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Liszt’s National Compositions in the Year of the Franco-Prussian War

Loya, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-9156-2804 (2018). Liszt’s National Compositions in the Year of the Franco-Prussian War. In: Kelly, E., Mantere, M. & Scott, D. B. (Eds.), Confronting the National in the Musical Past. (pp. 31-48). London: Routledge.


The six-month Franco-Prussian war of July 1870-January 1871 had an immense impact on European political history, redrawing maps, upsetting a longstanding balance of power, creating the German Empire, causing the fall of the French one, further weakening the new Austro-Hungarian Empire (formed in 1867), and setting the stage for World War I.1 When searching for equivalent large-scale shifts in compositional practices, the effects of the war are debatable. No major canonical works have marked this war either, notwithstanding a pièce d’occasion such as Wagner’s Kaisermarsch, or more symbolic expressions of patriotism, such as Brahms’ Triumphlied Op. 55 (1870-71) or Saint-Saëns’ Les soldats de Gédéon Op. 46 (1876). Yet we do not need to find the 1870 equivalent of a ‘Leningrad Symphony’ to explore musical material that reflects manifold responses to the war or the political tension associated with it. One of the most telling signs of such responses is the enthusiastic, negative, or more equivocal representation of national identity that emanated particularly, but not only, from the nations directly involved in this conflict. In that respect, the wartime works of Franz Liszt offer a particularly rich and challenging case for the critique of musical nationalism.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in 'Confronting the National in the Musical Past' on 19 April 2018, available online:
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
Text - Accepted Version
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