Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt

Posted by: Josiah Caleb

Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 01:48 AM

This is part of my dad's collection of rare music-related objects. From my dad's old blog: "They were made in 1859 by Barbedienne in Paris. They have been authenticated by two Liszt experts who were able to match elements like distinctive webbing and a small mole on the fourth finger of the right hand which were known features of Liszt hands. As far as we know they are one of a kind as the Liszt museum in Budapest has only a plaster cast of a single hand made very late in the life of the composer. We have yet to find similar examples. We bought them from a very elderly pianist in Manhattan (name withheld) who claimed the hands were originally owned by Arthur Friedheim though she refused to say how they came to her family--only that her mother and Friedman had been "very close".


Posted by: Jame334

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 04:32 AM

You say that your dad has more rare music artefacts. Is it his hobby or job?
Posted by: Josiah Caleb

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 07:41 AM

It is his hobby. He is a collector. He has traveled to more than 80 countries and collected things along the way.
Posted by: lilylady

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 07:53 AM

Just back from 2 Liszt Museums. One in Bayreuth and one in Weimar, Germany. Both very interesting. I believe both museums had a single hand cast in plaster. I remember holding my hand up to the one in the case for comparison. Did not see bronze casts though. We we allowed to play a Liszt grand in Bayreuth.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 07:56 AM

Unusual to have the fourth finger longer than the third finger, I think?
Posted by: landorrano

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 08:07 AM

Great stuff. Looks like something out of one of those old Vincent Price horror movies.
Posted by: Andromaque

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 08:28 AM

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Unusual to have the fourth finger longer than the third finger, I think?


But if you account for the third being bent and not extended to its full length, it may actually be longer. To me it looks like that is in fact the case. Nothing unusual.

You wonder if these are live casts. Hard to position the hands like this post mortem.
Posted by: Josiah Caleb

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 08:44 AM

Oh it isn't. The third finger is arched--might not show clearly in the picture.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 09:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Josiah Caleb
Oh it isn't. The third finger is arched--might not show clearly in the picture.
Yes, in the fourth picture the third finger of the left hand doesn't look arched, but I can clearly see it is in the earlier pictures.
Posted by: ando

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 09:45 AM

I don't know, I find those things a little creepy. I wouldn't want them in my house...
Posted by: Josiah Caleb

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 10:26 AM

They were not made after his death or any time near his death. For famous pianists it was common to have their hands cast in bronze rather than just busts created.
Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 10:28 AM

Originally Posted By: ando
I don't know, I find those things a little creepy. I wouldn't want them in my house...


You notice how they seem to follow you around the room?
Posted by: Josiah Caleb

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 10:28 AM

He is actually playing a chord on the piano. I will try to get someone to take a picture of me holding them on the keyboard so you can see which chord it is.
Posted by: Dave Horne

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 10:31 AM

Originally Posted By: Josiah Caleb
He is actually playing a chord on the piano. I will try to get someone to take a picture of me holding them on the keyboard so you can see which chord it is.


Now we'll have a thread whether or not emotions are involved and if they exist in the listener or the hands. smile
Posted by: Rostosky

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 10:48 AM

Wow what a stunning find, If they are totally authentic, then it appears that so far anyways you do have a "one off" and as such could litterally ask what ever you want for them, at the absolute minimum, you can get the Piano of your dreams from these hands..
And how fitting would that be?
Liszts hands provide First class top notch Piano (He would be totally proud of this)
And Liszts hands get to be in museum where they belong for the public to see.

This is a staggeringly important find, I am green with envy.
Posted by: Rostosky

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 11:01 AM

Actually, strike that, "Mrs Rossy" (being a woman!) has come up with a better Idea, this is what she said "He could get them recast, and sell the recasts, earning him the Piano of his dreams AND allowing him to keep them as well"

Like having cake and eating it. I defer to mrs Rossy and her Archeological training, she is now comparing the plaster cast with the bronze for interest!

Whatever you do, do not polish them!
Posted by: Palindrome

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 11:23 AM

Recasting sounds like a great idea. After a mold is made, subsequent copies could be made out of various materials other than bronze. And I, too, would strongly caution against polishing these.
Posted by: Orange Soda King

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 01:08 PM

Wow! That is amazing. How do you cast your hands in bronze?
Posted by: Damon

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 07:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Josiah Caleb
They were not made after his death or any time near his death. For famous pianists it was common to have their hands cast in bronze rather than just busts created.


That must have really hurt! laugh
Posted by: wr

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 08:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Orange Soda King
How do you cast your hands in bronze?


1.) make a mold of your hands, 2.) pour the melted bronze into the mold, and 3.) break off the mold.
Posted by: pno

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 09:34 PM

Wow! You are going to be rich! Make thousands of copies and sell them online for $299 each pair, complete with a certificate of authenticity signed by your dad.
Posted by: jesseoffy

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 09:51 PM

The first thing I thought was - what's his hand span? I notice the ruler, but did you ever see what it is in theory (based on how a common hand stretches out)? smile
Posted by: jazzyprof

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/10/11 09:57 PM

Originally Posted By: pno
Wow! You are going to be rich!

Aw, come on now, Josiah is a real musician. He doesn't want to be rich! smile
Posted by: Josiah Caleb

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/11/11 01:47 AM

Originally Posted By: jazzyprof
Originally Posted By: pno
Wow! You are going to be rich!

Aw, come on now, Josiah is a real musician. He doesn't want to be rich! smile


Forget being rich...it takes a lot of money to be a classical pianists (grand piano, lessons, conservatory, etc) But I don't think my dad plans to sell any part of his collection.
Posted by: Josiah Caleb

Re: Rare Find: Bronze Casts of the Hands of Franz Liszt - 07/11/11 01:50 AM

I saw a bronze of chopin's hand in a museum and they were not nearly as detailed as these.