A piano is rolled onto the platform of a small-town railway station. Franz Liszt, on his way to Vienna or Paris or Budapest, stops to give an impromptu concert, performing with all the drama that has made him the leading virtuoso of his day.
Wherever he plays, Liszt is idolized by eager crowds, but what can his admirers know of the great man's private life, his aspirations as a composer, his dreams for music in his own time and the future.
Franz Liszt lived from 1811 to 1886; in those years he enjoyed more of life--romantic and professional--than most men. The friend of Berlioz, Chopin and Wagner, he felt challenged by their musical accomplishments to seek perfection in his own work. Famous today as the composer of the Hungarian Rhapsodies and the twelve Symphonic Poems, Liszt, as this finely wrought biography makes clear, should also be known as a champion of nineteenth-century music, to which he contributed no small share of brilliance and beauty.
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