Autograph Manuscript Signed Introduction to His ‘Bulow March,’ Honoring Hans von Bulow, Liszt’s Former Son-in-Law, Whose Wife Ran Off with Richard Wagner

Signed by Franz Liszt

Item: 19906
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Liszt Honors Bulow

LISZT, FRANZ. (1811-1886). Hungarian-born composer and pianist. AMsS. (“F. Liszt”). 2pp. (Recto and verso.) 8vo. Weimar, January (8), 1884. (To German composer and critic OTTO LESSMANN,1844-1918). In German with translation. Liszt’s handwritten forward to his Bülow March.

Preface (to my Bülow March)

For thirty years, Hans von Bülow has been expressing and actively furthering everything that is noble, right, high – and free-minded in the regions of creative art. As virtuoso, teacher, conductor, commentator, propagandist – indeed even sometimes as a humorous journalist – Bulow remains the spokesman of musical progress, with the initiative born in and belonging to him by the grace of God, with an impassioned perseverance, incessantly striving heroically after the ideal, and attaining the utmost possible.

His conducting of the Meiningen Court orchestra is a fresh proof of this. To that same orchestra this Bülow March is dedicated in high esteem for their model symphonic performances, by

F. Liszt

January, [18]84 – Weimar”

Liszt gained renown as a virtuoso while touring Europe throughout the 1840s. During his extraordinary career he composed more than 700 works including his beloved Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Liebestraum No. 3, Douze Grandes Etudes, and Grandes études de Paganini, to name but a few. He was also friend and champion of such luminaries as Hector Berlioz, Richard Wagner and German pianist and conductor Hans von Bülow (1830-1894).

A student of Friedrich Wieck, Clara Schumann’s father, Bülow abandoned his legal studies upon meeting Liszt who introduced him to the music of Richard Wagner. He became Liszt’s son-in-law in 1857, upon marrying his daughter Cosima. As head of the Munich Court Opera, Bülow conducted the brilliant world premieres of Wagner’s operas Tristan und Isolde and Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg. However, during the same period, Cosima became romantically involved with Wagner, with whom she had two daughters. After initially resisting, in 1870 Bülow consented to grant Cosima a divorce after she gave birth to Wagner’s son. Despite these domestic complications, Bülow never flagged in his professional respect for Wagner nor did the relationship between Bülow and his erstwhile father-in-law falter.


In 1883, the same year as Wagner’s death, Liszt composed his Bülow March for the piano. Our manuscript, Liszt’s handwritten draft preface for the work, is published in La Mara’s Franz Liszt’s Briefe as well as Letters of Franz Liszt, Volume 2: “From Rome to the End.” La Mara records that the manuscript for the preface was sent to Leßmann with an accompanying letter on January 10. A student of Bülow, Leßmann was a musicologist, composer and music journalist. Beginning in 1881 he owned and edited the important music journal, Allgemeine deutsche Musikzeitung, renamed the Allgemeine Musikzeitung in 1885.

From 1880-85 Bülow was Hofmuskidirektor to the Duke of Meiningen, where he transformed the orchestra, the dedicatee of Liszt’s march, into one of Germany’s most famous ensembles.

Liszt has crossed out numerous words making this likely his working manuscript for the preface. It differs from the published version in that a single word, “Propagandist,” has been added in the printed version. Folded with age toning, light matte burn, several pin holes, and wear. Remnants of prior mounting around the edges and in the upper margin of the first page.

Autograph Manuscript Signed Introduction to His ‘Bulow March,’ Honoring Hans von Bulow, Liszt’s Former Son-in-Law, Whose Wife Ran Off with Richard Wagner

Signed by Franz Liszt

$5500 • item #19906

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