The Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum

The Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum and Research Centre was opened in September, 1986 in the building of the Old Academy of Music (H-1064 Budapest, Vörösmarty utca 35). This building was used from late 1875 until mid-1907 for music teaching of the Academy of Music: it was the 2nd site of the institution which had been inaugurated in 1875 (the first building on Hal-tér/Fisch-Platz has been demolished; its memory is preserved only by photos of the time). After opening the new palace at Liszt Ferenc tér (12 May 1907), the building in Vörösmarty utca was used by several other institutions (among others a music school, a coffee shop, political and social associations, a foreign trade company), until the Ministry for Culture and Education bought it in 1980 and put it at the disposal of the Academy of Music.
 
Liszt, the founding president and professor of the Academy who did not accept any salary for his teaching, got a service aparment in the building of the Old Academy of Music, of which the main front looked on Andrássy út (once called Sugár-út/Radialstrasse) while the entrance was in Vörösmarty utca. This apartment on the 1st store in which Liszt lived from January 1881 until 1886, the year of his death whenwever he stayed in Budapest, is today a memorial museum, furnished by his instruments, furniture, library and memorabilia. The entrance room of the apartment, such as Liszts study-and-bedroom and drawing room is awaiting visitors with a permanent exhibition, while the one-time dining room and the foyer at the ground-floor is used for temporary (thematic) Liszt-exhibitions. In the concert hall near Liszts apartment, the museum arranges Saturday matinée concerts for its visitors. (More about the museum, its exhibitions and concert programmes see on the museum homepage: www.lisztmuseum.hu.)
 
In the Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum, the heart of the collection is Liszt's donation to the Academy of Music as a heritage: his instruments (1 Bösendorfer- and 2 Chickering-pianos, the composing desk, a Mason & Hamlin "cabinet organ", a "piano-orgue" by Erard and Alexandre, a "piano-harmonica" by Bachmann), and his Budapest library (books and scores marked after Liszt's death by a stamp of estate), several pieces of his furniture, pictures, sculptures, personal belongings. After the opening of the first memorial room of the Academy (1925, in the Liszt Ferenc tér building) this basic collection has been gradually completed by authentic memorabilia and manuscripts from Liszts circle of relatives, pupils and friends (e.g. Eduard Liszt, Jenő Hubay, István Thomán, Árpád Szendy, Henrik Gobbi, Vilma Varga). The Academy of Music has always made efforts to buy Liszt manuscripts and relics. Another important exhibition material in the former Liszt memorial rooms (supervised by the Academy Library) such as in their highly enlargened continuation, the self-standing Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum (since 1986), has come as loan from the Hungarian National Museum: Liszt himself had bestowed the most precious relics of his artistic career to this institution.
 

The Liszt Collection

The Music Academy has a highly valuable collection of objects connected with Franz Liszt. Liszt was the founding president of the Academy, (founded in 1875) and he spent several months every year in Budapest until his death 1886 and taught the most talented piano students. His last official residence was on the first floor of the Old Music Academy building, which since 1986 has housed the Liszt Memorial Museum.
 
It was his will, that the instruments, books and scores he had in Budapest , after his death should be donated to the Music Academy . His pupils (e.g. Ödön Mihalovich, Jenő Hubay, István Thomán) contributed valuable documents to the collection. Other donations, purchases and legacies have also enriched the collection. The collection is administered by the Franz Liszt Memorial Museum and Research Centre, which is a branch of the Music Academy .
 
The collection consists of different kinds of items: instruments, personal objects, original manuscripts and copies of scores, letters and documents both original or copies, photographs, paintings, moulded and graphic art objects, small printed matter, press cuttings.
 
Of special interest and highly valuable for scholars and students is the library of books and scores, left by Liszt to the Music Academy, which (apart from other historical or Liszt-related books or scores) is owned by the Liszt Memorial Museum.. The Liszt estate contains 300 books and about 2500 scores; each of them is marked "Liszt estate" and is specially protected, as many of them contain original remarks by Liszt and/or dedications by his contemporary friends. The restoration of these rare and valuable items has been going on continuously for many years. A catalogue of these books and scores in Hungarian and English languages is published in the series of scientific publications of the Music Academy (1986, 1993). The items can be studied in the reading room of the Musico-historical Research Library; lending is not possible, however, copies can be ordered with the permission of the director of the Museum.
 
The Museum - in close cooperation with Musico-historical Research Library, supervised by the Central Library - is ready to assist students and researchers with its Liszt related database.

The Liszt Ferenc Research Centre

Joint to the Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum, the Academy of Music has founded in 1986 a Liszt Ferenc Research Centre. This has a threefold task:
 
  • to take care and enrich, to work up and publish the Liszt-collection of the Academy,
  • to help university education and Hungarian Liszt research by collecting a world-wide documentation concerning Liszt, by establishing a Liszt database, and by information service,
  • to take part in different projects of international Liszt research, to cooperate with Liszt research institutions, publishing houses, Liszt Societies, to participate in international conferences and organize Liszt meetings etc.
 
Most important groups in the collection of the Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum and Research Centre are as follows: Liszt's music manuscrips, Liszt's letters, other music manuscripts, other letters (in original and in copies), photos, paintings, prints and drawings, sculptures and medals, reproductions, relics, leaflets, posters and programmes, archival documents (diplomas, certificates, official and personal papers), newspaper scraps. As for books and printed music, only the material of Liszt's one-time Budapest library is supervised by the musem: the collection and working up of other books, scores and of the literature on Liszt is the task of the Research Library, (a branch of the Library of the Liszt Academy), working in close collaboration with the Liszt Ferenc Memorial Museum and Research Centre.
 
The digitalizing of Liszt Holographs, prints and drawings, photos and archival documents has been finished; digital working-up of further parts of the museum collection is in progress. Printed books on Liszt's own library (books and music) have been published as parts of the "Acta Academiae Artis Musicae de Francisco Liszt nominatae" series.
 
The research fellows collect and work up for the Liszt-database of the Research Centre the most important informations about Liszt's musical works: history of their composition, publication, performance, location of sources etc.. The Research Centre staff members are ready to answer concrete questions of scholars both in word and script. Scholars are welcome to individual research: both original Liszt sources and copies can be studied on the spot in the library, but copies can be ordered only from the owners of the originals.
 
Staff members of the Research Centre help university education by special Liszt courses, and with advising to Liszt diploma works and dissertations. There is a close co-operation with the New Liszt Edition of Editio Musica, Budapest and the Liszt Urtext Editions of G. Henle Verlag, Munich. The Liszt Ferenc Research Centre takes part in the work of the International Liszt Workshop which is working hard on calling together an International Liszt Association, in order to successfully realize the joint projects of the 2011 Liszt Bicentenary.
 
Mária Eckhardt

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