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The Virtuoso Liszt


  • 16 b/w illus. 2 tables 10 music examples
  • Page extent: 300 pages
  • Size: 229 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.44 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521108720)

  • Also available in Hardback
  • Published April 2009

Available, despatch within 3-4 weeks

US $51.99
Singapore price US $55.63 (inclusive of GST)

The greatest virtuoso career in history - that of Franz Liszt - has been told in countless biographies. But what does that career look like when viewed from the perspective of European cultural history? In this study Dana Gooley examines the world of discussion, journalism, and controversy that surrounded the virtuoso Liszt, and reconstructs the multiple symbolic identities that he fulfilled for his enthusiastic audiences. Gooley's work is based on extensive research into contemporary periodicals - well-known and obscure journals and newspapers - as well as letters, memoirs, receipts and other documents that shed light on Liszt's concertising activities. Emphasising the virtuoso's contradictions, the author shows Liszt being constructed as a model aristocrat and a model bourgeois, as a German nationalist and a Hungarian nationalist, as a sensitive romantic artist and a military dictator, as a greedy entrepreneur and as a leading force for humanitarian charity.

• Examines concert reviews of Liszt in unprecedented depth • Provides a view of Liszt's career not possible in biographies • Places Liszt's concert career in its historical context


Acknowledgements; Note on periodical citations; Introduction: A virtuoso in context; 1. Liszt, Thalberg, and the Parisian publics; 2. Warhorses: virtuosity, violence, and the cult of Napoleon; 3. The cosmopolitan as nationalist; 4. Liszt and the German nation, 1840–43; 5. Anatomy of 'Lisztomania': the Berlin episode; Bibliography; Works cited.


'CUP is to be warmly applauded for its stalwart and enterprising series New Perspectives in Music History and Criticism … this is an historically and contextually rich exposition, elucidating aspects we think we already understand. Gooley's approach, while rigorous and erudite, makes few demands on the reader as regards technical know-how. The author's priorities are those of the thinking pianist, culturally inquisitive non-musician and alert listener.' Classical Music

'… a responsible piece of historical and interpretative writing, a valuable contribution to our understanding of Liszt and the forces that made his remarkable career possible.' The Times Literary Supplement

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