Franz Liszt was born on October 22, 1811 in the Hapsburg Kingdom of Hungary. He would grow up to become one of the most famous pianists to have ever lived. People would also come to remember him of one of the most distinguished composers during the Romantic era. Aside from his musical talent, Liszt was lucky enough to have been gifted with great looks and charm, characteristics that made him really popular among the ladies. His romantic affairs were among their favorite subjects in gossips. Rock and roll was to be birthed 140 years later after he was born. However, if this was already present during his time, becoming the most famous rock star for the grown up Liszt would have been an easy feat.
Liszt’s father was a musician who was employed under the service of a Hungarian prince. This may be the reason why he was naturally inclined to play the piano. He started learning his father’s craft as early as the age of seven. As young as he was, people were able to recognize right away that he was a very skillful musician. His talent was noticed by a group of Hungarian noblemen who wanted to see him improve; they were pleased with him and paid for his musical education in Vienna. By his teenage years and early 20s, the young Liszt was already commanding attention as a performer. While he was already trying his hands in composing his own songs, he was more popularly known as a pianist first before the other.
Surprisingly, Liszt’s music was not inspired by another pianist just like him. The musician found inspiration in the music of violinist Niccolò Paganini – he found his own style and technique following the lead of this musician. Liszt rose to popularity and many of his fans came from the female population. His concerts attracted massive audience from all over Europe during the height of his career in 1840s and 50s. In 1975, his life will later be turned into a movie, entitled Lisztomania. Roger Daltrey of the Who was casted by director Ken Russell to play his part.
The pianist’s life would have been the subject of tabloid and TV news if he was to live in the current era. He had controversial affairs with a number of high-profile personalities. He was not shy in being involved with the likes of a student who was the daughter of a high-ranking French government official, a French countess, a Polish princess, nor with that of the popular dancers. His private affairs were speculated to have earned him many children out of wedlock. A paternity claim was denied by the pianist saying that he was only acquainted with the mother of the child through correspondence, which according to him made the paternity claims questionable to begin with.
Franz Liszt died on July 31, 1886, in Bayreuth, Bavaria, the cause of which was pneumonia.