(Born at Raiding, near Oedenburg, Hungary, October 22, 1811 ;
died at Bayreuth, July 31, 1886)
LISZT SUFFERED as a composer from foolish adulation and still more absurd denunciation. It was not so many years ago that otherwise fair-minded musicians, professors in conservatories, composers of smug, respectable music, pianists and violinists of nimble fingers and lukewarm blood, would leave the concert hall with an air whenever one of Liszt's works was about to be performed. Liszt also suffered from admiring friends who helped themselves to his musical thoughts, to his new forms of musical expression, and using them for their own advantage, were applauded by the crowd, while Liszt himself was ignored or flouted. How much of Liszt there is in Richard Wagner's best!
Programme music has existed from the early days of the art. No doubt David's performance before Saul had some definite programme; but the symphonic poem as it is now known was invented and shaped by Liszt, and he has influenced in this respect composers of every nation. The modern Russians all hark back to Berlioz and Liszt. The more recent Germans and even the modern French were made possible by this Hungarian, who, in Paris, Weimar, or Rome, was first of all a citizen of the world. In the mass of his compositions there is mysticism that is vague and insignificant; there is affected simplicity that is as childish prattle; there is pathos that is bathos; eloquence sometimes degenerates