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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 8:19 am 
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pianolady wrote:
Siegfriedstrasse – was that a street named to honor Wagner, and was it a different name prior to that? And then it was renamed to Lisztstrasse? – that’s good.


"Siegfriedstraße" was indeed so named to honour Wagner. It was the name of the street in 1886. Later on it was renamed Lisztstraße. That's according to Walker. Ironically, the entrance to the Liszt museum in Bayreuth is now in - Wahnfriedstraße :shock:


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 11:03 am 
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Daniel Hoehr wrote:

"Siegfriedstraße" was indeed so named to honour Wagner. It was the name of the street in 1886. Later on it was renamed Lisztstraße. That's according to Walker. Ironically, the entrance to the Liszt museum in Bayreuth is now in - Wahnfriedstraße :shock:


Seems that Liszt is connected to Wahnfried in every way possible! And to think that Wagner owes pretty much everything to Liszt for all he had done for him. Really, Liszt was such a generous man!

I just remembered something sort of funny from the book regarding Wagner and the dragon in his Siegfried opera. Supposedly, a huge and scary dragon was to be rolled out onto the stage so that Siegfried could slew the beast. The prop was to move up and down, and the neck on the beast was supposed to roll back and forth, making the dragon look scary and thereby terrifying the audience. But the actual neck part of the animal (the dragon was made by a firm in London) was accidentally shipped to Beirut. So for the opera’s first performance, the workers had to come up with something quickly but did not succeed so well. The dragon ended up with its head sagging downward and instead of Siegfried bravely slewing the wild dragon, it appeared that he only put it out of its misery. The audience laughed and Wagner said something about ‘wanting to make the stage disappear’ (can’t find exactly in the book where I saw this – so these may not be exact words).

Here’s another thing that popped into my head - it doesn’t apply to Liszt but I think I saw it in one of these biographies: We know that some pianists attempted to stretch their hands and fingers by experimenting with strange contraptions. I think Schumann did this, which caused more damage than good. But also, some pianists actually cut the webbing between their fingers so that they could stretch wider. Doesn’t that sound awful? I wonder if it actually works, though. I can almost see that if you have a surgeon today do this with proper sanitary conditions and so forth, then it could be possible.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:26 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
Seems that Liszt is connected to Wahnfried in every way possible! And to think that Wagner owes pretty much everything to Liszt for all he had done for him. Really, Liszt was such a generous man!


Yes, he was. And Wagner did exploit him (like he exploited Kign Ludwig II of Bavaria).

pianolady wrote:
But the actual neck part of the animal (the dragon was made by a firm in London) was accidentally shipped to Beirut. So for the opera’s first performance, the workers had to come up with something quickly but did not succeed so well. The dragon ended up with its head sagging downward and instead of Siegfried bravely slewing the wild dragon, it appeared that he only put it out of its misery. The audience laughed and Wagner said something about ‘wanting to make the stage disappear’ (can’t find exactly in the book where I saw this – so these may not be exact words).


I knew that the neck hadn't been delivered, but I didn't know it was shipped to Beirut instead of Bayreuth :lol: !!! This is rich! Maybe that's one of the reasons why the next Bayreuth festival was as late as 1883.

Still, Wagner has already invaded our chat about Liszt and has taken over as the subject matter. In later years, the Abbé was always in the shadow of Wagner, expecially when he was in Bayreuth. Cosima did a really good job using her father as a propaganda tool for the Bayereuth Festival. In 1911, Liszt's 100th birthday, she published a small book to honour the memory of her father. Well, the proceeds were used to support the festival (I have an original copy of it). Alan Walker shows how she edited (i.e. faslified) Liszt's will in that book by erasing every reference to Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein.

pianolady wrote:
Here’s another thing that popped into my head - it doesn’t apply to Liszt but I think I saw it in one of these biographies: We know that some pianists attempted to stretch their hands and fingers by experimenting with strange contraptions. I think Schumann did this, which caused more damage than good.


It certainly put an end to his career as a pianist and turned him into a composer/journalist.

pianolady wrote:
But also, some pianists actually cut the webbing between their fingers so that they could stretch wider. Doesn’t that sound awful? I wonder if it actually works, though. I can almost see that if you have a surgeon today do this with proper sanitary conditions and so forth, then it could be possible.


I haven't heard that but it woudn't surpise me. Sounds like a typical 19th-century idea when, at times, playing the piano was considered by some more a kind of sport than making music. I wouldn't want to try it, though...


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:33 am 
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Daniel Hoehr wrote:
Yes, he was. And Wagner did exploit him (like he exploited Kign Ludwig II of Bavaria).


Oh, yes. That king was Wagner’s biggest fan, wasn’t he? I think he one time disguised himself, snuck out of the palace(?) and secretly went to visit Wagner who was at that time still in exile…something like that. And he practically drained his countries money reserves by giving so much of it to Wagner.

Daniel Hoehr wrote:
Alan Walker shows how she edited (i.e. faslified) Liszt's will in that book by erasing every reference to Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein.


I did not know that. I bet she would wish that she could ‘edit’ some things that have come out in Walkers books!

Daniel Hoehr wrote:
pianolady wrote:
But also, some pianists actually cut the webbing between their fingers so that they could stretch wider. Doesn’t that sound awful? I wonder if it actually works, though. I can almost see that if you have a surgeon today do this with proper sanitary conditions and so forth, then it could be possible.


I haven't heard that but it woudn't surpise me. Sounds like a typical 19th-century idea when, at times, playing the piano was considered by some more a kind of sport than making music. I wouldn't want to try it, though...


I wouldn’t, either. But if I could only reach just tiny, little bit more…


I expect to receive the book, The Death of Franz Liszt any day now. So when I do, I’ll get right into it. Meanwhile, I’ve found a interesting little tidbit ( and I do mean little) about Liszt – he must have had a thing about hearing a nightingale. One night in Weimar as he was walking home late at night, he paused, turned to his companion, and exclaimed, “Listen. It’s the sound of a nightingale.” This caught my attention because Enrique Granados had a big thing about nightingales too. (I could go on for pages and pages regarding Granados, but I’ll save that for in case someone comes along who has a huge interest in Granados like I do.)

And did you get to the part in the Walker book about when Liszt was a young man and he, George Sand, (and someone else I can’t remember) where together and stoned out their minds? Sand had some “special” cigars that they all smoked. Marie D’Agoult was there too but did not partake in them. But she reported that while Sand was dancing around the room in fits of laughter, Liszt was directing the (empty) chairs with a candle snuffer and angrily silencing those who were out of tune. This makes me laugh, and I can picture the scene well.

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 7:38 pm 
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pianolady wrote:
And did you get to the part in the Walker book about when Liszt was a young man and he, George Sand, (and someone else I can’t remember) where together and stoned out their minds? Sand had some “special” cigars that they all smoked. Marie D’Agoult was there too but did not partake in them. But she reported that while Sand was dancing around the room in fits of laughter, Liszt was directing the (empty) chairs with a candle snuffer and angrily silencing those who were out of tune. This makes me laugh, and I can picture the scene well.


I haven't started reading Walker's biography yet. I'm still reading a lovely German novel I bought in an antique shop in Bayreuth. The book is called Ekkehard and was written by a German novelist and poet by the name of Joseph Victor von Scheffel in 1855. I bought a gorgeus edition from 1891 and have been reading it for ages now. It's not particularly long, I just don't seem to have enough peace and quiet to read these days. Admittely, the gothic letters don't help either, although I'm now used to them.

Anyway, I read in some other biography of Liszt that Our Man was into opium for a while. Well, at the end of the day, they were romantics and opium (very often in the form of laudanum) was widespread amongst romantic writers and artists. I would be suprised if George Sand and Franz Liszt hadn't experimented with it. That Marie D'Agoult didn't partake, doesn't surprise me at all.

Funnily enough, in the first book about Liszt that I read (a biographic novel called "Hungarian Rhapsody" written by one Zsolt Harsanyi), Liszt has a go on poor old Hans von Bülow for smoking opium.

I first read this book when I was 13 or 14 and I guess it was that book that first sparked my interest in Liszt. For many years this book was my summer read and I remember I often read it two or three times. At some I misplaced or lost it but thanks to ebay, I managed to get another copy and this year I read it again. It is suprisingly well reasearched, although it overstresses the friendship between List and Chopin a bit.

I'm really looking forward to reading the Walker biography. Have you started with the book on Liszt's death yet?


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 3:51 pm 
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Dunno how I missed this thread!!!!!

Not that I have anything much to add at the moment, just poking my nose in for a gander.

Mon, the Walker bios (there're three of them, right?) are worth the investment then??



I thought I'd echo how old Franz seemed to be a very generous man. in addition to the support of young composers, he also almost single-handedly arranged the funds for Beethoven's grave. Arranged benefit concerts and such, since no one else was doing anything about it some decades after Ludwig's passing.

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"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 4:30 pm 
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nathanscoleman wrote:
he also almost single-handedly arranged the funds for Beethoven's grave.


Welcome to the FL Chat :-)
Actually, it wasn't his grave, it was the Beethoven monument in Bonn. Liszt raised the money, organised the Beethoven Festival, composed a cantata, played Beethoven's 5th piano concerto on an instrument that can still be seen in the house where Schumann died and didn't even get a proper thank you. He wasn't even invited for the 1870 Beethoven Festival...


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 6:13 pm 
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Daniel Hoehr wrote:
Actually, it wasn't his grave, it was the Beethoven monument in Bonn.


Oh yeah! ... :oops: .... faulty memory ... I DID turn 33 last friday! old man, me! :lol:

He certainly was under-rated. It's funny how those prejudices still endure with musicians today. I played the sopalizio for a temporary teacher I had last year (which is one of the most wonderfully romantic pieces .... *wistful sigh w/hand to forehead*), and her first comment was, "yeah, I forget how little melody his music has" .... that was our last lesson! lol That, of all his pieces, surely can't be called unmelodic.

And can we rhapsodize a bit about his forward-thinking pianism?? How so many of his pieces reflect pianistic trends of 20th century composers?? impressionism, 12-tone ... atonal ... you name it, it's there. The only pianistic movement he didn't foresee, as far as I can tell, is Kapustin! i.e. - jazz. :lol:

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"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:56 am 
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Hi Nathan. About time you showed up here! :lol:

Daniel Hoehr wrote:
I'm really looking forward to reading the Walker biography. Have you started with the book on Liszt's death yet?


Yes – in fact, I just finished it two nights ago. You know… this puts an idea into my head that we here at PS should form a ‘book club’. Someone picks out a book (about a musician, of course), we all read it, and then we discuss it. It will probably never happen, but at least we can talk about Liszt now. I’m glad you quys know so much about him. I feel that although I have read the complete Walker biography, there is so much information contained in those books that it’s hard to keep it all in my head. Talking about it helps, and hearing another person’s point of view is what I find very interesting. I have another friend (a Granados expert) who steered me toward a certain Granados book that was also fascinating – so much so that I can’t stop thinking about it. I am fortunate to have two very interesting conversations going on at the same time.

So now back to Liszt – Again I am saddened from reading about the horrible neglect shown on him during his dying days. Stavenhagen and the other students simply acted as if it was nothing that this man Liszt – a genius composer, a phenomenal pianist, who helped so many fellow musicians and gave so much of himself to others – was on his death bed in the next room and mostly left to suffer alone.

And the relationship between Schmalhausen and Liszt is rather complex. He certainly was very protective of her and she worshiped the ground he walked on. Do you know if there were ever any ‘romantic’ activities going on between the two of them? According to these books, Liszt was like an indulgent father showering his attentions on his favorite daughter. But Schmallhausen was deeply in love with him and they were so intimate that I wonder if their relationship ever strayed into another sort of territory. What are your thoughts on that?

The photos in “The Death of Franz Liszt” are interesting. I see that the two in the book are different from the ones you (Daniel) showed me earlier. In the book you see him holding the small bouquet of flowers that Lina placed in his hand. And you can see in one of the photos how much hair she cut off from the side of his head. In the book, she chastised herself for hastily cutting a rather large lock in so prominent a place.

Another photo I find very interesting is the one of the actual funeral procession moving along Maximilianstrasse. All those people! I know most of them were there for the Wagner festival, but I never really realized how many people were actually around at these times in history that we read about. If only there were more photos of Chopin in his day!

This brings me to a point you made regarding that other biographical novel on Liszt that overstresses the relationship between Liszt and Chopin. How much does it overstress it? This alone is another confusing subject matter to me, as I’ve read many conflicting reports.

Back to Liszt, and now Cosima: Certainly a subject matter that can go on for a long time. Right now I’m finding it hard to put into words how I feel about her. There are always two sides to a story. It says in the book that she had diaries too. Do you know about them? Were they ever published? Are they on display at the Liszt Museum? And speaking of that, I see on the internet that there are three Liszt museums. Pretty impressive but it does not surprise me given the fact that his life was long a very full!

A little tidbit, though, is that the museum in Weimar shows us Liszt's salon which is supposedly unchanged. The color scheme is bright and colorful - cheery yellows and bold reds. Chopin preferred more subdued colors like dove gray, burgundy reds, creamy off-whites. Seems that these two men's tastes in style and decor reflected their personalities.



nathanscoleman wrote:
Mon, the Walker bios (there're three of them, right?) are worth the investment then??


Yes! So much information. And also some interesting info about certain pieces he composed, and how other composers 'borrowed' little bits and fragments.


nathanscoleman wrote:
Oh yeah! ... Embarassed .... faulty memory ... I DID turn 33 last friday! old man, me!

Then I am doomed, because I am older than you!

nathanscoleman wrote:
I played the sopalizio


I would like to look at that piece someday. Is it hard?


nathanscoleman wrote:
And can we rhapsodize a bit about his forward-thinking pianism??


Speaking of being pianistic (sort of): Somewhere in the books it describes how Liszt used creative, unusual, but also logical fingering to manage certain passages in difficult pieces. It's really neat!


About the Beethoven festival that Liszt practically managed by himself - specifically, the statue of Beethoven that was erected in the center of the square. (At least I think it was Beethoven - I could be wrong and it's someone completely different - been reading too books at the same time!) Anyway, (I think that) a statue of Beethoven was accidentally positioned backwards. Can you imagine a large crowd gathered by the statue, eagerly anticipating its unveiling - probably someone gives a speech, maybe a band starts to play, and someone shouts, "voilá" as he pulls off the draping, only to reveal that the statue is turned around and showing his backside to the crowd. I think that's so funny!

Oops, looks like this was a little long-winded.

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 1:40 pm 
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Quote:
I would like to look at that piece someday. Is it hard?


The sopalizio isn't too hard ... by lisztian standards anyway ... the major difficulty is the rapidly descending LH octave passagae in climax. I remember you saying something about hurting wrists. I'm actually gonna post this and the other 2nd year of pilgrimage pieces (it may be my first CS, but don't tell Chris! ) That man sure loved his damn octaves ... and I just can't play them at speed with my back the way it is right now. Besides, after Ishay's recent performances, I'll have to post ultra-clean (for me 8) ) posts for a while!

I LOVE the idea of a book club (ish); I'm a voracious reader. At least one book every day or two. Of course, now that I'm in bed bulk of time, it's easy to find the time to read! :P

Speaking of Cosima/Wagner letter and such to Liszt, you might check out Project Gutenberg ... here's the liszt letters page: http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/l#a1266 I haven't spent the time to actually look thru these, but at first glance they seem to be extremely revealing.

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"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:44 pm 
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Oh wow - there's a lot of stuff on those pages! Thanks, Nathan. That'll give me something better to do besides folding the laundry.

Regarding the sopalizio piece: The words, 'rapidly descending octaves' scares me. I think I will just rather listen to you play it. Hope your surgery gets you up and playing again soon!

nathanscoleman wrote:
I LOVE the idea of a book club (ish); I'm a voracious reader. At least one book every day or two. Of course, now that I'm in bed bulk of time, it's easy to find the time to read!


Me too. So what's our next book? :wink:

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:48 pm 
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How about "Hot Summer Lovin'" by Suzanne Donaldson?? :roll: :lol: 8)

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the one, the only ... Nathan Coleman
"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:34 pm 
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I already read that one. 8) 8) :lol:

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my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:37 pm 
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:roll:

had a starring role, you mean! :shock: :P

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"You see, my piano is for me what his ship is to a sailor; more indeed: it is my very self, my mother tongue, my life." - Franz Liszt


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 11:17 pm 
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Ok, well, I just read through the Liszt-Wagner letters. Not every word of course, there is way too much! But you can certainly tell how 'chummy' the two were with each other. And also how Wagner was often asking for money.

What I find interesting is just the way people back then 'talked' with each other in their letter writing. Men in particular used a lot of flowery words in their greetings and closings. Wagner often wrote: "My dearest, best beloved friend" as his greeting to Liszt. And he would close a letter like: "Wholly Thine," or "Adieu, you best and dearest of all men; continue to love me."

Liszt used words like, "Most glorious friend", or "Your cordially grateful and truly devoted".

I have the book Chopin's Letters and he writes the same way; very loving words to his male friends, like: "My dearest life." But his letters are filled with funny and goofy things, sometimes nasty little remarks about someone that irks him. On one letter he signed it, "Your old Ch. with a longer nose than ever." I like his letters. Though, I'm sure all these people would not be happy to know that their personal letters were published. I can't imagine if someone got a hold of my letters. I'd die of embarrassment.

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"Simplicity is the highest goal, achievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Frederic Chopin

my videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/monicapiano
my personal website: http://www.monicaalianello.com


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