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Franz Liszt: Devoted Wagnerite, composer and virtuoso, by Dr Graham Bruce

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Date/Time
Saturday 17 Oct 2020
3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Location
Queensland Multicultural Centre


Liszt and Wagner 

It was not until Franz liszt had abandoned his career as famous virtuoso pianist that he became acquainted with the music of Richard Wagner. Tired of the continuous travelling and the endless concert giving “like a performing dog” as he described it, Liszt gave up public performances to concentrate on composition, conducting, and teaching. After seeing a performance of Rienzi, he was so impressed that he determined to give performances, in his new position at Weimar, of Wagner’s Tannhauser and Lohengrin. Indeed, following the banishment of Wagner from Germany following his part in the Dresden revolution, Liszt was one of the few people to champion his works during the years of Wagner’s exile in Switzerland.

Thus began a relationship which lasted until Wagner’s death, a relationship which survived personal disagreements between the two. In particular, Wagner’s affair with Liszt’s daughter Cosima, who finally left her husband Hans Von Bulow to live with and finally marry Wagner, was a stumbling point. Liszt’s admiration for Wagner’s music however, eventually triumphed over such matters. The talk will examine Liszt’s years as celebrated virtuoso, his years as teacher and composer and in particular his musical bond with Wagner. A range of famous pianists from Arrau to Brendel and Volodos will provide examples of his compositions.

Graham Bruce