I am preparing my summer 2022 research trip. I will stop in Paris, Bonn, Weimar, and Budapest. Each archive has a lot of interesting pictures, and I was wondering which ones I could focus on for this new post. One of the last pictures of Liszt taken by Nadar is hanging on my wall. While selecting the documents for my trip, I came across a digitalized version on the BnF website of the series taken by the talented Nadar in Paris in March 1886. Since these images are in the public domain, I thought you might enjoy seeing the whole series. I will associate each picture with its reference.
I published a new Liszt pictures video on my YouTube channel. This one was made with the colorization algorithm available on MyHeritage (I used one of their algorithms to generate the animated pictures). All pictures used have different qualities. Like I did for the animated pictures, I wanted to see how the tool would treat damaged or striped pictures. The result is quite satisfying.
I met Bernhard Ruchti, a Swiss pianist, organist and composer, when I was writing a paper about Franz Liszt’s organ works. I discovered Bernhard’s video recording of “Ad nos, ad salutarem undam”. I got intrigued and watched other videos produced by Bernhard about tempo in the 19th century performance practices. I wrote an article about his work. In December 2021, I met him to interview him.
This picture of Liszt triggered an interesting challenge for me. It is signed by Liszt with the inscription “15 septembre 79”. In the comment accompanying the picture, that I can confirm, it was mentioned that all sources (including Ernst Burger) dated it 1881. The current “story behind” will attempt to reply to the following question: was this picture – and by extension the other pictures of the series taken by Ganz in Brussels – taken in 1879 or 1881?
This picture is part of a series of photographs taken in Munich in September or October 1867 by Joseph Albert. Among them, the famous picture of Liszt sitting at the piano with Ede Reményi and Nándor Plotényi. As for the picture I chose, I like it because it is the only one of the series in which we see Liszt smile. I like his pose too. Maybe he was told that he always looked serious, and it would be nice to have at least one picture of him smiling.
Two weeks ago, I posted a “story behind” about an 1871 series of Liszt pictures taken by Fritz Luckhardt in Vienna. I mentioned that Liszt liked these pictures a lot and ordered some copies to sign for friends and to be used as visit cards. In October 2020, the Liszt Museum Foundation of the Liszt Academy in Budapest purchased one of these visit cards signed by Liszt’s hand. It is rare enough to be acknowledged here. The picture posted is the one that was acquired.
In 1871, the photographer Fritz Luckhardt took a series of pictures of Liszt in Vienna. Here is the story behind these pictures. On April 23rd, 1871, Liszt arrived in Vienna. As he was doing each time he was in the Viennese city, he stayed at the Schottenhof, his uncle Franz von Liszt’s place, for some quiet time with his family. It is during this period that Luckhardt took the series of pictures. Luckhardt was known for his portraits of famous personalities of the time.
“F. Liszt à Gabriel Fauré, haute estime et affectueux dévouement.” This picture was signed by Franz Liszt for Gabriel Fauré, who he had met through his teacher Camille Saint-Saëns in 1877 when the two French composers visited Liszt in Weimar. Liszt and Fauré stayed in touch and met again when Fauré was attending Wagner’s operas in Bayreuth. The picture was taken in 1881 but signed in July 1882, when Fauré visited Liszt in Zürich.
When I was working on my article about early metronome markings and the A Tempo Project, I discovered James Alexander Hamilton, the translator of Carl Czerny’s Opus 500 (Piano Method) in English. I found out he was quite an interesting person and was surprised not to find him in the Grove Music Online. I wrote a small article about my findings on Hamilton and submitted it to the GMO. It got published on June 24, 2021. Here is an excerpt.
This famous photograph is often used to represent Liszt. We can see him sitting at an upright piano. There was a series of pictures taken at the piano. We sometimes see one of these with Liszt’s signature on the score. Liszt was often signing pictures of him to give to his pupils and friends. He signed one of these directly on the score.