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Medallion of St. Francis of Assisi


Papers of Vladimir and Wanda Toscanini Horowitz
Gilmore Music Library

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liszt medallion saint francis of assisi

Liszt’s granddaughter Daniela Thode-von Bülow gave him this medallion of his patron saint. It is said that he kept it on his night-stand. It eventually came into the possession of his great-granddaughter Friedelind Wagner (1918–1991), who was also the granddaughter of Richard Wagner.
Richard and Cosima Wagner were notorious anti-Semites, and several younger members of the family followed in their footsteps. Their daughter-in-law Winifred Wagner (1897–1980) was a close friend of Adolf Hitler. Winifred’s daughter Friedelind, in contrast, openly opposed the Nazis, and she eventually left Germany for England. Despite her support for the Allied war effort—support the rest of the Wagner family considered treasonous—British authorities sent her to an internment camp for enemy aliens. Thanks to the assistance of her friend Arturo Toscanini, she was eventually released, and she moved to the United States in 1941. Perhaps as a token of her gratitude, she gave the St. Francis medallion to Toscanini. He, in turn, gave it to his son-in-law, Vladimir Horowitz, who greatly admired Liszt and performed his music often. Like Liszt, Horowitz kept the medallion on his night-stand.