A lit­tle Liszt…

BBC Music Magazine - - Paganini In The Uk -

How Franz wowed Blighty Bri­tain un­doubt­edly thrilled to the sight and sound of in­stru­men­tal vir­tu­osos in the early 19th cen­tury. But while Pa­ganini vis­ited Bri­tain to fill his cof­fers com­par­a­tively late in his ca­reer, Franz Liszt made his first vis­its while only just out of short trousers.

Even at the age of 13, the ex­traor­di­nar­ily tal­ented pi­anist was en­thralling and amaz­ing au­di­ences, as the Manch­ester Guardian re­ported in June 1825:

‘No one could pos­si­bly hear him with­out be­ing de­lighted; it did not need an ac­quain­tance with mu­sic to feel that he was a most ex­tra­or­di­nary per­former; and it is not nec­es­sary, in es­ti­mat­ing his pow­ers, to make any al­lowance on ac­count of his youth; for his per­for­mance would be most ex­tra­or­di­nary in a per­son of any age… As far as del­i­cacy of tone, and ra­pid­ity and bril­liancy of ex­e­cu­tion go, he cer­tainly is a fin­ished per­former; and we do not see how it is pos­si­ble for the skill to be car­ried fur­ther.’

‘Mas­ter Liszt’, as he was dubbed, would con­tinue to im­press Bri­tish au­di­ences for many years to come.

Young star: Liszt in his teens

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