Collection RC0249 - Franz Liszt and his circle collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Franz Liszt and his circle collection

General material designation

Parallel title

Other title information

Title statements of responsibility

Title notes

Level of description


Reference code


Edition area

Edition statement

Edition statement of responsibility

Class of material specific details area

Statement of scale (cartographic)

Statement of projection (cartographic)

Statement of coordinates (cartographic)

Statement of scale (architectural)

Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • 1841-1883 (Creation)

Physical description area

Physical description

26 letters and carte de visite; other material

Publisher's series area

Title proper of publisher's series

Parallel titles of publisher's series

Other title information of publisher's series

Statement of responsibility relating to publisher's series

Numbering within publisher's series

Note on publisher's series

Archival description area

Name of creator


Biographical history

Franz Liszt, Hungarian composer and pianist, was born in Raiding near Sopron on 22 October 1811. He made his debut at the age of nine and subsequently studied in Vienna with Czerny and Salieri. Later on in Paris he came to know all the principal artistic figures of the period and was influenced by Hector Berlioz, Frederic Chopin and Nicolo Paganini. He lived with Mme. D'Agoult (better known by her pen name, Daniel Stern) between 1833 and 1844 and they had three children. Their daughter Cosima became the wife of Hans von Bülow and later married Wagner.

Liszt's reputation as a performer rests mainly on the great tours of Europe and Asia Minor which he undertook between 1838 and 1847. In 1848 he was persuaded by Princess Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein, whom he had met in Kiev a few months earlier, to give up his career as a travelling virtuoso and to concentrate upon composition. He accepted an appointment to settle at Weimar where he lived with the princess for the next twelve years, a period during which he wrote or revised many of the major works for which he is known.

In the face of increasing opposition at Weimar and hoping that the Pope would sanction a divorce for the Princess, Liszt moved to Rome in 1861, composing mainly religious music for the next eight years. Invited to return to Weimar to give master classes in piano in 1869 and given a similar invitation to return to Budapest two years later, he spent the remaining years of his life making regular journeys between Rome, Weimar and Budapest. He died on 31 July 1886 in Bayreuth, Bavaria.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Twenty-four of the letters are written by Liszt to a variety of correspondents; one letter is addressed to Liszt from the Executive Committee for the Mozart Jubilee. There is one letter from Dr. S. Jadassohn to an unknown correspondent. The letters are in French and German. The collection also includes translations of documents, a conference report for a concert held in Budapest, a piano completion certificate for one of Liszt's students, a photograph and a contract.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

There have been nineteen accruals. The first accrual, letters 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11-12, was purchased from The Piano Institute of America in October 1978. The second accrual, letter 7, was purchased in September 1986. The third accrual, letters 2, 3, 9, 10, was purchased at auction at Sotheby's by Bertram Rota on 22 November 1989. The fourth accrual (11-1990) letter 14, was purchased at auction at Sotheby's by Bertram Rota for McMaster University on 17 May 1990. The fifth accrual (10-1990) letter 13, was purchased from J&J Lubrano Rare Books, Great Barrington, Massachusetts on 4 June 1990. The sixth accrual, letter 15, was purchased at auction at Sotheby's by Bertram Rota on 21 November 1990. The seventh accrual (49-2002) letter 16, was purchased on E-Bay from Alexander Autographs, 19 November 2002. The eighth accrual (51-2002) letter 17, was purchased on E-Bay from Kotte Autographs, 18 December 2002. The ninth and tenth accruals (12-2003 and 13-2003) letters 18 and 19, were both purchased from Clive Farahar and Sophie Dupre, Rare Books, Autographs and Manuscripts, 5 March 2003. The eleventh accrual (25-2003) letter 20 was purchased from Alexander Autographs, May 2003. The twelfth accrual (29-2006) letter 21, carte 22, was purchased from Lisa Cox Music in October 2006. The thirteenth accrual (36-2006), a photograph of Liszt, was purchased from W. Harmuth of Berlin via ebay in December 2006. The fourteenth accrual (37-2006), a lithograph of Liszt, was purchased from the Vanity Fair Printing Company via ebay in December 2006. The fifteenth accrual (02-2007), letter 23 to Sir Alexander Mackenzie, was purchased via ebay in January 2007. The sixteenth accrual (03-2007), a letter from Salomon Jadassohn, was purchased via ebay in February 2007.The seventeenth accrual (06-2007), letter 24 to Baron von Droste, was purchased from David Schulson Autographs, New York. The eighteenth accrual (16-2007), a contract bearing Liszt's signature, was also purchased from David Schulson Autographs, New York. The nineteenth accrual (36-2007), letter 25 to Haslinger, was purchased from David Schulson Autographs in September 2007.


Language of material

Script of material

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

There are no access restrictions.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

Associated materials

Some material from the collection has been digitized and is available on McMaster's Digital Archive.

Researchers may also wish to consult the Alan Walker fonds, third accrual which contains additional Liszt letters.

Related materials


Further accruals are expected.

Alternative identifier(s)

Standard number area

Standard number

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Control area

Description record identifier


Institution identifier

Rules or conventions


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Language of description

Script of description


Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related places

Related genres