1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Moscheles, Ignaz

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MOSCHELES, IGNAZ (1794–1870), Bohemian pianist, was born at Prague on the 30th of May 1794, and studied music at the Conservatorium under the direction of Dionys Weber. At the age of fourteen he made his first appearance before the public in a pianoforte concerto of his own composition with marked success. In 1814 he prepared, with Beethoven's consent, the pianoforte arrangement of Fidelio, afterwards published by Messrs Artaria. In the following year he published his celebrated Variationen über den Alexandermarsch, a concert piece of great difficulty, which he played with so great effect that he was at once recognized as the most brilliant performer of the day. He then started on a tour, during the course of which he visited most of the great capitals of Europe, making his first appearance in London in 1822, and there securing the friendship of Muzio Clementi and John Cramer. For a concert given by the latter he wrote his famous Hommage à Händel, a duet for two pianofortes, which afterwards became a lasting favourite with the public. During a visit to Berlin in 1824 he first became acquainted with Mendelssohn, then a boy of fifteen; and a friendship sprang up between them which was severed only by Mendelssohn's early death (see Briefe von Mendelssohn-Bartholdy an Ignaz und Charlotte Moscheles, 1888). In 1826 Moscheles married Charlotte Embden at Hamburg, and settled permanently in London. He was undoubtedly for some considerable time the greatest executant of his age; but, using his brilliant touch as a means and not as an end, he consistently devoted himself to the further development of the true classical school, interpreting the works of the great masters with conscientious fidelity, and in his extempore performances, which were of quite exceptional excellence, exhibiting a fertility of invention which never failed to please the most fastidious taste. In 1837 Moscheles conducted Beethoven's Ninth Symphony at the Philharmonic Society's concerts with extraordinary success, and by his skilful use of the baton contributed to the prosperity of this association. During the course of his long residence in London he laboured incessantly in the cause of art, until the year 1846, when, at Mendelssohn's earnest solicitation, he removed to Leipzig to carry on a similar work at the Conservatorium, then recently founded. In this new sphere he worked with unabated zeal for many years, dying on the 10th of March 1870. Moscheles numbered works extend to 142, apart from minor pieces; his most important compositions are his Pianoforte Concertos, Sonatas and Studies (Études, op. 70; and Characteristische Studien, op. 95); Hommage à Händel; and his three Allegri di bravura.

See The Life of Moscheles (1873), a translation by A. D. Coleridge of Mme Moscheles' Aus Moscheles Leben (1872).