Hungary and much of the world will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Franz Liszt on Oct 22. He performed throughout Europe, so Liszt concerts can be expected in many of the continent's capitals, particularly in Hungary, his birthplace, and Germany where he lived and worked. A Mercurian crater and a small planet between Mars and Jupiter, Liszt 3910, were named after the pianist, a handsome man who had the frenzied fan base of a rock star.
During the 19th century Liszt, renowned for his showmanship, became one of the most famous performers throughout Europe. Celebrated just like today's rock stars, he was extremely popular with women, so much so that &lsquoLiszt fever' followed him across Europe leaving behind many broken hearts and initiating several scandals. Lisztomania, a phrase coined by his contemporary Heinrich Heine, referred to the intense fan frenzy and hysteria accompanying his concerts. According to his peers his technical skills as a pianist were unmatched. At 70, as part of his last concert tour, Liszt performed for Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle in England. He was born into a privileged life. His father, Adam Liszt, was in the service of Prince Nicolas II. Haydn and Beethoven were frequent guests of the palace, and made an impression on the boy, who was writing and performing music from the age of eight. He was a prolific composer, and as a conductor, championed composers such as his son-in-law, Richard Wagner.
Date written/update: 2011-10-22