There are several great reasons to make such a great film:
One is that movie theaters can be used for other than potboiler type of movies we see every week in theaters and instead deliver the ultimate classical music concert on the highest level to millions of fans of classical music, and especially Chopin and Liszt who are so popular around the world.
Two is that it's the greatest love story ever told, as great as the love story portrayed by Shakespeare in Romeo and Julietequally exciting and literary in equally exciting period of time that we all love and admire.
Third is that Liszt & Chopin In Parisis a sequel to two great movies that were already made and that were immensely popular in the 50’s and 60’s. The first one was Song To Remember directed by George Cukor with Cornell Wilde and it was about Chopin. The other was about Franz Liszt - starring Dirk Bogarde and Capucine and it was called Song Without End.
Both films were enormous hits during their day. Now, imagine a high-end Liszt & Chopin In Paris today with the best recording techniques, our amazing, superb talent, best costumes, best special effects, best technology, best director and the greatest stars in supporting roles bringing us inside and to the heart of the Romantic Age.
Historically,Liszt & Chopin In Pariscould be a great movie on its own, on the scale ofTitanic as one of the biggest grossing movies of all time, because it is a great love story - but it can also stand as a sequel to those two films that were incredibly popular during their time.
But at the same time this is not like those films at all - bothChopin and Liszt are in the twenties literall, they are superstars and act more like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and both take the City of Paris over with their amazing talent with a little help of their friends - Nicolo Paganini, Camile Pleyel and many others.
Liszt & Chopin In Parisis also a powerful synthesis of two previous films, although with a whole new story line and classical music that pre-recorded using latest recording techniques, and my expertise in classical music that I grew up featuring the true pyrotechnics of the piano like you never heard before.
Last time we heard classical piano and classical piano music performed like that was during the time of of Cortot and Hoffman. Unfortunately, no one can play like that today and the amazing virtuosity of Liszt and Chopin must come across as if the music was truly performed by young Liszt, and young Chopin not recorded by someone else. The recordings must also express the enigmatic poetry of the piano by Chopin, and the incredible virtuosity of Liszt.
This story is also steeped as an incredible and devouring epic about Liszt's powerful personality and about his friendship and their rivalry, in Chopin's trials and successes in the greatest city on Earth, the City of Lights in the most amazing period of time - The Romantic Age.
This is also a true story, about two greatest musicians that ever lived, with the greatest music every recorded for cinema. That's why filmmakers will always come back to this subject over and over again - until someone makes a true masterpieces about this period, about their lives and records the music that sounds like they were playing it.
Here are a couple of excellent pictures that were highly popular at the time of their release - Song To Remember and Song Without End.
This was the first film about Chopin directed by George Cukor right after WWII called Song To Remember and it was highly popular.
The second film starring Dirk Bogarde was about Franz Liszt and it was called Song Without End with Jorge Bolet performing piano music for the soundtrack.
Liszt & Chopin In Paris is the synthesis of the above two films into one incredibly dynamic story utilizing state of the art technology in recording the music as if it was truly performed by Chopin and Liszt as if they played it.
The following is a visualization from the scene of Liszt & Chopin In Paris - with the young Chopin performing in front of the Parisian crowd at Rothschild's house:
The music pre-recorded by John Mark for Liszt & Chopin In Paris - 4th CD entitled "Magical Moments" from 150th Anniversary Box-Set (Chopin's death in 1849) features all the selections for the film. The soundtrack is a pre-amble demo to final release. The CD's were actually sold for very limited time online by Universal Studios via Universal Music Group (UMG) and immediately got tremendous amount of attention.
The recording was produced as a preamble to get an idea of the multitude of selections featured in the script forLiszt & Chopin In Paris, but it wasan amazing tour de force featuring one the best recordings ever made for a motion picture. This is is not a hyperbole.... Endorsements from around the world followed. and that's just on the music part of and the conceptual framework for the possible film project in development.
The piano - the greatest mechanical mastery ever devised by man, more complex than any Swiss watch, or computer ever built by man is one of the stars as it keeps listeners wondering on the edge of their seats through every note of Liszt's and Chopin's improvisations and through every scene in the movie.
City of Lights in 19th Century Romantic Age - the setting of "Liszt & Chopin In Paris"
Chopin's amazing career began at one such soiree at the House of the Rothschilds, on Ille St. Louis at the heart of Parisian nightlife.
Scenery of " Liszt & Chopin in Paris" - a historical epic action-drama.
Scenery for "Liszt & Chopin in Paris" - a great love story and action drama.
Scenes from Parisian life in 19th Century - historic drama.
Paris Opera - as it were in 19th Century. It stands the same today.
There's always been a question on everyone’s mind:
Why isn't there a modern epic movie about Franz Liszt?
For the past 185 years Franz Liszt has been a true superhero for anyone who aspires to play music, especially the Concert Grand, and for many Liszt is the starting point for every aspiring artist on the road to true virtuoso.
Liszt & Chopin In Paris is the ultimate movie for global audiences promising to provide total immersion of this remarkable period with stunning performances by Liszt and Chopin themselves portrayed by world-class actors and recorded in amazing Dolby Atmos surround-sound technology accompanied by high-level visual and dramatic performances that have never been produced in cinema on this scale before. Theatrical films encompassing such glorious and complex subject can work miracles in cinema.
Titanic, Amadeus, Casablanca, Gone With The Wind became all-time classics because they were done with equal parts creativity, passion and intelligence combined with high-level expertise and dramatic intensity.
LISZT & CHOPIN IN PARIS is a high-profile, theatrical production with a great story for audiences of all ages thatspans across two revolutionary decades during which Franz Liszt and Frédéric Chopin lived, featuring those two amazing composer-performers, superstars in their own right and both refugees from war-torn countries who worked, lived, loved and conquered hearts of millions in 19th century Paris, at that time the toughest city in Europe to survive penetrating, and ultimately seducing entire Parisian society with their charm and genius, and with it the whole of Europe and soon the entire world.
Conceived and brilliantly scripted by John Mark who himself was born and educated in the heart of Europe, classical piano virtuoso and composer, accomplished writer and scholar, as well as top-rated performer himself who intimately knows the lives of Liszt & Chopin and their world.
LISZT & CHOPIN IN PARIS isthe story of Franz Liszt and Frédéric Chopin featured aroundLisztomania as it were in 21st century in truly global sense bringing ultimate drama and classical music experience in the contemporary 3D surround-sound theater.
Lisztomaniais a term that denotes high-level of adulation, attention, praise, acclaim and polarity on the verge of hysteria around Franz Liszt, the superstar virtuoso of 19th century Paris, and prototype performer for every superstar, and/or performing artist today who all aspire to be like Franz Liszt and whose performances were worshipped up to the point of hysteria.
Lisztomania is very much on people's minds today. When Phoenix released the song "Lisztomania" by Thomas Mars (Sofia Coppolla’s husband) the song instantly became a hit worldwide topping all charts across the board.
Lisztomania in a movie theater sounds like a dream come true, as there are millions of Lisztomaniacs all over the world who will be among the first in line to see this film.
At the height of Lisztomania that continued up to Liszt’s retirement as concert piano virtuoso in 1847 at the age of 35, the most beautiful women in the world wore bracelets made out of broken piano strings from Liszt’s pianos he broke on stage, carried coffee dregs as necklaces in vials from coffee he drank, and cigar butts from cigars that he smoked revered as relics by his fans…”
Terms like Beatlemania and the frenzy associated with today’s rock concert all originated from Franz Liszt who was the ultimate performer and entertainer, the god of the piano and all-time virtuoso on whom all top-level professional pianists today try to base their performances all over the world.
WHO WAS FRANZ LISZT?
Franz Liszt was the ultimate performer, the greatest superstar of all time on whom even Michael Jackson fashioned his stardom i.e. raised collar, the white glove etc. all originating from Franz Liszt.
Liszt was the first artist in history who had an agent, who traveled with three (3) concert grand pianos and who was followed by a huge procession wherever he went including his management across Europe from Turkey to London while women fainted in hysteria in his presence even more than during The Beatles era, or during Bieber’s performances today.
Franz Liszt was the god of the piano, the inventor of the recital, the tour, the modern piano, the first artist ever with an agent and management company, the ultimate performer extraordinaire, as well as the Renaissance Man.
Liszt was also strikingly handsome, much in demand by the most beautiful women in the world, whose charisma and sex appeal lead to many of his romantic conquests on a level that the world of art and music has never seen before, or since.
He was born in Austria of Austrian mother and Hungarian father who worked at the Esterházy estate and his studies were done in Vienna, principally with Karl Czerny and Anton Reicha.
In 1822 Liszt has met Beethoven, who’s blessing he counted as the most important formative experience of his musical life.
At age of fourteen, Liszt went with his father to Paris, and adopted French language to the extent that it remained his mother tongue for the rest of his life. Later, he acquired high proficiency in English, Italian, and of course he spoke fluent German, and even some Hungarian, although never fluently in contrast to many distinguished Hungarians of the day.
Liszt’s piano performances were legendary and the hysteria surrounding his appearances on stage and in public was comparable to the performances of The Beatles in the 60’ies - as Beatlemania resembled very much the atmosphere of Lisztomania of modern Europe.
Throughout history many performers idolized him and copied his style including Michael Jackson who wore Liszt’s white glove, his raised collar and his famous uniform, but Liszt was truly a magician of the piano who could read any piece of music with the score upside down in front of him and perform it flawlessly at first sight.
When Liszt meets his nemesis Frédéric Chopin history is made and true age of virtuosity is born with these two piano gods providing the audiences with unforgettable story in LISZT & CHOPIN IN PARIS as together they mark the beginning of modern Europe and the Romantic Age.
Liszt was the prototype of all superstar musicians and genuine artists fighting for the artist's rightful place in the materialistic world of 19th century Europe and he usually got his way.
For example, in Vienna at a long-awaited soiréeat Princess Metternich’s salon while keeping Liszt waiting the Princess chatted idly with her other guests, then suddenly turned to the pianist and said, "You gave concerts in Italy, didn’t you? Did you do good business there?" In response, Liszt bowed stiffly and replied cuttingly, "Princess, I make music, not business," and left. The Script Liszt & Chopin In Paris has plenty of references portraying Liszt's amazing, charismatic personality.
Liszt never wavered to opposing anyone in his quest for excellence and to promoting the cause of the arts, including kings, queens, monarchs and those in power even at the risk of summary execution as in the scene with the Tsar who when chattered idly, and not paying attention to Liszt's performance Liszt stopped playing asking the most powerful ruler on earth to stop talking.
Liszt was a lot more than the ultimate entertainer extraordinaire. He was a revolutionary, a humanist, a pop-star and the Renaissance Man, the ultimate entertainer and European role model all in one. He was l'uomo universale and the international phenomenon to everyone.
For the past 200 years Franz Liszt has been the role model for generations of artists for whom performing Liszt’s music has been the greatest honor, while during Liszt’s days thousands of women rushed to Franz Liszt’s performances steeped in sensuality and personal attraction to him that were beyond ordinary.
Liszt was admired by the most beautiful women in the world attended his concerts and who frequently surrounding his stage laughed, wept and threw themselves at his feet, tossing their personal jewelry at their idol, scrambling for souvenirs while at the height of Lisztomania some fainted dead simply to get his attention.
After years on Tour the term Lisztomaniacame from the hysteria that surrounded Liszt's ground breaking performances. It was compared to an infectious disease, a mass hysteria of women wearing his portrait on brooches, fighting over the lumps of his hair, collecting his coffee dregs, and fainting during his concerts.
When Liszt sat at the piano his fantastic maine of hair, with many medals that he wore on his custom-made vest similar to the one Michael Jackson's vest he drove his audiences to the state of frenzy as Liszt turned his instrument into spellbinding experience that was compared to "the aesthetic equivalent of "St. Vitus-dance". St. Vitus was a saint who supposedly had wild religious ecstasies with his followers who jumped around uncontrollably.
However, Lisztomania was not only for women who were in love with Liszt. Very few pianists can truly give justice to Liszt's works because they present tremendous pianistic challenge. Unlike Chopin's composition that are based on beautiful, melodic themes and were written by Chopin as publications, Liszt who was the master performer in its own right wrote his works mainly for himself and there really was no one who could perform them like him ever since. That's why to capture the magic of Liszt's compositions is almost next to impossible. Today, most of Liszt's composition are performed on the "safe-side" and in neutral mode while Chopin's works continue to touch listeners hearts with their inescapable beauty partly because they are so much easier perform apart from being great and masterful works.
This is how one music critic described Liszt’s performance in St. Petersburg:
“After bowing low in all directions to a tumult of applause such as had probably not been heard in Petersburg since 1703, Liszt seated himself at the piano. Instantly the hall became deadly silent. We had never in our lives heard anything like this; we had never been in the presence of such a brilliant, passionate, demonic performer, at one moment rushing like a whirlwind, at another pouring forth cascades of tender beauty and grace with amazing brilliance. Liszt's playing was absolutely overwhelming to all as we took a vow that thenceforth and forever, that day, 8 April 1842, would be forever sacred to us, and we would never forget a single second of his performance till our dying day."
When Liszt performed in Berlin in 1841 in a concert tour promoted by Bellini, who himself was apparently a very gifted advertiser and coordinator for his concerts Liszt left Berlin in a coach drawn by 6 white horses with 30 coaches following in procession while the city of Berlin cancelled classes on the day of his arrival…”
Another listener, describing the experience of Liszt's performance of Grand Galop Chromatique wrote as follows:
“Along with an unbelievable richness of harmony, and tempo of the hypnotic dance performed in front of us on the piano, Liszt’s playing was so fast that one could hardly follow it with the ear, and even less with the eye, as whoever looked at his fingers got lost in their rapidity, which in their flitting completely escaped the eye. If dancers were to look into this Lisztian whirl, they would compare it to the Turkish dervishes, who in their whirl-dance soon fall to the ground unconscious as we all did, or were near in this hypnotic performance.”
"How powerful, how startling was the effect of his mere appearance! How vehement was the applause which greeted him! Bouquets were thrown at his feet. It was a grand sight to see how calmly in his triumph he let the bouquets of flowers fall on him, and then placed, while gracefully smiling, a red Camelia which he had plucked from one of the bouquets, in his button-hole.
The electric action of the demonic nature of his playing, closely pressed with a multitude of sounds, the contagious power of music sharing ecstasyin the audience, and perhaps magnetism in his music itself which vibrates in most of us - all these phenomena never struck me so significantly, or so painfully as in this Liszt concert.”
Franz Liszt, like a true pop-star of his day has made is music approachable to everyone, to the point that people who never played the piano, or listened to the piano immediately fell in love with it because of the way he presented it on the stage.
Liszt believed he could do anything on the piano, and in that sense he was the great modernist capable of writing prophetic work that even today can easily stand up to the most demanding 20thcentury compositions and beyond, yet despite technical difficulties the music of Liszt always exhibits the unique warmth of his emotional l’uomo universale personality and his joyful spirit with deep sympathy for life, love and humanity and with the highest degree of compassion.
Liszt loved life greatly and all its earthly stuff, he loved the smell of life and its hedonistic pleasures and he was entirely free of all dogma and prejudices that set him free and allowed him to embrace all of humanity with love and sympathy for everyone.
He traveled widely, and during his concerts played such extraordinary mixture of music that the audience were simply stunned with his daring displays of virtuosity, to the point that after his concerts entire towns celebrated on streets all night long with residents so excited they could not rest and kept partying until dawn.
Beatlemania, Biebermania, the raised collar, the recital, the Tour, Michael Jackson’s trademark uniform and white glove all originated from Liszt who started it all on stage before the queens and monarchs in music-charged salons 185 years ago.
As an icon Liszt met and befriended almost every person of artistic genius in early 1830s Paris, the capital of music, including Paganini, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, Alkan, Hiller, Auber, Bellini, Meyerbeer, Delacroix, Ingres, Hugo, Heine, Balzac, Georges Sand and Dumas père.
By 1835, when he eloped to Switzerland with Marie d’Agoult and then to Lake Como, Italy after a scandal erupted during which their daughter Cosima was born. However, Liszt’s reputation as the ultimate performer was unparalleled, and his work as a composer was held in awe, primarily because of his pyrotechnical ability to perform it all on stage by himself with amazing improvisational skills and his uncanny ability to choose and perform the right works to take his audiences on the highest emotional rollercoaster.
Short Bio of John Mark:
John Mark, writer and creator of LISZT & CHOPIN IN PARIS is American screenwriter and novelist with extensive scholarly background and training in classical music.
John Mark undertook brief studies with Prof. Nadia Boulanger at the Paris Conservatory and film directing and cinematography at IDHEC/Paris followed by studies at Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome, now part of Cinecitta'. John Mark speaks English, French, Spanish and Italian and has received numerous letters of recognition for his contribution to classical music.
John Mark has written GOLDEN VOYAGE, AFTER THE RAINFALL, and DEATHBLOW and is currently completing a contemporary screen adaptation of THEDIVINE COMEDY based on Dante Aligheri's famous classic.
LISZT & CHOPIN IN PARIS. The Script is now being developed for production as major theatrical motion picture of the same title. He has personally recorded preliminary soundtrack for LISZT & CHOPIN IN PARISYouTube - Key search words: John Mark Chopinthat paves way to the ultimate 3D hypersound surround sound Soundtrack soon to be produced and recorded with world's greatest virtuosos.
John Mark performing Chopin’s Ballade No. 4 in F-minor.wmv on Grotrian-Steinweg: