The Spoiled Favorite of Fortune.—His Inherited Genius.—Birth and Early Training.—First Appearance in Concert.—Adam Liszt and his Son in Paris.—Sensation made by the Boy’s Playing.—His Morbid Religious Sufferings.—Franz Liszt thrown on his own Resources.—The Artistic Circle in Paris.—Liszt in the Banks of Romanticism.—His Friends and Associates.—Mme. D’Agoult and her Connection with Franz Liszt.—He retires to Geneva.—Is recalled to Paris by the Thalberg Furore.—Rivalry between the Artists, and their Factions.—He commences his Career as Traveling Virtuoso.—The Blaze of Enthusiasm throughout Europe.—Schumann on Liszt as Man and Artist.—He ranks the Hungarian Virtuoso as the Superior of Thalberg.—Liszt’s Generosity to his own Countrymen.—The Honors paid to him in Pesth.—Incidents of his Musical Wanderings.—He loses the Proceeds of Three Hundred Concerts.—Contributes to the Completion of the Cologne Cathedral.—His Connection with the Beethoven Statue at Bonn, and the Celebration of the Unveiling.—Chorley on Liszt.—Berlioz and Liszt.—Character of the Enthusiasm called out by Liszt as an Artist.—Remarkable Personality as a Man.—Berlioz characterizes the Great Virtuoso in a Letter.—Liszt erases his Life as a Virtuoso, and becomes Chapel-Master and Court Conductor at Weimar.—Avowed Belief in the New School of Music, and Production of Works of this School.—Wagner’s Testimony to Liszt’s Assistance.—Liszt’s Resignation of his Weimar Post after Ten Years.—His Subsequent Life.—He takes Holy Orders.—Liszt as a Virtuoso and Composer.—Entitled to be placed among tire most Remarkable Men of his Age.
There are but few names in music more interesting than that of Franz Liszt, the spoiled favorite of Europe for more than half a century, and without question the greatest piano-forte virtuoso that ever lived. His life has passed through the sunniest regions of fortune and success, and from his cradle upward the gods have showered on him their richest gifts. His career as an artist and musician has been most remarkable, his personal life full of romance, and his connection with some of the most vital changes in music which have occurred during the century interesting and significant. From his first appearance in public, at the age of twelve, his genius was acknowledged with enthusiasm throughout the whole republic of art, from Beethoven down to the obscurest dilletante, and it may be asserted that the history of music knows no instance of success approaching that achieved by the performances of this great player in every capital of Europe, from Madrid to St. Petersburg. When he wearied of the fame of the virtuoso, and became a composer, not only for the piano-forte, but for the orchestra, his invincible energy soon overcame all difficulties in his path, and he has lived to see himself accepted as one of the greatest of living musical thinkers and writers.