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The Music of Liszt (1811-1886) Franz Liszt was known as the piano virtuoso of the Romantic Period. He exploited the tonal and technical resources of the piano, like using unconventional tones, chromaticism, remote modulation, dissonances, repeated notes, fast arpeggios, scales played in octaves and chords simultaneously played by both hands. Extremes in tempo and dynamics were common. Examples of his composition for the piano are his etudes, rhapsodies and other piano pieces. A rhapsody is a declamatory piece in free form using different melodies that vary in mood and tempo. Aside from the compositions for the piano. Liszt also composed music for the orchestra. He conceived the idea of writing one-movement compositions fro the orchestra, based on extra musical associations. They have no standard structure and these works are called symphonic poem or tone poem. Symphonic poems are onemovement compositions originated by the Hungarian composer Franz Liszt in the 1800's. Symphonic poems are inspired by subjects taken from literature, mythology, or history that are usually explained in the programs given to the audience. FRANZ LISZT His life. Liszt was born in Raiding, Hungary (now part of Austria) on Oct. 22, 1811. His father, a talented amateur musician, was his first piano teacher. The boy's musical talent appeared early. By the time he was 12, he had been presented in Austria, Germany, and Hungary as a child prodigy at the piano. In 1823, Liszt went to Paris, where he studied music theory and composition. The French recognized him as a brilliant performer with an almost uncanny ability to improvise on the keyboard. He had once wanted to become a priest, but instead decided to follow a career in music. FRANZ LISZT In the early 1830's, Liszt came to know many influential people in the artistic and literary circles of Paris. He met Niccolo Paganini, the pianist Frederic Chopin, and the composer Hector Berlioz. He also met the Countess Marie d'Agoult, who was his mistress from 1835 until 1844. Liszt was romantically involved with many women during his life, including the writer George Sand and the Princess Carolyne von SaynWittgenstein. Liszt wrote two symphonies for orchestra, the Faust Symphony (1857) and the Dante Symphony (1857). He also wrote 13 symphonic poems, which he preferred to call "tone poems." Les Preludes (1848, revised before 1854) is the best known of his symphonic poems. Other compositions include: La Campanella, Hungarian Rhapsodies and Liebestraum. While the Princess Carolyne von SaynWittgenstein lived with Liszt at Weimar, she strongly influenced his career as a composer. But in 1858, Liszt resigned his post at Weimar. He went to Rome in 1861. In 1865, Liszt took the vows of the four minor orders of the Roman Catholic Church and received the title of Abbe, but he never became a priest. In his later years, Liszt divided his time between Rome, Weimar, and Budapest, and taught piano and composition. In 1886, Liszt toured Europe, attending concerts presented in honor of his 75th birthday. He died at Bayreuth on July 31, 1886.