My Favorite LISZT Volume I



Indrek Laul, Pianist

Consonant Works: CW1031

[1] Sonata in B-Minor [27'19] Lento assai-[0'02] Allegro energico-[0'31] Grandioso-[2'56] Recitativo-[9'11] Andante sostenuto-[10'34] Quasi Adagio-[11'22] Allegro energico-[17'00] Più mosso-[19'21] Stretta quasi Presto-[22'43] Presto-[23'12] Prestissimo-[23'22] Andante sostenuto-[24'17] Allegro moderato-[25'21] Lento assai-[26'16]


[2] Bénédiction de Dieu dans la solitude (Benediction of God in Solitude) [17'55] Moderato-[0'02] Andante-[6'46] Più sostenuto quasi Preludio-[9'29] Allegro moderato-[11'26] Più lento-[15'15] Andante-[15'46]


[3] St. François d'Assise: La prédication aux oiseaux (St. Francis of Assisi: The Sermon to the Birds) [10'51] Allegretto-[0'02] Recitativo-[3'02] Solenne-[4'41] Tempo I-[5'48] Recitativo-[8'18] Tempo I-[10'15]

[4] St. François de Paule merchant sur les flots (St. Francis of Paola Walking upon the Waves) [9'12] Andante maestoso-[0'02] Allegro maestoso ed animato-[5'00] Lento-[6'33]

Total Time [65'18]


Franz Liszt
Franz Liszt (b. Raiding, Hungary Oct 22, 1811; d. Bayreuth, Germany July 31, 1886), son of Adam and Anna Liszt, was a Hungarian virtuoso pianist, composer, teacher and writer.

Elbert Hubbard begins his description of Liszt:

In writing of Liszt there is a strong temptation to work the superlative to its limit. In this instance it is well to overcome temptation by succumbing to it. That word "genius" is much bandied, and often used without warrant; but for those rare beings who leap from the brain of Jove, full-armed, it is the only appellation. No fine-spun theory of pedagogics or heredity can account for the marvelous talent of Franz Liszt—he was one sent from God[1]

At the age of nine the child's remarkable ability at the piano was instrumental in obtaining sponsorship for his family to move to Vienna for study of piano with Carl Czerny and composition with Antonio Salieri. At the age of eleven Czerny prevailed upon Beethoven to allow the young student to display his talent. Liszt, more than fifty years later, related this encounter to his pupil, Ilka Horowitz-Barnay:[2]

When I had concluded, Beethoven caught hold of me with both hands, kissed me on the forehead, and said gently: 'Go! You are one of the fortunate ones! For you will give joy and happiness to many other people! There is nothing better or finer!' This event in my life has remained my greatest pride – the palladium of my whole career as an artist. I tell it but very seldom and – only to good friends![3]

Liszt's father devoted himself to promoting his son, what better a way to begin than by arranging a concert tour for the boy with performances in Hungary, Austria, Germany, France and England. Now almost twelve years old and accompanied by his father:

Franz Liszt boarded the [horse drawn] mail coach in Vienna on 20 September 1823 [destined for Munich].

The Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung carried the following report on Liszt's first concert in Munich: 'The young Liszt, it is true, is already four years older than Mozart was. But if we take account of the difference in time and in the demands that audiences now make of their artists, we are bound to admit that we are indeed well justified in declaring, 'A new Mozart has appeared among us!''

Twenty years later the musical world of Europe would lie at his feet.[4]

Liszt combined touring as a virtuoso pianist with composing until 1848 when he settled in Weimar, Germany, accepting a position of director of a minor orchestra. This suited him perfectly, allowing him to concentrate for a dozen years on composition, during which he revised many of his earlier works and generated an outpouring of new compositions. It was this period in which the Sonata in B Minor was completed, regarded by many as the finest of all his solo piano works.

In the autumn of 1861 Liszt moved to Rome. For a period of eight years religious works dominated his output. In 1865 he took minor holy orders of the Catholic Church, taking the title Abbé Liszt. This event surprised nearly everyone, as his life prior to this stood in sharp contrast to his new role.

In 1869 Liszt returned to Weimar, regarded as the world’s finest pianist, he devoted much of his time to teaching, doing so there, as well as in Budapest and Rome.

For the piano, his chosen instrument, Liszt wrote much that was beautiful and inspiring. He created a new epoch for the virtuoso. His fifteen Hungarian Rhapsodies, B Minor Sonata, Concert Études and many transcriptions, appear on all modern programs, and there are many pieces yet to be made known. He is the originator of the Symphonic Poem, for orchestra; while his sacred music, such as the Oratorio "Christus," and the beautiful "Saint Elisabeth," a sacred opera, are monuments to his great genius. [5]

Liszt, productive to the end, died on July 31, 1886 in Bayreuth, Germany leaving a magnificent treasure of music as his legacy.

Alan Walker, Professor Emeritus of Music at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, has written the definitive history of Franz Liszt. I highly recommend his three volume opus: Franz Liszt - The Virtuoso Years, The Weimar Years and The Final Years, Ithaca NY, Cornell University Press.

Ronald A. Stordahl
Dr. Ronald A. Stordahl
Thief River Falls Minnesota
April 22, 2005

[1] Hubbard, Elbert. 1916. Little Journeys … Great Musicians. New York: Wm. H. Wise & Co. p. 187.

[2] Walker, Alan. 1987. Franz Liszt – The Virtuoso Years. Ithaca NY: Cornell University Press. p. 83.

[3] Sonneck, O. J. 1926. Beethoven: Impressions by his Contemporaries. New York. pp. 162-63.

[4] Burger, Ernst. 1989. Franz Liszt – A Chronicle of His Life…. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press. pp. 26-29.

[5] Brower, Harriette. 1922. The World's Great Men of Music. New York, NY: Frederick A. Stokes Co.