Although Franz Liszt was considered at the height of his career to be the most famous man in Europe, derogatory criticism during the intervening years has necessitated a reevaluation of the man and his work. By simultaneously chronicling various aspects of his life, career, and works, Ernst Burger’s rich yet objective study is a meaningful contribution to the current renaissance of interest in Liszt and recognition of his artistic importance.
As a chronicle, the book presents a running list of major life-events in the outer left-hand column, paralleled in the outer right-hand column by an exhaustive listing of contemporaneous compositions and critical writings. Of obvious interest to music scholars, these lists are complemented by three other components that serve to enliven and broaden the scope of the study. Most immediate are the 650 illustrations that dominate the layout. These paintings, lithographs, photographs, letters, and documents not only focus on Liszt’s live and work but also highlight those people and events central to understanding the Romantic cultural milieu. Along with the accompanying captions, these beautiful illustrations--many of them published for the first time--will likely be the major attraction for many readers.
The terseness of this manner of presentation is balanced by the text proper, which highlights those issues and persons important to particular stages in Liszt’s career, rather than presenting a...
(The entire section is 413 words.)