Ferenc Liszt's mass was premièred in 1856 in Esztergom, at the ceremony consecrating the city's basilica. It was conducted by Liszt himself, who had returned to Hungary after a long absence. The performance was the subject of great interest, with musical opinion leaders of diverging musical tastes engaging in their battles of words well before the concert, making it hardly surprising that the reception of the Esztergom Mass was far from unanimously enthusiastic. Liszt complained about unfa...vourable acoustics in the church square and dejectedly faced the fact that some of the critics attributed the lacklustre success of the performance to the weakness of the composition. Nevertheless, the problems surrounding the première did not shake his confidence, as he was certain that the mass required no revision. 'I did not compose my work the way that one puts on a chasuble in place of an overcoat. Instead, it springs from the fervent faith of my heart, which I have always felt ever since childhood. Genitum non factum [it was begotten, not made] - and thus I can truly say that I have more prayed my mass than composed it,” he wrote in a letter.
We need have no fear of unfavourable acoustic conditions this time around, and the music that flows like prayer will be provided by Tamás Vásáry.
Presented by: Hungarian Radio Art Groups
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