A very happy birthday to Liszt Ferenc, who was born two hundred years ago today. Above is Claudio Arrau playing Les Jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este; Jessica Duchen gathers more celebratory videos on her blog. Kenneth Hamilton has a fine, unsentimental appreciation in the New York Times; I wrote about Liszt back in 2003. There will be no fewer than eleven performances of Liszt's vast oratorio Christus around the world today, with the Paris version going out over France Musique at 7PM CEST. Although the extant discography is staggering — Leslie Howard's ninety-nine-CD survey on Hyperion gives you every note the man wrote for piano — there's been no lack of notable Liszt recordings in the anniversary year: the Nelson Freire collection Harmonies du soir, Louis Lortie's survey of the complete Années du pèlerinage, Marc-André Hamelin's account of the Sonata in B Minor, Pierre-Laurent Aimard's Liszt Project. As for My Piano Hero, well, the cover remains arresting.