Liszt’s piano music is often incredibly difficult to play. It can also be difficult to listen to. It's ambitious, complex and often very intense. It can also be discordant, disconcerting and ugly. There are other problems too. Liszt was as prolific as he was virtuosic, so there’s the question of how to approach such a large body of work. Liszt was also a compulsive rewriter, meaning we might ask which version of a piece it is we should even be listening to.
Happily, these problems are not intractable. Just as Liszt composed challenging music so too did he write music of great simplicity. And whilst it's true that some pieces are not always melodically straightforward or pretty, others are sumptuously romantic with the most elegant and loving of melodies.
I offer some pointers below on how to begin listening to Liszt and then provide a list of 10 works that can act as signposts for any beginner starting out on their own journey or pèlerinage into his work.