A European walk through Bordeaux 15
The Medal of Franz Liszt.
62,64 du cours de l'Intendance.
Vauxhall of Bordeaux, built in 1770 on the land of the archbishop’s palace, was supposed to be the most accurate reproduction of Vauxhall in London. It occupied the western corner of the Cours de l’Intendance, between what would become Rue Vital-Carles and Rue de la Vieille Tour, where the entrance can be found. With its famous “English garden,” once home to a ballroom, a concert hall and shady alleys, Vauxhall was a very popular place during the Revolution, and especially the Directoire. It was demolished in 1851.
At the beginning of the reign of Charles X, the Société musicale des amis des arts [musical society of friends of the arts], which managed Vauxhall, organised exhibitions there and the Société philomathique de Bordeaux [Philomathic society of Bordeaux], founded in 1808, held concerts. It is here that Franz Liszt, who came twice to Bordeaux, performed on 25 January 1826. He was virtually a child at the time.
Franz Liszt, born 22 October 1811 in Raiding (then in Hungary and now in Austria), arrived in Paris with his parents in 1823. Cherubini is thought to have refused him admission to the Conservatoire because he was not French. A year later, however, he was already composing and conducting his only opera, Don Sanche, or The Castle of Love. Of the approximately 200 concerts he gave at this time, accompanied by his father, Liszt performed six in Bordeaux, between Thursday 5 January and Wednesday 25 January 1586. Obviously, the first three times at the Grand Théâtre, then at the Académie, at the Museum, and the last time at the concerts given by the Société philomathique at Vauxhall. The young prodigy played Czerny’s variations there along with his own compositions. He was fourteen years old. The Vauxhall concert was held as a special tribute by the Société philomathique, which managed to deceive its biographers for a long time. After his concert at Vauxhall, on 25 January 1826, he was presented with a gold medal. It bears an inscription: La Société philomathique de Bordeaux à François Liszt, XXV janvier 1826 [The Philomathic company of Bordeaux to François Liszt, XXV January 1826]. It can still be seen today in Liszt’s home in Weimar (Hofgärtnerei). The society seems to have taken in many musicologists who, bewildered by the esoteric connotation of the name “philomathic society,” claimed …. …
Liszt / J. Philippe 1844. Lithographie publié par le journal l'Homme Gris (Bordeaux)