As a gentle breeze from the Thüringen countryside blows by, I anxiously approach the Altenburg, the residence of the pianist/composer Franz Liszt. When I reach the door, a maid greets me and gestures toward the piano room.
Cigar smoke fills the air and glasses of half-drank cognac left behind by his students clutter the end tables, but the irresistible sound of Liszt’s piano playing bring the room to perfect harmony. His fingers dance across the keys and his long hair wildly bounces about as I watch in awe. When my hero finishes playing, he warmly receives me and inquires as to what brought me here; my reply to him was that I had admired him and wanted to learn about his life and music. He agrees, and in the candlelit room we speak for hours.
I’ve spent years researching Liszt but conversing with him in person reveals more to me than I could ever learn from books. Once the night is through, I bid him farewell, and after the most enlightening experience of my life, return to the 21st century.
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