extraordinary intelligence and a natural affability. He lived mystical outbursts with certain frequency and for that reason he was in parallel a deeply religious man and an incorrigible seducer.
“I carry a deep sadness in my heart that should burst from time to time into sound”.
Unlike others of his contemporaries, Franz Liszt had no weakness to be above others. He celebrated the triumphs of other musicians and helped them to grow, whenever possible.
The childhood of Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt came to the world in Raiding, Hungary, on October 22, 1811. Since he was born, he had a very fragile health. He frequently suffered from fever and was extremely nervous. He spent a lot of time in bed, until he turned 6 years old and reached a certain stability.
Maybe that’s precisely why he was not a child like the others. From a very young age he developed a special musical sensibility. He began playing the piano at age 7, guided by his father who was also a musician. Liszt’s earliest compositions date back to when he was 8 years old.
At age 9, he gave his first recital and left the audience amazed. His father then took him to Vienna and there he entrusted the musical education of his son to Czerny and Salieri. They say that the teachers asked him what he wanted to be when he was an adult. Franz Liszt, without hesitation, pointed to a photo of Beethoven and said: “That!”
A genius of music
Franz Liszt had a tremendous success in Vienna. It was there that, before 4,000 spectators, Beethoven took the stage, after hearing him play and gave him a kiss on the forehead. That was a sign of approval that consecrated from the beginning this magnificent pianist.
Later his father took him to Paris. There he obtained considerable triumphs and at 15 he was already considered one of the great interpreters of music. He also made several tours of European cities. This broke his health and suddenly had a mystical crisis. He kept praying, fasting and thinking about God.
His father then took him to rest in the south of France. There he regained stability, but he also had to suffer the death of his father. He then returned to Paris, where he took charge of the expenses of the family, with only 16 years of age.
Franz Liszt survived, to a large extent, to give classes of music to the nobles. That’s how he met Carolina de Saint-Cricq and fell in love with her. The family opposed the relationship, which ended early and left Liszt in a great depression.
Years later, and after many fleeting love affairs, he met Countess Maria d’Agoult. She was older than him and she was married. However, love blossomed immediately and the two fled to Geneva in August 1831. With her he had three children.
As his compositions became more mature and complete, the relationship with Maria deteriorated. He started having furtive romances, one of them with the famous dancer Lola Montes. Maria found out about this and ended the relationship. He never forgave him, and even wanted to ruin the reputation of Franz Liszt.
A sad end
Franz Liszt never failed to reap successes, as a composer and as an interpreter. After separating from Maria he was erratic for a few years and then he felt his religious vocation again. He decided to become an abbot and from then on he only composed religious music.
In 1859, his only son, Daniel, died. He was only 20 years old. It was a big blow for Liszt, from whom he never recovered. Unfortunately, three years later his daughter Blandine passed away. Only her daughter Cosima remained, who ended up leaving her husband because she fell in love with Wagner, who was the close friend of Franz Liszt.
Liszt never stopped working in music. Nor to listen and advise other musicians who consulted. When he turned 60 he was the victim of a dropsy and was on the verge of death. This only came 15 years later, after a cold wind that he received in a train. He died of pulmonary complications on July 31, 1886.