Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 2.djvu/756

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744

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��piano, or the degree of force which each of these different actions is calculated to bear. Something is also due to the piano itself. Whilst the Vienna hammer of the time of Beethoven and Hummel (1815-1830) was covered with four or five layers of buckskin of varying thickness, the present hammer is covered with only one piece of felt, and produces a tone which though larger and stronger, is undoubtedly less elastic ; the action of the Vienna piano was very simple, and it lacked the escape-movement and many other improvements which enable the present piano, with its almost perfect mechanism, to do a con- siderable part of the work for the performer. Thus we find that while formerly tone, with its dif- ferent gradations, touch, the position of the finger, etc., had to be made matters of special study, the present piano with its accompli shmenta saves this study : whilst formerly the pedal was used but sparingly, it is at present used almost incessantly. Clearness, neatness of execution, a quiet deport- ment at the instrument, were once deemed to be absolute necessities ; it is but seldom that we are gratified at present with these excellent qualities. Whilst in past times the performer treated his instrument as a respected and beloved friend, and almost caressed it, many of our present per- formers appear to treat it as an enemy, who has to be fought with, and at last conquered. These exaggerated notions cannot last, and their fre- quent misapplication must in the end become evident to the public; and it is probable that sooner or later a reaction will set in, and the sound principles of our forefathers again be followed.

The enormous progress made by our leading piano-manufacturers, the liberal application of metal in the body of the instrument, and the rich, full, and eminently powerful tone thereby gained, are followed by a serious disadvantage in the effective performance of chamber music. The execution of a piece for the piano, violin and violoncello, in the style which Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven desired and imagined, is now an impossible thing ; indeed the equilibrium between

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the instrument of percussion and the string instru- ments is now lost. The just rival of the present piano is no longer a single violin or violoncello, but the full orchestra itself. Increased muscular force on the part of the player, exerted on pianos of ten times the ancient tone, is now opposed to the tone of instruments which have undergone no increase of power indeed the rise in the pitch of the concert piano necessitates at times the use of thinner strings in the violin and violoncello. The much fuller and almost incessant employment of broken chords (arpeggios) in the piano part of sonatas, trios, and other chamber- pieces, is absolutely overwhelming to the string instruments ; passages which Mozart and Bee- thoven introduced in single notes appear now in octaves, which are mostly played so loud as almost to silence the weaker tone of the string in- strument ; and whilst formerly the thinner tone of the piano allowed an amalgamation of tone-colour, the preponderance of metal in the present instru- ment precludes it. It would therefore often be most desirable for the pianist to forego some of his undoubted advantages with regard to force, by playing with moderation, by using the pedal with discrimination, and (particularly in rooms of smaller dimensions), by not opening the entire top of the piano. If the above assertions are doubted, a comparison of the last movements of Beethoven's C minor Trio op.i, and Mendelssohn's C minor Trio, op. 66, will at once show their cor- rectness. If the piano is considered as (what it was to our forefathers) a chamber instrument, we may point to it as the most perfect and satis- factory of all ; but when, on the other hand, it is used to substitute the orchestra, it falls in spite of all its prodigious capabilities short of the expected effect. The thoughtful pianist will therefore exercise a just discretion and modera- tion, and will thus be able to produce a legitimate effect of which neither Mozart nor Beethoven ever dreamt.

A list of the most distinguished executants on the piano in strictly chronological order will be of interest.

��Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Schobert

�17141788 17301768 17351782 1739-1813 1747-1822 x!) 1750-1817 17511823 1752-1832 1756-1791 17571825 17581848

�August Alexander Klengel . Ferdinand Eles . . .

�17S4-1852 1784-1838 1784-1877 1786-1826 1787-1860 1788-1849 1788-1874 1789-1866 71790-1831 1790-1858 17911857 17911825 17911852 1792 1871

1794 mo

1794 1880 1796-1853 17971878 17981876 1799-1862 1800-1872 1801-1877 ux 18031874 1804-1875 1804-1880 1804 1805 1805 r It06-1880

�George A. Osborne . Hubert Ferdinand Eufferat Felix Mendelssohn-Barthold Frederic Francois Chopin Louise (David) Dulcken Camille Marie Stamaty Marie Pleyel . . .

�1 J

�1806 1808 18091847 18091849 1811-1850 18111870 1811 1OT5

�Johann Christian Bach Johann Wanhal . Johann Wilhelm Haessler . Johann Franz Xaver Sterkel (abl Nicolas Joseph Hullmandel Jluzio Clement! . Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Joseph Gellnek (abbe) .

�Carl Maria von Weber . . Ludwig BOhner ... Friedrich Kalkbrenuer . Johann Feter 1'ixis Aloys Schmltt . . Maria Szymanowska Catherina Clbbinl-Kozelucn

�Wilhelm Taubert . . Leopoldine Blahetka . Henri Kosellen . . Ferdinand Killer . Franz Liszt . Sigismund Thalberg .

� �1811 1811 1811 1811 1811 1812 1871 18121879 1812- 1812 18131869 1813- 1813- 1813 18141855 1814-1870 1814- 1814- 1815- 1815- 1816-1868 18161875 1816-1871

�Nanette Stretcher (Stetn) . Johann Ludwlg Dussek . Daniel Steibelt . . .

�1760-18S3 1761-1812 1764-1823 17661807

�Johann Hugo Worzischek . Wilhelm WOrfel . . Cipriani Potter . . Ignaz Moscheles . .

�William Henry Holmes

� �August Eberhard Mailer . Ludwig van Beethoven . John Baptist Cramer . Joseph Woelfl Ohristoph Ernst Friedrich Weys Wenzel Tomaschek Josepha Aurenhammer . Ludwig Berger Francesco Giuseppe Polllni Johann Nepomuk Hummel Johann Horzalka . Nicolaus von Krufft Fanny Kurzbeck . . . bc John Field . .

�17871817 17701827 1771-1858 17721812 e 1774-1842 17741850 1776-1814 1777-1839 17781847 17781837 17781860 1779-1818 ut 1780 (?) 1782-1837

�Jacob Schmltt . . Lucy Anderson . . Henri Bertini ....

�Ernst Haberbier . Charles Valentin Alkan Jacob Bosenhaiu . . Louis Winkler . . Theodor Dflhler . .

� � �Joseph Chrlstoph Kessler . Carl Georg Lickl . Jean Ami'dee Le Frold de Mt-rea Lulse Farrenc (Dumont) Carl August Krebs (lliedke) Sir Julius Benedict

�Adolph Henselt

Delphine von Schauroth Stephen Heller .

� �Carl Haslinger Sir William Sterndale Bennett Joseph Adalbert Pacher .

�Joseph Nowakowski Anna Caroline de Belleville-Our

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