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Music / Franz Liszt

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Before there was Beatlemania, there was Lisztomania. The Hungarian composer and pianist Franz Liszt (22 October 1811 31 July 1886) was the Trope Codifier for all music stars that came after him. (The violinist Niccolo Paganini was the Ur-Example, for anyone interested.)

As a child prodigy, Liszt was stage-managed by his father Adam (who played cello in the Esterházy family's orchestra under the baton of Joseph Haydn, and through whom the teenage Liszt met Ludwig van Beethoven and Franz Schubert at least once each), 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 soon 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. A number of Liszt's musical themes turned up in Wagner's work (we assume by permission?!). In 1870, Wagner married Liszt's daughter, Cosima. After 15 years in Weimar, Liszt moved to Rome. Though Liszt was known as a womanizer, he was a practicing Roman Catholic; nevertheless, his decision to become a priest (well, a monk, actually — a Franciscan Third Order Secularnote ) shocked everyone.

After he took up the cloth, Liszt spent the remaining years of his life teaching in Rome, Weimar, and Budapest (which must have been quite the commute). Liszt died of pneumonia in 1886, in Bayreuth (where he did not want to be, and said so many times) during the big Wagner Festival; without having his Last Rites, with his request to be buried simply in a monk's robenote  ignored.

Liszt is the composer of the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, immortalized in the cartoon shorts "The Cat Concerto" and "Rhapsody Rabbit" as the definitive concert piano music in Western animation.

Liszt in fiction:

Tropes Present in Liszt's life and work: