Liszt and the 1860s

The 1850s had its troubles for Liszt to be sure. However, for the most part this was a very productive time for him. Composing, writing books, occasionally performing, and teaching were the main focuses of this period for him.

By the early 1860s, sadness had entered Liszt life once again. His son, Daniel, died at the age of twenty and then, in 1862, he lost his daughter, Blandine, at the age of 26. This lead to a period of reflection and solitude for Liszt. In 1857, he had joined the Third Order of St. Francis. In 1863, he retreated to a monastery outside Rome. He stayed there for some time eventually becoming a porter, lector, exorcist, and acolyte, and receiving the tonsure.  He did continue to play and compose while in Rome.

Liszt returned to Weimar in 1869 to give a master class. A couple of years later he did the same in Budapest. He continued this pattern for the rest of his life – traveling between Rome, Weimar, and Budapest. It is amazing to think of the amount of time and effort that would have involved in the 1870s with Liszt now in his 60s.


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