Franz Liszt: What I Would Have Asked Him

Interviewing today’s artists is such a wonderful thing that we have access to, but I often wonder how I would have handled talking to the legends that have shaped the musical landscape for the last 500 years or so.
Strictly for the sake of ha-ha’s, I thought I’d explore this fantasy and try this on some of my favorite DWG composers starting with the man credited for originating both the piano recital and the symphonic poem, Franz Liszt.

We have to assume that for this interview I would have had to do it face-to-face as e-mail didn’t exist in his day (Unless I just sent him a Q&A on a parchment scroll delivered by a messenger on horseback).
Here’s another thing: I want people to please give me what you think he would have said to these questions. I’ll post the best ones! Feel free to post them on here or Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN or Google+!

CM: I’m a huge fan of your work both as a composer and a musician, and you have also mastered the art of transcription. Can anything be transcribed for piano solo or duo? What about guitar music with the bending notes?

CM: As a child prodigy, what was it like to come face-to-face with Beethoven? And did he really embrace you as legend has us believing?

CM: You led a very active lifestyle as a virtuoso pianist and were pretty much what, in another time people would call a rockstar. Why exactly did you put all of that behind and become a priest?

CM: Is it true that one time when you played the piano transcription of Wagner’s Tannhauser Overture at a recital you had to stop and breathe as it apparently is such a massive epic of a piece? Why didn’t you arrange it for 2 pianos?

CM: Okay, I have to ask it since people are thinking it. Do you not think there’s anything creepy about your friend marrying your daughter?

CM: This rivalry you had with composer-pianist Sigismond Thalberg, would you say you ultimately killed his legacy when you won the stand-off? I still know nothing about him.

CM: Do Chopin and Berlioz still talk to you?
(EDITOR’S NOTE: It should be noted that he would have probably said “Chopin doesn’t talk to me because he’s dead” since this has to be post 1861 if Liszt is already a clergyman)

CM: Let’s say you die. Sometime after your death, you have several pieces you’ve composed that are unfinished, and there are a few people that are music specialists that want to have these works playable for performance by finishing them. How would you feel about this?

CM: When you completed transcriptions of your own works transcribed by students of yours, was it because the works required it, or is it more out of desire to have credit for it?

CM: In your youth you composed one opera, ‘Don Sanche’. Have you ever wanted to write more of them, or is this you keeping up with the Beethoven dynamic as he also only wrote one opera?

CM: Do you still believe life is but a series of preludes?


Liszt: Les Preludes, S.97 (New York Philharmonic, Dimitri Mitropoulos, cond; 1957)

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