When goodness lies so near?
Learn to grasp happiness revealed.
For happiness is always here.)
November 14, 1886
However far we have progressed in the neglect of the works of the great Franz Liszt, however absurdly the grand inquisition conducts itself against all that is new, bold and splendid, however childishly our "elite" public reflects the viewpoint of our conservative and hypocritical press at the concerts of the Philharmonic and the Society of Friends of Music, however quickly, too, the upstanding, well-behaved young John becomes little Johnny when the amiable or snarling — as the case may be — Grand Inquisitor wrinkles his brow, and however quickly, again, little Johnny swells up to John when the exalted patron, delighted with the canine tricks of his most humble client, favors him with a benign wink — in a word, however bad it is, and has long been, with respect to the recognition of Liszt's works, there are still those who, disregarding the threatening constellation on the critical horizon, hurry bravely to their positions and, defying public opinion and its organs, throw down the gauntlet.
The Messrs Göllerich1 and Stradal2 did just this when, on the occasion of the Liszt memorial, they put six of their departed master's symphonic poems on their program. The public picked up the gauntlet and descended in hordes upon the battleground, the Bösendorfersaal. And see what happened. Saul became Paul, and the Messrs Göllerich and Stradal, the anathematized, the pitied, the scorned, ended as the heroes of the day. To do a concert of six symphonic poems, and play them on the piano one after another, takes a lot of courage. In no other city than Vienna, however, would one have seen in it anything so unusual. But here, thanks to the loving care of our staunch Hofkapellmeister, we have not progressed beyond "Les Préludes" (and once, by inadvertance, "Mazeppa").
Just think, now, how strange to the public was the highly individual language of so profound and spiritual a nature as Liszt, especially hearing it only in piano transcription, and in far too long a program. And yet with what