Well, it’s begun!
After more than twelve years of planning, we began shooting “talking head” interviews with scholars in January and commenced filming the major segments of Liszt in the World last week. Happening concurrently, Betty and I slip away to shoot several long scenes and interviews in Weimar, Germany and Budapest, Hungary. These two cities, along with Rome and Paris, were the chief homestead for Franz Liszt during his “Glanzzeit” years, years of splendor.
After achieving international fame as the greatest living pianist, Liszt settled in Weimar with his second mistress, Princess Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein, to take up the baton. As Kapellmeister, Liszt championed the orchestral and operatic works of many then-unknown composers such as Hector Berlioz, Robert Schumann, Richard Wagner, and many others. We will shoot scenes at The Altenburg, Liszt’s principal residence at the time. He had been appointed by Grand Duke Carl Alexander to reclaim the intellectual mantle of Weimar made famous by Johann Goethe and Anton Schiller a generation earlier. We will conduct interviews with Dr. Detlef Altenburg, Head of musicology at the Franz Liszt Music Academy in Weimar.
A few days later, we fly–for the fifth time–back to Budapest for the shooting of important scenes with Dr. Maria Eckhardt, at the Franz Liszt Museum and Research Center. The Museum has recreated the living quarters of Liszt and holds a number of original scores and important documents for perusal.
At the end of September, we’ll bring all of these segments together in the editing room–interviews, studio shots, concert performances, narration, (even a Bugs Bunny cartoon strip) to tell the story of the remarkable musician, author, entrepreneur, philanthropist, Abbe of the Catholic Church, father, conductor, composer–lover! In truth, Franz Liszt was the first truly “international musician.” Some claim he was the first “rock star.” We go as far as to suggest that Franz Liszt was the “first European.”
Stay tuned to this blog and for the film’s premiere later this year when we attempt to tell the story of the most famous artist of the 19th century, Franz Liszt (1811-86)