May 12, 1809: War of the Fifth Coalition: 21:00 French forces outside Vienna begin to bombard the city. It lasts all night. Directly in the line of fire is the house of Ludwig van Beethoven (38). Fortunately, the composer escapes the shelling, either to the house of his brother Caspar Carl or that of the poet Ignaz Franz Castelli. Four shells explode near the home of Franz Joseph Haydn (77), one blowing open the door to his bedroom. He is shocked but physically unhurt. The building housing the Imperial and Royal City Seminary is hit by a shell. Fortunately, none of the students, including Franz Schubert (12), are injured. Also in the line of fire is Maria Anna Lager, who in two years will become the mother of Franz Liszt.
October 22, 1811: Franciscus Liszt is born at Raiding (Doborján) (present Lisztstraße 46) near Sopron, in the Kingdom of Hungary, 60 km south of Vienna, the only child of Adam Liszt, a sheep inspector and steward in the service of Prince Nicholas Esterházy, and Maria Anna Lager, daughter of a baker.
October 22, 1818: On his seventh birthday, Franz Liszt accompanies his father Adam on a business trip to see a merchant named Ruben Hirschler in Lackenbach. Adam asks Hirschler’s daughter to play something for Franz on her new piano. Franz is so overcome by the music that he begins to cry and flies into his father’s arms. Hirschler is so taken by the scene that he gives the piano to the boy.
September 21, 1819: Prince Nicholas Esterházy hears Franz Liszt (7) play for the first time, at Raiding. Franz’ father, Adam, has been petitioning his employer, Prince Nicholas, to transfer him to Vienna so he can further his son’s musical training. The prince has always refused but, after hearing young Franz play, he promises financial backing for the boy’s education and grants Adam a one year leave of absence.
November 26, 1820: After a successful first performance in October in Oedenburg (Sopron), Franz Liszt (9) appears in a noon concert in Pressburg (Bratislava). Both concerts were arranged by Liszt’s father, Adam, who timed this performance to coincide with a meeting of the Hungarian Diet, when many important notables are in the city. The mostly upper class audience is delighted and impressed.
December 1, 1822: Franz Liszt (11), now a piano student of Carl Czerny (31) and a composition student of Antonio Salieri (72), gives his first public concert in the Landständischer Saal, Vienna. Liszt plays the a minor piano concerto of Johann Nepomuk Hummel (44). It is very well received. The Allgemeine Zeitung will call him “a little Hercules...fallen from the clouds.”
April 10, 1823: Franz Liszt (11) writes the following in Ludwig van Beethoven’s (52) conversation book, “I have often expressed the wish to Herr von Schindler to make your lofty acquaintance, and am rejoiced now to be able to do so. As I will give a concert on Sunday the 13th I most humbly beg you to grant me your exalted presence.” Contrary to Liszt’s own report, Beethoven does not attend. Now almost totally deaf, he does not appear at concerts. (approximate date)
May 1, 1823: Franz Liszt (11) gives a homecoming concert in Pest after his triumphal trip to Vienna. He wears a national Hungarian costume. It is the first of five performances in Pest this month.
October 17, 1823: Franz Liszt (11) gives the first of three concerts in Munich. Present is King Maximilian I of Bavaria. The reviews of this performance contain so many superlatives that his second concert will be sold out.
October 29, 1823: Franz Liszt (12) and his family arrive in Augsburg where he will give three concerts over the next four days.
December 22, 1823: Franz Liszt (12) performs in Paris to sensational audience and critical response. He will perform in Paris no less than 38 times before next April.
January 11, 1824: Franz Liszt (12) improvises at the piano at a meeting of the Société Académique des Enfants d’Apollon in Paris. They make him an honorary member.
March 7, 1824: Prince Louis-Philippe sponsors a concert by Franz Liszt (12) before a large and illustrious audience in the Théâtre-Italien, Paris. The reviewer of Le Drapeau writes, “I am convinced that the soul and spirit of Mozart have passed into the body of young Liszt.”
June 5, 1824: Franz Liszt (12) plays his London debut, in a semi-private setting at the Argyll Rooms.
July 27, 1824: Franz Liszt (12) and his father are presented to King George IV at Windsor. He plays for the King and a small private gathering for two hours.
August 4, 1824: Franz Liszt (12) plays the first of two concerts at the Theatre-Royal in Manchester.
March 22, 1825: Abraham and Felix Mendelssohn (16) arrive in Paris to accompany Abraham’s sister Henriette back to Berlin. While in Paris, Felix will come in contact with and perform for many of the composers and virtuosos of the city including Hummel (46), Auber (43), Kalkbrenner (39), Rossini (33), Halévy (25), Liszt (13), and Kreutzer.
June 20, 1825: In his second Birmingham concert, Franz Liszt (13) presents an overture, probably the overture to his unperformed opera Don Sanche.
October 17, 1825: Don Sanche, ou Le Château d’amour, an opéra by Franz Liszt (13) and his composition teacher Ferdinando Paer to words of Théaulon and de Rancé after Claris de Florian, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra. While everyone finds it remarkable that this is the work of a 13-year-old, the opera ultimately fails. It will be withdrawn after four performances.
January 5, 1826: Franz Liszt (14) gives the first of four performances this month at the Grand Théâtre, Bordeaux.
May 21, 1827: Franz Liszt (15) gives the first concert on this trip to England in the New Argyll Rooms, London.
August 28, 1827: While Franz Liszt (15) and his father are in Boulogne for the sea baths, the elder man dies suddenly of typhoid fever. Liszt agrees to pay all his debts and begins life on his own.
October 23, 1828: Le Corsaire publishes an obituary for Franz Liszt, claiming that he died yesterday on his 17th birthday. He has lately been so despondent over a failed love affair that the rumor of his death spreads easily through Paris.
May 5, 1830: Franz Liszt (18) dines at the home of Victor Hugo in Paris where he meets Prosper Mérimée.
July 27, 1830: A French court rules that the King’s decree of 25 July was in direct contradiction to the 1814 Charter of Suffrage. Royal troops and Swiss guards circle the city. Barricades go up and shots are fired. Revolutionaries reach the Hôtel de Ville. In Monmartre, Franz Liszt (18) rushes out of his rooms to see the fighting in the streets. He begins composing a “Revolutionary Symphony” (of which he will complete only one movement). He will scribble in the margin, “27, 28, 29 July-Paris.” “Indignation, vengeance, terror, liberty! disorder, confused cries (Wave, strangeness) fury...refusal, march of the royal guard, doubt, uncertainty, parties at cross-purposes...attack, battle...march of the national guard--enthusiasm, enthusiasm, enthusiasm...”
December 4, 1830: Franz Liszt (19) meets Hector Berlioz (26) for the first time, in Paris on the eve of Symphonie fantastique. Berlioz will remember in his Mémoires, “We were strongly attracted to one another, and our friendship has increased in warmth and depth ever since. He was present at the concert and excited general attention by his applause and enthusiasm.”
December 5, 1830: Afternoon. Episode de la vie d’un artiste: Symphonie fantastique en cinq parties by Hector Berlioz (26) is performed for the first time, at the Paris Conservatoire. Also on the program is the premiere of Berlioz’ Chant guerrier for voice and piano to words of Moore, translated by Gounet. Giacomo Meyerbeer (39) and Gaspare Spontini (56) are among the admirers. Berlioz later remembers that Liszt (19) “forcibly led me off to dinner at his house and praised me with the most energetic enthusiasm.” Tonight Harriet Smithson appears at the Opéra in the title role of Auber’s (48) La Muette de Portici. Her performance is a failure. Berlioz does not attend as he is having dinner with Liszt.
February 26, 1832: Frédéric Chopin (21) gives his first concert in Paris, in the Salle Pleyel. The performance is organized by Frédéric Kalkbrenner (46) and Camille Pleyel and praised by Franz Liszt (20) and Felix Mendelssohn (23). The program includes Beethoven’s (†4) Quintet op.29, Chopin’s e minor piano concerto and Introduction March and Grand Polonaise for six pianos by Kalkbrenner (Chopin and Kalkbrenner take part). Antoni Orlawski will write, “All Paris was stupefied!” Chopin “mopped up the floor with every one of the pianists here.” In fact, the hall is only one-third full, and many of the patrons are Polish emigrés.
December 9, 1832: Le retour à la vie, mélologue en six parties for orchestra by Hector Berlioz (28) is performed for the first time, in the Paris Conservatoire. The work is intended as a sequel to Symphonie fantastique and will be renamed Lélio, ou Le retour à la vie. Berlioz sends tickets to Harriet Smithson through a British journalist. It is not until she enters a cab to go to the Conservatoire that her companion, the journalist Schutter, gives her the program, and she finds out whose music she will hear. Among those present are Nicolò Paganini (50), Franz Liszt (21), Frédéric Chopin (22), George Sand, Heinrich Heine, Alexandre Dumas, and Victor Hugo. Symphonie fantastique is also presented but in a much better performance than 1830. Harriet “felt the room reel about her; she heard no more, but sat in a dream, and at the end went home like a sleepwalker, hardly aware of what was happening.”
December 19, 1832: Hector Berlioz (29) writes to Franz Liszt (21) about Harriet Smithson, “Everything about her delights and exalts me; the frank confession of her feelings has astounded me and driven me almost mad...I will never leave her. She is my star. She has understood me. If it is a mistake, you must allow me to make it; she will adorn the closing days of my life, which, I hope, will not last long...Yes, I love her! I love her! and I am loved. She told me that herself yesterday in front of her sister; yes, she loves me, but I speak of it only to you, I wish to keep my happiness secret, if it is possible. So, silence! There is nothing now which can separate us.”
October 3, 1833: Hector Berlioz (29) marries Harriet Constance Smithson, an actress, in the chapel of the British embassy in Paris. Franz Liszt (21) is a witness as are Ferdinand Hiller and Heinrich Heine. The service is in both English and French to accommodate the happy couple who still lack fluency in each other’s language.
November 24, 1833: A concert for the benefit of Hector Berlioz (29) and Harriet Smithson, to help pay off their (mostly her) debts, takes place at the Théâtre-Italien. Financially a success, artistically it is a fiasco. It begins an hour late. Scenes from Shakespeare and Dumas are acted by Smithson and others and the performance of (mostly) Berlioz’ music does not begin until 23:30. Franz Liszt’s (22) rendition of Weber’s (†7) Concertstück is the one bright spot of the evening. By his own admission, Berlioz conducts badly. The hour is so late, some orchestra musicians go home, as do many of the audience.
December 15, 1833: Frédéric Chopin (23), Franz Liszt (22), and Ferdinand Hiller perform JS Bach’s (†82) Concerto for three keyboards, at the Paris Conservatoire. Although reviews are positive, Hector Berlioz (30) will write, “It was heartrending, I swear, to watch three astonishing talents, full of energy, glittering with youth and vitality, apply themselves to the execution of this absurd and ridiculous psalmody.” (Zamoyski, 2010, 109)
January 5, 1834: The Gazette musicale appears for the first time, in Paris. One of its founders is Franz Liszt (22).
April 28, 1834: As part of an effort to oversee the advancement of French industry, King Louis-Philippe visits Erard’s in Paris. Franz Liszt (22) is present and plays music for the occasion.
April 9, 1835: A joint performance by Franz Liszt (23) and Hector Berlioz (31) at Salle St. Jean, Hôtel de Ville, Paris includes the premiere of Liszt’s Grande fantaisie symphonique on themes from Berlioz’ Lelio, for piano and orchestra. At the end, as he plays Grosses Konzertstück über Mendelssohns Lieder ohne Worte with Mlle Vial, Liszt collapses and is carried off.
May 3, 1835: The Gazette musicale publishes the first of six installments of Franz Liszt’s (23) “On the Situation of Artists and Their Condition in Society.” It is actually co-authored by Marie d’Agoult.
May 26, 1835: Marie d’Agoult, five months after her daughter’s death, writes to her husband Charles that she is leaving him and their second daughter. She has been in a liaison with Franz Liszt (23) for more than two years and now wishes to join him permanently. She heads for Switzerland.
June 4, 1835: Franz Liszt (23) arrives in Basel where Marie d’Agoult has arrived within the last few days accompanied by her mother.
June 14, 1835: The Gazette Musicale de Paris publishes the first “official” biography of Franz Liszt (23), by Joseph d’Ortigue. (it may have been written by Marie d’Agoult)
July 19, 1835: After a journey through the Swiss countryside of over a month, Franz Liszt (23) and Marie d’Agoult arrive in Geneva and take up residence together.
September 13, 1835: Felix Mendelssohn (26) is introduced to the members of the Gewandhaus, Leipzig, and conducts his first rehearsal. Later, he is guest of honor at the 16th birthday party for Clara Wieck. He entertains the assembled by doing imitations of Chopin (25) and Liszt (23) at the piano, then plays his own music alone and with Clara. At Clara’s request Mendelssohn plays the scherzo from Schumann’s (25) new Piano Sonata. Clara receives her presents, a new Capriccio, a birthday ode, and a gold watch from the Davidsbund.
September 29, 1835: Grand duo concertant sur la romance de ‘Le Marin’ for violin and piano by Franz Liszt (23) is performed for the first time, in Geneva.
October 11, 1835: The last installment of “On the Situation of Artists and Their Condition in Society” by Franz Liszt (23) appears in the Gazette musicale de Paris.
December 18, 1835: Five months after they take up residence together in Geneva, the first child of Franz Liszt (24) and Marie d’Agoult is born, a daughter named Blandine Rachel.
October 16, 1836: Franz Liszt (24), Marie d’Agoult and their daughter Blandine return to Paris from Geneva, taking up residence in the Hôtel de France.
October 24, 1836: A soiree takes place at the Paris apartment of Franz Liszt (25) and his mistress Marie d’Agoult to celebrate their recent return from Switzerland. Among the guests are Frédéric Chopin (26) and Aurore Dupin Dudevant (George Sand) who meet for the first time. It was Sand who repeatedly asked Liszt to arrange the meeting. She appears in men’s clothing, as is her wont. Their first impressions are quite different. Chopin finds Sand “repulsive” while Sand finds Chopin “noble.”
December 13, 1836: Frédéric Chopin (26) sees George Sand for the third time, at a social gathering in his Paris home. Instead of her usual men's clothes, she wears a dress of white and red, the Polish colors. Chopin and Franz Liszt (25) play a Sonata for piano-four hands by Moscheles. Also attending are Marie d’Agoult, Eugène Delacroix, and Heinrich Heine.
January 28, 1837: Today marks the first of four concerts given by Franz Liszt (25) in Paris “to make known the works of the grande école of the piano, too often disfigured by incompetent executants.” This presumably refers to Sigismond Thalberg (25). The four performances will be a critical triumph.
March 19, 1837: Franz Liszt (25) hires the Paris Opéra, fills it with an audience of 3,000 and proceeds to enthrall the listeners. This is in response to Thalberg’s (25) success of 12 March.
July 24, 1837: After three months at George Sand’s country estate Nohant, Franz Liszt (25) and Marie d’Agoult depart for an extended trip to Switzerland and Italy.
December 24, 1837: A second child, Francesca Gaetana Cosima, is born to Franz Liszt (26) and Countess Marie d’Agoult, at Hotel dell’Angelo, Como, while they are on their extended tour of Switzerland and Italy.
March 25, 1838: A review by Ernest Legouvé of a performance by Frédéric Chopin (28) in Rouen appears in the Revue et Gazette musicale, Paris. Referring to the contest a year ago he writes, “In future when the question is asked, ‘Who is the greatest pianist in Europe, Liszt (26) or Thalberg (26)?’, let the world reply ‘It is Chopin!’” See 31 March 1837.
April 1, 1838: Franz Liszt (26) plays the second of two concerts in Venice, in Teatro San Benedetto.
April 12, 1838: Franz Liszt (26) plays some of his music, and that of Czerny (47) at the home of piano maker Conrad Graf in Vienna. There to witness it are Friedrich and Clara Wieck (18) who are extremely, though not universally, impressed. Liszt writes to Marie d’Agoult, “She is a very simple person, entirely preoccupied with her art, but nobly and without childishness. She was flabbergasted when she heard me. Her compositions are truly most remarkable, especially for a woman. They have a hundred times more invention and real feeling than all the past and present fantasies of Thalberg (26)” (Williams, 101)
April 18, 1838: Franz Liszt (26) appears in a Vienna concert to benefit victims of recent floods in Pest. He is an enormous success. “Recalled 15 to 18 times. A packed house. Universal amazement. Thalberg (26) hardly exists at the moment in the memory of the Viennese. Never have I had such a success.” (Williams, 102)
April 23, 1838: Clara Wieck (18) writes to Robert Schumann (27) about Franz Liszt (26), “He is an artist whom one must hear and see for oneself...He rates your work extraordinarily highly, far above Henselt (23), above everything he has come across recently. I played your Carnaval, which quite enchanted him. ‘What a mind!’ he said; ‘that is one of the greatest works I know.’ You can imagine my joy.” (Williams, 103)
May 25, 1838: After a detour from his Italian sojourn for a month, Franz Liszt (26) gives the last of twelve highly successful performances in Vienna. He has heard that Marie d’Agoult is seriously ill awaiting him in Venice and he will soon join her.
September 6, 1838: Emperor Ferdinand of Austria is crowned King of Lombardy in Milan Cathedral. Among those attending is Franz Liszt (26).
May 9, 1839: A third child, Daniel, is born to Franz Liszt (27) and Countess Marie d’Agoult, in Rome during their extended sojourn in Italy.
May 29, 1839: Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres presents his drawing of Franz Liszt (27) to Countess Marie d’Agoult in Rome.
November 5, 1839: Franz Liszt (28) performs a concert in Trieste that is so successful a second one is scheduled for 11 November.
December 18, 1839: Franz Liszt (28) arrives in Pressburg (Bratislava), seat of the Hungarian Diet, the first stop in what will become his triumphal return to Hungary.
December 19, 1839: Franz Liszt (28) plays a matinee concert in Pressburg (Bratislava). “Enthusiasm impossible to describe.” As an encore, he plays his arrangement of the Rákóczy March, a melody banned by the Austrians. The audience is driven to a patriotic frenzy.
December 23, 1839: Franz Liszt (28) arrives in Pest from Pressburg (Bratislava) in the carriage of Count Casimir Esterhazy and accompanied by several Hungarian noblemen.
January 4, 1840: In the densely packed Hungarian National Theatre in Pest, Franz Liszt (28) gives a solo concert in Hungarian national costume. It is the fourth of seven he will give in Pest. As in Pressburg (Bratislava) on 18 December, he plays his arrangement of the Rákóczy March as an encore. Again, the crowd is driven to patriotic frenzy. While they are still cheering, six Hungarian noblemen appear on stage with a jewel encrusted sabre. Count Leo Festetics draws the sword, gives a patriotic speech and presents Liszt with the sabre. Liszt, overcome with emotion responds (in French) with an impromptu patriotic speech of his own, calling on Hungary to seek itself in peaceful pursuits but, “should it be requisite, let our swords quit their scabbards--they are untarnished, and their blows will fall as heavily as heretofore--and let our blood flow even to the last drop for our rights, our king, and our country!” (Williams, 118) The response from the crowd is earth shattering. The audience streams into the street and joining others already there, forms a procession of 5,000 led by Liszt and Festetics to the Count’s home.
January 11, 1840: Franz Liszt (28) gives a concert in Pest to raise money for the foundation of a national music conservatory. Instead of his usual place at the keyboard, he conducts publicly for the first time.
February 19, 1840: Franz Liszt (28) returns to his birthplace of Raiding. He donates 100 ducats for a new organ in the town.
March 17, 1840: After months of dazzling successes in Vienna, Pest, Prague, and Dresden, Franz Liszt (28) receives whistles from a Leipzig audience for his transcription of the Sixth Symphony of Beethoven (†12). Friedrich Wieck, who sees Liszt as a friend of Robert Schumann (29), has been savaging Liszt in the Leipzig newspapers. Clara (20) takes her father’s side. The Leipzigers also blame him for raising ticket prices and canceling complimentary tickets.
March 22, 1840: Clara Wieck (20) writes to Robert Schumann (29) from Berlin, “When I heard Liszt (28) for the first time, at Graf’s in Vienna, I was overwhelmed and sobbed aloud, it so shook me. Don’t you feel the same, that it is as though he wanted to be absorbed by the piano? And then again, how heavenly it is when he plays tenderly...” (Williams, 126)
March 31, 1840: Franz Liszt (28) departs Leipzig for Paris. He has not seen Marie d’Agoult for six months.
May 6, 1840: Franz Liszt (28) arrives in England from Paris for a series of concerts across the British Isles through the end of the year.
May 8, 1840: Franz Liszt (28) gives his first performance in London, at the Queen’s Concert Room, Hanover Square.
May 25, 1840: Franz Liszt (28) is one of several musicians performing at Buckingham Palace for the 21st birthday of Queen Victoria.
June 8, 1840: Franz Liszt (28) gives the last of two performances with the Philharmonic Society in London. While he and Ole Bull play the Kreutzer Sonata, some hissing is heard from certain quarters of the audience. The performers stop and glare in the direction of the sound. Other audience members demonstrate their disapproval of the objections and Liszt and Bull complete the work.
June 9, 1840: Franz Liszt (28) uses the word “recital” for the first time, to describe his solo performance today in the Hanover Square Rooms, London. The word implies the absence of supporting musicians.
July 14, 1840: The Musical Journal of London notes, “Liszt (28) has been presented by the Philharmonic Society with an elegant Breakfast service, for doing that which would cause every young student to receive a severe reprimand, viz. thumping and partially destroying two very fine pianofortes.” (Williams, 132)
September 26, 1840: Franz Liszt (28) gives the last of several concerts in his tour of southern England, in Brighton. He has been at it for six weeks.
November 6, 1840: Hans Christian Andersen notes in his diary after a concert in Hamburg, “I was seeing Liszt (29) face to face! How great men resemble mountains--they look best at a distance, when there is still an atmosphere about them....There was something so spider like, so demonic about him! And as he sat there at the piano, pale and with his face full of passion, he seemed to me like a devil trying to play his soul free! Every tone flowed from his heart and soul--he looked to me to be on the rack.” (Celenza, 139-140)
December 16, 1840: In the midst of a tour of provincial Britain, Franz Liszt (29) crosses from Liverpool to Ireland.
January 19, 1841: Franz Liszt (29) gives the first of five concerts in Edinburgh and Glasgow over the next five days.
January 25, 1841: Franz Liszt (29) arrives in Newcastle where he will give the first of six concerts in northern England over the next four days.
February 3, 1841: Franz Liszt (29) gives his last concert on this tour of Britain, at the Hanover Square Rooms, London.
February 9, 1841: Franz Liszt (29) is in Brussels for a series of concerts through Belgium over the next month.
April 25, 1841: Hector Berlioz (37) and Franz Liszt (29) produce an all-Beethoven (†14) concert at the Salle du Conservatoire to benefit the Beethoven monument in Bonn. Liszt plays various piano sonatas and the “Emperor” Concerto, conducted by Berlioz, along with the Sixth Symphony. Unfortunately, the receipts are barely enough to pay the musicians. The audience requires Liszt to play his own Reminiscences on Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable, while Berlioz and the orchestra wait. Richard Wagner (27), reviewing the concert for the Dresden Abendzeitung, is offended. “Some day, Liszt in heaven will be summoned to play his Fantasy on The Devil before the assembled company of angels.” An aspiring cellist named Jacob (Jacques) Offenbach (21) joins forces with a visiting prodigy from Russia, Anton Rubinstein (11), to perform the second and third movements of Beethoven’s Cello Sonata in A.
April 26, 1841: Frédéric Chopin (31) is the featured artist at the Salle Pleyel, Paris performing mostly his own music including the Mazurkas op.41, the Ballade op.38, the Scherzo op.39 and the Polonaise op.40/1. The evening is an unequalled triumph. Eugène Delacroix has stayed in bed the last two days to get over a sore throat just so he can attend. Also present are Hector Belioz (37), Franz Liszt (29), Heinrich Heine and, of course, George Sand.
May 2, 1841: Franz Liszt’s (29) review of Fryderyk Chopin’s (31) 26 April concert appears in the Gazette musicale. “All criticism of him is silenced, as though posterity had already spoken. And the glittering audience which flocked to the concert to hear the poet who for far too long had been silent showed no opposition, no reservations: unanimous praise was on everyone’s lips.”
May 7, 1841: Franz Liszt (29) arrives back in England from Paris and takes part in a concert in the evening.
May 31, 1841: After a private performance for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Franz Liszt (29) is involved in accident where his coach is overturned. He and his three companions are largely unhurt, but Liszt sprains his wrist.
July 9, 1841: Franz Liszt (29) gives a solo recital at the festival of the North German Music Society in Hamburg.
July 15, 1841: Franz Liszt (29) arrives in Copenhagen for nine days of concertizing. He will play before King Christian VIII.
August 23, 1841: Franz Liszt (29) gives a concert to benefit the construction of the Cologne Cathedral.
September 18, 1841: Franz Liszt (29) signs a document enrolling him in a Freemason Lodge in Frankfurt-am-Main.
November 29, 1841: Franz Liszt (30) performs publicly in Weimar for the first time, at the Court Theatre. Weimar will become very important in his life. He played privately on the 26th and before the court on the 28th.
November 30, 1841: Rheinweinlied for male chorus and piano by Franz Liszt (30) to words of Herwegh is performed for the first time, in Jena.
December 6, 1841: Two orchestral works by Robert Schumann (31) are performed for the first time, in Leipzig: Symphony no.4 (first performed as Symphony no.2) and Overture, Scherzo and Finale op.52. Franz Liszt’s (30) Studentenlied aus Goethes Faust for male chorus is performed for the first time on the same program. Clara Schumann (22) plays duets with Liszt, who is the star of the evening.
December 17, 1841: Robert (31) and Clara Schumann (22) give a small party in Leipzig. “Liszt (30) came--as always, very late! He seems to love making people wait for him, which displeases me. I find him just like a spoilt child, good-natured, masterful, kind, arrogant, noble, and generous, often severe towards others--a strange mixture. We have become very fond of him, however, and towards us he has never behaved in any but the friendliest way.”
December 27, 1841: Franz Liszt (30) plays his first concert in Berlin, before King Friedrich Wilhelm IV. It is here where “Lisztomania” first occurs (a word coined by Heinrich Heine). He is so successful that he stays in Berlin for ten weeks playing 21 concerts. Liszt will receive the Ordre pour le Mérite from the King and be elected to the Prussian Academy of Fine Arts.
January 19, 1842: An advertisement for a new “Beethoven-Album” for piano by the Vienna music publisher Pietro Mechetti appears in the Wiener Zeitung. Intended to raise money for a monument to Beethoven (†14) in Bonn, Mechetti has secured contributions from many of the most important living composers: Nocturne in E flat op.647 by Carl Czerny (50), L’echo! Scherzo brillant by Frédéric Kalkbrenner (46), 17 Variations sérieuses op.54 by Felix Mendelssohn (32), Prélude in c sharp minor op.45 by Frédéric Chopin (31), Marche funèbre de la Symphonie héroique by Franz Liszt (30), Romance sans paroles op.41/1 by Sigismond Thalberg (30), Wiegenlied op.13/1 by Adolf von Henselt (27), as well as music by Theodor Döhler, Ignaz Moscheles and Wilhelm Taubert.
February 1, 1842: Reverie et caprice for violin and orchestra by Hector Berlioz (38) is performed for the first time, in the Salle Vivienne, Paris before an audience which includes Franz Liszt (30), Marie d’Agoult, and César Franck (19). Because of muscle spasms, Berlioz conducts most of the concert with his left hand.
February 5, 1842: Felix Mendelssohn (33) writes to Ferdinand David about the playing of Franz Liszt (30), “...he sacrificed a large part of my esteem by the foolish antics he plays not just with his audience (there is no harm in that) but with the music itself as well. He played Beethoven (†14), Bach (†91), Handel (†82) and Weber (†15) with such wretched shortcomings, so untidily and ignorantly, that I had much rather have heard them played by mediocre pianists.”
March 3, 1842: After ten triumphant weeks in Berlin, Franz Liszt (30) takes leave of the city, in a coach drawn by six white horses, followed by a procession of thirty more coaches. Prussian students accompany them to the Brandenburg Gate, while the University of Berlin suspends classes. Thousands turn out to see him off.
April 15, 1842: Franz Liszt (30) arrives in St. Petersburg from Berlin where he will give four concerts.
April 20, 1842: Franz Liszt (30) gives his first performance in St. Petersburg before 3,000 people, the largest audience ever seen in Russia for such an event. The critic Stasov will later write, “After the concert, Serov and I were like madmen. We scarcely exchanged a word, but hurried home, each to write down his impressions, dreams and raptures. We both vowed to keep this anniversary sacred forever, and never, while life lasted, to forget a single instant of it.” Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka (37) is also present and says that Liszt “played some things exceptionally well…but other things he played unbearably, with totally inappropriate expression…with often tasteless, worthless, vacuous ornamentation of his own.” It is the first time Glinka meets Vladimir Stasov.
April 23, 1842: Franz Liszt’s (30) second concert in St. Petersburg is attended by Tsar Nikolay I. Composer and theorist Yuri Arnold will remember, “...I returned home more than merely moved; by such a music-hurricane, of which I had never before had the least presentiment, my whole being was dissolved. No sooner had I pulled off my coat than I flung myself on to the sofa and for a long time wept the bitterest and sweetest tears!”
October 31, 1842: Franz Liszt (31) accepts the title of Kapellmeister in Weimar with a contract clearly delineating the provinces of Kapellmeister and the director of the court theatre. It will be made public on 2 November.
November 2, 1842: Grand Duke Carl Friedrich of Weimar officially names Franz Liszt (31) as his “Kapellmeister Extraordinary.”
January 8, 1843: Franz Liszt (31) gives the first of four concerts in Berlin until 18 January. Attending today are King Friedrich Wilhelm IV and Queen Elisabeth.
October 18, 1843: Franz Liszt (31) gives the first of four concerts in Munich. King Ludwig I and the royal household are in attendance.
April 16, 1844: Franz Liszt (32) gives the first of two solo recitals at the Théâtre-Italien, Paris.
April 29, 1844: Valentin Alkan (30) gives his only known solo recital, at Salle Erard, Paris. He plays the premieres of his Nocturne op.22, Saltarelle op.23, Alleluia op.25, and Air de ballet op.24/2. It is wildly successful with an audience that includes Frédéric Chopin (34), Franz Liszt (32), George Sand, and Alexandre Dumas.
June 23, 1844: Franz Liszt (32) appears as a pianist for the last time in Paris, at the Conservatoire.
July 6, 1844: The Soldatenlied aus Goethes Faust for male chorus, trumpet, and timpani by Franz Liszt (32) is performed for the first time.
August 6, 1844: The second section of Les quatre élémens by Franz Liszt (32) to words of Autran is performed for the first time, in Marseille. See 28 March 1993.
September 7, 1844: Franz Liszt (32) arrives in Bordeaux where he will give seven concerts through 2 October.
October 22, 1844: On his 33rd birthday, Franz Liszt arrives in Madrid where he will give nine performances through 4 December.
November 7, 1844: Franz Liszt (33) performs at the royal palace in Madrid. 14-year-old Queen Isabella II awards him the Cross of Carlos III.
January 15, 1845: Franz Liszt (33) reaches Lisbon by steamboat from Gibraltar. He will be in Lisbon for six weeks and give twelve concerts.
January 26, 1845: Franz Liszt (33) plays at the Royal Palace in Lisbon before Queen Maria II, who awards him the Order of Christ.
March 24, 1845: Franz Liszt (33) arrives in Valencia where he will give three performances over the next week.
April 5, 1845: Franz Liszt (33) arrives in Barcelona where he will give six concerts through 21 April.
August 11, 1845: Today begins three days of celebrations surrounding the unveiling of the Beethoven (†18) monument in Bonn. Attenders include King Friedrich Wilhelm IV and Queen Elisabeth of Prussia, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Famous musicians include Louis Spohr (61), Giacomo Meyerbeer (53), Hector Berlioz (41), Franz Liszt (33), Pauline Viardot (24), and Jenny Lind. This evening, during dinner, a small concert is given, directed by Meyerbeer and featuring Jenny Lind.
August 13, 1845: Festkantate zur Enthüllung des Beethovens-Denkmals in Bonn by Franz Liszt (33) to words of Wolff is performed for the first time, in Bonn. This evening, during dinner, a small concert is given, directed by Meyerbeer (53) and featuring Jenny Lind and Franz Liszt. Meyerbeer's Festgruß zum Empfangen Ihrer Majestät Victoria am Rhein for four male voices and chorus is performed for the first time.
October 30, 1845: In a concert organized by the father of the composer, the églogue biblique Ruth for solo voices, chorus and orchestra by César Franck (22) to words of the Bible and Guillemin is performed for the first time, in the Salle Erard, Paris. Present at the invitation of the elder Franck are Gaspare Spontini (70), Giacomo Meyerbeer (54), Fromental Halévy (46), Adolphe Adam (42), Charles-Valentin Alkan (31), Franz Liszt (34) and Ignaz Moscheles. The composers are mildly lauditory except for Liszt who is effusively so.
January 25, 1846: The Revue Indépendente of Paris begins a serialization of the novel Nélida by Daniel Stern. The author is actually Marie d’Agoult and the novel is a satire on her relationship with Franz Liszt (34).
March 16, 1846: Grand Duke Carl Alexander of Weimar writes to Hans Christian Andersen, “Liszt (34) is gone, which makes me sad since his conversation gives me even greater pleasure than his playing, just as one admires a naked demon much less than one wearing a well-tailored jacket, who with his outer appearance alone already impresses. Yet he appears to me as an unclothed demon when at the piano. I shudder when he leads me into the world of tones.” (Celenza, 140)
August 3, 1846: Franz Liszt (34) begins a concert tour of Hungary and southeastern Europe which lasts through most of next year.
November 2, 1846: Franz Liszt (35) gives a concert in the Great Hall of the Prefecture in Temesvár (Timisoara), beginning a concert tour of Transylvania.
January 2, 1847: Franz Liszt (35) in Bucharest writes to Marie d’Agoult in Paris telling her that he is not offended by her novel Nélida. The novel is her satire of their life together.
February 3, 1847: Rose-Alphonsine Plessis (Marie Duplessis) dies in Paris at the age of 23. Among her lovers were Franz Liszt (35) and Alexandre Dumas fils who will immortalize her in his novel La Dame aux Camélias.
February 14, 1847: Franz Liszt (35) gives the first of two concerts in Kiev. It is probably here that Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein first sees and hears Liszt.
February 15, 1847: Franz Liszt (35) visits the home of Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein in Kiev. She invites him to her country estates. He accepts.
June 8, 1847: Franz Liszt (35) arrives in Constantinople. He will stay here five weeks, giving concerts in the Russian embassy and twice before the Sultan, who will award him the Order of Nichan-Iftikhar.
September 14, 1847: Franz Liszt (35) essentially ends his virtuoso career with a performance in Yelisavetgrad (Kirovohrad, Ukraine), 250 km southeast of Kiev.
September 30, 1847: This is the approximate date that Franz Liszt (35) arrives at the home of Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein in Woronice for the first time.
October 22, 1847: To celebrate the 36th birthday of Franz Liszt, Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein invites local gypsies to her estate at Woronice to play for him. There are many outdoor activities to which her serfs are invited. In honor of the day, she forgoes the annual payment of taxes for them.
December 22, 1847: From the estate of Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein in Woronice, Franz Liszt (36) writes to Marie d’Agoult, informing her that he has found a woman, “a great character united with a great spirit...”
January 29, 1848: Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein departs her estate in Woronice a few days after Franz Liszt (36) leaves for Weimar. She is traveling to Kiev to sell off some of her property, bid good-bye to her mother, and begin the process to annul her marriage with Nicholas Sayn-Wittgenstein.
February 8, 1848: After reading a letter from Marie d’Agoult to Franz Liszt (36), wherein Marie tells him that Carolyne will not want to be one of his mistresses, Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein writes that “I would be happy for her to know that, on the contrary, one really wants to be one of the mistresses...for there are devotions without limits.”
April 2, 1848: Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein leaves her estate at Woronice for the last time. She has cast her lot with her lover, Franz Liszt (36) and is traveling to join him in Kryzanowicz.
April 18, 1848: Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein meets Franz Liszt (36) at the hunting castle of his friend Felix Lichnowsky in Silesia. She leaves Russia moments before the border is closed to protect against infection from revolutionary Europe.
May 6, 1848: With revolution in the air, Franz Liszt (36) is serenaded at his Vienna hotel by a group of medical students. He tells them that a “conductor” will have to be found for the impending uprising.
February 16, 1849: Franz Liszt (37) conducts Tannhäuser in Weimar, only its second production, on the birthday of the Grand Duchess in Weimar.
May 14, 1849: Franz Liszt (37) arrives at his home in Weimar and finds Richard Wagner (35). He decides to hide Wagner from the authorities. Liszt then organizes a false identity and an escape to Switzerland and Paris. Before he leaves, Wagner is able to hear Liszt conduct a rehearsal of Tannhäuser, scheduled to be performed 20 May. Wagner will remember, “I was astounded to recognize in him my second self...”
May 18, 1849: Franz Liszt (37) returns from Karlsruhe to his home in Weimar and learns that a warrant has been issued for Richard Wagner (35). At night he takes Wagner out of his home and places him in the home of Eduard Genast, the manager of the Weimar theatre. Genast goes to minister Bernhard von Watzdorf who tells him that the warrant has not yet been delivered, therefore there is time to get Wagner away. Liszt sends Wagner to the village of Magdala with money borrowed from Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein. Two hours later, the warrant arrives from Dresden.
August 25, 1849: Licht, mehr Licht for chorus by Franz Liszt (37) to words of Schober is performed for the first time, in Weimar, directed by the composer.
August 28, 1849: Tasso: lamento e trionfo, a symphonic poem by Franz Liszt (37), is performed for the first time, in Weimar, directed by the composer along with the Festmarsch zur Goethejubiläumsfeier. It is all part of celebrations surrounding the centennial of Goethe’s birth, during which he also conducts Beethoven’s (†22) Symphony no.9 and parts of Robert Schumann’s (39) Faust.
August 24, 1850: Two works by Franz Liszt (38) are performed for the first time, conducted by the composer in Weimar: Chöre zu Herders Entfeisselten Prometheus and the overture Prometheus. Prometheus will be revised into a symphonic poem. See 18 October 1855.
August 25, 1850: Franz Liszt’s (38) Festchor zur Enthüllung des Herder-Denkmalls in Weimar to words of Schöll is performed for the first time, in Weimar.
August 28, 1850: On the 100th anniversary of the birth of Goethe, Lohengrin, a romantische Oper by Richard Wagner (37) to his own words, is performed for the first time, at the Weimar Hoftheater directed by Franz Liszt (38). The theatre is full of artistic luminaries including Robert Franz (35), Joseph Joachim, and Hans von Bülow. The composer is not present as he is a wanted man in Germany.
October 13, 1850: Joseph Joachim takes up duties as Konzertmeister in the Weimar orchestra conducted by Franz Liszt (38).
August 31, 1851: Franz Liszt (39), Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein, and her daughter Marie arrive in Düsseldorf and meet with Robert (41) and Clara (31) Schumann. They will meet each of the next three days. Clara tells her diary, “He played, as always, with truly diabolical bravura--he masters the piano like a demon (I can’t put it any other way...)--but, oh, his compositions, they were simply too dreadful! When a youngster writes that sort of stuff he can be forgiven because of his youth, but what can one say when a grown man is still so blind...It is really depressing and made us both feel quite sad. Liszt himself seemed taken aback when we said nothing, but one cannot say anything when one feels so profoundly indignant.” (Williams, 276)
March 17, 1852: Giacomo Meyerbeer (60) receives a visit at his Berlin home from a friend who recently spent time in Weimar, “where Liszt (40) is gathering many musicians around him who subscribe to a new direction in music, which defines itself as freedom of musical thought, independent of any specific form: Richard Wagner (38) is their ideal.”
May 29, 1852: Encouraged by his friend, Franz Liszt (40), Hans Christian Andersen sees a performance of Wagner’s (39) Tannhäuser in Weimar. “The text, good; the performance on the whole better than expected. The music competent with regard to idea, but lacking in melody. What Carl Maria Weber (†25) or Mozart (†60) couldn’t have done with it!”
August 15, 1852: A setting of the Mass for male chorus and organ by Franz Liszt (40) is performed for the first time, in Weimar, conducted by the composer.
December 2, 1852: Franz Liszt (41) writes, “Beethoven’s work is like the pillar of cloud and fire that guided the Israelites through the desert—a pillar of cloud to guide us by day, a pillar of fire to guide us by night…His darkness and his light trace for us the path we have to follow; they are a perpetual commandment, an infallible revelation.” (Quinn, 154)
June 1, 1853: Two works for piano and orchestra by Franz Liszt (41) are performed for the first time, in Pest: Fantasie über Motive aus Beethovens Ruinen von Athen and Fantasie über Ungarische Volksmelodien.
June 15, 1853: On a day of celebration for the silver jubilee of the reign of Grand Duke Carl Friedrich, Johannes Brahms (20) meets Franz Liszt (41) and Peter Cornelius (28) at Altenburg, the mansion of Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein in Weimar. Brahms is too nervous to play any of his music so Liszt reads the e flat minor scherzo from manuscript. Liszt comments as he plays. Brahms is overwhelmed, but later appears to doze while Liszt plays his own works.
July 8, 1853: Grand Duke Carl Friedrich of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, patron of Franz Liszt (41), dies at Belvedere Castle. He is succeeded by his son Carl Alexander. Perhaps because of Carl Friedrich’s less than inspiring interest in music, Liszt will not hurry back from Zürich for the funeral.
October 3, 1853: An die Künstler for chorus and winds by Franz Liszt (41) to words of Schiller, is performed for the first time, in the Hoftheater, Karlsruhe directed by the composer.
October 10, 1853: In the home of Madame Patersi de Fossombroni in Paris, Franz Liszt (41) sees his three children for the first time in nine years. He has come from Switzerland with Richard Wagner (40), Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein and her daughter Princess Marie. Also present are Hector Berlioz (49) and Liszt’s mother Anna. At the request of Princess Marie, Wagner continues to read his Nibelungen poem which he had begun reading to them in Switzerland. It is the first time that Wagner lays eyes on Cosima Liszt, now just 15. It is the first time that Wagner and Berlioz have met since 1843. This is probably the only time that Liszt, Berlioz, and Wagner ever inhabited the same room.
October 18, 1853: Sometime during the next five days, Giuseppe Verdi (40) arrives in Paris with Giuseppina Strepponi to spend the winter. He is staying five minutes walk from the hotel where Franz Liszt (41) and Richard Wagner (40) are. They do not run into each other, and Verdi will never meet either Wagner or Liszt.
December 1, 1853: La fuite en Egypte, a mystère ancien for tenor, chorus, and orchestra by Hector Berlioz (49) to his own words, is performed completely for the first time, in Leipzig conducted by the composer. Of all the cities he performs in during this tour, Leipzig gives Berlioz’ music the coolest reception. In the audience are Franz Liszt (42) and Peter Cornelius (28). After the performance, these and other musicians take Berlioz to a restaurant to cheer him up. They are soon joined by Johannes Brahms (20) who just arrived in the city after the concert. See 12 November 1850 and 30 May 1853.
December 10, 1853: Hector Berlioz gives one of many very successful concerts at the Leipzig Gewandhaus. A reception hosted by Franz Liszt (42) after the performance includes Johannes Brahms (20), Peter Cornelius (28), Ferdinand David, and several other eminent musicians. The Pauliner Singers serenade him beneath his hotel window. Tomorrow is his 50th birthday.
February 16, 1854: On the birthday of the Dowager Grand Duchess, Franz Liszt’s (42) symphonic poem Orpheus is performed for the first time, in Weimar, conducted by the composer, as an introduction to a production of Gluck’s (†66) Orfeo ed Euridice.
February 23, 1854: Les Préludes, a symphonic poem by Franz Liszt (42), is performed for the first time, in Weimar, directed by the composer.
March 21, 1854: Franz Liszt writes to a friend, “the learned critics have declared…that approving of my works, or even of listening to them without condemning them in advance is a crime, that of l’ese-art. In all probability this war against me will last several years.” (Quinn, 148)
April 16, 1854: Mazeppa, a symphonic poem by Franz Liszt (42), is performed for the first time, in Weimar, directed by the composer.
April 19, 1854: In a concert in Weimar, the phrase “symphonic poem” is used for the first time, to describe Tasso by Franz Liszt (42).
May 25, 1854: A copy of the Sonata in b minor for piano by Franz Liszt (42), dedicated to Robert Schumann (43) (now in an insane asylum), arrives in Düsseldorf at the home of Clara Schumann (34). She calls it “merely a blind noise--no healthy ideas anymore, everything confused, one cannot find a single, clear harmonic progression...It really is too awful.”
June 24, 1854: Alfonso und Estrella D.732, an opera by Franz Schubert (†25) to words of Schober, is performed for the first time, in Weimar conducted by Franz Liszt (42) on the birthday of Grand Duke Carl Alexander. Also premiered by Liszt is the Solemn Overture for chorus, organ, and orchestra by Anton Rubinstein (24). The composer received the commission six days ago.
November 9, 1854: Franz Liszt (43) conducts his symphonic poem Festklänge in its first performance, with Schiller’s play Huldigung der Künste in Weimar.
November 20, 1854: The first meeting of the Neu-Weimar-Verein takes place at the Russischer Hof. Charter members include Franz Liszt (43) and Peter Cornelius (29), as well as out-of-town members Hector Berlioz (50), Hans von Bülow, Joseph Joachim, and Richard Wagner (41). The purpose of the association is to further the music of the more radical Romantics: Berlioz, Wagner, Liszt, and others.
February 17, 1855: Piano Concerto no.1 by Franz Liszt (43) is performed for the first time, in the Ducal Palace, Weimar by the composer at the keyboard and the orchestra directed by Hector Berlioz (51). It is the first of two joint concerts in Weimar, today’s at the ducal court. These two concerts are very successful.
April 5, 1855: Agnès Street-Klindworth departs Weimar for Brussels. She has been in Weimar since the Autumn of 1853, coming as a promising piano pupil of Franz Liszt (43). Agnès’ true mission was as an intelligence gatherer for her father, Georg Klindworth, spymaster for Prince Metternich of Austria. During her stay she managed to begin a flaming love affair with Liszt, which they will continue by letter after her departure.
April 9, 1855: Giacomo Meyerbeer (63) is awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of the Ernestine House (first class with star) by Duke Ernst II of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha personally. He then takes a train for Weimar to see Robert Schumann’s (44) opera Genoveva there. He tries to go to the theatre incognito in order to avoid meeting Franz Liszt (43) but is discovered by Peter Cornelius (30) who tells Liszt. He is obliged by his old nemesis to view the opera in the box of Princess Wittgenstein. He finds Genoveva “totally without melodies, badly written for the voices, unclear and ponderous; and yet with many interesting harmonic and orchestral details, and occasional flashes of genial conception.”
May 26, 1855: Franz Liszt (43) arrives in Cologne for the Lower Rhine Music Festival. His true mission is to see his secret lover, Agnès Street-Klindworth. The two spend several days together in Cologne and Düsseldorf.
May 30, 1855: Franz Liszt (43) and Joseph Joachim spend a musical evening at the home of Clara Schumann (35) in Düsseldorf. They play the music of Robert Schumann (44), presently in an insane asylum. Clara tells her diary of Liszt, “But it was so horrible, that my feelings could find an outlet only in tears. How he banged the piano, and what a tempo he took! I was beside myself that His work should be so desecrated in these rooms...” (Williams, 317)
July 2, 1855: Frisch auf, zu neuem Leben for male chorus by Franz Liszt (43) to words of Hoffmann von Fallersleben, is performed for the first time, in Weimar.
September 26, 1855: Fantasie und Fuge über den Choral ‘Ad nos, ad salutarem undam’ for organ by Franz Liszt (43) is performed for the first time, at the inauguration of a new organ at Merseburg Cathedral.
October 18, 1855: The symphonic poem Prometheus by Franz Liszt (43) is performed for the first time, in Braunschweig, under the direction of the composer. See 24 August 1850.
October 19, 1855: Hans von Bülow conducts the first performance in Berlin of the Overture and Venusberg music from Richard Wagner’s (42) Tannhäuser. Present are Franz Liszt (43) and his two daughters. The conclusion of the music is met with hisses and boos. In his dressing room, von Bülow collapses and faints from the strain. At 02:00 he is well enough for Liszt to force him out and back to his hotel. Cosima Liszt is waiting for him. The two stay up all night talking, and confess their love for each other.
December 6, 1855: A setting of Psalm 13 for tenor, chorus, and orchestra by Franz Liszt (44) is performed for the first time, in the Berlin Singakademie, conducted by the composer. The hall is completely filled, including King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia and Queen Elisabeth. While Liszt is in Berlin, he continues his secret tryst with Agnès Street-Klindworth.
February 24, 1856: Hector Berlioz (52) manages to make it all the way through a performance of Lohengrin conducted by Franz Liszt (44) in Weimar. At his first try, a few days ago, Berlioz left in the middle of Act II. The two friends do not talk about it very much, although Berlioz is free in expressing his disdain to others. Although Liszt and Berlioz remain friends, it will never be the same.
May 2, 1856: Präludium und Fuge über das Motiv B.A.C.H. for organ by Franz Liszt (44) is performed for the first time, in Merseburg, in the presence of the composer.
May 11, 1856: Franz Liszt (44) and Hans von Bülow meet in Merseburg and discuss a marriage between von Bülow and Liszt’s daughter, Cosima.
August 31, 1856: Franz Liszt’s (44) Missa solemnis zur Einweihung der Basilika in Gran for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra is performed for the first time, in Gran (Esztergom), 40 km northwest of Pest. 4,000 people, including Emperor Franz Joseph II and many dignitaries of state and church, are present for the consecration.
September 8, 1856: Hungaria, a symphonic poem by Franz Liszt (44) is performed for the first time, in the National Theatre, Pest, directed by the composer. It is an enormous success.
November 23, 1856: Franz Liszt (45) conducts two of his symphonic poems, Les Preludes and Orpheus, at a concert at St. Gall, Switzerland. Richard Wagner (43), who conducts the Eroica Symphony on the same program, is enormously impressed with both of them, and calls Orpheus “a totally unique masterpiece of the highest perfection.”
January 7, 1857: Franz Liszt’s (45) Concerto for piano and orchestra no.2 is performed for the first time, in Weimar, conducted by the composer.
January 22, 1857: The Sonata in b minor for piano by Franz Liszt (45) is performed for the first time, in Berlin, by Hans von Bülow. The public is very appreciative. The critics hate it. This is the first time a Bechstein grand piano has been heard in public.
May 31, 1857: Franz Liszt (45) conducts the first of three concerts he is to give at the Lower Rhine Music Festival in Aachen.
June 23, 1857: Franz Liszt (45) is admitted to the Order of St. Francis by the Hungarian Franciscans.
August 27, 1857: Joseph Joachim writes from Göttingen to Franz Liszt (45) in Weimar. It is his formal break with Liszt and his music. “Your music is entirely antagonistic to me; it contradicts everything with which the spirits of our great ones have nourished my mind from my earliest youth.”
September 4, 1857: The Festvorspiel for orchestra by Franz Liszt (45) is performed for the first time, in Weimar, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Grand Duke Carl August, grandfather of the present Grand Duke Carl Alexander of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach.
September 5, 1857: Two orchestral works by Franz Liszt (45) are performed for the first time, in Weimar, conducted by the composer: the symphonic poem Die Ideale and Eine Faust-Symphonie in drei Charakterbildern. They celebrate the unveiling today of the Goethe-Schiller Monument in Weimar. One of those in attendance, Hans Christian Andersen, an admirer of Liszt the performer, is less enthusiastic about his music. “[Liszt’s music] was wild, melodious, and turbid. At times there was a crash of cymbals. When I first heard it, I thought a plate had fallen down. I went home tired. What a damned sort of music.”
November 7, 1857: Eine Symphonie zu Dantes Divina Commedia by Franz Liszt (46) is performed for the first time, in Dresden, directed by the composer. With only one rehearsal, the performance is an unmitigated disaster.
November 10, 1857: Franz Liszt’s (46) symphonic poem Héroïde funèbre is performed for the first time, in Breslau (Wroclaw).
December 29, 1857: Hunnenschlacht, a symphonic poem by Franz Liszt (46), is performed for the first time, in Weimar, conducted by the composer.
April 11, 1858: During a visit to Pest, Franz Liszt (46) is admitted to the Franciscan order as a confrater in a monastery nearby.
May 27, 1858: Franz Liszt’s (46) Festgesang zur Eröffnung der zehnten allgemeinen deutschen Lehrerversammlung to words of von Fallersleben is performed for the first time, in Weimar.
June 25, 1858: Hamlet, a symphonic poem by Franz Liszt (46) is performed for the first time, for a private performance of Shakespeare’s play in Weimar. See 2 July 1876.
November 24, 1858: Franz Liszt (47) writes from Weimar to the poet, Ludwig Eckardt, “Art is for us none other than the mystic ladder from earth to Heaven--from the finite to the Infinite--from mankind to God: an everlasting aspiration and impulse towards redemption through love!” (Williams, 351)
December 15, 1858: Der Barbier von Bagdad, a comic opera by Peter Cornelius (33) to his own words, is performed for the first time, in the Weimar Hoftheater conducted by Franz Liszt (47). Although the work and performance are excellent, there are noisy demonstrations in the audience which Liszt takes to be against him. In the face of this, he will resign his post of Grand Ducal Director of Music Extraordinary at Weimar.
January 14, 1859: Hans von Bülow conducts Die Ideale by Franz Liszt (47) at the Berlin Singakademie. At the conclusion, hisses are heard. Bülow leaves, then returns and announces to the audience “I request that the hissers leave the hall, since it is not customary to hiss here.” Silence fills the hall. He then continues with the concert.
February 14, 1859: Franz Liszt (47) writes to Grand Duke Carl Alexander of Weimar resigning his post as Kapellmeister.
April 9, 1859: Huldigungsmarsch by Franz Liszt (47) is performed for the first time, in Weimar conducted by the composer.
April 10, 1859: Emperor Franz Joseph II inducts Franz Liszt (47) into the Order of the Iron Crown, third class. This gives him the right to petition the Emperor for a knighthood. As soon as the news reaches Liszt in Weimar later this month, he will.
September 15, 1859: A Te Deum for chorus, organ, brass, and percussion ad. lib. by Franz Liszt (47) is performed for the first time, for the wedding of Marie Sayn-Wittgenstein to Prince Constantine von Hohenlohe in Weimar.
October 2, 1859: Franz Liszt’s (47) Die Seligkeiten for baritone, chorus, and organ, to words from the Bible, is performed for the first time, in Weimar.
October 30, 1859: Franz Liszt (48) is admitted to the Austrian nobility as Franz, Ritter von Liszt. On the same day, his setting of the 137th Psalm for alto, violin, and keyboard is performed for the first time, in Weimar.
November 9, 1859: Vor hundert Jahren, a melodrama for speaker and orchestra by Franz Liszt (48) to words of Halm, is performed for the first time, in Weimar.
December 13, 1859: Daniel Liszt, third and youngest child of Franz Liszt (48), dies of consumption at the age of 20, in the presence of his father and sister Cosima at the von Bülow home in Berlin.
March 7, 1860: The Catholic consistories of Russia and the Metropolitan of St. Petersburg grant an annulment to Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein from her husband Nicholas. This should allow her to marry Franz Liszt (48) but the decree is suspended by the Bishop of Fulda. Weimar lies in his jurisdiction.
October 22, 1860: On his 49th birthday, the city of Weimar makes Franz Liszt an honorary citizen and gives him a torchlight parade.
November 8, 1860: Franz Liszt’s (49) orchestral work, Künstlerfestzug zur Schillerfeier 1859, is performed for the first time, in Weimar.
March 8, 1861: Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke, the first of the Two Episodes from Lenau’s “Faust” by Franz Liszt (49) is performed for the first time, in Weimar.
May 22, 1861: Franz Liszt (49) dines at the Palais des Tuileries with Emperor Napoleon III and Empress Eugènie and invited guests. He plays for the gathering and causes a sensation.
May 27, 1861: At her request, Franz Liszt (49) visits the home of Marie d’Agoult, the mother of his three children, in Paris. They talk for an hour.
June 8, 1861: Franz Liszt (49) dines at the home of Marie d’Agoult in Paris for the last time. Marie is overwhelmed, as if those years of anger and recrimination never happened. “It is still he and he alone who makes me feel the divine mystery of life.” (Williams, 375) He departs Paris for Weimar tonight.
June 25, 1861: A setting of Psalm 18 for male chorus and orchestra by Franz Liszt (49) is performed for the first time, in Weimar.
August 12, 1861: Franz Liszt (49) closes the Altenburg and seals its doors. It has been his home during his entire residence in Weimar, some 13 years. He moves to the Hotel Erbprinz.
August 17, 1861: Franz Liszt (49) leaves Weimar for Italy. Before departing he sees Grand Duke Carl Alexander who creates him Gentleman of the Ducal Bedchamber.
October 20, 1861: After traveling for two months through Germany and France, Franz Liszt (49) arrives in Rome by steamship from Marseille. He goes immediately to the apartment of Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein and the two are reunited after 17 months of separation. They go together to the Vatican and Liszt swears on the Gospels that he is single, has not taken vows to be a priest, is not promised in marriage to another, and that he came to Rome to marry. Carolyne makes similar vows.
October 21, 1861: 18:00 Franz Liszt and Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein take communion at the church of San Carlo in Rome where they intend to marry tomorrow, Liszt’s 50th birthday. They dine together in her apartment. At 23:00 a messenger from Cardinal Antonelli, papal secretary of state, brings the news that Carolyne’s family have declared her marriage to Liszt illegal, charging that she lied in obtaining her original annulment from Prince Nicholas Wittgenstein. She had said that she was forced to marry which the family claims is not true. Pope Pius IX has agreed to review the case. The wedding will never take place.
March 23, 1863: The first version of Cantico del Sol di San Francesco by Franz Liszt (51) is performed for the first time, in Palazzo Altieri, Rome.
June 20, 1863: Franz Liszt (51) moves into the Dominican monastery of the Madonna del Rosario on the Monte Mario near Rome. He will live there for five years.
July 3, 1863: Slavimo slavno slaveni! for male chorus and organ by Franz Liszt (51) to words of Pucic is performed for the first time, in Rome for the millennium celebration of St. Cyril and St. Methodius.
July 11, 1863: Pope Pius IX visits Franz Liszt (51) at the monastery of the Madonna del Rosario near Rome. He asks Liszt to play and he obliges with St. Francis of Assisi preaching to the birds, followed by Casta Diva from Bellini’s (†27) Norma. The Pope sings the aria spontaneously from memory.
October 4, 1864: Franz Liszt (52), with his daughter Cosima von Bülow, spends nine days in Paris. He is reunited with his mother and Marie d’Agoult.
April 15, 1865: Totentanz for piano and orchestra by Franz Liszt (53) is performed for the first time, at The Hague.
April 25, 1865: Franz Liszt (53) receives the tonsure in the Chapel of His Serene Highness Monseigneur Gustav Hohenlohe in the Vatican. No one knows of this in advance except Pope Pius IX, Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein, and Gustav Hohenlohe. He moves into the Vatican.
May 25, 1865: A setting of the Pater noster for chorus and organ by Franz Liszt (53) is performed for the first time, in Dessau.
July 30, 1865: Franz Liszt (53) receives the four minor orders of the Roman Catholic Church, Doorkeeper, Lector, Acolyte, and Exorcist, in the Chapel of His Serene Highness Monseigneur Hohenlohe at Tivoli.
August 8, 1865: Franz Liszt (53) arrives in Buda from Rome to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Pest Conservatory of Music.
August 15, 1865: Die Legende von der heiligen Elisabeth, an oratorio by Franz Liszt (53) to words of Roquette, is performed for the first time, in Pest, directed by the composer in the habit of a Franciscan monk. This is to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Pest Conservatory of Music. Anton Bruckner (40) has traveled from Linz for the premiere.
March 8, 1866: At a social gathering in the salon of Princess Pauline Metternich in Paris, Camille Saint-Saëns (30) meets Franz Liszt (54). They play through a four-hand arrangement of Liszt’s Missa solemnis zur Einweihung der Basilika in Gran which is due to be performed in Paris shortly. Liszt announces, “It is possible to be as much of a musician as Saint-Saëns; it is impossible to be more of one!” Saint-Saëns writes “I see again that long pale face casting seductive glances at his audience while from beneath his fingers, almost unconsciously, and with an amazing range of nuances, there murmured, surged, boomed, and stormed the waves of the Legend of St. Francis of Paule walking on the waters. Never again shall we see or hear anything like it.” (Williams, 408-9)
April 29, 1866: After three concerts of his music in Amsterdam over the last three days, Franz Liszt (54) is received by Queen Sophie of the Netherlands in The Hague.
November 22, 1866: Franz Liszt (55) moves into the Santa Francesca Romana in Rome, where he will live until 1871.
June 7, 1867: Emperor Franz Joseph II invests Franz Liszt (55) with the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Franz Joseph.
June 8, 1867: Hungarian Coronation Mass by Franz Liszt (55) is performed for the first time, in Buda for the coronation of Emperor Franz Joseph II and Empress Elisabeth as King and Queen of Hungary. Since he has not received an invitation to the coronation, the composer listens from the organ loft.
October 9, 1867: Franz Liszt (55) arrives at Tribschen to discuss Richard Wagner’s (54) relationship with his daughter Cosima von Bülow. They talk for six hours. Later, they discuss Die Meistersinger, which Liszt sight-reads from the orchestral score while Wagner sings the vocal parts. Liszt calls it a masterpiece. They will not see each other again for five years.
June 21, 1868: Franz Liszt (56) performs in the Great Banquet Hall of the Vatican Library before Pope Pius IX and other high church officials at a gathering to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the elevation of the Pope.
December 31, 1868: American painter George Healy and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow visit Franz Liszt (57) at the monastery of Santa Francesca Romana. He shows them around and then plays for them on the grand piano sent to him by Frank Chickering of Boston.
May 15, 1869: Ave maris stella by Franz Liszt (57), in the version for solo male quartet, is performed for the first time, in Regensburg.
September 22, 1869: The Vorabend to Der Ring des Nibelungen, Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner (56) to his own words, is performed for the first time, in the Königliches Hof-und Nationaltheater, Munich. The production has been forced by King Ludwig against the wishes of the composer. Among those in attendance is Franz Liszt (57). See 13 August 1876.
April 9, 1870: Edvard Grieg (26) writes from Rome to his parents, describing a recent meeting with Franz Liszt (58). Liszt sight-read Grieg’s Piano Concerto and told him “Hold to your course. Let me tell you, you have the talent for it, and--don’t get scared off!” Grieg considers this a “sacred mandate.”
May 29, 1870: Zur Säkularfeier Beethovens, a cantata by Franz Liszt (58) to words of Stern and Gregorovius, is performed for the first time, in Weimar for the Allgemeiner deutscher Musikverein.
July 19, 1870: Franco-Prussian War: France declares war on Prussia. The announcement is made by Cabinet Chief Émile Ollivier, son-in-law of Franz Liszt (58) and brother-in-law of Cosima von Bülow.
March 4, 1871: Franz Liszt (59) writes to Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein from Pest, “What a dreadful and heartrending thought it is that eighteen centuries of Christianity, and a few more centuries of philosophy and of moral and intellectual culture, have not delivered Europe from the scourge of war!”
June 13, 1871: Emperor Franz Joseph II, King Ferenc József I of Hungary, confers on Franz Liszt (59) the title of Royal Hungarian Councilor with a salary.
February 16, 1872: Epithalam zu Eduard Reményi’s Vermählungsfeier for violin and piano by Franz Liszt (60) is performed for the first time. It was composed for Reményi’s wedding on 10 February but he does not actually perform it until today.
September 2, 1872: Richard (59) and Cosima Wagner visit Franz Liszt (60) at the Russischer Hof Hotel in Weimar, effecting a reconciliation. It is the first time the two men have met since 1867.
September 3, 1872: While visiting her father, Franz Liszt (60), in Weimar, Cosima Wagner writes, “I am terribly upset by my father’s weariness of soul...I saw the tragedy of my father’s life as in a vision--during the night I shed many tears.” (C.Wagner, 148)
October 15, 1872: Franz Liszt (59) makes his first visit to Bayreuth to visit Richard (59) and Cosima Wagner.
March 19, 1873: Szózat und Hymnus for orchestra by Franz Liszt (61) is performed for the first time, in Budapest.
May 29, 1873: Christus, an oratorio by Franz Liszt (61) to words from the Bible and the Roman Catholic liturgy, is performed completely for the first time, in the Weimar Stadtkirche, conducted by the composer. Liszt’s daughter, Cosima, and his son-in-law Richard Wagner (60) are present. Cosima reports that “Richard’s reaction covers all extremes, from ravishment to immense indignation, in his attempt to do it both profound and loving justice.” (C.Wagner, 178)
September 23, 1873: Wartburg Lieder for tenor, two baritones, chorus, and orchestra by Franz Liszt (61) is performed for the first time, in Wartburg.
November 8, 1873: A grand jubilee of three days begins in Budapest to honor the 50th anniversary of Franz Liszt’s (62) career as a performer and composer. The honoree has come from Rome for the events.
March 16, 1874: Des toten Dichters Liebe, a melodrama for reciter and piano by Franz Liszt (62) to words of Jókai translated by Dux, is performed for the first time, in Budapest, the composer at the keyboard.
March 10, 1875: Die Glocken des Strassburger Münsters for mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus, and orchestra by Franz Liszt (63) to words of Longfellow, is performed for the first time, in Pest. The work is dedicated by the composer to the poet.
March 30, 1875: Minister Agoston Trefort confers on Franz Liszt (63) the title of President of the proposed Academy of Music in Budapest.
June 17, 1875: Three works by Franz Liszt (63) are performed for the first time, in Weimar: Die heilige Cäcilia for mezzo-soprano, chorus, and orchestra to words of de Girardin, Hymne de l’enfant à son réveil for female chorus, piano, and harp to words of Lamartine, and Erste Elegie for cello, piano, harp, and harmonium.
August 17, 1875: The Rákóczy March for orchestra by Franz Liszt (63) is performed for the first time, in Pest.
September 3, 1875: Two occasional works by Franz Liszt (63) are performed for the first time, in Weimar: Der Herr bewahret die Seelen seiner Heiligen, Festgesang zur Enthüllung des Carl-August-Denkmals in Weimar, and Carl August weilt mit uns, Festgesang zur Enthüllung des Carl-August-Denkmals in Weimar, for male chorus, brass, drums, and organ.
November 14, 1875: The National Hungarian Royal Academy of Music opens its doors under President Franz Liszt (64). The President is currently living in Rome.
March 5, 1876: Countess Marie d’Agoult, former mistress of Franz Liszt (64) and mother of their three children, dies of heart disease in Paris. Liszt learns the news by reading it in a newspaper, as does her daughter, Cosima Wagner.
March 14, 1876: Franz Liszt (64) writes to Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein, “The newspapers tell me of the death of Daniel Stern (pen name of Marie d’Agoult). Barring hypocrisy, I could not weep for her more after her death than during her life.” (Williams, 522)
July 2, 1876: A revised version of Hamlet, a symphonic poem by Franz Liszt (64), is performed for the first time, in Sondershausen. See 25 June 1858.
August 13, 1876: A glittering array of political leaders and artists, including Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany and Emperor Pedro II of Brazil, gathers in Bayreuth for the opening of the Festspielhaus. Attending musicians include Franz Liszt (64), Anton Bruckner (51), Camille Saint-Saëns (40), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (36), Edvard Grieg (33), and Arthur Foote (23). Friedrich Nietzsche is also there. The first production of the complete Der Ring des Nibelungen, Bühnenfestspiel für drei Tage und einen Vorabend, by Richard Wagner (63) to his own words opens in the Bayreuth Festspielhaus with a production of Das Rheingold.
December 27, 1876: Le triomphe funèbre du Tasse for orchestra by Franz Liszt (65) is performed for the first time, in New York.
May 20, 1877: During a performance of Franz Liszt’s (65) St. Elisabeth at the festival of the Allgemeiner Deutscher Musikverein in Hannover, the conductor falls off the podium to the floor in a drunken stupor. The performance halts. As he is carried off, Liszt comes forward, takes the baton and conducts the work to its conclusion.
December 2, 1877: Samson et Dalila, an opéra by Camille Saint-Saëns (42) to words of Lemaire, is performed for the first time, in the Weimar Hoftheater, conducted by Franz Liszt (66). Gabriel Fauré (32), in town for the premiere, meets Liszt for the first time. Fauré will later write, “being at that first performance was one of the greatest pleasures and one of the most moving experiences of my life.”
June 9, 1878: Franz Liszt (66) spends ten days in Paris as President of the Jury of the section of the World Exhibition containing musical instruments. He was asked by the Hungarian government to represent Hungary.
July 10, 1879: Septem sacramenta, responsories for mezzo-soprano, baritone, chorus, and organ by Franz Liszt (67) is performed for the first time, in Weimar.
October 12, 1879: Franz Liszt (67) is made Canon of Albano, the only Church promotion he will ever receive. He is now allowed to wear the purple sash.
January 20, 1881: Franz Liszt (69) moves in to his new apartment at the Royal Academy of Music in Budapest.
April 7, 1881: Franz Liszt (69) travels with an entourage of 16 coaches to his birthplace of Raiding where a plaque is unveiled in his honor. He tours the town with hundreds of its citizens.
May 9, 1881: The Second Mephisto Waltz for orchestra by Franz Liszt (69) is performed for the first time, in Budapest.
May 31, 1881: King Leopold II of Belgium invests Franz Liszt (69) with the Order of Leopold, in Brussels.
July 2, 1881: Franz Liszt (69) falls down the stairs at his home in Weimar. He will be incapacitated for eight weeks.
September 27, 1881: The new Budapest Opera House is opened in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth. Franz Liszt (69) composed his Ungarisches Königslied for the event, but the work is not performed because it includes the Rákóczy tune, referring to the old enemy of the Habsburgs.
December 25, 1881: O heilige Nacht for tenor, female chorus, and organ by Franz Liszt (70) is performed for the first time, in Rome.
June 18, 1882: Edward MacDowell (21) travels from Frankfurt to Weimar and plays his new Piano Concerto for Franz Liszt (70) at Liszt’s residence in the Hofgärtnerei. Eugen d’Albert, who happens to be there, plays the accompaniment. Liszt tells d’Albert, “You must bestir yourself if you do not wish to be outdone by our young American.” (Bomberger, 67)
July 12, 1882: Victor Herbert (23) meets Franz Liszt (70) at the Allgemeinen Deutschen Musik-Verein in Zürich. Later, Liszt and Camille Saint-Saëns (46) perform Liszt’s four-hand arrangement of his Mephisto Waltz. Herbert will remember, “You should have heard that playing. We were afraid every moment the piano would go to smash under Liszt’s gigantic hands that came down like very sledge hammers.” (Waters, 18)
July 27, 1882: A day after the premiere of Parsifal in Bayreuth, Hubert Parry (34) attends a reception at Wahnfried. “He (Wagner(69)) looks old and white but wonderfully boyish. There is a curious gleam of fire and geniality and freshness about him...I couldn’t get a word with Liszt (70). He was incessantly sidling about caressing everybody like an old bogey at a witches’ sabbath who had got hold of all the pretty rascals he liked best.”
August 19, 1882: Hungary’s God for baritone, male chorus, winds, and percussion by Franz Liszt (70) to words of Petöfi translated by Neugebauer, is performed for the first time, for the National Choral Festival, Debrecen.
November 19, 1882: Franz Liszt (71) visits Richard (69) and Cosima Wagner in Venice. He will stay until 13 January. It is the first time in many years that he has not wintered in Rome.
January 13, 1883: Franz Liszt (71) departs Venice, where he has spent two months with Richard (69) and Cosima Wagner, for Budapest. It is the last time the two men will see each other.
February 22, 1883: Angelus! Prière aux anges gardiens in the version for string quintet by Franz Liszt (71) is performed for the first time, in Prague.
May 25, 1884: Franz Liszt (72) conducts for the last time, at the Deutscher Musikverein festival in Weimar.
May 26, 1884: Alyeksandr Glazunov (18) is in Weimar where Franz Liszt (72) has decided that his Symphony no.1 will be performed by the General German Music Union. The rehearsal this afternoon does not go well, although Liszt applauds every movement. The performance is much more successful. Liszt is very helpful to the young composer, offering suggestions to improve the work.
December 21, 1884: Hungarian King’s Song by Franz Liszt (73) is performed for the first time, in Pressburg.
January 10, 1885: Der Zaubersee, a song for tenor and orchestra by Franz Liszt (73) to words of Zichy, is performed for the first time.
January 21, 1886: Franz Liszt (74) departs Rome for Budapest. It is the last time he will see the city.
March 20, 1886: Franz Liszt (74) arrives in Paris for celebrations during the year of his 75th birthday.
April 7, 1886: Franz Liszt (74) plays for Queen Victoria in a private audience at Windsor Castle. The last time they met was 41 years ago. The Pall Mall Gazette reports, “By the time he got to Windsor, the streets were crowded as for a Royal progress, and on his appearance everyone took off his hat. The Queen sent a royal carriage to meet him--a compliment seldom bestowed upon anyone under a Minister of State. At the Castle, the whole of the Royal household and servants turned out to meet him.” (Williams, 666)
April 20, 1886: After a triumphant 16 days in London, Franz Liszt (74) departs England for the last time.
May 17, 1886: Franz Liszt (74) arrives back in Weimar after attending 75th birthday celebrations in Paris and London. He is so weak that his students have to lift him from the train and take him home.
July 1, 1886: Franz Liszt (74) arrives in Bayreuth for the wedding of his granddaughter, Daniela von Bülow.
July 19, 1886: Franz Liszt (74) plays the piano in public for the last time, at a concert in the Luxembourg Casino.
July 25, 1886: Against his doctor’s orders, Franz Liszt (74) is carried into Wagner’s (†3) box at the Bayreuth Festspielhaus to view a complete performance of Tristan und Isolde, its Bayreuth premiere.
July 27, 1886: Although the condition of Franz Liszt (74) takes a turn for the worse, his daughter, Cosima Wagner, can not attend him as she is required for a reception at Wahnfried. He begins to hallucinate and sweat profusely.
July 28, 1886: A second doctor called in by Cosima Wagner to attend her father, Franz Liszt (74), diagnoses pneumonia.
July 31, 1886: Franz Liszt awakes in the morning at Bayreuth clutching his chest and gasping for air. He is in this state for 30 minutes and then collapses. His doctor prescribes Hoffman’s Drops (ether and ethanol) and suggests that he drink wine and champagne. 23:30 Doctors inject something (perhaps camphor) directly into his chest. His body convulses and Franz Liszt dies of pneumonia at 9 Siegriedstraße (present Wahnfriedstraße), Bayreuth, German Empire, aged 74 years, nine months, and nine days. In attendance are his daughter, Cosima Liszt von Bülow Wagner, and his four grandchildren.
March 9, 1887: Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein dies in Rome at the age of 68, seven months after Franz Liszt.
May 22, 1887: The Liszt (†0) Museum is opened at his home in Weimar. His daughter Cosima does not attend since this is, by coincidence, Wagner’s (†4) birthday.
May 16, 1908: Percy Grainger (25) enters a recording studio for the first time. He records, for the Gramophone Company (HMV), the Hungarian Rhapsody no.12 by Franz Liszt (†21), his own arrangement of Charles Stanford’s (55) Irish March-Jig—Maguire’s Kick, and the cadenza from the first movement of Edvard Grieg’s (†0) Piano Concerto.
May 21, 1912: Two works by Franz Liszt (†25) are heard for the first time, in a performance at Weimar. They are Les morts, the first of the Trois ordres funèbres, and Hungaria, a cantata for soprano, tenor, bass, male chorus, and orchestra, to words of Schober. The former work was composed in the 1860s, the latter dates from the revolutionary year 1848.
August 27, 1928: Lev Sergeyevich Termen (Leon Theremin) (32) and three of his students perform upon four of the new electronic musical instruments with the New York Philharmonic in Lewisohn Stadium. Among the works on the program are the Vocalise of Sergey Rakhmaninov (55) and Hungarian Rhapsody no.1 by Franz Liszt (†42).
January 21, 1944: World War II: Major Heinrich, Prinz zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, a descendant of Princess Carolyne Sayn-Wittgenstein, the mistress of Franz Liszt (†57), is shot down over Magdeburg by British planes. He was an air ace, with 87 kills to his credit. 447 German bombers attack London. Only 32 tons of bombs find the city.