§ 2. The Early Career of Franz Liszt (1811–1886) as a Concert Pianist
The most celebrated pianist of all time grew up celebrated. The father of Franz Liszt took his child prodigy to Paris and installed him there at the age of twelve. After the young pianist had lived and concertized there for twelve years, that is, at the age of twenty-four, he was made the subject of a long biographical sketch in the Gazette musicale de Paris, as though he had already had a full career as a public figure. Indeed, as was noted in this second sketch of his life—the first had appeared in a French biographical dictionary published five years earlier, when Liszt was only nineteen—his celebrity had matured with celerity, beginning with his arrival in the capital:
For an entire year the young Liszt was like a new doll to all the young women of Paris. Everywhere he was sought out, flattered, caressed, spoiled; his exclamations, his quips, his caprices were all repeated, reported, retailed; everything he did was adorable. At twelve, he had excited passions, caused rivalries, stimulated hatreds; all heads were turned by him, infatuated by him.…We believe that this adulation had some influence on certain usages his talent developed and on the turn of his spirit.
Liszt’s father served as his first music teacher, beating time and sometimes the boy himself as he practiced. Adam Liszt worked as a petty bureaucrat for the Esterházys, a princely family with enormous land holdings in western Hungary, and he relaxed by playing music and cards at the Esterházy court, often with the composer Franz Joseph Haydn, who was employed there for thirty years. He provided little education for his son in anything other than music.
Portrait of Liszt. Courtesy of the Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Photograph by Justin Davis-Metzner.
But he was conscientious in that, and therefore conducted ten-year-old Franz to Vienna to study with Carl Czerny. Czerny, a well-known piano teacher, had had Beethoven as his own teacher and in addition to teaching composed more than a thousand pieces of music, including many piano études, with such titles as 40 études célèbres de la vélocité (40 Famous Études of Velocity), Die Kunst der Fingerfertigkeit (The Art of Finger Dexterity), and Die Höhere Stufe der Virtuosität (The Higher Levels of Virtuosity). In his Errinerungen aus meinem Leben (Recollections from My Life), Czerny describes Liszt’s audition for him:
Naturally, Czerny agreed to instruct him.
He was a pale, delicate-looking child and while playing swayed on the chair as if drunk so that I often thought he would fall to the floor. Moreover, his playing was completely irregular, careless, and confused, and he had so little knowledge of correct fingering that he threw his fingers over the keyboard in an altogether arbitrary fashion. Nevertheless, I was amazed by the talent with which Nature had equipped him.
The Liszts spent a year and a half in Vienna. Czerny complains that his student was removed from his care too soon and that Adam Liszt was exploiting his son’s talent for “pecuniary gain.” 
Never before had I had so eager, talented, or industrious a student.…Within a short time he played the scales in all keys with a masterly fluency made possible by a natural digital equipment especially well suited for piano-playing.…I instilled in him for the first time a firm feeling for rhythm and taught him beautiful touch and tone, correct fingering, and proper musical phrasing.…He finally became such an expert sight-reader that he was capable of publicly sight-reading even compositions of considerable difficulty and so perfectly as though he had been studying them for a long time.
Properly or improperly, Adam Liszt orchestrated his son’s early career. Even before the trip to Vienna—in order to raise money for that trip—he had several times arranged for him to perform publicly in Hungary. In the Austrian capital, the child prodigy gave more concerts, from the very first receiving the attention and approbation of the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung. Soon his father decided that they should move again, this time to Paris, so that he could attend the conservatory there. Back in Hungary in the spring of 1823, three further public concerts raised money to help finance this new venture. The Liszts also profited from stops in Munich, Augsburg, Stuttgart, and Strasbourg on the trip west, during which the young pianist was taxed with the title “a new Mozart.” 
Immediately upon his arrival in Paris in December 1823, Liszt applied for admission to the Conservatoire de Musique. The director, Luigi Cheru-bini, told him that foreigners were not admitted under any circumstances. Liszt nevertheless stayed in Paris and found good teachers, including the opera buffa composer Paer, the same Paer who had taught composition to Paganini in Parma before being invited to France by Napoleon. Meanwhile, the pianist continued to give concerts. According to a letter written by his father, he performed in public thirty-eight times between December 1823 and March 1824. The press again compared him to Mozart and remarked upon “the most astonishing difficulties that he seems to create in a spirit of play, simply in order to give himself the pleasure of triumphing over them.” 
Although Liszt was born in Hungary and spent his early childhood there, his parents were Austrian; thus, he grew up speaking German and in fact never learned more than a few words of Magyar. However, as soon as he got to Paris he abandoned his German, which was of course only the half-formed German of a twelve-year-old, for French. He spoke French almost exclusively well into his thirties. Liszt’s mother moved to Paris a few years after he and his father did, and she remained there until her death forty years later. In short, he soon came to regard the French capital as home and continued to do so until sometime in his thirties, though he was often abroad traveling. Wherever he happened to be, he wrote his letters, even to his mother, in French.
After less than six months in Paris, Adam Liszt showed his son across the English Channel. Already on this first of many concert tours, the young pianist commanded princely fees for his appearances and the attention of King George IV, for whom he played at Windsor Castle. Prince Esterházy, the Austrian ambassador to Great Britain, who had worn a spectacular suit of diamonds to the coronation of the former dandy three years earlier, probably facilitated the royal reception, which the prince attended. The Liszts returned to England in the spring of 1825 and again in the spring of 1827 in order to give more concerts there. They also toured the provinces of France at the beginning of 1826 and Switzerland at the end of the same year.
Meanwhile, discord between the pianist and Paris began to be heard. With more or less help from his teacher Paer, the fourteen-year-old Liszt composed an opera, Don Sanche, ou Le château d’amour, which found a big stage, the Opéra, but a small welcome, closing after only four performances. And for the first time, five years after his Paris début, there was open criticism of his piano playing. Fétis wrote in the Revue musicale:
How sad that natural gifts as rare as those possessed by M. Liszt are only used to convert music into a shell-game and conjuring show! That is not at all the destiny of this enchanting art. It should touch us, move us, not astonish us. The emotions are inexhaustible, but astonishment soon wears off. M. Liszt, you are very young; you are an excellent sight-reader and already a very skilled musician; you possess wonderful fingers; unfortunately, however, you were born at a time when pianists have made music into silliness and you have been carried away by the torrent.…Renounce these brilliant frivolities in favor of more solid advantages.
Personal difficulties compounded the professional ones. Liszt’s father, who had always managed both the private and public sides of his life, died abruptly in 1827 at Boulogne, leaving him stranded. His mother immediately moved to Paris to rejoin him after more than four years of separation, but she did not replace his father in his life. The young pianist quit touring and performed in Paris only infrequently. In order to earn a living he began to give lessons; among his students was the daughter of a count and minister in the government of King Charles X. He fell in love with her, but the count did not consider that this social inferior should be on such terms with his daughter and closed the door to him. His depression deepened.
He turned to religion for solace, not for the first time nor for the last. Adam Liszt had spent two years in a Franciscan monastery and had named his son after St. Francis, thus bequeathing him a tendency to conspicuous displays of devotion. The pianist never used his full given name, Franciscus, but later in his life, when he was living in Rome, he took the four minor orders—acolyte, reader, doorkeeper, and exorcist—and became Abbé Liszt. He also took to wearing a cassock. During his childhood his father had occasionally had to restrain him from excessive religiosity and remind him that his vocation was music and not the Church. After his father died, he began to attend mass frequently. He cultivated the friendship of Chrétien Urhan, a mystical violinist at the Opéra whose religious scruples prevented him from looking at the stage when the orchestra played for ballets, the work of the devil.
Liszt’s episode of grave adolescence coincided with the envelopment of Paris in the clouds of Romanticism and reflected its dark underside, its fascination with suffering and especially death. According to the mother of one of his piano students, who sat in on the lessons he gave to her daughter, “Liszt avidly seeks out all the emotions. He confronts himself, so to speak, with suffering nature, he observes the expression of every pain. He visits hospitals, gambling casinos, and insane asylums. He descends into prison cells; he has even seen those condemned to death.” This was shortly after the arch-Romantic Victor Hugo, a friend of the pianist, had published the novel Le Dernier jour d’un condamné (The Last Day of a Condemned Man). Paris was so accustomed to seeing and hearing Liszt, or at least reading about and hearing about him, that when months went by without his giving a concert the capital pronounced him dead. The newspaper Le Corsair published an extensive obituary, and his portrait appeared in shop windows with the legend “né le 22 octobre 1811, mort à Paris, 1828.” 
Public concerts in the first half of the nineteenth century were often celebrations of technique. Since technique depends in part upon the instrument, concert performers of that era keenly desired the most technologically advanced instrument, at least those whose instrument was not their own throat. Upon his arrival in Paris, Liszt had taken up residence in an apartment on the rue du Mail, a couple of blocks northeast of the Palais-Royal and right across the street from the piano factory, or better, since pianos then were made as well as played by hand, manufactory, of Sébastien and Pierre Érard. The Érards immediately gave the child prodigy one of their new prodigies, a seven-octave double-escapement piano, only the fourth instrument of its kind yet made. The double-escapement mechanism allowed the keys to be “more readily adjusted for touch and was capable of very rapid repetitions of notes.” Rapid repetitions of notes became one of Liszt’s trademarks. In the 1840s, when Liszt was carrom-ing like a billiard ball from every cushioned bank in Europe, performing here, there, and everywhere, the Érards made sure that one of their pianos was waiting for him at every stop. This was the beginning of the relationship between star performer and equipment manufacturer so conspicuous today.
In the first half of the nineteenth century, especially the piano and to a lesser degree orchestral instruments still had flexibility of form; they had not yet rigidified into their twentieth-century invariability. Contrary to myth, the great piano players, in their technical demands on the instrument, often followed, rather than led, the piano makers. For example, Beethoven expanded the range of pitches in his piano compositions from five to five and a half octaves after 1803, when he received a five-and-a-half-octave Érard as a gift from the manufacturer; to six octaves after 1809, when he began to play regularly on a six-octave Streicher (a descendant of Stein); and to six and a half octaves after 1818, when he received a six-and-a-half-octave Broadwood. Thus, as in the case of rapidly repeating notes, the instrument that allowed for the new usage preceded the musician’s demand for it. Of course the direction of influence in other instances did go the other way. Both Beethoven and Liszt were notorious abusers of pianos in general and snappers of strings in particular. Manufacturers gradually made their strings stronger in response to such treatment. Count von Bruhl, an amateur mechanician and the ambassador of Saxony to England, where he was a frequent chess opponent of Philidor, may have been the first to use steel instead of iron or brass strings in a piano. That was in 1786, but steel strings did not become common until the 1820s or 1830s.
Around 1800, leading performers began to take an active interest in the construction of the instruments on which they played. Early in his touring career Paganini modified, or had modified, his concert Guarneri, so that in addition to its unusually thin strings it was equipped with an unusually flat bridge, in order to facilitate triple stops and string crossings, and a fingerboard unusually close to the strings to facilitate difficult fingerings. Late in his career he was reported to have invented a new stringed instrument, the “contraviola Paganini.” Ole Bull, like Paganini, took his violin to the luthier Vuillaume in Paris and, unlike Paganini, collaborated in the work on it. Once the Norwegian designed and built a violin all by himself. On another occasion he worked with a mechanician on a new kind of piano. Liszt, in addition to championing the innovative Érard piano, commissioned the building of a keyboard instrument that he called a “clavecin-orchestre” (harpsichord-orchestra) and which he predicted would bring about a “complete transformation of the piano.” Later he supported an inventor’s new keyboard for the standard piano consisting of six rows of keys, but it, too, failed to gain acceptance.
A lot of experimentation with keyboard instruments took place in the first half of the nineteenth century. Parisian inventors came up with a series of organs using free reeds that gave performers greater control over the expression of notes than conventional beating-reed organs did; the series included the Orgue Expressif (1810), Aérophone (1828), Poikilorgue (1834), Mélophone (1837), and finally the harmonium (1840), an instrument that achieved considerable popularity. What Liszt referred to as a clavecin-orchestre was probably the large combination piano-harmonium, as others have described it, that was made by the Paris organ builder Alexandre and that Liszt had with him in Weimar during his tenure as kapellmeister there in the 1850s. J. N. Maelzel incorporated around forty standard percussion, woodwind, and brass instruments into his acclaimed keyboard-orchestra, the Panharmonicon—and then to operate the keyboard employed a pegged cylinder instead of a person. These are the ancestors of the twentieth century’s electric organs and synthesizers.
The technological innovations then being applied to keyboard and somewhat less creatively to other instruments encouraged the composition of certain kinds of pieces. Liszt’s commissioning of the now-forgotten clavecin-orchestre was one way he sought to duplicate the fullness of sound of an orchestra on a single instrument. He also made many piano transcriptions of orchestral works, including all nine of Beethoven’s symphonies and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. Another nineteenth-century pianist recalled: “At an orchestral concert given by him and conducted by Berlioz, the ‘Marche au supplice’ [March to the Scaffold] from the latter’s Symphonie fantastique, that most gorgeously instrumented piece, was performed, at the conclusion of which Liszt sat down and played his own arrangement, for the piano alone, of the same movement, with an effect even surpassing that of the full orchestra, and creating an indescribable furore. ” 
Equally significant in this regard was the promotion of the piano étude from the practice room to the performance hall. “Étude” is simply the French word for “study” and a musical étude simply a piece of music composed for the practice, or “study,” of one or a small number of difficult techniques. Gradually composers of études became more and more concerned with making them musically interesting as well as technically challenging. At the same time, the high-culture music world’s tastes were changing in such a way that the technically challenging in itself became more and more interesting to it. Chopin’s 12 études, opus 10 (1833), dedicated to Liszt, are widely considered the first concert études for piano. They were in part inspired by Paganini’s famous 24 capricci, which are essentially concert études for violin. Liszt followed the example of both Paganini and Chopin, the latter of whom wrote of his fellow pianist, “I would like to steal from him his way of playing my own études.” Two of the most famous pieces of music Liszt ever composed are sets of concert études: the Études d’exécution transcendante (Transcendental Études) and the Grandes études de Paganini (Paganini Études); both sets are still performed, the former quite frequently. Yet another immigrant to Paris, the poet Heinrich Heine, complained that “technical perfection, the precision of an automaton, the identification of the musician with stringed wood, the transformation of a man into an instrument of sound, is what is now praised and exalted as the highest art.” 
Liszt snapped back to life in the Opéra’s celebration of the presence of the age’s most celebrated violinist. He immediately set to work composing the Grande fantaisie de bravoure sur “La Clochette” de Paganini, a fantasia based on the final movement of Paganini’s Violin Concerto no. 2, and in general set out to become the Paganini of the piano. Liszt’s sudden attraction to Paganini was followed shortly by his sudden attraction to the comtesse Marie d’Agoult. D’Agoult collaborated anonymously with Liszt on the many articles appearing in the Revue et gazette musicale de Paris in the 1830s that bore Liszt’s name and served as his verbal organ of expression. Liszt’s feelings toward Paganini, d’Agoult, and Paris remained strong through the 1830s, but his feelings toward them also developed ambivalence as his own celebrity grew steadily.
In 1833 Liszt reappeared on stage after a five-year absence. But at least for a while, he played only in ensembles or at others’ concerts, such as those of Berlioz, whose friendship he cultivated after hearing a performance of the composer’s new Symphonie fantastique. Meanwhile, he practiced like a man possessed. Another resident of his apartment house reported:
Liszt was the most annoying neighbor one could have. He never played either a written piece or an improvisation. He gave lessons to the wealthy, and as for himself, he played for hours on end, double time, with both hands, on the same note!…One night it was the beginning of the Dies Irae and he never went any further. It was enough to drive you crazy, I assure you. Thus the whole house got together to ask for his eviction. We would have obtained it, but he saved us the trouble: He left on his own.
The love affair of Liszt and d’Agoult slowly swelled into an overwhelming passion, and in 1835 they eloped to Switzerland. Liszt left behind his mother and his piano students; d’Agoult, a husband and child. For a while they settled in Geneva, where Liszt helped to open a music conservatory and d’Agoult began a long and successful if not brilliant career as an author with the articles articulating Liszt’s ideas that she wrote for the Revue et gazette musicale de Paris.
These articles included a seven-part series entitled “De la situation des artistes et de leur condition dans la société” (On the Situation of Artists and their Position in Society). A second series that often treated the same theme, the “Lettres d’un bachelier ès musique” (Letters from a Graduate in Music)—an ironic reference to the Conservatoire’s refusal to admit Liszt a decade earlier—presented the views of a musician who had “graduated” to a certain level of understanding but who still had his career in front of him. In the first “Lettre” Liszt discussed a Russian musician named Gusikow, who had constructed out of wood and straw a sort of xylophone, on which he performed all over Europe during a very successful tour in 1836–37. Liszt described Gusikow as,
the musical juggler who plays an infinitely large number of notes in an infinitely short period of time, and draws the most possible sound out of two of the least sonorous materials. This is the prodigious overcoming of difficulty that all of Paris is now applauding. It is greatly to be regretted that M. Gusikow, the Paganini of the boulevards, has not applied his talent, one could even say his genius, to the invention of some agricultural instrument or to the introduction into his country of some new crop. He would then have enriched an entire population; instead, his talent gone astray has only produced a musical puerility, and the charlatanism of the newspapers will not succeed in endowing it with a value it cannot really have.
While in Geneva in 1835–36, Liszt had heard reports about a Viennese pianist named Sigismund Thalberg who had recently given a series of concerts in Paris. The French capital had become a whirlwind of ivory and ebony. During the season of 1835–36, the Salle Érard and the Salle Pleyel, the auditoriums of the rival piano manufacturers, alone hosted more than two hundred concerts. And of course concerts took place elsewhere as well, for instance at the Conservatoire, where Berlioz heard Thalberg: “As to his technique, there is no one who has seen him who did not recognize immediately that it is prodigious. The frequent use that he makes of two fingers of his right hand (the ring and smallest fingers) to play the melody and even to add the most rapid embellishments, while the three others execute quite complicated accompaniments, almost authorizes us to say that M. Thalberg has three hands instead of two.” In Liszt’s absence the Paris press crowned Thalberg the king of the keyboard. That alarmed him such that he made a brief descent on the French capital in May and June 1836 to hear the new prodigy for himself, but Thalberg had already gone on to England. Liszt had to content himself with giving some concerts of his own. Berlioz wrote:
Liszt returned to Paris again several months later, determined to stay until he heard Thalberg. While impatiently awaiting him, Liszt reviewed some of his published music in the Revue et gazette musicale. He went on at some length but concluded simply: “Impotence and monotony; such is, in the last analysis, what we find in the publications of M. Thalberg.” The director of the journal added a footnote to the beginning of the review: “We insert here unedited the article of M. Liszt, while maintaining our reservations concerning this subject on which the opinion of our collaborator differs so markedly from that which the Gazette musicale has expressed about M. Thalberg.” On the last day of March 1837, both Liszt and Thalberg played at a soirée for charity that took place in the salon of the Princess Belgiojoso, a musical amateur and longtime friend of Liszt. The consensus had it that the contest in pianism was a draw.
The Liszt that we all knew, the Liszt of last year, has been left far behind by the Liszt of today.…All that I have been able to distinguish in the way of new technique, in those infinite choruses born under the fingers of Liszt, is limited to nuances and accents that have been unanimously declared to be, and have in fact remained until now, inaccessible to the piano. There were broad and simple melodies, sustained and perfectly linked phrases, and whole sheaves of notes, hurled in some cases with extreme violence, yet without coarseness and losing nothing of their harmonic luxuriousness. There were melodic progressions in minor thirds, and diatonic embellishments in the bass and mid-range of the instrument (where, as is well known, the vibrations continue the longest) executed with the most incredible rapidity in staccato, such that each note produced only a flat sound, extinguished as soon as it had been emitted, absolutely detached from those that preceded and followed it, and rather like the sounds which would be produced in embellishments of this nature were they executed with the heel of the bow on an excellent bass-viol by a steam-engine.
But there was a winner in press, the princess-impresario. Her name figured above those of the pianists in the published accounts of the event. And she won further recognition by commissioning, also for charity, the Hexaméron, a piece in which six of the era’s best-known pianists, Liszt, Thalberg, Chopin, Czerny, Heinrich Herz, and Johann Pixis, each contributed variations on a theme. All six were in Paris at the time, though none was of French origin. Liszt made the Hexaméron his own, composing an introduction, bridge passages between the variations, and a finale, and then playing the piece in concert all over Europe.
In the summer of 1837 Liszt and d’Agoult resumed their shared exile-idyll, traversing Switzerland to spend the fall and winter in the Italian Alps on the shores of Lake Como. Then they descended into Milan, where Liszt performed at La Scala.
Milan seems to have given Liszt’s playing a warm, if not excessively enthusiastic, reception. D’Agoult recorded in her journal that Rossini, who was also there at the time and who had formerly praised Liszt highly, was heard saying that “Thalberg consisted of three-quarters feeling and one-quarter skill, and Liszt three-quarters skill and one-quarter feeling.” 
In order to enliven my concerts a little bit, which were reproached with being always too serious, I had the idea of offering to improvise on themes proposed by the music lovers and chosen by acclamation.…When I proceeded to examine the ballots, I found, just as I had expected, a considerable number of motifs of Bellini, and of Donizetti; then, to the great amusement of the audience, I read on a piece of paper carefully folded by an unknown who had not doubted for a moment the superiority of his proposal, “the dome of the Milan cathedral.”…But the public showing no particular desire to see me erect my bell-towers out of 32nd-notes, my galleries out of scales, and my spires out of tenths, I went on. They became ever better, ever bolder:…“the railroad”…“Is it better to be married or single?”
From Milan the couple traveled in the spring of 1838 to Venice, where d’Agoult wrote in her journal, “at the Giardino, a quincunx of trees, a me-diocre promenade that the Venetians owe to Eugène [Eugène de Beauharnais, Napoleon’s stepson and viceroy in Italy from 1805 to 1814]. Always this abominable merit of difficulty overcome.” When Liszt read in a German newspaper that thousands in Hungary had been left homeless by the flooding of the Danube, he had the idea of taking a side trip to Vienna in order to give some benefit concerts. He thought the Viennese might be curious to hear the pianist who had last played there fifteen years previously as a wunderkind. D’Agoult waited for him in Venice.
In Vienna, Liszt foresaw a future of fabulous fame and fortune, touring the cities of Europe. Never before had he had such applause. He wrote d’Agoult after one concert: “Enormous success. Acclamations. Recalled 15 to 18 times. Hall full. Universal amazement. Thalberg barely exists anymore in the memory of the Viennese.” After another: “In living memory, there has never been such a success in Vienna, not even Paganini.” “Not even Thalberg,” “not even Paganini,” chanted the letters he sent to d’Agoult from everywhere in Europe over the course of the next few years.
In Vienna that spring of 1838, Liszt played publicly and privately many times. He contributed twenty-four thousand gulden to the cause of the homeless of Hungary, more than any other private donor. Still, his detour embittered d’Agoult. “Franz abandoned me for petty motives. It was neither for a great work, nor for charity, nor for patriotism; it was for salon successes, for newspaper glory, for invitations from princesses.…He had amassed gold with ease; he had left it for the victims of the flood; but he had seen that in two years he could make a fortune.” Liszt of course felt differently: “In front of an audience so intelligent, so benevolent, I was never held back by the fear of not being understood; there it was not rash of me to play the most serious compositions of Beethoven, Weber, Hummel, Moscheles, and Chopin; portions of the Symphonie fantastique of Berlioz, the fugues of Scarlatti, and those of Handel; and finally, my dear études, those beloved offspring that had appeared so monstrous to the habitués of La Scala.” 
Liszt and d’Agoult must have reached some sort of an understanding, for they continued to travel together in Italy for another year and a half, during which time Liszt gave few concerts. The couple continued to produce articles for the Revue et gazette musicale, and children. Their first daughter had been born in Geneva in December 1835; their second, Cosima, the future wife of Richard Wagner, in Como in December 1837. Their third and last child, a son, was born in Rome in May 1839. During his years with d’Agoult, Liszt also produced his first important compositions. He composed two sets of program-music pieces, one a set of “romantic landscape paintings,” originally titled Album d’un voyageur (Traveler’s Album), composed in and “depicting” Switzerland, the other a set of “commentaries” on great works of Italian art and literature, composed in Italy. He later revised and incorporated both sets into Années de pèlerinage (Years of Pilgrimage). He also made piano transcriptions of Beethoven’s fifth, sixth, and seventh symphonies and the overture to Rossini’s opera William Tell. He composed several fantasias, free-form pieces based on themes from operas or other works, for example, the fantasia on Pacini’s Niobe that he played in his contest with Thalberg. And there were virtuoso pieces pure and simple, or rather, complex and difficult. These included the Grand galop chromatique and the two sets of “transcendental” études. Actually, the two sets of études were published three times each in different versions. The Étude de 48 exercices of 1826 became 12 grandes études in 1839 and then Études d’exécution transcendante in 1852. Similarly, the Grande fantaisie de bravoure sur “La Clochette” de Paganini of 1832 became Études d’exécution transcendante d’après Paganini in 1838 and then Grandes études de Paganini in 1851. In both cases, the third versions were simplifications of the second versions. The second, late-1830s versions of both sets of études were such fantastic elaborations of the first versions as to be almost unplayable and in fact are rarely played today.
By 1839, no woman, no city, no model could satisfy Liszt. From Florence, Liszt and d’Agoult went their own ways; although they spent a few weeks together every summer during the early 1840s, their separation there in October 1839 was definitive. And Paris was no longer home to Liszt; although he returned to the French capital periodically in the course of his restless touring in the 1840s, he was no longer satisfied to see himself at the top of the heap of Paris pianists. For the next eight years Liszt rode from city to city, concert hall to concert hall, salon to salon, aristocratic hostess to aristocratic hostess, on an endless wave of applause. Paganini’s death in the spring of 1840 provided the occasion for Liszt’s last article for the Revue et gazette musicale, which concluded: “Let the artist of the future renounce then, and with all his heart, this egoistic and vain role of which Paganini was, we believe, a last and illustrious example; let him place his end, not in himself, but outside of himself; let virtuosity be a means, not an end; let him always remember, that as much as noblesse, indeed more than noblesse, génie oblige. ” 
If public concerts in the first half of the nineteenth century were sometimes celebrations of technique, they were also sometimes celebrations of competition, or competitions for celebrity. Competitiveness, at least as much as any other drive, propelled Liszt in the 1830s. In his friendly rivalry with Chopin he “outplayed” the Franco-Polish pianist at the latter’s own études; in his striving to equal on the piano the rich texture of sound produced by a full orchestra, he outplayed an orchestra in consecutive performances of Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique; and in his constant comparison of his own audience receptions with those of other performers, he tried to outplay Thalberg in a dual concert.
Already in the eighteenth century Farinelli had participated in several informal singing contests, such as the one described above in which he bested in breath an unidentified trumpet player during the performance of an opera in Rome. By the first half of the nineteenth century, such informal contests had become common among instrumentalists. Paganini, we have seen, referred to his onstage encounter with the French violinist Charles Lafont in Milan in 1816 as a duel. Paganini also performed on the same stage with the Polish violinist Karol Lipinski twice in Piacenza in 1818. In 1829 they appeared together again, in Warsaw, where the press treated it as a competition. In Marseilles in 1837, the chronically ill Paganini played in concert with Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst, a violinist who had earlier followed Paganini on tour from city to city in the hope of learning his “secret.” Ernst wrote that “his previous infallibility on the fingerboard had declined so much that I can say without boasting that I performed many of his showpieces as well as, if not better than, he himself.” 
Even Beethoven, as a young pianist, participated in such competitions. At the turn of the nineteenth century his playing was often compared to that of Joseph Wölffl, a student of Leopold Mozart. A contemporary Vien-nese conductor and composer wrote:
While Beethoven and Wölffl felt mutual respect, Beethoven and the Berlin pianist Daniel Steibelt felt mutual hostility. They played together twice, with an interval of a week, in the same Viennese salon. A student of Beethoven reported of the second concert:
It was, in a way, a revival of the old Parisian quarrel of the Gluckists and the Piccinists, and the numerous friends of the fine arts in the Imperial City divided into two parties.…There, and not infrequently, the interesting matches of the two athletes provided indescribable enjoyment to a numerous and thoroughly select gathering; each of the two presented the latest product of his inspiration; now one or the other of them gave free, unrestricted course to his ardent imagination; now they sat at two pianos, improvised alternately, and exchanged themes, thus creating many four-handed capricci which, could they have been immediately put to paper, would certainly have proven immortal.
Steibelt played another quintet with a good deal of success. Furthermore, he had prepared (as one could easily tell) a brilliant “improvisation” and chosen for its theme precisely the one on which Beethoven had composed variations for his Trio. This incensed Beethoven’s admirers and himself; it was now his turn to go to the piano to improvise; he went in his usual rude way (if I may say so) over to the instrument as if half-pushed, picked up the cello part of Steibelt’s quintet in passing, placed it (intentionally?) on the stand upside down, and with one finger drummed out a theme from the first few measures. Insulted and angered, he improvised in such a manner that Steibelt left the room before he finished, would never again appear together with him, and indeed even made it a condition of future engagements that Beethoven not be invited.
Liszt’s contest with Thalberg has already been recounted; it only remains to be added that arguments over “who won” continued in the press for months, in private for years, and in scholarship to this day. Liszt seems to have rarely been able to resist an opportunity to outperform another pianist. At a social gathering in which they were both present, he showed up the composer Felix Mendelssohn in successive renderings of one of the latter’s own caprices. The pianist Charles Hallé recollected in his autobiography that Liszt once
William Kuhe, another nineteenth-century pianist who wrote an autobiography, recalled that Alexander Dreyschock “created a furor” in Vienna in 1846, when he played a difficult Chopin étude in octaves. The following year, Kuhe writes, Liszt also played a Chopin étude in Vienna:
did me the honour to ask me to play a duet for two pianos with him, and chose Thalberg’s well-known Fantasia on Norma. We had no rehearsal, but he said to me: “Let us take the theme of the variations at a moderate pace, the effect will be better.” Now the first part of this theme is accompanied on the second piano (which Liszt had chosen) by octaves for both hands, which octaves in the second part fall to the lot of the first piano. What was my horror when, in spite of the caution he had given me, Liszt started his octaves at such a pace that I did not conceive the possibility of getting through my portion of them alive. Somehow I managed it, badly enough, but if I ever understood the French saying “suer sang et eau” [to sweat blood and water] it was then.
After repeatedly bowing his acknowledgments, he was compelled, by irresistible plaudits, to resume his seat, when he again played the first bar of the study, doing so, with marked deliberation, in octaves. Repeating the same passage again and again, each time accelerating the tempo, he at last attained the speed at which he had played it in single notes, and he then proceeded to render in octaves the entire study, with all the crescendos, decrescendos, etc., as though he were playing the piece as it was originally written. The consummate skill with which he accomplished this remarkable feat amazed even an audience accustomed to his flights of bravura playing, and completely put into the shade the previous achievement in the same direction of Dreyschock.
Competitions in musical performance have been around for a long time. In the Middle Ages, at least according to legend, masters of the musicians’ guild held singing contests at which they awarded a prize to the winner. However, the tendency for formal concerts to turn into informal contests seems to have developed more recently and risen sharply in the first half of the nineteenth century with certain performers’ reconception of the public concert as a sort of athletic event.
Beginning in November 1839, Liszt toured Europe almost ceaselessly for eight years, generating an unprecedented celebrity for a musician: “Lisztomania.” He no longer had a model to copy, nor a city to call home, nor a lover to live with, except—and she was as faithful to him as he was to her—Fame. The grandest of tours yet undertaken began in Vienna, where Liszt’s concerts again had the purpose of raising money for a special cause. This time he played for the benefit of the Beethoven Memorial, consisting of both a large statue of the composer and musical performances to commemorate its installation in Bonn, his birthplace, in 1845, the seventy-fifth anniversary of his birth. Reading about the project in the Revue et gazette musicale de Paris earlier in 1839, Liszt wrote to the review to say that he would raise whatever was still needed by the Memorial Committee and then gave enough benefit concerts over a two-year period to produce the needed twenty thousand francs. He was as free with money as he was jealous of fame.
From Vienna, Liszt went in December 1839 back to Hungary, which he had not seen since leaving it as a child of eleven. In Budapest he earned ten thousand francs in four concerts for himself, and another ten thousand francs in three benefit concerts for the local music society, the Theater of Hungary, and the future National Conservatory. He was crowned with laurel, honored at a banquet, and given a ball by sixteen noblewomen, each of whom presented him with a bouquet. In Pressburg (now Bratislava), he received a golden trophy. The Esterházy family made him several gifts, including a Hungarian hat and a valuable collection of pipes. It was the return of the prodigal son: “I’m bankrupting myself at tailors’ shops; my elegance is becoming prodigious.” The Paris press, exaggerating Liszt’s pounding of keys and snapping of strings, reported with amuse-ment that this “piano slayer” had been presented with a Hungarian saber in an elaborate ceremony. He responded to the Revue des deux mondes (Two Worlds Review):
In your music review of October 15th, my name having been mentioned on the occasion of the excessive pretensions and exaggerated successes of several performing artists, I take the liberty of addressing to you an observation on the subject. The crowns of flowers thrown at the feet of Mlles. Elssler [a dancer] and Pixis [a singer] by the music lovers of New York and Palermo are signal manifestations of the enthusiasm of a public. The saber that was given to me in Budapest is the recompense awarded by a nation in an entirely national manifestation.
Liszt concertized westward from Budapest to London, where in the spring of 1840 he gave some of his revolutionary recitals. A year earlier the pianist had written to the Princess Belgiojoso in Paris from Rome:
Liszt may or may not have made the “invention” of giving formal concerts alone, but he did begin a new tradition of doing so. Paganini, as mentioned, interspersed his own playing with orchestral works, performed by whatever group happened to be native to the locale where he found himself, and with vocal works, often performed by a singer who was traveling with him. That way of organizing formal concerts was the old tradition. In London in 1840 Liszt began another new tradition with his onemusician concerts by calling them “recitals.” The English pianist Charles Salaman later recalled:
What a contrast to these boring “musical soliloquies” (I don’t know what other name to give to this invention of mine) with which I have imagined to be able to gratify the Romans, and which I am even capable of importing into Paris, so limitless has my impertinence become!—Tired of the battle, and no longer being able to compose a program that showed any common sense, I dared to give a series of concerts by myself alone, borrowing from Louis XIV and saying to my public cavalierly, “le concert, c’est moi.”
At first the London critics resisted him, as they had previously at first resisted Paganini, but they eventually conceded, as a reviewer in the Times put it, that “Liszt leaves every other performer, whether on the pianoforte or any other instrument, at an immeasurable distance behind him.” He toured Great Britain on and off for a year, sometimes giving two concerts a day, and though many of them were of the older sort, with orchestras and singers relieving his fingers, he still played four or five pieces per concert.
At these recitals Liszt, after performing a piece set down in his programme, would leave the platform, and, descending into the body of the room, where the benches were so arranged as to allow free locomotion, would move about among his auditors and converse with his friends, with the gracious condescension of a prince, until he felt disposed to return to the piano. The manner of the man was very different from that of the charmingly simple boy I remembered in 1827–1828; the flattery of the world had apparently not left him untouched, and he had developed many eccentricities and affectations. But as pianist the wonderful boy was father to the wonderful man; his genius had matured, and during that season of 1840 and the following, when he again visited England, he performed almost miracles on his instrument.
In the second half of 1841 Liszt concertized eastward across Europe, arriving in Berlin in December. In the capital of Prussia audiences became nearly hysterical and women scrambled for souvenirs: broken strings from his piano, shreds of his velvet gloves, locks of his hair, even his cigar butts. When he finally left Berlin after having given twenty-one concerts there, it was in a triumphal procession of thirty coaches cheered by thousands of onlookers. From then on, success followed success in a swelling stream. Now restrained, now bursting out of its bed, the throbbing river roared through Russia, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany in 1842, Poland, Russia, and Germany in 1843, France and Spain in 1844.
Seeing a delirious Paris in Liszt’s wake in 1844, Heinrich Heine called the enchantment “Lisztomania.”
To assemble his claques Liszt employed a factotum, a “general superintendent of his stardom” by the name of Belloni, who was also instructed to spend freely for the “crowns of laurel, bouquets of flowers, poems of praise, etc.” that were bestowed upon him at his concerts.
What a strange thing, I thought: These Parisians, after having seen Napoleon, the great Napoleon, fight battle after battle—and what battles!—to attract their interest and keep their support, these same Parisians are now overwhelming our Franz Liszt with acclaim! And what acclaim! A veritable frenzy, which has no equal in the entire history of madness! But what is the cause of this prodigy?
It seems to me sometimes that all this sorcery can be explained by the fact that no one in the world knows as perfectly as our Franz Liszt how to organize his successes, or rather how to stage them. In this art, he is a true genius, a Philadelphia, a Bosco, a [Robert-]Houdin.…The most eminent people serve gratis in his claque, and the less-distinguished, hired enthusiasts are admirably trained to applaud him as well. The sparkling foam of champagne and a reputation for lavish generosity, trumpeted in the most respectable newspapers, are the lures that are used to attract recruits in every town.
Liszt’s finest staging effort may have been his production, as quasiofficial artistic director, of the Beethoven Memorial commemoration in Bonn in 1845. Many problems arose. Upon arriving in Bonn, Liszt found that the city lacked a decent concert hall and had to raise more money to have one built. The statue of Beethoven turned out to be in bronze, instead of the marble he had wanted; it had been done by an undistinguished German sculptor instead of the eminent Italian he had suggested; and it was unveiled with its back to the crowd. Berlioz reported that the festival orchestra was weak, while great players from all over Europe sat in the audience. Like Berlioz himself, they had not been asked to participate. But in spite of everything, Berlioz considered the event a success, for which “it is necessary to thank the city of Bonn, and above all Liszt.” Liszt made his public début as a conductor and also performed Beethoven’s E-flat Piano Concerto. “To say that Liszt played it, and that he played it in a grandiose, sensitive, poetic, and yet faithful rendition, is to be guilty of redundancy,” wrote Berlioz. The festival was well attended and the king of Prussia, in whose domain Bonn lay, personally thanked the pianist for his leading role in its realization. But precisely because Liszt took such a large part, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Hiller, and other leading musicians stayed away, and for the centennial commemoration of Beethoven’s birth in 1870, Liszt was not invited.
To add luster to his name, Liszt wanted a title of nobility from Hungary and the cross of the Légion d’Honneur from France. He felt that he had two claims on the title of nobility: according to a genealogist who had written to him, he was legitimately descended from aristocratic ances-tors; failing that, he expected the Hungarian Diet to elevate him for his achievements. He never received the title, but it would probably have been superfluous to him anyway. In the first half of the nineteenth century the aristocracy of genius was already well on its way to replacing the aristocracy of birth. Not only did artists such as Paganini and Liszt become famous, wealthy, and respected outside of aristocratic and princely courts; they even held their own courts. Like a prince, the soloist in a concert hall was a being apart, elevated above everyone else, the center of attention, a ruler, if only for a couple of hours. Liszt, as we have seen, received the homage of the nobility and had a countess for his mistress. In the last of his series of articles entitled “De la situation des artistes,” Liszt told of what he felt had been his humiliation as a child in the salons of high society in the 1820s. True, he had been spoiled by titled women, but they had treated him simply as an “amusoir,” someone to amuse them, a mere entertainer. And they had invited him into their homes although, not because, he was an artist. But by the 1840s he had nothing more to complain of: “Everywhere, all the women and aristocrats favor me, warmly and violently.” He got his Légion d’Honneur cross in 1845.
However carefully Liszt husbanded his fame, he gave generously of his money, his time, and his talents. Sometimes, as at Leipzig in 1840, Paris in 1841, and Berlin in 1841–42, people protested against the high prices of tickets to his concerts. But his contribution to the Beethoven Memorial alone constituted a fortune. And he was almost constantly raising funds for one cause or another: the musical society of Geneva, the unemployed of Lyons, the flood victims of Hungary, the dilapidated cathedral of Cologne.…Particularly eleemosynary was that over the course of fifty years, from 1835 until his death, Liszt gave thousands and thousands of piano lessons to dozens and dozens of students in Geneva, Weimar, and Budapest and never charged a centime.
The Beethoven commemoration marked only a short pause, and not a restful one, in Liszt’s frenetic itinerary. He concertized in Portugal, Spain, France, Switzerland, Belgium, and Germany in 1845, Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, Moravia, and the Balkans in 1846, Ukraine, Rumania, and Turkey in 1847. In his travels he sometimes used the fast new means of transportation, the railroad. He established the schedule for the modern touring performer, seeing the world in a blur, living out of a suitcase. The number of concerts he gave between 1839 and 1847 amounted to more than a thousand. He had a huge repertoire, playing everything from Bach to Beethoven, the compositions of many of his contemporaries, and of course his own works. At his twenty-one concerts in Berlin in the winter of 1841–42, he played eighty different pieces. Thalberg, performing a few of his own compositions, may well have been Liszt’s equal, but the narrowness of his repertoire considerably limited his appeal. Liszt had a stupefying capacity for learning music: The anecdotes that a wide variety of contemporary musicians have related suggest that he was probably the greatest sight-reader who ever lived; and he performed almost everything at his concerts from memory. Paganini and he were among the first to do so. Liszt’s large hands, with long fingers and no webbing between them, were engineered for the piano. He had a predilection for wide and rapid leaps, rapid note repetition, chromatic scales in glissando, and interlocking hands, and he sometimes adopted Thalberg’s acclaimed “three-handed” technique. He did keyboard exercises several hours a day for long years, reading books at the same time to prevent boredom and using a dumb keyboard while traveling. Charles Hallé wrote that “one of the transcendent merits of his playing was the crystal-like clearness which never failed for a moment even in the most complicated and, to anybody else, impossible passages; it was as if he had photographed them in their minutest detail upon the ear of his listener.” Liszt was the ideal type of the touring virtuoso.
Finally, to satisfy his desire to compose and conduct orchestral music, and to live with the Princess von Sayn-Wittgenstein, whom he had met while performing in Kiev in 1847, Liszt accepted the position of kapellmeister of Weimar in January 1848. He quit touring abruptly and permanently. Not surprisingly, Liszt’s compositions during his eight years of touring were relatively slight: songs; dances; transcriptions, fantasias, and paraphrases of songs, marches, and overtures. But, writes a musicologist, “Though Liszt undoubtedly wasted a great deal of time during this period on brilliant trifles, his progress as a composer did continue to showa steady development, and culminated in the full-scale flowering of the Weimar years.” The Weimar years, from 1848 through 1861, were those in which Liszt set down his greatest compositions: the final versions of the first two Années de pèlerinage; the final versions of the Études d’exécution transcendante and the Grandes études de Paganini; the Piano Con-certo no. 1 and no. 2; the Piano Sonata in B Minor; the Mephisto Waltz no. 1 and the Totentanz; the first twelve Symphonic Poems; the Dante Symphony and the Faust Symphony; and much more. Liszt far surpassed Paganini as a composer, but he never became another Mozart. And the works of his that are most often performed today are not his symphonic works but those for solo piano and for piano and orchestra. Like Paganini, he acquired fame more through his performance of his works than through their composition. An appreciative Balzac wrote of “the sort of magic practiced by Paganini and Liszt, in which performance indeed changes all the conditions of music, while making out of it a kind of poetry beyond music.” 
Liszt’s careers as kapellmeister in Weimar in the 1850s, as an abbé in Rome in the 1860s, and as the “trifurcated” maestro shuttling between Weimar, Rome, and Budapest in the 1870s and 1880s lie outside the scope of this study. These were the careers of a new Liszt: orchestra conductor, composer of “music of the future,” husband in all but name of the Princess von Sayn-Wittgenstein, Central European. Dead and gone, a victim of his own success, was the old Liszt: solo pianist, spell-weaving performer, lover of many women or none, cosmopolitan Parisian.
Shortly after he died in 1886, Liszt got his own memorial. The princess’s daughter donated seventy thousand marks toward the realization of a proposal of the grand duke of Weimar for a Liszt Foundation there, including a Liszt museum established in the pianist’s rooms in the Hofgärtnerei, which is still in existence. Of Liszt’s own children, two had died young and the third, Cosima, was busy fanning the fame of another deceased musician, her husband Richard Wagner. Like Paganini, Liszt also had a street named for him in Paris.
Spectacular as Liszt’s eight-year tour of Europe was, it was not the most celebrated musical tour of the nineteenth century. “Lindomania” broke out only a few years later, from 1850 through 1852, when Jenny Lind, “the Swedish Nightingale,” concertized in the United States under the management of P. T. Barnum. The director of the Lower Rhine Music Festival in 1857, Franz Liszt, refused to invite her, saying, “With this magnet [there], everything else, and I cannot be indifferent to it, becomes entirely superfluous; for just as Louis XIV was the real presence of the State, so Frau Lind forms the real Music Festival.” 
Lind was born in Stockholm in 1820 to a sanctimonious, unsuccessful teacher-mother and a music-loving, work-avoiding father, who married fifteen years later. She spent the first four years of her life in the country house of foster parents, the next four years in her mother’s city apartment, two years in the Stockholm Widows’ Home with her grandmother, and the rest of her youth in the Swedish Royal Theater, where her promising voice obtained her entry at the age of ten. Trained in acting as well as in singing and destined for opera, she made her leading-role début at age eighteen. At twenty-one she broke off the beginning of an assured career as the prima donna of Swedish opera to travel to Paris to expand her horizons and to study with Europe’s premier voice coach, Manuel Garcia. After taking lessons and giving no performances for a year she returned to Sweden, but the Royal Theater could no longer satisfy her. In 1843 she began to sing abroad, first in Copenhagen, then in Berlin and other German cities, and at length in London and Great Britain. She never sang publicly in Paris.
Despite having grown up in the theater, that bastion of immorality, Lind became a devout Lutheran, owing mostly to the influence of her grandmother. She had no lovers. She felt some affection for the leading tenor of the Royal Theater, but this may have resulted from the confusion of private life with stage roles, and anyway he did not reciprocate. In Copenhagen, she became friends with Hans Christian Andersen, who fell in love with her and was inspired by her to write several of his most famous fairy tales, including “The Nightingale” and “The Angel.” In this case, she did not reciprocate. Abroad her triumphs began to acquire for her a Continental reputation and the more money she made, the more she gave to charity, becoming as renowned for her religion and benevolence as for her singing. She finally decided that “the theatre was nothing but lies and delusions” and in 1849 swore off opera, from then on singing only in concerts.
P. T. Barnum induced Lind to travel to the United States in 1850 for a concert tour, which he managed. He presented her as an angel of virtue as well as an angel of song, and she pursued her usual course of avoiding anything like a romantic attachment and of giving frequent charity concerts. Some twenty thousand people turned out to welcome her when her ship docked in New York. Her New World début, the tickets for which Barnum had sold at auction, drew five thousand people, seven-eighths of them men. She gave six concerts in New York, where there soon appeared Jenny Lind gloves, bonnets, riding hats, shawls, mantillas, robes, parasols, combs, jewelry, pianos, chairs, sofas, sausages, even Jenny Lind teakettles, “which, being filled with water and placed on the fire, commenced to sing in a few minutes.” Delmonico’s created a Jenny Lind pancake that could still be ordered in restaurants fifty years later. Men bought strands of her hair, or so they supposed them to be, from enterprising hotel chambermaids who claimed to have procured them from her brush. So it went, from New York to Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Charleston, Havana, New Orleans, and up the Mississippi River. The most prominent authors, businessmen, ministers, politicians, and even President Fillmore attended Lind’s concerts and made personal calls on her. In 1852 she returned to Europe with $176,000, the equivalent of several million of today’s dollars, leaving behind $50,000 to $100,000 distributed among a wide variety of charities. Knowledgeable music critics placed Lind in the first rank of contemporary sopranos, but this rank included a half-dozen or so others of comparable ability. Barnum, who had never heard Lind sing and in any case had a tin ear, said that he had been prompted as much by her personal reputation as by her artistic one in bringing her to the United States.
On her American tour, Lind sang arias from the operas in which she no longer performed, religious hymns, traditional and modern Scandanavian songs, and American songs, such as some of the early works of Stephen Foster, whom she met. Her audiences particularly liked: a trio she sang with two flutes, composed with her in mind by Meyerbeer for his opera Das Feldlager in Schlesien (The Silesian Camp), in which her voice could not be distinguished from the sound of the flutes; “Herdegossen” (The Herdsman’s Song), composed by her Swedish music teacher Berg, in the last stanza of which she gradually reduced the volume of a high note until it was “as faint as a sigh, but with a carrying power that made it distinctly audible at the most extreme limits” of a large hall, and then swelled it out again until the walls of the hall seemed to vibrate; “The Norwegian Echo Song,” a folk tune, in which she accompanied herself on the piano and turned her head back and forth, sending echoes back and forth across the hall and creating an effect like ventriloquism; and “Ich muß singen,” imitative of birdsong and called in English “The Bird Song,” written by the contemporary German composer Taubert. About her singing in general she wrote, “I sing after no one’s méthode—only, after that of the birds (as far as I am able).” Lind also helped to propel “Home, Sweet Home” on its career as probably the most popular American song of the entire nineteenth century.
The most celebrated musical tour of the nineteenth century brought back some old questions, newly formulated and disconcertingly loud. Did Barnum, in managing the tour, achieve the goal he set of promoting himself from showman to impresario? Or did he demote Lind from artist to entertainer? Did he exploit her or did he facilitate her reception of the recognition she deserved? Was she exploiting the audience or the audience her talent, when she sang, for example, “The Echo Song”?