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Vladimir de Pachmann was perhaps history’s most notorious pianist. Widely regarded as the greatest player of Chopin’s works, Pachmann embedded comedic elements—be it fiddling with his piano bench or flirting with the audience—within his classic piano recitals to alleviate his own anxiety over performing. But this wunderkind, whose admirers included Franz Liszt and music critic James Gibbons Huneker (who cheekily nicknamed Pachmann the “Chopinzee”), would by the turn of the century find his antics on the concert stage scorned by critics and out of fashion with listeners, burying his pianistic legacy. In Chopin’s Prophet: The Life of Pianist Vladimir de Pachmann, the first biography ever of this remarkable figure, Edward Blickstein and Gregor Benko explore the private and public lives of this master pianist, surveying his achievements within the context of contemporary critical opinion and preserving his legacy as one of the last great Romantic pianists of his time. Chopin’s Prophet paints a colorful portrait of classical piano performance and celebrity at the turn of the 20th century while also documenting Pachmann’s attraction to men, which ultimately ended his marriage but was overlooked by his audiences. As the authors illustrate, Pachmann lived in a radically different world of music making, one in which eccentric personality and behavior fit into a much more flexible, and sometimes mysterious, musical community, one where standards were set not by certified experts with degrees but by the musicians themselves. Detailing the evolution of concert piano playing style from the era of Chopin until World War I, Chopin’s Prophet tells the fantastic and true story of an artist of and after his time.
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Text extracted from opening pages of book: HAROLD BAUER W W NORTON & COMPANY INC New York Qslluslraiions Facing Page Harold Bauer at the age of ten 30 Concert announcement of Nikita's Russian tour with Harold Bauer as pianist . 31 The Paderewski picture 31 Harold Bauer, Fritz Kreisler, and Pablo Casals 62 Harold Bauer and Ossip Gabrilowitsch 62 Paris, 1912 63 Medal of the society La Trompette 63 Harold Bauer 158 Musicians at Moszkowski Benefit, 1922 159 Harold Bauer, from the bust by Brenda Putnam 190 Harold Bauer 191 re j f ace I NEVER INTENDED TO WRITE THE STORY OF MY LIFE, AND I neither know nor care whether I shall be believed when I say that this writing has been the most abominable and tedious chore that I ever undertook What happened is this: my very dear and distinguished friend, the late Carl Engel, president of G. Schirmer, Inc., wished to pay me a compliment on the occasion of my sev entieth birthday. Since he had always been amused by my relation of little incidents in my long career, he got me to write some of them down, then put them together with inimitable skill and charm, and published the result in the Musical Quarterly. This created a great deal of comment, and the next thing was that Warder Norton asked me to write a whole book about myself. I rejected his suggestion with horror, but I went to tea with him and his wife, and, as a consequence of their skillful and delicate flattery, I was undone. Even so, the book would never have been completed without the gentle and incessant nagging of my wife. The time has come for me to express my acknowledg ments to everyone concerned in this perpetration, and I hereby do so, peevishly, with the fervent hope that they will allleave me alone in future. It remains only for me to add, now that I notice the curi ously abrupt fashion in which this book starts, that I was born near London on April 28, 1873. H. B. ne MY EARLIEST REACTION TO MUSIC, AS FAR AS I CAN RECALL, was one of fascinated terror. Even at this far-distant time, it almost makes my flesh creep when I think of the huge faces of adults bending over me, or over one of my sisters, and emitting the strange sound which, I was later to learn, is called singing. The music was not confined to noises coming from human faces, however, for there was also the unfor gettable sound solemn and yet piercing of the shiny brass instruments played in the street by a group of shabby men called the German Band. In addition, there was the Italian barrel-organ grinder, accompanied sometimes oh, bliss by a monkey; an occasional violinist; a man who played a bright yellow clarinet; two men in Highland cos tume, one of whom danced to the playing of the bagpipes ( the most exciting sound in the world, I think) by his com panion. Then the music of the street cries ( Chinaware cheap and Jubilee Coal Blocks provided the themes, later on, 9] for a juvenile sonata), and finally, the god of musicians, a glorious individual who went about with a dozen different instruments distributed over his person, playing them all at the same time. That, to me, was real magic; and I longed unspeakably to grow up and conquer my fear of the sounds, so that I could wield the power he possessed some day I suppose it was this mingled feeling of fear and ambition that made me try to find the notes of a tune which had alarmed me to the extent of wanting to hide under the table. After I had pickedout the notes, I did not mind it so much. It was the opening of Brahms' piano quintet, and I am still a little afraid of it. On my fourth birthday, I decided that the time had come for me to do something important, so I composed a polka which contained exactly eight measures quite enough, I considered, for a beginning, a middle, and an end. How it was that this babyish little thing stuck in my mind I am un able to say, but it came back to me about half a century later, when Ossip and Clara Gabrilowitsch told me almost tear fully that their daughter Nina showed not
Cynthia Verba's book explores the story of music's role in the French Enlightenment, focusing on dramatic expression in the musical tragedies of the composer-theorist Jean-Philippe Rameau. She reveals how his music achieves its highly moving effects through an interplay between rational design, especially tonal design, and the portrayal of feeling and how this results in a more nuanced portrayal of the heroine. Offering a new approach to understanding Rameau's role in the Enlightenment, Verba illuminates important aspects of the theory-practice relationship and shows how his music embraced Enlightenment values. At the heart of the study are three scene types that occur in all of Rameau's tragedies: confession of forbidden love, intense conflict and conflict resolution. In tracing changes in Rameau's treatment of these, Verba finds that while he maintained an allegiance to the traditional French operatic model, he constantly adapted it to accommodate his more enlightened views on musical expression.
Surveys the careers and personalities of the great pianists from Clementi and Mozart to the present day
Jan Holcman’s Legacy of Chopin brings together Chopin’s views on music, including pianism, composition, teaching, music criticism, and more. With extensive references and footnotes from the author, readers can gain unparalleled knowledge into the famous composer’s theories, practices, and philosophies.
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