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New Translation of Franz Liszt's Essay Collection Dramaturgische Blätter Now Available


There is a new translation of Franz Liszt's essay collection Dramaturgische Blätter by Allan R. Keiler and Traute M. Marshall (165 pp plus musical examples). The 13 essays deal with operas (or dramas with incidental music) from Gluck to Wagner, including French and Italian works that Liszt performed in his role as conductor of the Weimar Hoftheater during the 1854 season. While he dictated the essays in French, they underwent further revision and were then translated into German by some of his students and appeared in the local newspapers to accompany the performances. Organized into a coherent and expanded sequence and further revised, Liszt had them published in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik. (The original French mss. do not survive.) This translation is based on the Critical Edition of Dramaturgische Blätter published by Breitkopf & Härtel, Leipzig 1989. A selection from this book is included in the newest edition of the Journal of The American Liszt Society (JALS), Vol. 72 (2021), which was mailed at the beginning of August, 2022. As a critical and incisive observer of the European opera scene of his time and an ardent advocate for Wagner and Berlioz, Liszt reflects on musical history as it happens. He also develops his thoughts on the history of opera from Hasse to Wagner, with an emphasis on the relation of libretto and music. He comments on 40 composers, many works of literature, the education of singers, and the practical aspects of running an opera house. Liszt scholars, opera historians, and opera lovers would find this collection of value. The text is available, free of charge, at the Internet Archive, by going to Dramaturgische Blätter.

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