The Organ Rejuvenated

                 An exploration of the organ music of Franz Liszt                  

 

Franz Liszt (1811-1886), pianist, conductor, composer, educator, benefactor, part St Francis, part Mephistopheles, stands as a colossus across the nineteenth century; he was the presiding genius of the Romantic movement in music. At one end of the historical scale, his father played the cello in the Esterhazy court orchestra under Haydn; at the other are impressionist works foreshadowing Debussy, and later works which, in their tonal ambiguity, point towards Schoenberg. The list of his pupils, none of whom was charged for the maestro’s services, includes Tausig, von Bülow, Reubke, Siloti, Rosenthal, von Sauer; the list of composers who consulted him or whom he befriended and supported or otherwise influenced is even more impressive and includes: Berlioz, Wagner, Cornelius, Saint-Saëns, Smetena, and Grieg; he was also a champion of contemporary Russian music, although his contact with the composers themselves was less close. Liszt was one of the first orchestral conductors in the modern sense of the word: “He insisted that his orchestra master all the technical details so that during the performance he could concentrate all his attention on phrasing and shaping... he was the first conductor to indicate, by gestures and facial expression, phrasing dynamics, and everything essential for a spirited performance.”[1] He invented the solo recital, coining the word recital for the event; he was the first to turn the piano so that the pianist’s profile – Liszt’s own profile was worthy of admiration – and the piano lid both faced the audience. He was the first virtuoso superstar.

 

In 1848, having renounced his career as a pianist, Liszt settled in Weimar where he could concentrate on conducting and composing. Among his pupils there were Julius Reubke, whose father was an organ builder, and Alexander Winterberger who was to premiere two of Liszt’s original organ works. Two other organists became part of the Liszt circle, the town organist Johann Gottlob Töpfer, who was also a composer and theoretician, and Alexander Gottschalg from nearby Tieffurt. These men seem to have awakened Liszt’s interest in the organ and together with Gottschalg he explored churches in the Weimar area. Between 1842 and 1850 Liszt transcribed for piano six of J S Bach’s greatest organ Preludes and Fugues (A min BWV 543, C BWV 545, C min BWV 546, C BWV 547, E min BWV 548, B min BWV 544) which may have provided an additional stimulus to organ composition. Furthermore Liszt was now working in the very place where Bach himself had worked. It is likely that this provided further encouragement to write for the instrument for which Bach was famed as a player.

 

Liszt’s organ compositions are conventionally divided into two categories: original organ compositions (notably the Fantasia and Fugue on “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam” and the Prelude and Fugue on BACH), and versions for organ made or revised by Liszt of his own compositions (notably the Variations on “Weinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen”, Evocation à la Chapelle Sixtine and Orpheus). To these two categories I add two more: transcriptions of Liszt works by others (notable examples of which include the two Légendes and two pieces from the cycle Harmonies Poétiques et Religeuses), and orchestral works which include an organ part (Dante and Faust Symphonies and Hunnenschlacht).

 

Pride of place must go to the mighty Fantasia and Fugue on “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam”. This is not only Liszt’s first organ composition (1850), but also, playing at half an hour or more, his longest. It is a milestone in Romantic organ composition, introducing virtuoso techniques, breaking new ground by its very length, by demanding a greater dynamic range and a wider tonal palette than anything that had gone before, and bringing organ repertoire into line with contemporary mainstream repertoire. It encompasses a wide spectrum of moods and colours, and in its attempt to solve the problem of one-movement form on a large scale it is comparable with the B minor Piano Sonata – generally agreed to be Liszt’s piano masterpiece. The chorale of the title is the sermon preached by the three Anabaptists to the people in Act I of Meyerbeer’s opera Le Prophète. Meyerbeer’s theme is never played, and Liszt’s version of it doesn’t appear in full until the beginning of the central adagio. Instead Liszt, in the words of Derek Watson, “takes its constituent parts and builds up a monumental structure, a great monothematic mosaic, free, rhapsodic, through wide-ranging use of metamorphosis, fragmentation, rhythmic variation and melodic alteration.”[2] 

As early as bars 3-4 Liszt alters his theme by introducing the tritone interval, g – d flat, rather than d. This heralds a series of different treatments of the various elements of the tune. There is hardly a bar in the piece where the chorale goes unrepresented in some form or other; the cadenzas at bars 35 & 56 are based on its first four notes of the tune, as are the famous “pedal” passages at bars 450ff.

Other examples include the bass line at bars 120ff, based on bar 3 of the chorale, and the trumpet fanfares at bar 141, based on bars 5-6. The passage commencing at bar 156 plays versions of the chorale bars 5 & 6 in the pedal, simultaneously with bars 1 & 2 in the manuals; even the cadenzas at bars 215ff are ultimately derived from the first four notes of the chorale melody.

Having reached its climax at bars 227ff the Fantasia dissolves into a recitative which leads into the central adagio, a serene movement in F sharp major, a key which had mystical significance for Liszt, and which is as far from the home key of C minor as is possible. Here Liszt gives us music of the utmost delicacy and lyricism. Compare the treatment of bars 5 & 6 of the theme in the adagio with the fanfares mentioed earlier.

An introduction of Vesuvian power leads to a fugue which is similar to the satanic fugues of the B minor Piano Sonata and the Faust Symphony. Its subject is another version of the complete chorale melody. As in the Sonata and the Faust Symphony it fills the role of diabolical scherzo. It leads to a reprise of the trumpet fanfare at bar 584 allegro con brio, which heralds a sort of finale from bar 617 allegro molto. The piece concludes with a triumphant adagio in which the chorale melody blazes away in a glow of C major. This final page is significant; it paved the way for the C major choral ending (added in 1857) of the Faust Symphony, which in its turn provided the prototype for the choral finales of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony and Symphony of a Thousand, the latter even using the same text as Liszt’s Symphony.

 

In the 1840s revolution was sweeping across Europe with new ideals of democracy and freedom of expression. Wagner was involved in an uprising in Dresden, and Liszt himself combined revolutionary ideals with loyalty to the papacy in a unique religious creed. The Anabaptists of Meyerbeer’s Le Prophète call the peasants both to the healing waters of salvation and to assert their right to liberty – both sentiments having a resonance with Liszt who in 1865 took minor orders in the Roman Catholic Church, but had earlier expressed his affinity with revolutionary causes, both in Funérailles, October 1849, and in Chapelle de Guillaume Tell (Années de pèlerinage Bk 1). In the same way that Liszt’s symphonic poems, as we shall see, treat their mythical hero as a symbol of some universal idea or aspiration, so Ad nos can be interpreted as a symbolic journey for mankind; the fantasia representing some sort of struggle, the adagio and the fugue the contrasting sides of good and evil, and the final apotheosis the attainment of a state of perfection or rebirth.

 

The Ad nos Fantasia and Fugue was first published by Breitkopf and Härtel of Leipzig in an amazing edition in which the organ (or pedal-piano part, “pedalflügel”) appears sandwiched between the two piano parts of a version for piano duet. In the piano duet version the first pianist has all the fun and the second player is restricted to the bass part (the organist’s pedal, or left hand, or both). It does, however enable us to see how Liszt elaborated his organ original when writing for the piano. We can also see, for instance, how the semi-quavers in the introduction to the fugue, usually played today on the pedals, were assigned by Liszt to the hands. The piece received its first performance in 1855 by Liszt’s young student Alexander Winterberger on the new Ladegast organ in Merseburg Cathedral.

 

It was for the opening of the Merseburg organ in 1855 that Liszt wrote his next organ piece, the Prelude and Fugue on BACH. In fact it was not finished in time so Winterberger played Ad nos instead. BACH was completed and premiered in 1856; it was revised in 1870 and transcribed for piano the following year. Liszt himself preferred the second version[3]; that is the version which is usually played and which is discussed here. Again it is interesting to note how Liszt expanded the textures when writing for the piano, filling out textures by means of chords, arpeggios, octaves, blind octaves etc. 

This is another free fantasia, this time based on the four notes which, in German notation, spell Bach’s name: B flat (called B in German notation), A, C, B natural (H in German). Bach himself had used this device often, most famously in The Art of Fugue. Liszt’s Prelude and Fugue is characterised throughout by extreme chromaticism, not least at the beginning of the fugue. Indeed, together with a four note pre-echo that precedes it, the fugue subject contains eleven of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale; the twelfth (D flat) is sounded at the beginning of the countersubject. This passage is so chromatic as to be atonal in all but name. This sort of chromaticism has its roots in the music of Bach himself, though in Bach’s music the tonality is never quite so ambiguous.

Liszt’s BACH Prelude and Fugue is so well known that it is easy to forget what an extraordinary piece it is. When asked what is its home key most organists will, after a little thought, say that it is in B flat (“of course”); it comes as something of a shock to realise that the first B flat chord of the piece is at bar 68, and, apart from briefly passing through at bar 194, and a second inversion at bar 257, the next is at 263 approaching the first perfect cadence of the piece at bar 268, where B flat is fairly driven into the listener’s mind as, indeed, it needs to be so near the end of the piece. Even then, Liszt flirts with B major before finally returning to B flat. It could have been about this piece that Saint-Saëns was thinking when he wrote of Liszt’s Weimar period music as “music from a new world”[4] – a fitting description of this ground breaking music.

 

Liszt wrote seven other original organ works, including a Missa pro organo, but of more interest are some of the two dozen or so transcriptions either made by Liszt of his own compositions, or made by his pupil Gottschalg, but altered by Liszt to such an extent that they may be regarded as having the composer’s imprimatur. The line between original composition and transcription is never clear – Bach frequently reworked his material, as did Handel, the same musical idea appearing in versions for solo violin, organ, orchestra with soloist (different versions, incredibly, for instruments as diverse as harpsichord and violin) etc; rarely are Bach’s works described as transcriptions, more often as versions. The same applies to Liszt; many of his compositions completed in Weimar were reworkings of music composed or begun several years earlier, and many of those pieces appear in versions for different forces. Indeed Liszt’s attitude to reworking both his own and other people’s compositions is such that it is more apt to describe a piece as a piano or organ version, rather than a transcription. The pianist/composer/pedagogue Ferruccio Busoni put it succinctly when he wrote: “Every notation is itself the transcription of an abstract idea. The instant the pen seizes it, the idea loses its original form. The very intention to write down the idea compels a choice of measure and key... Again the performance of a work is also a transcription. Whatever liberties it may take it can never annihilate the original... What the composer’s inspiration necessarily loses through notation, his interpreter should restore by his own”.[5] The pianist Paul Lewis said the same thing in a recent prom interview when he described playing a Beethoven Piano Concerto (in this instance iii in C minor) on a modern Steinway rather than a period instrument as akin to playing a transcription[6]. The same applies to an organist every time he plays; every organ is different and the player must seek how best to restore the composer’s inspiration in terms of the instrument he is playing at the time.

 

Chief among these reworkings, or organ versions, must be the Variations onWeinen, Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen” written for piano in 1862 after Liszt had moved to Rome, and reworked by the composer for organ the following year. In a process which is the reverse of BACH, Weinen, Klagen provides an insight into how Liszt adapted pianistic writing to organ sonority.

Inspired by the death of Liszt’s daughter Blandine in 1862, Weinen Klagen is, in the words of Humphrey Searle, “a most powerful and impressive piece, and shows a concentrated feeling of gloom and despair such as Liszt did not often achieve with success”[7]. It is based on a descending basso ostinato from Bach’s cantata of the same name; it also appears in the Crucifixus of the B minor Mass. After an arresting introduction, the variations set out much in the manner of a chaconne, but Liszt’s imagination soon breaks the bounds of this restraint both metrically and tonally – indeed, his chromaticism defies analysis.

The music passes through different moods of grief, despair, and anger and builds to an almost unbearable tension, culminating in a great cry of anguish. After a brief recitative, Liszt provides relief and hope by a return to solid diatonicism with the chorale Was Gott, tut das ist wohlgetan, the chorale with which Bach had ended his cantata. This is powerful music but it is not easy, either to play or to listen to. It isn’t a showpiece like BACH, nor does it have the variety of Ad nos, but it deserves attention and a performance that creates the degree of tension that the music requires is rare and to be treasured.

 

Speaking of these three biggest organ works (Ad nos, BACH and Weinen, Klagen) Derek Watson says “They are of such significance that, because of them, Liszt can be regarded as the most important composer for the organ since J S Bach, and the key nineteenth century composer in paving the way for the organ works of Reubke and Reger in Germany, Franck, Saint-Saëns, Widor, and the succeeding French schools through to Messiaen. Between J S Bach and Liszt, C P E Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn and Schumann added significantly to the organ repertory, but did not advance the nature of that repertory in any substantial way. Because Liszt was not an organist and (apart from a few sacred choral works written prior to Ad nos) was not from a background of ecclesiastical composition, he approached the instrument with a new versatility and in a completely free way, uninhibited by conventions of form or keyboard technique.”[8]

 

Three other reworkings deserve special mention: Evocation à la Chapelle Sixtine, which also dates from Liszt’s Rome years, exists in an unpublished orchestral version as well as the organ arrangement. It is based on the work of two composers associated with the Sistine Chapel: the music of Gregori Allegri’s Miserere was so jealously guarded by the Vatican authorities that no copy was allowed to leave the chapel; the young Mozart after one hearing returned to his lodgings and wrote out the whole piece from memory – so runs the legend. Liszt composed the Evocation apparently after a mystical experience in the chapel. It presents themes from the Miserere and Mozart’s motet Ave verum corpus natum in an ABAB structure. Like most of Liszt’s organ music, it benefits from performance on a large organ equipped with a wide range of gentle registers, such as flutes and undulating stops. In a couple of places Liszt’s writing betrays his pianistic pedigree and his lack of confidence with the pedal board; at [example 18] the author takes the pedal part with his left hand, and plays the left hand octaves on the pedals. As with all the music discussed it makes a most effective recital piece.

The Trauerode is an organ version of Les Morts, an “Oration for orchestra with male chorus ad libitum”, the first of Trois Odes Funèbres. It is an elegy written in 1860 in memory of Liszt’s son Daniel who had died aged 20 the previous year. There is also a piano version. In 1866 Liszt added to the orchestral version a part for male chorus ad libitum. Throughout the orchestral score is written a prose passage by Lamennais “They too have lived on this earth; they have passed down the river of time; their voices were heard on its banks, and then were heard no more. Where are they now? Who shall tell? But blessed are they who die in the Lord.” The last three sentences recur from time to time throughout the work as a kind of refrain, and each time the male chorus enters with the words “Beati mortui qui in Domino moriuntur.” At the climax the chorus sings the words “Te Deum Laudamus, te Dominum confitemur, Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth! Pleni sunt coeli et terra Gloria tua. Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna!” then the music returns to the quiet mood of the opening. The work is validly performed without the chorus, but knowledge of the words assists the listener’s appreciation of this very personal tribute.

 

Liszt was the inventor of a type of composition known as the symphonic poem, a form not unrelated to the concert overture (like, for instance, Mendelssohn’s Hebrides Overture). Liszt’s examples tend to deal with a mythical hero figure who represents some abstract idea, or aspiration. Orpheus (1854) was inspired by the painting on an Etruscan vase in the Louvre; it shows the mythical musician taming wild beasts. Although the opening bars suggest Orpheus tuning his lyre, as so often with Liszt, the music does not set out to tell a story in musical terms; it endeavours to portray the image of music (or art) as a civilising influence on mankind. The music has a poetic quality and a nobility which place it on a high plane. It is characterised by its lyricism and delicacy. The final bars (Sehr Langsam), according to Liszt’s preface, suggest ‘Tones rising gradually like clouds of incense’. The organ version by Gottschalg, revised and approved by Liszt, dates from c1860. It is the author’s view that, as with some other Liszt organ versions, the Orpheus score is over simplified and benefits from some restoration of orchestral textures. Other notable reworkings include the Consolations in E and D flat, and Excelsior! (from a song to words by Longfellow) – a marvellous three minute curtain raiser.

 

It is likely that it was for the purpose of reworking existing compositions for piano or organ that Liszt used the extraordinary instrument in his study in Pest. Variously described as “Piano-Melodium”, “Orgel-Piano” or “Pianoforte-Harmonium”, it was a hybrid instrument built to Liszt’s own specification, part piano part harmonium, manufactured by Alexandre, Père et Fils (Harmonium) and P Sébastian Erard (Piano). The upper manual is a seven octave piano, the lower a divided harmonium of five octaves with the usual assortment of harmonium devices and stops. It is difficult to see what uses this instrument can have had other than for the composer to try out and compare various textures and sonorities.

 

The canon of Liszt organ music continues to grow thanks to an expanding corpus of music transcribed by other hands: leading the field are the transcriptions of the Two Légendes (1862/1863, an orchestral version, which seems to have preceded the piano version, has only recently been discovered, and was premiered in Berlin in 1982): St Francis Preaching to the Birds – transcribed by Camille Saint-Saëns and St Francis of Paola Walking on the Waves – transcribed by Max Reger. Liszt and Saint-Saëns were close friends and in 1866 Liszt declared that Saint-Saëns was the greatest organist in the world. The piano score of St Francis Preaching to the Birds contains a preface in which the composer apologises for his “lack of ingenuity” and refers to the piano as “lacking in tone colour for the task in hand”. Maybe this is an instance where the organ is able to bring more variety of tone colour than the piano to help in the depiction of the twittering and trilling of Liszt’s feathered friends. While the reincarnation of Liszt’s musical aviary at the hands of Saint-Saëns on the organ of La Madeleine would surely prove a match for Messiaen’s chirruping down the road at La Trinité, the tempest that Reger whips up from Liszt’s waves makes the storms of Lemmens and Lefébure-Wély feel like a light breeze. Max Reger’s treatment is the opposite of the Frenchman’s; whereas Saint-Saëns, in transcribing for the organ, simplifies Liszt’s piano writing (and some may think it benefits from being filled out again), Reger expands it, even adding canons of his own. His version illustrates what the pianist John Ogden had in mind when he described the ideal piano sonority for this piece as “an enthroned, golden sound, orchestral and organ-like”[9]. Alfred Brendel writes movingly of the two Légendes: “The depiction of birds and waves, worthy of all Impressionist honours, is inspired enough. Even more convincing is the noble simplicity and quiet grandeur Liszt bestows on the two saints that share his first name.”[10] In those two sentences Brendel has given as full a description of these amazing works as words can convey.

 

Edwin Lemare made a beautiful transcription of Sposalizio, the opening piece of the Italian Book of Années de pèlerinage, inspired by Raphael’s painting of the betrothal of the virgin. This is another delicate piece which may disappoint those expecting blood and thunder but will delight those of a poetic disposition. Its harmonies and textures foreshadow Debussy’s first Arabesque (also in E major) which it predates by approximately 50 years.

More recently other piano pieces by Liszt have been transcribed for the organ, notably two movements from the cycle Harmonies Poétiques et Religeuses; the distinguished German organist Johannes Geffert has made an unpublished transcription of the Bénédiction de dieu dans la solitude, which he recorded in Limburg Cathedral on the Mitra label in 1988. Liszt conjures up an atmosphere of peace and faith in his music to suggest the sublime thoughts of Lamartine’s words, which preface the score. It is astonishing that this beautiful music is so rarely played. The English virtuoso Nicolas Kynaston has transcribed another of Liszt’s masterpieces, Funérailles, October 1849, published by Kevin Mayhew and recorded on the organ of Ingolstadt Minster. Funérailles is a powerful threnody in honour of Lajos Batthyány and thirteen leaders of the Hungarian revolution of 1849 who were all executed on 6th October. An introduction of deep clamorous bells leads to a funeral march, followed by a lament, the third idea, a warlike fanfare, suggests a call to arms – though the repeated triplet patterns in the accompanying bass line bring to mind the famous left hand octaves of the A flat Polonaise by Frederic Chopin, who died on 17th October 1849. This is music of extreme power and its monumental stature is well suited the organ.

 

Lastly, there are the orchestral works that include an organ part. Liszt was the first composer to introduce the organ into the orchestra in symphonic music – in the Faust (1854/1857) and Dante (1855-6) Symphonies. Mozart (Requiem), Beethoven (Missa Solemnis), Mendelssohn (Elijah), and Berlioz (Te Deum), had all included the organ in the orchestra but, with the exception of the Te Deum this was in a quasi continuo role, and it is significant that it was only in religious works that the organ was included. Conductors are usually happy for an organist to be paid to play in these works, but only on condition that he can’t be heard. Berlioz was writing for the particular circumstances at St Eustache (Paris) where the orchestra and chorus were at the opposite end of the building from the organ, which was therefore playing not with the orchestra, but against it. Liszt was the first to include the organ as a colour in its own right, chiefly as an aid to sostenuto, in a way that was to be taken up by such as Mahler, Strauss, Elgar, Bartok, Rachmaninov, Szymanovski, etc, but also with a distinctive role in its own right in Hunnenschlacht (1857). A symphonic poem like Orpheus, Hunnenschlact describes the victory of Theodoric and his Christian forces over Attila the Hun in AD451. Liszt writes in the score the specific instruction that “The organ to be in the rear of the orchestra, and when performed in a theatre, should the orchestra not be upon the stage, then the organ must be behind the curtain”. The organ enters in the second half of the piece after the battle, playing the chorale “crux fidelis”, first of all dolce religioso, then fortissimo. At the end, the organ holds the final C major chord long after the rest of the orchestra has fallen silent (and long before Strauss did the same thing in Also sprach Zarathustra), symbolising the universal victory of love over hate in men’s hearts. Tchaikovsky was later to make a similar use of the organ in his Manfred. Saint-Saëns was later to dedicate his Symphonie iii the “Organ Symphony” to Liszt’s memory, though this may have as much to do with the Lisztian thematic transformation contained within it as the inclusion of a significant organ part.

 

In conclusion, many of Liszt’s organ works, whether original or transcribed, are inspired by religious, or quasi religious subjects. Many use hymn-like thematic material. Several pay homage to earlier composers – the delightful Ave Maria von Arcadelt does all of these things, though, lacking any virtuoso content whatever, few would say that it was typical of Liszt’s output – how wrong they would be! Two works are written in memory of his dead children. All of these pieces work equally well in church and concert hall. Liszt himself would have encountered organs in and around Weimar, notably of course the Ladagast organ in Merseburg Cathedral, though Ad nos and BACH were probably largely conceived before that instrument was complete. A glance at its stop list shows us that characteristic 8’ stops were in evidence, including an undulating unda maris. This is sometimes cited as a development from the organ of Bach’s time. In fact the Merseburg organ is quite conservative and many of its “new” features were already making their appearance during Bach’s life time, over a hundred years earlier. A notable point is that, out of 82 stops, there are very few manual reeds (2 on the HW, one on the BW, one on the RP and none on the OW) and only one division enclosed (more of an echo division than an English Swell or French Récit). How should this influence our playing of Liszt’s organ music? The answer is, of course, not at all; but we do learn that his music is playable on quite a conservative, almost baroque organ, so long as (for the bigger pieces, at least) there is a wide variety of tone colours and an assistant is to hand to aid with the execution of registration. Liszt was at least as familiar with the organs of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in Paris (with their swell boxes and multiple reed stops) where he regularly heard Widor play at S Sulpice and Saint-Saëns at La Madeleine. The fact is that this music is of such stature, its pedigree is so pure that, like Bach, it sounds well on almost any instrument.

 

Living at various times in France, Italy, Germany and Hungary and travelling all over Europe as the first virtuoso superstar, absorbing and influencing the cultures with which he came into contact, Liszt may well claim to be called the first pan-European. Whether as a pianist, composer, teacher, champion of music old and new, Liszt’s influence on the musical world is second to none. Within the context of nineteenth century Romanticism the degree to which his music casts shadows into the future is astonishing, whether it be the 12 note tone row which opens the Faust Symphony, its final pages which foreshadow Mahler’s two choral symphonic finales, the atonality of BACH and the Weinen Klagen Variations, or the Impressionism of such piano works as the two St. Francis Légendes (1863) and Les jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este, or the sparse textures and ambiguous chromaticism of Via Crucis. That Liszt was in many ways the father of modern pianism is widely, if not universally agreed. That he performed the same function for organists is less widely recognised, but no less true. By demanding contemporary standards of virtuosity, using avant-garde harmonies, introducing greater dynamic ranges and a wider tonal palette, and by building new structures and breaking away from the constraints of conventional structures such as preludes and fugues (BACH, as we have seen, is no conventional prelude and fugue, Weinen Klagen no conventional chaconne), chorale preludes, canons etc, Liszt brought the organ into line with mainstream music. Not until Liszt did serious composers for the organ cease to feel the burden of Bach looking over their shoulder. While still recognising that the organ’s natural home is in church, or rather that its comfort zone is within the religious, Liszt enabled the organ to break out into a new world and secure for itself an honourable place in the post classical era.

Peter King

Clifford Bridge

August 2010



[1] P H Lang, Music in Western Civilization, London 1942. 963f

[2] Derek Watson, The Master Musicians, LISZT, J M Dent & Sons Ltd London 1989. 287f


[3] Marilyn Kielniarz, The Liszt Companion, edited Ben Arnold, Greenwood Press, Westport CT, 2002. 201

[4] James Harding, Saint-Saëns and his Circle, Chapman and Hall, 1965

[5] Ferruccio Busoni, Trans Dr Th Baker, Sketch of a New Aesthetics in Music, Schirmer, New York 1911, 17ff


[6] Paul Lewis, TV interview, BBC4, 6th August 2010

[7] Humphrey Searle, The Music of Liszt, Dover Publications, New York, 1966, 101

[8] Derek Watson, The Master Musicians, LISZT, J M Dent & Sons Ltd London 1989, 286

[9] Franz Liszt, The Man and His Music, ed. Alan Walker, pub. Barrie & Jenkins 1970, 140

[10] Deliberation and White Heat, CD booklet Philips 1981, 8

 

Copyright Peter King 2007

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