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The Creative Inspiration of Liszt’s Totentanz

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DOI: 10.38007/Proceedings.0002047


Huizi Qiu

Corresponding Author

Huizi Qiu


Abstract: As an artistic theme with a long history and diversified forms, the text origin of Dance of Death can be traced to the legend of The Three Living and the Three Dead before 1280. And the outbreak of The Black Death in Europe in the 14th century is usually considered to be the main reason for the popularity and creation of the theme of Dance of Death. The theme usually appears in the image of human skeleton and death. It reminds the world to keep in mind the equality of death through dialogues and dance with people of different classes and professions. Liszt’s piano and band work Totentanz is no exception. There are two views on the creative inspiration of Totentanz, one is the fresco The Triumph of Death, and the other is the woodcut Danse Macabre. Both of them had an immediate impact on Liszt and his Totentanz.


Keywords: Liszt, Totentanz, Buffalmacco, Holbein