Feast of Franz Liszt (July 31)   1 comment

Above:  Franz Liszt

Image in the Public Domain

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FRANZ LISZT FERENC (OCTOBER 22, 1811-JULY 31, 1886)

Hungarian Composer and Pianist, and Roman Catholic Priest

The life of Franz Liszt can serve as an example of making a major change for the better.

Franz Liszt, born on October 22, 1811, at Raiding, near Sophron, Hungary, was a great composer and pianist.  His father was Adam Liszt, a steward of the Esterházy family.  Our saint’s mother was Anna Lager.  Franz was a child prodigy and a fine pianist.  Adam was an amateur pianist.  The parents nurtured their son’s talent.  They secured an annual subsidy from wealthy patrons and, in 1820, moved to Vienna, where our saint studied under Karl Czerny and Antonio Salieri.  In 1823 our saint played a concert in Paris.  Later that year the family relocated to the City of Lights, where Franz continued his studies.  From 1823 to 1827 father and son traveled in France and England.  Then Adam died in 1827.

Liszt, a composer since 1825, lived in Paris with his mother.  Since he had to earn money, he taught piano students.

As the years passed Liszt built up his reputation as a concert pianist, a composer, and a conductor.  He traveled across Europe and took his messy private life with him.  Mistress #1 (for about a decade), starting in 1834, was Countess Marie d’Agoult, with whom he had five children, including Cosima, who married Richard Wagner.  Mistress #2 (from 1848 to 1865) was Princess Carolyne von Sayn Wittgenstein, whom he had met on tour in Russia.  They settled at Weimar, where Liszt became the center of the Neo-German School of composition as well as a conductor of operas.  The couple could not marry, for Carolyne was already married, and the Roman Catholic Church refused to grant her a divorce.

Liszt had discerned a call to the priesthood since his childhood.  In 1865 he accepted it, and became a priest.  For the rest of his life Liszt taught, composed, and conducted.  From 1869 he taught piano in Weimar.  In 1875 he became the director of the new music academy in Budapest.  Along the way he promoted the works of other composers, including Hector Berlioz, Franz Schubert, and Ludwig von Beethoven.

Liszt was a major composer.  He invented the symphonic poem.  His catalog included both sacred and secular works.  His sacred works included oratorios (Die Legende von der Heiligen Elizabeth and Christus) and Masses (Missa Solemnis, Requiem, Missa Choralis, and the Hungarian Coronation Mass).  In the secular realm, his Hungarian Rhapsody #2 stands the test of time especially well.

Liszt, aged 74 years, died at Bayreuth on July 31, 1886.  He was there to attend a festival of operas by his son-in-law, Richard Wagner.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 12, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF EDWIN PAXTON HOOD, ENGLISH CONGREGATIONALIST MINISTER, PHILANTHROPIST, AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN DAVID JAESCHKE, GERMAN MORAVIAN ORGANIST AND COMPOSER; AND HIS GRANDSON, HENRI MARC VOLDEMAR VOULLAIRE, MORAVIAN COMPOSER AND MINISTER

THE FEAST OF ENMEGAHBOWN, EPISCOPAL PRIEST AND MISSIONARY TO THE OJIBWA NATION

THE FEAST OF JOSEPH DACRE CARLYLE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

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Eternal God, light of the world, and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Franz Liszt and all those

who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the

Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), 728

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One response to “Feast of Franz Liszt (July 31)

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  1. Pingback: Feast of Marie-Joseph Aubert (October 1) | SUNDRY THOUGHTS

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