Thank you, pianolady, for scanning the two pages and uploading them. Very interesting, indeed. I don't understand Clara Schumann's behaviour either and, yes, it is appalling. I mean, they played in concerts together, doing the "Hexameron". I haven't actually read Alan Walker's three-volume biography of Liszt, but I ordered it today, together with a book called Franz Liszt in der Photographie seiner Zeit, which contains 260 photos of Lszt, including four post-mortem ones. I have myself a humble collection of contemporary pictures of Liszt, an original Kriehuber litography dated 1838, a photo and some engravings from contemporary newpapers and magazines.
As to the controversy about Liszt's death in Bayreuth, the story Lina Schmalhausen has to tell is very revealing, especially on the background provided by Alan Walker.
This book, which includes some photos as well (including two post-mortem pictutres of Liszt), served as a travel guide when I was in Bayreuth yesterday and the day before. Seeing the house where Schmalhausen's "beloved master" died and walking through the rooms in the knowledge of all the gory details was a highly moving experience. I knew that Lina Schmalhausen spent hour after hour sitting on the stairs leading to the garden of the house to look through the glass door and watch Liszt die. Cosima wouldn't let her in. I mean, I saw those steps, the garden, the glass door, I knew what was happening in those rooms on 31 July 1886 at about 11.15pm - I walked through the museum with completely different eyes. And I'm not supposed to say this, but there wasn't anybody else in the museum, so the lady selling the tickets let me play on the grand piano in the salon (it was Richard Wagner's Ibach). I played the 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody and that experience sent shivers down my spine. Then I went over to Wahnfried, where Liszt's coffin was brought and from there I walked down Maximilianstrasse all the way to the cemetery, following the way of Liszt's funeral on 3 August 1886. In Alan Walker's book there's a photo of the funeral passing through Maximilianstrasse, has barely changed - the houses in the photo provided by Alan Walker can still be seen. Then standing in front of the small chapel marking his grave was very, very moving. And yes, I did pick an ivy leaf from his grave. And left a bunch of flowers there.
But what is it that fascinates us so about Liszt? I have to admit, I am much more into Beethoven's music than into Liszt's. Is it his personality, which is marked by all the metaphorphoses he went through (child prodigy, travelling virtuoso, music director in Weimar, abbé, Wagner's father-in-law, etc, etc)? Is is the fact that, with all those different aspects to his character, nobody represents the 19th century better than Liszt? His gerenosity? His wit? The fact that he managed to be a bit of a womanizer and an abbé (minor orders only, of course). Is it the fact the we are maybe still discovering his music? I mean, look at the vast amount of church music he wrote, which, in my humble opinion, is his best music but is hardly ever played.
I don't know...
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