The correspondence of Franz Liszt is voluminous. It has been estimated that some 6,000 letters have been published, with a similar number unpublished. Given his career as concert artist, composer, conductor and teacher, it is difficult to comprehend how he found the time for correspondence. Yet he did and, thankfully, considerable insight may be gained from this as to his relationships, compositional methods—especially with regard to publication of his works—philosophical thoughts, attitudes to literature, to other composers, other artists indifferent spheres, even, though more rarely, his approach to politics and, equally important, his religious leanings.
The Library of Congress collections comprise nearly 300 items, including letters dating from 1829 to shortly before his death, the vast majority of which have not previously appeared in print, while those which have been published are sometimes incomplete or incorrectly dated. This publication presents one of the most wide-ranging sources of first-hand information on the composer not yet made public.
Born in Totton, England in 1944, Michael Short was educated at Westminster School and then at Aiglon-College, Switzerland, where he specialized in modern languages. On returning to England, he worked in advertising, rising to be co-director of an international consultancy.
At the age of 40, he relinquished this position, having decided to devote himself to research in music and, especially, that of Liszt. In 1991, he published a brief article on a piano work of Liszt, establishing its correct dating. This led directly to his being approached by Dr. Leslie Howard, with respect to a collaboration on a new Thematic Catalogue of the Works of Liszt, which is now reaching a conclusion after over twenty years of work. He has subsequently published a number of articles in the Liszt Society Journal of Great Britain and elsewhere, as well as editing for Pendragon Press The Liszt Letters in the Library of Congress as part of the Liszt Studies Series and producing, with Leslie Howard, Franz Liszt: A List of Works, as a preliminary revised catalogue, without musical examples, as part of the Quaderni dell' Istituto Liszt, Bologna.
He lived for a number of years in South Africa and, latterly, in France. He has also participated in Liszt conferences in Budapest and Rouen, both as speaker and as observer and will continue to do so where possible.