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MARTIN LISTER (c. 1638-1712)

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 780 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MARTIN LISTER (c. 1638-1712), English naturalist and physician, was born at Radclive, near Buckingham. He was nephew of Sir Matthew Lister, physician to Anne, queen of James I., and to Charles I. He was educated at St John's College, Cambridge, 1655, graduated in 168/9, and was elected a fellow in 1660. He became F.R.S. in 1671. He practised medicine at York until 1683, when he removed to London. In 1684 he received the degree of M.D. at Oxford, and in 1687 became F.R.C.P. He contributed numerous articles on natural history, medicine and antiquities to the Philosophical Transactions. His principal works were Historiae animalium and Beethoven came to his second concert in April 1823, During the three years following he played in Paris, the French provinces and Switzerland, and paid three visits to England. In Paris he had composition lessons from Paer, and a six months' course of lessons in counterpoint from Reicha. In the autumn of 1825 the handsome and fascinating enfant gdte of the salons and ateliers —"La Neuvieme Merveille du monde "—had the luck to get an operetta (Don Sancho) performed three times at the Academie Royale. The score was accidentally destroyed by fire, but a set of studies a la Czerny and Cramer, belonging to 1826 and published at Marseilles as 12 Etudes, op. i., is extant, and shows remarkable precocity. After the death of his father in 1828 young Liszt led the life of a teacher of the pianoforte in Paris, got through a good deal of miscellaneous reading, and felt the influence of the religious, literary and political aspirations of the time. He attended the meetings of the Saint-Simonists, lent an ear to the romantic mysticism of Pere Enfantin and later to the teaching of Abbe Lamennais. He also played Beethoven and Weber in public—a very courageous thing in those days. The appearance of the violinist Paganini in Paris, 1831, marks the starting-point of the supreme eminence Liszt ultimately attained as a virtuoso. Paganini's marvellous technique inspired him to practise as no pianist had ever practised before. He tried to find equivalents for Paganini's effects, transcribed his violin caprices for the piano, and perfected his own technique to an extraordinary degree. After Paganini he received a fresh impulse from the playing and the compositions of Chopin, who arrived in 1831, and yet another impulse of equal force from a performance of Berlioz's " Symphonic Fantastique, episode de la vie d'un artiste," in 1832. Liszt transcribed this work, and its influence ultimately led him to the composition of his " Poemes symphoniques " and other examples of orchestral programme-music. From 1833 to 1848—when he gave up playing -in public—he was greeted with frantic applause as the prince of pianists. Five years (1835-1840) were spent in Switzerland and Italy, in semi-retirement in the company of Madame la comtesse d'Agoult (George Sand's friend and would-be rival, known in literary circles as " Daniel Stern," by whom Liszt had three children, one of them afterwards Frau Cosima Wagner): these years were devoted to further study in playing and composition, and were interrupted only by occasional appearances at Geneva, Milan, Florence and Rome, and by annual visits to Paris, when a famous contest with Thalberg took place in 1837. The enthusiasm aroused by Liszt's playing and his personality—the two are inseparable—reached a climax at Vienna and Budapest in 1839-184o, when he received a patent of nobility from the emperor of Austria, and a sword of honour from the magnates of Hungary in the name of the nation. During the eight years following he was heard at all the principal centres—including London, Leipzig, Berlin, Copenhagen, St Petersburg, Moscow, Warsaw, Constantinople, Lisbon and Madrid. He gained much money, and gave large sums in charity. His munificence with regard to the Beethoven statue at Bonn made a great stir. The subscriptions having come in but sparsely, Liszt took the matter in hand, and the monument was completed at his expense, and unveiled at a musical festival conducted by Spohr and himself in 1845. In 1848 he settled at Weimar with Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein (d. 1887), and remained there till 1861. During this period he acted as conductor at court concerts and on special occasions at the theatre, gave lessons to a number of pianists, wrote articles of permanent value on certain works of Berlioz and the early operas of Wagner, and produced those orchestral and choral pieces upon which his reputation as a composer mainly depends. His ambition to found a school of composers as well as a school of pianists met with complete success on the one hand and partial failure on the other. His efforts on behalf of Wagner, who was then an exile in Switzerland, culminated in the first performance of Lohengrin on the 28th of August 185o, before a special audience assembled from far and near. Among the works produced for the first time or rehearsed with a view to the furtherance of musical art were Angliae tres tractatus (1678); Historiae Conchyliorum (1685-1692), and Conchyliorum Bivalvium (1696). As a conchologist he was held in high esteem, but while he recognized the similarity of fossil mollusca to living forms, he regarded them as inorganic imitations produced in the rocks. In 1683 he communicated to the Royal Society (Phil. Trans., 1684), An ingenious proposal for a new sort of maps of countries; together with tables of sands and clays, such as are chiefly found in the north parts of England. In this essay he suggested the preparation of a soil or mineral map of the country, and thereby is justly credited with being the first to realize the importance of a geological survey. He died at Epsom on the 2nd of February 1712.
End of Article: MARTIN LISTER (c. 1638-1712)
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