IN HET VOETSPOOR VAN FRANZ LISZT
TWAALF ZWERFTOCHTEN DOOR EUROPA
In this book, the author takes you to Woronince, a village in Ukraine, where once Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein had her country house and where the composer worked on the early version of his cycle Harmonies poétiques et religieuses. Near the village of Croissy-Beaubourg, south-east of Paris, Albert Brussee discovered the lost castle of Marie d’Agoult, Liszt’s first great lover, where the young pianist often crossed the threshold. It still exists, though it is now a ruin, hidden from the eyes of the world. In the hamlet of Écorchebeuf near Dieppe on the Normandy coast, he found the mansion of Jacques de Reiset, where Liszt spent more than six weeks in quarantine because of the then prevailing cholera epidemic. In Italy in 1837 Franz Liszt together with Marie d’Agoult spent weeks on the shores of the beautiful Lake Como. Many years later he lived permanently in Rome, and in the summer of 1868 travelled from there via Spoleto, Assisi and Loreto as a pilgrim to the Adriatic town of Grottammare. The last chapter deals with Liszt’s legendary concert trip to Constantinople. There, the pianist also performed in the Dutch embassy and even crossed the Bosporus in a kaïk to spend a few days in a Polish enclave in Asia Minor.
The author visited most of these locations more than a century and a half later and gives an enthusiastic account of what he found. This book is thus somewhere between a collection of musicological studies that in many respects correct and add to the official Liszt literature, and a number of autobiographical travel accounts in which the author recounts his sometimes adventurous, sometimes entertaining experiences. Like an invisible companion, he travelled with Franz Liszt and took many pictures over his shoulder; the book, published in full colour, contains 238 illustrations.
“(…) Brussee uniquely blends his personal travel adventures with its main purpose: filling in gaps in Franz Liszt’s biography and correcting errors in the existing literature by being informed on location. (…) In almost all chapters, he presents new, often interesting information about Liszt’s life and work. To share the scholarly content with an international readership, each chapter concludes with an English-language summary (printed on chamois paper). (…) The book is made all the more attractive by the large number of illustrations, all printed in full colour on coated paper: not only are these reproductions of documents, paintings and portraits; for the most part they are photographs shot by the author himself on the spot. (…) Once you start this treasure trove of content, you will continue reading. By no means is it a prerequisite to be a Liszt connoisseur or aficionado to enjoy this extraordinary book.”
Christo Lelie in Piano Bulletin of EPTA-Netherlands 2022-3.
© 2022 AB Music Productions & Editions, The Hague.
Printed by: BRAVE NEW BOOKS (print-on-demand edition).
With a generous English summary after each chapter, often in the form of a calendarium.
Paperback; 322 pages; with 238 illustrations in full colour.