Harmonies Poetiques et Religieuses

Before Beatlemania, there was Liztomania. Except instead of playing sappy pop diddies no one likes any more about insipid topics like holding hands, Franz Liszt shredded the shit out of the piano like only a 19th century virtuoso pianist who knew Beethoven can. Women went hysterical, screaming through his sets and fighting each other for his silk handkerchiefs. He became rich from touring, but gave most of his money to charities. It was probably easy for him because he was continuously shacking up with baronesses and princesses so he didn’t have to worry about money any more. Good. One less thing. Unfortunately, the Czar of Russia convinced the Pope not to let him marry Princess Carolyne of Poland, and then his son and daughter died, so he took up a solitary life in a monastery outside Rome and became, among other things, an exorcist. Later in life he was tired, sick, and depressed and his music showed this. But during the days of Lisztomania, when he composed Harmonies Poetiques et Religieuses, he made astounding, beautiful compositions with virtuostic technique that lead him to be considered the “most technically advanced and perhaps greatest pianist of all time.”

Feel The Shred

Don’t believe me about Lisztomania? There is a 1975 movie about it starring Roger Daltry as Liszt, Rick Wakeman as Thor, and Ringo Starr as the Pope.

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