In letters: Franz Liszt to Robert Schumann

"[...] As to the Kinderscenen, I owe to them one of the greatest pleasures of my life. You know, or you don’t know, that I have a little girl of three years old, whom everybody agrees in considering angelic (did you ever hear such a commonplace?). Her name is Blandine-Rachel, and her surname Moucheron. It goes without saying that she has a complexion of roses and milk, and that her fair golden hair reaches to her feet just like a savage. She is, however, the most silent child, the most sweetly grave, the most philosophically gay in the world. I have every reason to hope also that she will not be a musician, from which may Heaven preserve her! "Well, my dear Monsieur Schumann, two or three times a week (on fine and good days!) I play your Kinderscenen to her in the evening; this enchants her, and me still more, as you may imagine, so that often I go over the first repeat twenty times without going any further. Really I think you would be satisfied with this success if you could be a witness of it!"

— Wednesday June 5th, 1839.

In letters: Franz Liszt on Schubert

[To Sigmund Lebert, December 1868.] Dear friend,

The annotations to Schubert's Sonatas demanded more time than I had anticipated. For some weeks past I have been working industriously at them—now they are finished ad unguem.

Our pianists scarcely realise what a glorious treasure they have in Schubert's pianoforte compositions. Most pianists play them over en passant, notice here and there repetitions, lengthinesses, apparent carelessnesses, and then lay them aside. It is true that Schubert himself is somewhat to blame for the very unsatisfactory manner in which his admirable pianoforte pieces are treated. He was too immoderately productive, wrote incessantly, mixing insignificant with important things, grand things with mediocre work, paid no heed to criticism, and always soared on his wings. Like a bird in the air, he lived in music and sang in angelic fashion.

O never-resting, ever-welling genius, full of tenderness! O my cherished Hero of the Heaven of Youth! Harmony, freshness, power, grace, dreamings, passion, soothings, tears and flames pour forth from the depths and heights of thy soul, and thou makest us almost forget the greatness of thine excellence in the fascination of thy spirit!——

Let us limit our edition of Schubert's pianoforte compositions to 2 Sonatas, the G major Fantasia (a Virgilian poem!), the splendid "Wanderer"-dithyramb (C major Fantasia), 2 books of Impromptus, Moments Musicals and all his Valses (among which there are gems of the first water). All this will be sent to you forthwith; and in addition Weber's Polonaises.

In the Sonatas you will find some various readings, which appear to me tolerably appropriate. Several passages, and the whole of the conclusion of the C major Fantasia, I have re-written in modern pianoforte form, and I flatter myself that Schubert would not be displeased with it.

The pianoforte Duets of Schubert (Holle's edition) please address to Weimar, as I have no time left for revisings in Rome. Send me also a copy of the "Aufforderung zum Tanz" ["Invitation to the Dance"] that is so drummed at everywhere. You forgot to let me have this piece of salon-fireworks with the other music, and I too did not remember it at the time; years ago I had to play this "Invitation" over and over again, times innumerable—without the smallest "invitation" on my part—and it became a detestable nuisance to me. However, such a show-piece must not be omitted in Cotta's edition of Weber.

Your visit to Weimar, dear friend, will be very welcome and agreeable to me. When there we shall be able to discuss, weigh and settle a number of things very conveniently.

With sincere thanks, I remain

Yours in all friendship,

F. Liszt

Villa d'Este, December 2nd, 1868

P.S. — I have not received the French translation of your Method.

From Alan Walker's open letter to Franz Liszt

Dear and highly esteemed Master! I have long cherished the notion of writing to you, and I am grateful beyond measure that I now have an opportunity to do so. To many people it may seem strange that I would want to communicate with you at all, you who have been dead for more than a century. If so, that can only be because they lack imaignation and are incapable of understanding how important your life and work have become to me. Suffice it to say that during the twenty-five years I worked on your biography, which surely gives me some claim to your attention, there were times when I longed to set aside my work in order to consult you directly about the problems before me.

[...]

What better place to start than at the beginning? Your early education was neglected, a situation you strove to overcome in later years. I recall reading somewhere that you attended school in your natal village of Raiding from your sixth year and received some basic tuition in reading and writing from the village schoolmaster Johann Rohrer. The most telling image I retained when considering your rustic education was that the schoolroom in which you and your fellow pupils were prepared for the outside world by Rohrer was a mere twenty feet in length and fourteen feet in width. From this early construction, you widened your boundaries to a point where you were able to embrace the whole world.