Kaisen Yao Yao 1 Writing 1, Section 52 Beales December 14, 2012 Research Paper God’s Music The master composers of the Romantic Era spanned from late Beethoven to early Debussy and Ravel. Among these brilliant masterminds, Franz Liszt (1811-1887) stood out as the true compositional virtuoso. His incredibly revolutionary and grandiose music not only changed the way people viewed musical performance, but also changed the way people composed music, by incorporating details and influences from their personal lives into their works. Liszt, most known for his piano works, was one of many to help shape Romantic music, but was one of a few to tie his music into his beloved religion: Catholicism. Liszt’s bombastic, yet emotional personality helped him emerge as one of the most well known composers of the Romantic Era to successfully incorporate religion into his music. The religious dedications, motifs, and allusions in his music are prevalent in many of his compositions throughout his lifetime, and play an important role in understanding his social and political views. Through his writings in his work Harmonies poetiques et religeuses , and multiple secondary sources, Liszt’s incorporation of religion into his music is shown to be influenced by his duty as a Church organist and the qualities, consequences, and sociopolitical tensions of the Romantic Era of Music. Liszt’s religious background can be seen primarily in his introductory notes to his work, Harmonies poetiques et religeuses (“Poetic and Religious Harmonies”).
Yao 2 In this introduction, Liszt states how the pieces themselves are a way of communicating with God, or the musical equivalent of a prayer. Liszt says (trans. Fassung): There are meditative minds, whom solitude and contemplation insensibly raise towards infinite ideas, that is to say – Religion. All their thoughts turn into enthusiasm and prayer, their whole existence is a silent prayer to the Deity and hope; they seek in themselves and in the creation which surrounds them, degrees to raise them to God, expressions and images to reveal themselves to Him, to reveal Him to them! Would that I could in these harmonies assist them!” (Liszt, Harmonies poetiques et religeuses, 140). As stated, Liszt is trying to help people become closer with God, and understand him through his music. Liszt later says, “we pray with thy words, we weep with thy tears, we invoke with thy song!” (Liszt 140), showing the importance of music for religious inspiration. In fact, Liszt starts off this collection with a piece entitled, “Invocation”,
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