These letters of Franz Liszt are a part of the Dumbarton Oaks Collection bequeathed to Harvard University by Mrs. Robert Woods Bliss in 1969. Written during the last sixteen years of Liszt’s life, they are addressed to the Baroness Olga von Meyendorff, who shared his interests, though not always his views, in a broad field of disciplines—music, philosophy, theology, politics, literature—as well as his concern for persons both prominent and familial.
The translation by William R. Tyler, who from 1969 to 1977 was Director of Dumbarton Oaks, is provided with notes and an Introduction by Edward N. Waters, widely recognized authority on Liszt and formerly Chief of the Music Division of the Library of Congress.
Composed with warmth and humor, and not infrequently with some asperity, the letters reveal Liszt to have been an ardent, generous, and modest man, loyal and devoted to family and friends, pupils and colleagues alike.
Though it was first intended to publish the letters in their original French as well as in translation, the cost of such a publication proved to be prohibitive. However, copies of the letters, or, when necessary, the letters themselves may be consulted by qualified readers at Dumbarton Oaks.