Living with Liszt: From the Diary of Carl Lachmund, an American Pupil of Liszt, 1882-1884

Living with Liszt: From the Diary of Carl Lachmund, an American Pupil of Liszt, 1882-1884

Living with Liszt: From the Diary of Carl Lachmund, an American Pupil of Liszt, 1882-1884

Living with Liszt: From the Diary of Carl Lachmund, an American Pupil of Liszt, 1882-1884

Excerpt

It may seem strange that a four-volume Diary concerning one of the greatest musicians the world has known should come to light thirtyseven years after the Master's death. Yet it had not been lost or forgotten. It had been treasured among private archives as a family heirloom. Urged by friends, the narrator decided to divulge the musical experiences of three years of study and friendship with Liszt in Weimar, for three reasons:

First, to give piano students the benefit of the lessons, which contain a mine of instructive nuggets of the super-pianist's methods, interpretations and instructions to this, his last class.

Second, to give musical readers generally a glimpse of the intime Liszt, of his daily life, of excursions taken with him, of numerous dinners and musicales at his home, revealing his tolerance, benevolence, sorrows, tears—yes, and foibles, in reminiscences and anecdotes as told by himself at the lesson-soirées and in dinner-talk.

And finally, as a portrayal of the life of post-graduates under the unique conditions of a “Lisztianer.”

A considerable part of the narrative is taken from the weekly home letters, altogether 428 pages of my dear departed wife (née Caroline Josephine Culbertson.)

I wish to emphasize that none of the conversations, repartee, or occurrences given in this book have been romanced or embellished to suit an occasion. On the contrary, care has been taken to relate happenings and Liszt's verbatim remarks exactly as taken from notes made at the Master's home during each lesson-afternoon, where as we always moved about freely, I could slip behind a curtain or to a window to make notes unobserved. At home, on the very evening, additional details were recorded in my diary to the final extent of 741 pages in four books, each four-and-a-half by six inches in size. All statements can therefore be verified in this diary.

Great composers, too absorbed with their inspirations, were unapproachable; Liszt was different. More than a great composer, a phenomenon as a pianist, his versatility, his benevolence, made him approachable. His family or home-life was akin to that of a reclulse; yet . . .

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