Liszt and His World: Proceedings of the International Liszt Conference Held at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 20-23 May 1993

By Michael Saffle | Go to book overview

Michael Short (with Leslie Howard)


A NEW LISZT CATALOGUE

Le secret d'ennuyer est celui de tout dire.
Le superflu, chose très nécessaire.

Voltaire

The task of compiling a catalogue of Franz Liszt's music is very different from—although, I can honestly state, no less difficult than—writing a Liszt biography. As I reach my own half-century, I still remember a stimulus to my early love for Liszt; my headmaster in college in Switzerland, a wonderful man in many, many respects, had a blind spot where Liszt was concerned. I am ever grateful that he heightened my interest in music, but some stubborn trait within me prompted me to prove him wrong with respect to Liszt. I thus wrote, at the age of seventeen, a full-scale Liszt biography, the manuscript of which I still retain and which is so riddled with errors of every kind that I would be ashamed to disclose it to anyone. If I have now spent over thirty years learning about Liszt (to some purpose, I hope), the last four of which have been concerned with researches into a new Liszt Catalogue, that stimulus might appropriately be acknowledged here.

At that ripe young age and after due consideration, I had decided that my biography should be entitled “Liszt—The Enigma.” I still think of that term when I review the myriad complexities of his oeuvre while working with Leslie Howard on a new catalogue of Liszt's works. Both of us have spent much time and reflection on this project since then, a project now much closer to completion (though not yet in its final stages). We are pleased to announce, however, that Pendragon Press will publish our catalogue in the not too distant future.


I

Let us first take into account simply the sheer volume of Liszt's musical output. In Luciano Chiappari's catalogue, of which more below, this amounts in numerical terms to 1,368 works (including unfinished, missing, or doubtful compositions and projected works), in addition to which there must be counted his editions of the works of

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