Liszt Manuscripts: A Bicentenary Presentation

On the occasion of the bicentenary of the birth of Franz Liszt (1811-1886), the NMI presents a selection of manuscripts in its Franz Liszt Collection.

A choice was made of two letters and two music manuscripts. The letters show Liszt at very different stages of his life and in very different capacities. The first is a letter written by the twelve year old child prodigy to the piano manufacturer Pierre Érard. Even in its graphic appearance this letter reflects the playful spirit of the genius-to-be. The second was written by Liszt as a 44 year old father to his teenage daughters Blandine and Cosima. It shows a tragic failure to overcome certain feelings of hurt pride.

The music manuscripts, two of the Petrarch Sonnets in their second version for voice and piano, are interesting as evidence of the process of rethinking and recomposing that was a characteristic aspect of Liszt’s rich artistic life.


Liszt in 1824
(litho by François le Villain
after a drawing by
Auguste-Xavier Leprince
Intoductions, transcriptions and translations: Lodewijk Muns, 2011

Also on this website:
Four letters of Franz Liszt to Espérance von Schwartz