Music

Franz Liszt: On the Wisdom and the Meaning of Life and Music

“The supreme harmony of the cosmos
is selected in the harmony of the spirit.

 

Life is only a long and bitter suicide, and faith alone can transform this suicide into a sacrifice.

In life one must decide whether to conjugate the verb to have or the verb to be.

Music is the heart of life. She speaks love; without it, there is no possible good and with it everything is beautiful.

Broad paths are open to every endeavour, and a sympathetic recognition is assured to every one who consecrates his art to the divine services of a conviction of a consciousness.

The character of instrumental music… lets the emotions radiate and shine in their own character without presuming to display them as real or imaginary representations. I did not compose my work as one might put on a church vestment… rather it sprung from the truly fervent faith of my heart, such as I have felt it since my childhood.

Inspiration is enough to give expression to the tone in singing, especially when the song is without words. It is my fervent wish and my greatest ambition to leave a work with a few useful instructions for the pianists after me.

Music embodies feeling without forcing it to contend and combine with thought, as it is forced in most arts and especially in the art of words.

Sorrowful and great is the artist’s destiny.

Music is never stationary; successive forms and styles are only like so many resting-places — like tents pitched and taken down again on the road to the Ideal.

My piano is to me what a ship is to the sailor, what a steed is to the Arab. It is the intimate personal depository of everything that stirred wildly in my brain during the most impassioned days of my youth. It was there that all my wishes, all my dreams, all my joys, and all my sorrows lay.

The principal task of a conductor is not to put himself in evidence but to disappear behind his functions as much as possible. We are pilots, not servants. We need improvement in the style of performance. There is no more advantage in a musician who plays and conducts than in one who is only a beater of rhythm. My sole ambition as a composer is to hurl my javelin into the infinite space of the future.

For the virtuoso, musical works are in fact nothing but tragic and moving materializations of his emotions; he is called upon to make them speak, weep, sing and sigh, to recreate them in accordance with his own consciousness. In this way he, like the composer, is a creator, for he must have within himself those passions that he wishes to bring so intensely to life.

It is impossible to imagine a more complete fusion with nature than that of the Gypsy. As the mother teaches her children how to express themselves in their language, so one Gypsy musician teaches the other. They have never shown any need for notation. The music of the Gypsies belongs in the sphere of improvisation rather than in any other, without which it would have no power to exist.

Companions, in misery and worse, that is what we all are, and to try to change this substantially avails us nothing. A person of any mental quality has ideas of his own. This is common sense.

Truth is a great flirt.

Real men are sadly lacking in this world, for when they are put to the test they prove worthless. As for famous men who were not artists, I am beginning to be tired of them. Those poor little scoundrels who are called great men fill me with nothing but overwhelming horror.

Beware of missing chances; otherwise it may be altogether too late some day.

So let us not worry, and look instead as it has been taught us to do, as the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, keeping complete faith in Our Father’s goodness.

Supreme serenity still remains the Ideal of great Art. The shapes and transitory forms of life are but stages toward this Ideal, which Christ’s religion illuminates with His divine light.”

Excerpts from Franz Liszt’ sayings.

***

~Franz Liszt was a Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, conductor, music teacher, arranger, and organist of the Romantic era. He was also a writer, philanthropist, Hungarian nationalist, and Franciscan tertiary.

©Excellence Reporter 2020

Categories: Music, Wisdom of Life

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