Franz Liszt: 1 1811-47

Alan Walker, Author
Alan Walker, Author Alfred A. Knopf $25 (3p) ISBN 978-0-394-52540-2
Reviewed on: 02/01/1983
Release date: 02/01/1983
This second volume of Walker's monumental, extremely enjoyable study examines the 12 years during which the remarkable piano virtuoso, a Roman Catholic, settled in Weimar, a Protestant city, with the even-more-devout but married Princess Carolyne. During this difficult period Liszt conducted the court orchestra in many world premieres but concentrated mostly on composing the major works on which his fame is based. Walker's range and knowledge are astonishing. Chapters full of details not hitherto published are given over to Liszt as conductor, writer and teacher, his relations with his children, the ducal court and other composers and performers, the house he shared with Carolyne, the links between the marriage of her daughter Marie and her attempts to annul her own marriage so that she could wed Liszt. One of the most interesting sections, ``Liebestraum,'' discusses Liszt's emotional attachment to his piano pupil Agnes Street-Klindworth, a political agent who bore a child by Ferdinand Lassalle, revolutionary and friend of Karl Marx. Walker confirms that, for Liszt, the artist was ``a sacred vessel through which the Beautiful passed,'' and that his chief concern was that artists should be helped, ``not for their own sake but for the sake of Art.'' Illustrations not seen by PW. (June)
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