Friday, August 26, 2011


Lisztomania is a 1975 film by Ken Russell, drawn from a biography of Franz Liszt.

Depicting the flamboyant Liszt as the first classical pop star, Lisztomania features contemporary rock star Roger Daltrey (of The Who) as Franz Liszt. The film was released the same year as Tommy, which also starred Daltrey and was directed by Russell. The film is derived, in part, from an actual "kiss-and-tell" book, NĂ©lida, by Marie d'Agoult, about the couple's affair.

The term "Lisztomania" was coined by the German romantic literary figure Heinrich Heine to describe the massive public response to Liszt's virtuosic piano performances. At these performances, there were allegedly screaming women, and the audience was sometimes limited to standing room only.

Rick Wakeman, from the progressive rock band Yes, composed the Lisztomania soundtrack, which included synthesizer arrangements of works by Liszt and Wagner. He also appears in the movie as the Nordic god of thunder, Thor. Daltrey and Russell wrote the lyrics for the soundtrack, and Daltrey provided vocals.

Of the other rock celebrities appearing in the movie, Ringo Starr, drummer of The Beatles, appears as the Pope.

This movie was first to use the relatively new Dolby Stereo noise reduction sound system.

Since the original video release of Lisztomania, available copies of the movie have declined. Available copies of the movie were bolstered by a 1990s release of the 2.35:1 letterbox format with Dolby Surround sound on Laserdisc. Warner UK has recently come to an agreement with special interest label Digital Classics DVD to release Lisztomania on DVD.

French alternative rock band Phoenix released a song "Lisztomania" on their 2009 album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.