Before there was Beatlemania, there was Lisztomania
. Franz Liszt (22 October 1811 –- 31 July 1886) was the Trope Codifier
for all music stars that came after him. (Violinist Niccolo Paganini was the Ur Example
, for anyone interested.)
As a child prodigy, Liszt was stage-managed by his father, until he dropped dead in 1827. Liszt entered a self-imposed exile until the 1830s. After coming out of seclusion, he toured for nine years in Europe, and accrued a devoted fanbase comparable to that of today's pop stars. When Liszt got tired of touring, he settled in Weimar, where he first met that young hotshot composer Richard Wagner
. They were musical kindred spirits, with a flair for the dramatic. Liszt actually premiered several of Wagner's operas. After 15 years in Weimar, Liszt moved to Rome. Though Liszt was quite the womanizer, he was a practicing Roman Catholic; nonetheless, his decision to become a priest shocked everyone. After he took up the cloth, Liszt spent the last years of his life teaching in Rome, Weimar, and Budapest (which must have been quite the commute). Liszt died in 1886, without having his Last Rites, with his request to be buried simply in a monk's robe ignored.
He is the composer of the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, immortalized in the cartoons The Cat Concerto
and Rhapsody Rabbit
definitive concert piano music.
He is mentioned as being dead in the song "Decomposing Composers" by Michael Palin
sang on Monty Python
's Monty Pythons Contractual Obligation Album
Tropes Present in Liszt's life and work:
- The Ace: Liszt was considered the best piano player in history by his contemporaries.
- Ascended Fanboy: Liszt became friends with composer Hector Berlioz.
- Badass Armfold: He loved posing as such in portraits of him as a young◊ man◊.
- Bishōnen: In his younger years◊.
- The Casanova: He was a notorious ladies' man.
- Creator Breakdown: After his father (who actively tried to make a genius out of him) died in 1827, he didn't know what to do with his life and fell into depression.
- Darker and Edgier: His late work anticipated atonal music and was considerably darker in tone.
- Deadpan Snarker: At yet another person's (false) claim to be his illegitimate offspring, Liszt said, "I know his mother only by correspondence, and one cannot arrange that sort of thing by correspondence."
- Elegant Classical Musician: Real Life example.
- Epic Rocking: Sonata in b minor. Performances finish around 30 minutes. It's considered one of the most Badass pieces of Classical Music.
- Friendly Rivalry: with Fryderyk Chopin.
- Grief Song: He wrote dark tunes after the death of his son-in-law Richard Wagner, dedicated to him.
- Groupie Brigade: He had one of the first. Contemporary reporters dubbed it "Lisztomania," over 120 years before Beatlemania happened.
- Estrogen Brigade: Not surprisingly given his dashing good looks and flowing hair.
- Mad Artist: Was considered as such in old age, when he abandoned tonality, wrote harrowingly bleak tunes, and thus became the most radical composer in the world.
- Rearrange the Song: A good chunk of his work consists of arrangements of other people's work, ranging from transcribing the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven to rebuilding the medieval Dies Irae into a Darker and Edgier piano concerto with lots of Epic Rocking.
- The Rock Star: The Trope Codifier, albeit with Classical Music rather than rock-and-roll.
- Self-Deprecation: On the cover page of his then-unpublished piece Csardas Macabre he wrote, "May one write or listen to such a thing?"
- Standard Snippet: Hungarian Rhapsody no. 2. If someone on screen is shown playing classical piano, odds are pretty decent they will be playing this piece, especially in cartoons.
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: Liebestraum No. 3 is far more gentle than his usual work, partially subverted far since it still requires virtuoso piano skills.
- Technician Versus Performer: Liszt was lucky enough to have both, but compared to other pianists of the era, like Chopin, Liszt was a Performer.
- Trope Codifier: He invented the symphonic poem, a piece of music that illustrates an non-musical source.