Thursday, 16 February 2017


A still-dapper Franz Liszt as he would have
appeared not long after Orpheus' premiere in
1854. This likeness of the composer dates
from 1860.
Today’s Quote of the Day comes to us from 19th century Hungarian composer (and certified “heart throb”) Franz Liszt in honor of the musician’s premiere performance of Orpheus - the fourth symphonic poem in a cycle of 12 - penned by the composer as individual musical character sketches of men of heroic legend, which made it’s debut 163 years ago today at Weimar in Germany:

“Music is the heart of life. She speaks love. Without it, there is no possible good. And with it, everything is beautiful.”

I, like so many, cannot imagine a life without music. It serves as a soundtrack to evolution itself – both individually and all-encompassing – it permeates the psyche; both conscious and unconscious; it infuses the soul with a unique and kinetic rhythm, and infiltrates the many stores of the memory with the most ultimate form of recall for the senses. It is history and the future itself: through enjoying a familiar tune, one recognizes a scent once smelled on the clothing of a beloved; one “sees” in his or her mind a last tender embrace, one yearns for a triumphant return to a site once before seen but still yet unseen – as he or she turns the pages in the Grand Opus of life.

"Everything is beautiful," indeed:  enjoy Liszt’s majestic Orpheus below:

Did You Know?

Princess Carolyne
Liszt’s Orpheus would be conducted by the composer himself to mark the Weimar premiere of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s opera Orfeo ed Euridice, and to celebrate the 68th birthday of the Grand Duchess of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Maria Pavlovna, who was herself an amateur musician and one of Liszt's many patrons.

Pavlovna was not the only royal to have been linked to this work: Liszt dedicated Orpheus to the Polish Princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, a one time lover (and almost wife) of the composer. Princess Carolyne was very much dedicated to Franz - after several failed attempts at marriage (by Papal powers, no less) beginning in 1860, the couple would resign themselves to platonic companionship for the remainder of their lives. So enamored by Liszt was the Princess, it is rumored she died with a "broken heart" - just 8 months after her beloved - in March, 1887.

Orpheus could also be counted among contemporary classical music royalty as a composition favorite: 19th century Romantic composer Richard Wagner (Liszt’s son-in-law through his marriage to daughter Cosima) listed the symphonic poem as one of his most admired pieces of music.


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