Franz Liszt’s Lugoj Recital

Two major cultural events in Lugoj artistic life took place prior to the Revolutions of 1848: the construction, in 1835, on the initiative of rope maker Anton Liszka, of the first local theatre,1 and Franz Liszt’s recital there on November 15, 1846.

Together with his impresario Gaetano Belloni, the great composer-pianist was visiting Banat, Transylvania, Wallachia, Moldavia and Bucovina in his farewell tour. After the resounding successes in Arad (November 8-10) and Timişoara (November 2 and 4),2 Liszt played at Liszka’s City Theatre in Lugoj, where he stayed between the 14th and the 16th of November 1846.

Arriving in Lugoj on the evening of the 14th of November in the company of a group of admirers, Liszt was welcomed, at the city gates, by the local notabilities and by a ceremonial procession composed of “several carts and of gentlemen on horseback”. The enthusiastic reception also included the offering of an English carriage and the organisation of a dancing soirée by Jakabfi, vice-prefect of Caraş County. There was even, according to journalist Petrichevich-Horváth Lázár’s detailed account (Honderü, Budapest, issue 24/December 15, 1846, pp. 469-70: Levelek Emiliához [Letters to Emilia]), a rather political side to the celebrated musician’s presence in Lugoj: “While we were walking around the carriage we had prepared for Liszt, several Romanian peasants approached, holding written complaints. They wouldn’t leave, claiming that they had long waited for a ‘high gentleman’ to come and help them with their rightful requests” (Ibidem, apud MISSIR 1961, 490-504; cf. BRAUN [1937], 34-41; LÁSZLÓ 1988). The “brilliant concert that charmed all present” was preceded by a festive dinner attended by seventy guests and followed a dancing party organised by baroness Ida Kiss and which lasted into the morning hours.

There was no periodical published in the town on the river Timiş in those years, and so we can’t know what Liszt played at the City Theatre, nor the impression he left on Lugoj audiences. Considering, however, the music he had performed in Timişoara – the first recital there was covered by Gottfried Feldinger in Temesvarer Wochenblatt –, we could deduce the likely programme: Andante from Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti–Liszt), Fantasia from Norma (Bellini–Liszt), Beethoven’s Andante and Variations, Schubert’s Ave Maria, Erlkönig, and The Trout, Liszt’s own Fantasia on Hungarian Folk Melodies and the bravura variations on Bellini’s I Puritani from the Hexaméron, Radetzky March (Strauss II-Liszt), the overture to Wilhelm Tell (Rossini-Liszt), a mazurka and a polonaise by Chopin (MISSIR 1961, 490-504; BĂLAN TH. 1963, 349-351)3.

Petrichevich-Horváth Lázár’s article also tells us that Liszt “was warmly and enthusiastically welcomed, and was thrilled with such reception”, and that the great musician kindly accepted the invitation of several local music lovers and gave some private concerts. Two and a half days later, Liszt, accompanied among others by his friend, politician Guido Karácsonyi (who would die in the town of Buziaș, Timiş County), left Lugoj for Timişoara, where he played his last concert, on November 17, dedicating it to a charitable cause.


Constantin-Tufan Stan



Bălan, Theodor. Franz Liszt. Bucharest: Editura Muzicală, 1963

Dezső, Braun. Bánsági rapszódia. Történeti képek a Bánság zenei és színpadi múltjából. Első kötet [Banat Rhapsody. Historical Pictures from the Musical and Dramatic Past of Banat County. Vol. I], Sonntagsblatt Könyvnyomda, Timişoara IV, 1937

Crişan, Ion. Teatrul amator românesc din Lugoj [Romanian Amateur Theatre in Lugoj]. Timişoara: Sfatul Popular al Regiunii Banat, Casa Regională a Creaţiei Populare, 1967

Ivan, Nicolae. Istoria de două secole de teatru liric la Timişoara. Studiu monografic [Two Centuries of Opera in Timişoara. A Monograph], edited by Smaranda Vultur and Viorel Marineasa. Timişoara: Editura Marineasa, 2006

László, Francisc. Turneul lui Liszt în Banat, Transilvania, Ţara Românească, Moldova şi Bucovina. Cronologie şi repertoriu [Liszt’s Tour in Banat, Transylvania, Wallachia, Moldova and Bucovina. Chronology and Repertoire], în Studii şi cercetări de istoria artei. Seria teatru, muzică, cinematografie [Studies and Research in the History of Art. Theatre, Music, Cinema], excerpt, vol. 35. Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, 1988

Missir, Nicolae. 100 de ani de la naşterea lui Liszt. Turneul de concerte întreprins de Franz Liszt în 1846-1847 [Liszt’s 100th Birth Anniversary. Franz Liszt’s Tour of 1846-47], in Studii şi cercetări de istoria artei”, VIII, 2. 1961



1 Anton Liszka’s daughter Pauline married Conrad Paul Wusching, who established, in 1852, the so-called German Reunion Lugoscher Gesang- und Musikverein [Lugoj Singing and Music Association] (CRIŞAN 1967, 40-41).

2 According to Nicolae Ivan (IVAN 2006, 93), the second Timişoara recital took place on November 3. The local press published the great performer’s appreciation for local piano builder Gabriel Papp’s instruments. (Ibidem).

3 An extensive article published in Honderü on December 8, 1846 rejected Temesvari Hetilap’s reviewer criticism on Liszt’s concerts in Timişoara.

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