excerpt from 'Music-Study in Germany: The Classic Memoir of the Romantic Era' pp. 229-230 (423 words)

excerpt from 'Music-Study in Germany: The Classic Memoir of the Romantic Era' pp. 229-230 (423 words)

part of

Music-Study in Germany: The Classic Memoir of the Romantic Era

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

in pages

229-230

type

text excerpt

encoded value

I've never seen Liszt look angry but once, but then he was terrific. Like a lion! It was one day when a student from the Stuttgardt conservatory attempted to play the Sonata Appassionata. He had a good deal of technique, and a moderately good conception of it, but still he was totally inadequate to the work—and indeed, only a mighty artist like Tausig or Bülow ought to attempt to play it. It was a hot afternoon, and the clouds had been gathering for a storm. As the Stuttgardter played the opening notes of the sonata, the tree-tops suddenly waved wildly, and a low growl of thunder was heard muttering in the distance. "Ah," said Liszt, who was standing at the window, with his delicate quickness of perception, "a fitting accompaniment." (You know Beethoven wrote the Appassionata one night when he was caught in a thunder-storm.) If Liszt had only played it himself, the whole thing would have been like a poem. But he walked up and down the room and forced himself to listen, though he could scarcely bear it, I could see. A few times he pushed the student aside and played a few bars himself, and we saw the passion leap up into his face like a glare of sheet lightning. Anything so magnificent as it was, the little that he did play, and the startling individuality of his conception, I never heard or imagined. I felt as if I did not know whether I were "in the body or out of the body."—GLORIOUS BEING! He is a two-edged sword that cuts through everything.

The Stuttgardter made some such glaring mistakes, not in the notes, but in rhythm, etc., that at last Liszt burst out with, "You come from Stuttgardt, and play like that!" and then he went on in a tirade against conservatories and teachers in general. He was like a thunder-storm himself. He frowned, and bent his head, and his long hair fell over his face, while the poor Stuttgardter sat there like a beaten hound. Oh, it was awful! If it had been I, I think I should have withered entirely away, for Liszt is always so amiable that the contrast was all the stronger.—"Aber das geht Sie nichts an (But this does not concern you)," said he, in a conciliatory tone, suddenly stopping himself and smiling. "Spielen Sie weiter (Play on)."—He meant that it was not at the student but at the conservatories that he had been angry.

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excerpt from 'Music-Study in Germany: The Classic Memoir of the Romantic Era' pp. 229-230 (423 words)

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