Article Franz Liszt at the Library of Congress

[Franz Liszt, ca. 1850; reproduced in James Huneker's Franz Liszt (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911; page 36).]
[Franz Liszt, ca. 1850; reproduced in James Huneker's Franz Liszt (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1911; page 36).]

In order to commemorate the bicentenary of Liszt's birth as well as to bring attention to the Library of Congress's substantial holdings of primary source material related to this composer, the present site is offered as a portal to facilitate the exploration of the Library's rich resources for performing research on Liszt's life and career, as well as to publicize the public concerts and events that will be presented in conjunction with this celebration.

Five of the approximately sixty (60) holograph music manuscripts of Liszt which are held within the Library's collections appear on its website as complete digital scans. Those manuscripts, correspondence and first editions of Liszt's work's which have been acquired by the Library both before 1991 are listed in a monograph (The Music Manuscripts, First Editions, and Correspondence of Franz Liszt (1811-1886) in the Collections of the Music Division, Library of Congress, compiled by Elizabeth H. Auman, Raymond A. White, Gail L. Freunsch and Robert J. Palian [Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1991]) which may be examined online. The Library's holdings of holograph manuscripts, correspondence, first editions, as well as publications related to Liszt may be identified by consulting the Library of Congress Online Catalog and/or the card record catalogs held in the Library's Performing Arts Reading Room. A monograph regarding Liszt by noted cultural historian Jacques Barzun (Literature in Liszt's Mind and Work [Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1987]) may also be examined online.

The Library's Music Division also holds several archival collections that either hold primary source material related to Liszt or which may contain general material about Western music in the nineteenth century: John Davis Batchelder Collection; Damrosch-Tee Van Collection; Franz Liszt Collection (American Liszt Society Collection); Mannes-Damrosch Collection; Hans Moldenhauer Archives; Harry Rosenthal Collection; Gisella Selden-Goth Collection; Harold Spivacke Fund Collection. Although part of the Felix Mendelssohn material held within the Music Division's Gertrude Clarke Whittall Foundation Collection, the "Grabau Album" contains signatures of Liszt (on page 9) and others; music manuscript material of, and even a small watercolor by Mendelssohn; as well as letters of Mendelssohn and Robert and Clara Schumann.

A search of Liszt's name among the complete digital images of published nineteenth century sheet music that appear in the Library's presentations will produce nearly sixty examples of musical scores by Liszt, all of which may be examined online and/or printed out directly from that site.

The historic sound recordings that may be accessed via the Library's National Jukebox include over a dozen recordings of works by Liszt as interpreted by various performers.

Liszt's reputation in the century following his death is represented both in the Library's archival collections as well as on its website by documentation produced by two of the twentieth century's greatest composers: by Aaron Copland, who in drafts for his book Copland on Music (1960) called Liszt "the embodiment of his period"; and Leonard Bernstein, who discussed Liszt in draft scripts for his popular "Young People's Concerts" series (1972) in a lecture provocatively titled "Liszt and the Devil."

Liszt's legacy will also be celebrated in four concerts presented in October and November 2011 at the Library as part of its Concert Series.

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Suggested credit line: Library of Congress, Music Division.

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