Thursday, 1 December 2016


Today’s Quote of the Day comes to us courtesy of the much acclaimed late pianist and composer Franz Liszt as the musician details his express intent to obtain for himself musical immortality:

"My sole ambition as a composer is to hurl my javelin
into the infinite space of the future."

-Franz Liszt

A portrait of a young Franz Liszt
Liszt’s fantastical dream would read like a prophecy granted by a local soothsayer – for it was on this day in 1822 that an 11 year old Franz would make his much celebrated public debut at Vienna’s "Landständischer Saal," performing before an elite faction of both Austrian and Hungarian aristocrats and even the composing-giants Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the young Hungarian's debut would serve as launching pad for the wunderkind’s skyrocket to international fame – labeled by the press as a “little Hercules,” Liszt’s behemoth talents had already been known – and very much prized – by some of Europe’s most powerful political and musical figures of the time: Prince Nicholas Esterházy of Hungary, in whom Liszt’s father, Adam Liszt was employed, would grant the pair extended leave to Vienna to pursue young Franz’s musical ambitions following a private concert for wealthy benefactors which proved to be a smashing success. Once in Vienna, the Italian composer Antonio Salieri (yes, that Antonio Salieri!) was reportedly so bowled over by a private performance by the young prodigy that he offered his services in teaching composition to the boy free of charge, paving the way for Liszt to show off his musical skills to both composers and royals alike.

So revered was the young talent, it is said that Liszt’s entire musical education in Vienna would not be paid out of pocket, but rather fully endorsed and funded by a group of wealthy sponsors in back in Hungary who had been so impressed by the young prodigy when they had first heard him perform in one of his privately held concerts between the tender ages of 9 and 11.

Liszt would also receive piano lessons by the esteemed maestro Carl Czerny, a former pupil of the composers Beethoven and Johann Nepomuk Hummel. 

We know what transpired next: young Franz hurled his javelin into the infinite space of the future.

Enjoy below a delectable performance of Franz Liszt’s “Un Sospiro” from his Trois Études de Concert, s.144 (no. III) as performed by Canadian virtuoso pianist Marc-André Hamelin:


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