Liszt, Franz

Earnestly desiring to accomplish something higher in his art he took up his residence at Weimar, 1847, as chapelmaster to the Grand Duke. Some of his time was spent at composition and his afternoons were mostly devoted to giving lessons. Many young artists came to him for inspiration. He did more for Wagner than any other one man. Chopin, Berlioz, Raff, Franck, Saint-Saens and others owe much to him. Hans von Bülow, who married his daughter, Cosima, and Carl Tausig, were among his favorite pupils. Here was formed that gathering of young and enthusiastic musicians who called themselves the School of the Future. He undertook, in the theatre, to bring out works for the first time or to revive others. Among these were Lohengrin, Tannhauscr, and The Flying Dutchman, of Wagner; Benvenuto Cellini, by Berlioz; and Schumann's Genoyeva. During this period of his life he had the help and companionship of a noble woman, Princess Caroline of Wittgenstein. She collaborated with him in his literary efforts, notably his Life of Chopin; The Music of the Gypsies; and essays on German musicians and their compositions. He did much to make Weimar an art center, and the position it gained under him is still quite secure. He said: "I had dreamed for Weimar a new art period, similar to that of Karl August, in which Wagner and I would have been the leaders, as formerly Goethe and Schiller, but unfavorable circumstances brought these dreams to nothing." These circumstances were petty jealousy and opposition to his work by lesser musicians, which caused him to bring his official duties to a sudden end in 1859 and go to Rome. From that time he lived alternately at Rome, Pesth and Weimar, always surrounded by a circle of pupils and admirers and always working for music and musicians in the unselfish way that was so characteristic of his whole life. Not long after he had gone to Rome, the world was astonished at hearing that he had taken orders. This was quite in keeping with his nature. From a child he had been deeply religious, and now sought solace in his church for the many disappointments of his life. It was only a lower order, with the title of abbe, which in no way interfered with the free exercise of his genius. As a composer he then devoted himself almost entirely to sacred music. He spent his summers in Weimar, in the beautiful home that was a gift from the Grand Duke, and here his pupils flocked, and to them he was not only a teacher but a fatherly friend. At the annual reunion of the German musical societies he was always the honored head. In  1876 occurred an event for which he had worked long and earnestly, viz., the festival at Bayreuth. In 1882 he had the satisfaction of listening to his friend's swan song, the performance of Parsifal. Four years later, in 1886, he accepted the urgent invitation to visit Paris and London, scenes of his former triumphs. Though seventy-four years old, he was hale and hearty, erect and sure-footed. The primary object of his visit to London was to hear the performance of his St. Elizabeth at St. James' Hall by the Novello Oratorio Choir. During the forty-six years since his last visit there had been many changes in English musical taste. He was everywhere greeted with the wildest enthusiasm and shown every possible honor. There had been nothing like it since the days of Paganim. Upon his return he found himself in need of rest, but though no anxiety was felt at first he did not regain his former strength. Feeling able to undertake the journey to Bayreuth, he went to attend the festival. Against his physician's warning he attended some of the concerts, was taken ill with pneumonia, and died within a week in the arms of Cosima, who was then the wife of Wagner.

His life might be divided into five stages. The first as infant prodigy, "le petit Liszt;" second, the slender romantic youth, M. Liszt, the piano teacher of 1830; third, Liszt of Weimar, conductor and propagandist, the composer of symphonic poems, the teacher to whom pupils flocked from all over the world; fourth, Abbe Liszt, in the monastery of Monte Mario, near Rome, where for seven years he wrote only masses and oratorios; fifth, Liszt, The Master. He had absolute mastery of technical means. Franz Liszt's works may be classified as orchestral; piano; vocal; and literary. Among the first are Dante; A Faust Symphony; and his many symphonic poems. The most masterly of his piano-pieces are the concertos in E flat major, and A major, and the B minor sonata. Among his smaller works are the exquisite Consolation and also the Annees de Pelerinage, a series of fascinating tone-pictures. In his songs, as in other works, Liszt clings to the principle of program music. Most of his vocal compositions are sacred works; the Grand Mass; and the Hungarian Coronation Mass. He also arranged a great many psalms, the 137th being possibly the best. The crowning works of Liszt's religious compositions are the grand oratorios, The Holy Elizabeth, and Christus. There is no room even to mention the many works he composed in these classifications, besides those for piano and orchestra, piano and violin, twq pianos, organ, and cantatas.