14Besides composing, Liszt’s post-1861 life saw frequent travel and teaching. By 1869, he was dividing his time between Budapest, Rome, and his old haunt of Weimar. In Budapest, he helped found the Liszt Academy of music, an institution which has continued to the present. He also taught a large number of masterclasses to piano students in Weimar and Rome. There are 13 Eckhardt, Mueller, and Walker, “Franz Liszt.” 14 David Butler Cannata, "Perception & Apperception in Liszt's Late Piano Music," The Journal of Musicology15, (1997): 178-179, 207.
10many written accounts of these classes – not all of them to be relied on – and numerous students visited him from across the Western world. He was, as in his youth, a generous teacher, never accepting a fee, and sometimes accepting students who were there merely to make the acquaintance of someone they viewed as a celebrity of sorts. He could, however, show his fangs at times, and had little patience for students seeking his help on technical deficiencies. His focuswas on musical interpretation, and he sought to cultivate the highest artistic sensibility in himselfand his students. Having highly developed his own technique through years of meticulous practice and dedication, he was unimpressed by virtuosity alone and demanded musical sensitivity from any performer.15Liszt’s final years were marked by dimming mood and declining health. Although for years he affected to ignore the pejoratives of his critics, privately he grew resentful and discouraged about his struggles to bring his artistic vision into public respectability. Perhaps as aresult of the consistency of his detractors, he battled doubts about his own worth as a composer, which he attempted to stifle by holding on to his self-imposed obligation to create, and by the process of writing itself. These anxieties, combined with family conflict and tragedy, physical decline, and the memory of numerous friendships acrimoniously ended, combined to push Liszt’smood downwards. He even contemplated suicide, but his Catholic beliefs made him hesitate. Alcohol became an even more frequent companion than before. Even as his health worsened, he deflected any concerns about it through humor and did not let it prevent him from keeping a rigorous work schedule. Liszt’s pivot back to Catholicism at this stage in his life is often ridiculed as being somewhat disingenuous, but when set against his personal tragedies, 15 Ibid. Arthur Hedley, "Liszt: The Pianist and Teacher,” in Franz Liszt: The Man and His Music, ed. Alan Walker (London: Barrie & Jenkins, 1976), 27, 32, 34-35.
11professional failures, and bodily infirmities, his turn to the consolations of religion becomes much more intelligible and creditable.16Finally, Liszt’s conflicted, tumultuous, deeply accomplished life ended in 1886 in Bayreuth, Germany, shortly after attending a performance of Wagner’s Parsifal. He left behind alegacy that is still contested to this day.17Liszt outlived many of his Romantic contemporaries, undergoing multiple drastic changes of lifestyle and location. He faced numerous professional challenges, and often found his musical priorities as cross-purposes to each other. Hence, amid