A look beyond the virtuosity of Romanticism’s piano superstar.
Pianist Paul Roberts recasts Franz Liszt as a composer of poetic feeling rather than a purveyor of technical brilliance. Reading Franz Liszt: Revealing the Poetry behind the Piano Music immerses readers in Liszt’s world through a vivid exploration of his most beloved pieces and the literature that inspired them—from Petrarch’s love poetry to the sensibilities of Byron, Sénancour, Goethe, and others. The origins of artistic inspiration can be obscure. However, for Franz Liszt, literary quotations in his scores provide fascinating insights into the sources of his creative imagination, revealing a breadth of reading that inspired some of the greatest piano music of all time.
A knowledge of the writers whom Liszt revered and often quoted at length enriches an understanding and appreciation of his music. Roberts shows how Liszt in his pioneering piano works created a new concept of musical expression comparable to the emotional and dramatic power of the opera and novel. This book leads us into the essence of Liszt’s poetic world, revealing the relevance of his literary inspiration for today’s listeners as well as for performers coming to terms with its expressive demands.
Paul Roberts is a British concert pianist and a leading practitioner of French music. He is a professor of piano and a fellow of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, London, and is director of Music at Chateau d'Aix, an international summer school for pianists. He is the author of Reflections: The Piano Music of Maurice Ravel and Images: The Piano Music of Claude Debussy.