Oliver Hilmes, the author of several best-selling biographies, lives in Berlin, Germany. Stewart Spencer is an acclaimed translator whose work includes biographies of Gustav Mahler, Richard Wagner, Cosima Wagner, and W. A. Mozart.
"Invaluable: it is brilliantly written and comprehends material found nowhere else. Spencer's English translation is beyond praise."-Choice Choice "[It] has the great virtue of objectivity, and with the help of Stewart Spencer's nicely fluent translation, Hilmes does a solid and fair-minded job of charting the long career of one of the dominant and iconic figures of 19th century culture - a romantic in every sense of the word."-Rupert Christiansen, Literary Review -- Rupert Christiansen Literary Review "...makes a significant contribution to our knowledge of Liszt as a man and superstar. Hilmes shines a light into the shadows behind a life lived in the spotlight, and he finds some surprising and indeed entertaining details there."-Andrew Taylor, Times (London) -- Andrew Taylor The Times "If this book has a once-over-lightly feel, that is because there were many intertwined strands in Liszt's extraordinary life, each of which could merit a book in itself ... Hilmes is illuminating on the emergence - and continuance into old age - of Liszt's preternatural gifts as a pianist. And by drawing on hitherto unpublished documentary sources he provides a riveting chronicle of the composer's tangled relationships."-Economist The Economist '... Hilmes offers a riveting read, a vibrant story full of cannily etched detail. In the end you feel you have been visiting the characters at home, observing with forensic exactitude all their foibles, neuroses and, sometimes, hideous cruelty.' - Jessica Duchen, Sunday Times Ireland -- Jessica Duchen The Sunday Times Ireland "As a well-told, readable, fluently translated story of a strangely conflicted career that affected the lives of people as disparate as Lola Montez and Pope Pius IX [Franz Liszt] would be hard to beat."-Stephen Walsh, London Review of Books -- Stephen Walsh LRB "[Hilmes] sheds useful light on the way that Liszt's achievement arose as much from his weaknesses as from his strengths."-New York Review of Books The New York Review of Books "The sub-title of this remarkable book at once tells you where Oliver Hilmes' chief interest lies. Liszt was, indeed, all of these things, bewilderingly multi-faceted and of super-human strength and achievement. Yet he also paid a heavy price in his journey from 'Le petit Litz' to 'Le Grand Liszt'."-Susan Nickalls, Classical Music "Editors Choice 2016" -- Susan Nickalls Classical Music "[A] new and vivid study of the great composer-pianist... imparts a novelistic vibrancy and urgency of narrative to a life that was undeniably of great intrinsic interest."-Andrew Thomson, Musical Times -- Andrew Thomson Musical Times