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

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744
PIANOFORTE-PLAYING.
 

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 considerable part of the work for the performer. Thus we find that while formerly tone, with its different gradations, touch, the position of the finger, etc., had to be made matters of special study, the present piano with its accomplishments saves this study: whilst formerly the pedal was used but sparingly, it is at present used almost incessantly. Clearness, neatness of execution, a quiet deportment 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 performers appear to treat it as an enemy, who has to be fought with, and at last conquered. These exaggerated notions cannot last, and their frequent 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 the instrument of percussion and the string instruments 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 Beethoven introduced in single notes appear now in octaves, which are mostly played so loud as almost to silence the weaker tone of the string instrument; and whilst formerly the thinner tone of the piano allowed an amalgamation of tone-colour, the preponderance of metal in the present instrument 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. 1, and Mendelssohn's C minor Trio, op. 66, will at once show their correctness. 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 satisfactory 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 moderation, 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. [Years in brackets are added from pp.748–9 of the Appendix.]

Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach   1714–1788
Schobert   1730–[1767]
Johann Christian Bach   1735–1782
Johann Wanhal   1739–1813
Johann Wilhelm Haessler   1747–1822
Johann Franz Xaver Sterkel (abbé)   1750–1817
Nicolas Joseph Hullmandel   1751–1823
Muzio Clementi   1752–1832
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart   1756–1791
Joseph Gelinek (abbé)   1757–1825
Louis Adam   1758–1848
Nanette Streicher (Stein)   [1769]–1833
Johann Ludwig Dussek   1761–1812
Daniel Steibelt   1764–1823
Anton Eberl   1766–1807
August Eberhard Mailer   1767–1817
Ludwig van Beethoven   1770–1827
John Baptist Cramer   1771–1858
Joseph Woelfl   1772–1812
Christoph Ernst Friedrich Weyse   1774–1842
Wenzel Tomaschek   1774–1850
Josepha Aurenhammer   1776–1814
Ludwig Berger   1777–1839
Francesco Giuseppe Pollini   1778–1847
Johann Nepomuk Hummel   1778–1837
Johann Horzalka   1778–1860
Nicolaus von Krufft   1779–1818
Fanny Kurzbeckabout   1780–(?)
John Field   1782–1837
August Alexander Klengel   1784–1852
Ferdinand Ries   1784–1838
Charles Neate   1784–1877
Carl Maria von Weber   1786–1826
Ludwig Böhner   1787–1860
Friedrich Kalkbrenner   [1784]–1849
Johann Peter Pixis   1788–1874
Aloys Schmitt   1789–1866
Maria Szymanowska ? 1790–1831
Catherina Cibbini-Kozeluch   1790–1858
Carl Czerny   1791–1857
Johann Hugo Worzischek   1791–1825
Wilhelm Wörfel   1791–1852
Cipriani Potter   1792–1871
Ignaz Moscheles   1794–1870
Jacques Herz   1794–1880
Jacob Schmitt   1796–1853
Lucy Anderson   [1790]–1878
Henri Bertini   1798–1876
Carl Mayer   1799–1862
Joseph Christoph Kessler   1800–1872
Carl Georg Lickl   1801–1877
Jean Amédée Le Frold de Méreaux   1803–1874
Luise Farrenc (Dumont)   1804–1875
Carl August Krebs (Miedke)   1804–1880
Sir Julius Benedict   1804–[1885]
Henri Herz   1805–
Joseph Nowakowski   1805–
Anna Caroline de Belleville-Oury   [1808]–1880
George A. Osborne   1806–
Hubert Ferdinand Kufferath   1808–[1882]
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy   1809–1847
Frederic François Chopin   1809–1849
Louise (David) Dulcken   1811–1850
Camille Marie Stamaty   1811–1870
Marie Pleyel   1811–1875
Wilhelm Taubert   1811–
Leopoldine Blahetka   1811–
Henri Rosellen   1811–
Ferdinand Hiller   1811–[1885]
Franz Liszt   1811–[1886]
Sigismund Thalberg   1812–1871
Joseph Schad   1812–1879
William Henry Holmes   1812–[1885]
Gustav Flügel   1812–
Ernst Haberbier   1813–1869
Charles Valentin Alkan   1813–
Jacob Rosenhain   1813–
Louis Winkler   1813–
Theodor Döhler   1814–[1858]
Anton Gerke   1814–1870
Adolph Henselt   1814–
Delphine von Schauroth   1814–
Stephen Heller   1815–
Carl Voss   1815–[1882]
Carl Haslinger   1816–1868
Sir William Sterndale Bennett   1816–1875
Joseph Adalbert Pacher   1816–1871