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What Franz Liszt spent on cigars and champagne

The great man’s expenses book has been bought at auction by the Goethe and Schiller Archives in Weimar.

liszt cigars

It details his petty household expenses in 1884-86. The main orders were to a grocery on Mariestrasse for cognac, champagne, wine and cigars. The old Abbé was no great believer in abstinence.

The entries are written apparently by Liszt’s valet, Mihály Kreiner.

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Comments

  1. Mark Stratford says:

    On the subject of cigars, the Alan Walker monograph says that Liszt :

    ‘ once threw away an old cigar stump in the street under the watchful eyes of an infatuated lady-in-waiting, who reverently picked the offensive weed out of the gutter, had it encased in a locket and surrounded with the monogram “F.L.” in diamonds, and went about her courtly duties unaware of the sickly odour it gave forth’

    • Theodore McGuiver says:

      Yes, that’s quite a well-known anecdote. Good for Liszt, anyway: after leaving an unparalleled legacy – inventing the term ‘Piano Recital’, turning the instrument sideways-on, playing from memory, inventing the Tristan Chord (Petrarch Sonnets), championing the works of many contemporaries a lesser man would have perceived as rivals, pushing harmony further than Wagner to early Schoenberg and teaching hundreds for no fee – the fact he spent inordinate sums on dissoliute pastimes only endears him to me more. The Liszt Museum in Bayreuth is well worth a visit, too. Small, but perfectly formed, as Private Eye used to say of Anna Ford.

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