Based in the UK but with a worldwide membership, we are dedicated to the appreciation and study of the life and works of Liszt, and the performance, publication and recording of his music. Founded in 1950 by the late Humphrey Searle and reconstituted in 1970, we are the longest-standing society devoted to Franz Liszt and his output.
In the middle of the 20th century, many of Liszt’s published works were out of print and Liszt studies were in their infancy. His most famous works never left the standard repertoire, but the extraordinary breadth of his artistic vision was simply not known because vast areas of his output remained virtually unperformed. Of course, everybody knew Liszt’s importance as a pianist and as a composer for the pianoforte, even if only a small percentage of his output appeared regularly in recital. In recent years, all of Liszt’s piano music has been performed and recorded, and music lovers have also been able to hear his oratorios, songs, organ and chamber music, orchestral works, and even his motets and masses.
In 1950, British composer Humphrey Searle enlisted the aid of such important figures as William Walton, Constant Lambert and Sacheverell Sitwell, and the Liszt Society was formed. It remains the longest continuously-running Liszt Society in the world.
The Society’s first aim was to publish significant works which were out of print, in volumes produced in regular succession from 1951. Quite a number of works were published for the first time. Several volumes of piano music were followed by a volume of songs and, recently, the Society has published all the music for cello and piano, all the works for piano trio, and a volume containing two major works for two pianos. Many rare works have also been reprinted or giventheir first publication in the Music Section of the Journal.
The Society’s activities have included piano recitals and masterclasses (especially by the late President of the Society Louis Kentner, and by Leslie Howard, the Society’s current President), members’ soirées, lectures, organ and song recitals, and chamber music. The Annual General Meeting, far from being justthe gathering required by statute, has always been a very happy and musical encounter of friends with a shared and deeply-felt enthusiasm for Liszt.
Our many hundreds of members are a national and international community. As well as the many in the UK, we have members in scores of countries from Australiato Zimbabwe. They include professional and amateur musicians, musicologists, academics, students and, most importantly, enthusiasts from all walks of life, all of whom are happy to count themselves Lisztians. The Society endeavours to provide for all aspects of this diverse interest through a variety of membership services.