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Encyclopedia > Ignaz Moscheles
Ignaz Moscheles, from a portrait by his son Felix.
Ignaz Moscheles, from a portrait by his son Felix.

Ignaz Moscheles (May 23, 1794March 10, 1870) was a Bohemian Jewish composer and piano virtuoso. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (500x612, 51 KB) Summary Engraving from Felix Moscheless portrait of Ignaz Moscheles. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (500x612, 51 KB) Summary Engraving from Felix Moscheless portrait of Ignaz Moscheles. ... May 23 is the 143rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (144th in leap years). ... 1794 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... March 10 is the 69th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (70th in leap years). ... 1870 (MDCCCLXX) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Monday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... Bohemia. ... Jews (Hebrew: יהודים, Yehudim) are followers of Judaism or, more generally, members of the Jewish people (also known as the Jewish nation, or the Children of Israel), an ethno-religious group descended from the ancient Israelites and converts who joined their religion. ... A composer is a person who writes music. ... A baby grand piano, with the lid up. ... A virtuoso (from the Latin virtus meaning: skill, manliness, excellence) is an individual who possesses outstanding technical ability at singing or playing a musical instrument. ...

Contents


Life

Sources

Much of what we know about Moscheles's life is derived from the edition of his diaries prepared by his wife, Charlotte, after his death, and published in 1874. This edition also gives lively portaits of his era and of his musical contemporaries. Unfortunately however the diaries themselves have since gone missing, although they may perhaps rematerialise. Another important source is the correspondence between Moscheles and Mendelssohn, preserved at the Brotherton Collection at Leeds University, and published in 1888 by Ignaz's son (and Felix Mendelssohn's god-son), Felix Moscheles. Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy at the age of thirty Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, known generally as Felix Mendelssohn (February 3, 1809 – November 4, 1847) was a German composer of Jewish parentage of the early Romantic period. ... University Tower, University of Leeds The University of Leeds (United Kingdom) is amongst the largest of British universities and the most popular by applicants, with 52,444 applicants in 2003 for 7,228 places (UCAS). ... A godparent, in some denominations of Christianity and in Catholicism, is someone who sponsors a childs baptism. ...


Early career

Moscheles was born in Prague to a well-off Jewish merchant family. His first name was originally Isaac. His father played the guitar and was keen for one of his children to become a musician. Initially his hopes fixed on Ignaz's sister, but when she demurred her piano lessons were transferred to her brother. Ignaz early developed a passion for the (then revolutionary) piano music of Beethoven, which the Mozartean Bedrich Divis Weber, his teacher at the Prague Conservatory, attempted to curb, urging him to concentrate on Bach, Mozart and Muzio Clementi. Nevertheless his abilities were such that he was able to study in Vienna under Albrechtsberger for counterpoint and theory and Salieri for composition. At this time he changed his first name from 'Isaac' to 'Ignaz'. He was one of the leading virtuosi resident in Vienna during the 1816 Congress of Vienna and it was at this time that he wrote his enormously popular virtuosic 'Alexander Variations' Op. 32, for piano and orchestra, which he later played throughout Europe. Here too he became a close friend of Meyerbeer (at that time still a piano virtuoso, not yet a composer) and their extemporized piano-duets were highly acclaimed. Prague (Czech: Praha (IPA: ), see also other names) is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. ... Ludwig van Beethoven by Carl Jäger (date unknown). ... Muzio Clementi (January 24, 1752 – March 10, 1832) was a classical composer, and acknowledged as the first to write specifically for the piano. ... Vienna (German: Wien ; Bosnian, Croatian, and Serbian: Beč, Czech: Vídeň, Hungarian: Bécs, Romanian: Viena, Romani: Bech or Vidnya, Russian: Вена, Slovak: Viedeň, Slovenian: Dunaj) is the capital of Austria, and also one of the nine States of Austria. ... Johann Georg Albrechtsberger (February 3, 1736 - March 7, 1809) was an Austrian musician who was born at Klosterneuburg, near Vienna. ... Antonio Salieri Antonio Salieri (August 18, 1750 – May 7, 1825), born in Legnago, Italy, was a composer and conductor, as well as one of the most important and famous musicians of his time. ... The Congress of Vienna by Jean-Baptiste Isabey, 1819. ... Giacomo Meyerbeer Giacomo Meyerbeer (September 5, 1791 – May 2, 1864) was a noted German-born opera composer, and the first great exponent of Grand Opera. ...


Whilst in Vienna Moscheles was able to meet his idol Beethoven, who was so impressed with the young man's abilities that he entrusted him with the preparation of the piano score of his opera Fidelio, commissioned by his publisher Artaria. At the end of his manuscript, before presenting it to Beethoven, Moscheles wrote the words Fine mit gottes Hülfe (Finished with God's help). Beethoven approved Moscheles's version, but appended the words O Mensch, hilf dir selber (O Man, help thyself!). Moscheles's good relations with Beethoven were to prove important to both at the end of Beethoven's life. (See below). Fidelio (Op. ...


Beliefs

This may be an appropriate point to discuss Moscheles's religious beliefs. He was still a practising Jew in 1816, when he wrote for the Vienna Jewish community an oratorio celebrating the peace. Throughout his life, he (like many other musicians of Jewish origin) remained close to the circles of other musicians of Jewish origin (e.g. Felix Mendelssohn, Anton Rubinstein, Joseph Joachim, Ferdinand Hiller), and patrons of Jewish origin (the Eskeles family in Vienna, the Leo family in Paris, and the Rothschild banking family of England). He married in the Frankfurt synagogue in 1825 Charlotte Emden, daughter of a Jewish banker and a cousin of Heinrich Heine. Nonetheless, after he settled in England he clearly found it convenient to be, technically at least, a member of the Church. His children were all baptised at birth and he and his wife were baptised in 1832. Moscheles never disavowed his Jewish origins and frequently took his family to visit his relatives in Prague, all of whom had retained their Jewish allegiances. Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy at the age of thirty Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, known generally as Felix Mendelssohn (February 3, 1809 – November 4, 1847) was a German composer of Jewish parentage of the early Romantic period. ... Rubinsteins portrait by Ilya Repin. ... Joseph Joachim Joseph Joachim (June 28, 1831 – August 15, 1907) (pronounced YO-a-chim) was a violinist, conductor, composer and teacher. ... Ferdinand Hiller (October 24, 1811 - May 12, 1885), was a German composer of the romantic era. ... The Rothschild banking family of England was founded in 1798 by Nathan Mayer von Rothschild (1777-1836) who first settled in Manchester but then moved to London. ... Frankfurt am Main [ˈfraŋkfʊrt] is the largest city in the German state of Hesse and the fifth largest city in Germany. ... Christian Johann Heinrich Heine (born as Harry [Hebrew: Chaim] Heine December 13, 1797 – February 17, 1856) was one of the most significant German poets. ...


Meeting with Mendelssohn and the London period

After his Viennese period there followed for Moscheles a sensational series of European concert tours— it was after hearing Moscheles play at Carlsbad that the boy Robert Schumann was fired to become a piano virtuoso himself. But he found an especially warm welcome in London, where in 1822 he was awarded an honorary membership of the London Academy of Music (later to become the Royal Academy). At the end of the year he wrote in his diary 'I feel more and more at home in England' , and he had no hesitation in settling there after his marriage. Robert Schumann (June 8, 1810 – July 29, 1856) was a German composer and pianist. ... The Royal Academy of Music is a music school in London, England and one of the leading music institutions in the world. ...


Before that however in 1824 he had accepted an invitation to visit Abraham Mendelssohn Bartholdy in Berlin to give some lessons to his children Felix and Fanny. His comments on meeting them were: Abraham Mendelssohn Bartholdy was a German Jewish banker and philanthropist, born Abraham Mendelssohn 10th December 1776 in Berlin, died there 19th December 1835. ... Fanny Mendelssohn Fanny Hensel, 1842, by Moritz Daniel Oppenheim Fanny Cäcilie Mendelssohn Bartholdy (November 14, 1805–May 14, 1847), later Fanny Hensel, was a German pianist and composer, and was the sister of Felix Mendelssohn. ...


This is a family the like of which I have never known. Felix, a boy of fifteen is a phenomenon. What are all prodigies compared with him? ...He is already a mature artist. His elder sister Fanny [is] also extraordinarily gifted.


A couple of weeks later, he wrote:


This afternoon... I gave Felix Mendelssohn his first lesson, without losing sight for a moment of the fact that I was sitting next to a master, not a pupil.


Thus began a relationship of extraordinary intensity which lasted throughout and beyond Mendelssohn's life (he died in 1847). Moscheles was a major instrument in bringing Felix to London for the first time in 1829 - Abraham entrusted Felix to his care for this visit. Moscheles had carefully prepared for it. In London, apart from becoming a regular successful performer and a musical adviser for the soirées of the Rothschilds, he had become an invaluable aid for Sir George Smart and the Royal Philharmonic Society, advising them of the talents of European musicians he encountered on his own concert-tours. When Smart himself toured Europe in 1825 looking for new music and musicians for the Society, Moscheles furnished Smart with a list of contacts and letters of introduction, including both Beethoven and Mendelssohn. (In Prague, Moscheles's brother acted as Smart's guide). Smart visited the Mendelssohns in Berlin and was impressed with both Felix and Fanny. This eventually led to Mendelssohn's invitation to conduct at the Society on his 1829 visit. The Rothschild banking family of England was founded in 1798 by Nathan Mayer von Rothschild (1777-1836) who first settled in Manchester but then moved to London. ... Sir George Thomas Smart (1776 - February 23, 1867), English musician, was born in London, his father being a music-seller. ... The Royal Philharmonic Society is a British music society, formed in 1813. ...


In 1827 Moscheles acted as intermediary between the Philharmonic Society and the dying Beethoven. He helped persuade the Society to send Beethoven desperately needed funds during the composer's illness. In return Beethoven offered to write for the Society his Tenth Symphony. Alas, it was never completed.


Mendelssohn's great success in England from 1829 until the end of his life also reflected well on his friend. Although Moscheles's music was now being looked on as a little old-fashioned, he was heavily in demand as a music teacher and included amongst his pupils many children of the rich and aristocratic classes. He was also appointed 'Pianist to Prince Albert', a sinecure which nevertheless confirmed his status. Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (in full Francis Charles Augustus Albert Emmanuel) (26 August 1819 – 14 December 1861) was the husband and consort of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. ...


Moscheles never ceased to promote the music of Beethoven and gave many recitals of his music: in 1832 he conducted the London premiere of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis and he translated A.F. Schindler's biography of Beethoven into English. He was an early exponent of the piano recital - the concert of music for piano alone, the innovation of which is disputed between Liszt and Moscheles. Moscheles notably reintroduced the harpsichord as a solo recital instrument. He also often performed in concert with Mendelssohn in London (and elsewhere) - one great favourite of both musicians were Bach's concerti for multiple keyboard instruments. On these occasions Mendelssohn and Moscheles were renowned for vying with each other in impromptu cadenzas. Performances of the three-harpischord concerto were given, on one occasion with Thalberg at the third keyboard, on another with Clara Schumann. Moscheles often appeared as a conductor, especially of Beethoven. Missa Solemnis is Latin for solemn mass, and is a name which has been applied to a number of musical settings of the mass, especially particularly serious or large-scale ones. ... Anton Felix Schindler (1795-1864), associate and early biographer of Ludwig van Beethoven. ... Franz Liszt (Hungarian: Liszt Ferenc) (October 22, 1811 – July 31, 1886) was a Hungarian virtuoso pianist and composer. ... Bach redirects here. ... A cadenza is usually now taken to mean a portion of a concerto in which the orchestra stops playing, leaving the soloist to play alone in free time (without a strict, regular pulse) and can be written or improvised, depending on what the composer specifies. ... Sigismond Thalberg (January 7, 1812–April 27, 1871) was a Swiss pianist of Austrian heritage, born in Geneva. ... Clara Schumann Clara Josephine Wieck Schumann (September 13, 1819 – May 20, 1896), wife of composer Robert Schumann, was one of the leading pianists of the Romantic era as well as a composer. ...


The Leipzig years

Although throughout this period Moscheles continued to write music and travel on concert tours, he depended heavily on teaching for income, and this placed him under considerable stress. When therefore Mendelssohn established a Conservatory at Leipzig in 1843 he was keen to attract his friend Moscheles there as a colleague, promising him ample time in his schuedules for concertising and music-making. Moscheles gladly accepted and became the leader of the Conservatory after Mendelssohn's death in 1847. A music school or conservatoire (British English) — also known as a conservatory (American English) or a conservatorium (Australian English) — is an institution dedicated to teaching the art of music, including the playing of musical instruments, musical composition, musicianship, music history, and music theory. ... [] (Sorbian/Lusatian: Lipsk) is the largest city in the Federal State (Bundesland) of Saxony in Germany. ...


The Conservatory became in effect a shrine to Mendelssohn's musical legacy. The critic and pianist Edward Dannreuther, who studied under Moscheles at Leipzig between 1859 and 1863, later wrote: Edward Dannreuther 4 November 1844 - 12 February 1905 was a German pianist resident from 1863 in England. ...


[…] it was whispered that the two old Grands in the pianoforte-room of the Conservatorium were wont to rehearse Mendelssohn’s D minor Concerto all alone by themselves, from 12.30 on Sunday night until cock-crow! Force of habit, probably.


It thus fell to Moscheles to lead the counter-attack on Wagner after the latter's snide attack on Mendelssohn (and Meyerbeer) in his notorious article Das Judenthum in der Musik ("Jewry in Music"), which he did by requesting the resignation from the conservatory's board of Wagner's editor, Brendel. Like Mendelssohn, Moscheles believed that music had reached its Golden Age during the period Bach to Beethoven, and was suspicious of (although not necessarily antagonistic towards) new directions such as those shown by Wagner, Liszt and Berlioz. Nevertheless his personal relations with all of these (except perhaps Wagner) remained cordial. The Mendelssohn legacy in Britain meant that the Leipzig Conservatory had a high reputation amongst English musicians and amongst those who studied there during Moscheles's time were Arthur Sullivan and Charles Villiers Stanford. Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner (May 22, 1813 – February 13, 1883) was an influential German composer, conductor, music theorist, and essayist, primarily known for his operas (or music dramas as he later came to call them). ... Das Judenthum in der Musik (Judaism in Music or Jewishness in Music) is an anti-Semitic article which was published in the Neue Zeitschrift. ... Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan (May 13, 1842 – November 22, 1900) was an English composer best known for his operatic collaborations with librettist W. S. Gilbert. ... Charles Villiers Stanford Sir Charles Villiers Stanford (September 30, 1852 - 29 March 1924) was an Irish composer. ...


Moscheles died in Leipzig on 10th March 1870, nine days after attending his last rehearsal with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra is a German orchestra based in Leipzig, Germany. ...


Music

Among his 142 opus numbers Moscheles wrote numerous symphonic works; apart from an overture and a symphony, all are scored for piano and orchestra: eight piano concertos (of which the last has only come down to us in fragmentary form, no orchestral parts having survived), sets of variations and fantasias on folk songs. Furthermore, he left several chamber works and a large number of works for piano solo, including sonatas and the etudes that continued to be studied by advanced students even as Moscheles' music fell into eclipse. There are also some song settings. Overture is also a song by the rock band The Who Overture (French ouverture, meaning opening) in music is the instrumental introduction to a dramatic, choral or, occasionally, instrumental composition. ... A symphony is an extended composition usually for orchestra and usually comprising several movements. ... A piano concerto is a concerto for solo piano and orchestra. ... In music, variation is a formal technique where material is altered during repetition; reiteration with changes. ... The fantasia (also English fantasy, German fantasie, French fantaisie) is a musical composition with its roots in the art of improvisation. ... A piano sonata is a sonata written for unaccompanied piano. ... An etude (from the French word étude meaning study) is a short musical composition designed to provide practice in a particular technical skill in the performance of a solo instrument. ...


In the last decade, with the modest but noticeable revival of interest in compositions by this composer and those of his colleagues, more of his works are being made accessible on compact disc - especially by small and independent record labels.


The main theme of the finale of his fourth piano concerto is based on the song British Grenadiers. British Grenadiers is a marching song for the grenadier units of the British military during from the 17th Century to the 19th Century. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Ignaz Moscheles - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1642 words)
Ignaz Moscheles (May 23, 1794–March 10, 1870) was a Bohemian Jewish composer and piano virtuoso.
Another important source is the correspondence between Moscheles and Mendelssohn, preserved at the Brotherton Collection at Leeds University, and published in 1888 by Ignaz's son (and Felix Mendelssohn's god-son), Felix Moscheles.
Among his 142 opus numbers Moscheles wrote numerous symphonic works; apart from an overture and a symphony, all are scored for piano and orchestra: eight piano concertos (of which the last has only come down to us in fragmentary form, no orchestral parts having survived), sets of variations and fantasias on folk songs.
Moscheles, Ignaz - Musical Biographies (1451 words)
Young Moscheles was usually present at her music lessons and on one occasion showed such impatience at her stupidity that the teacher allowed him to take her place at the piano and was greatly astonished at his proficiency.
Moscheles became the pupil of Weber and thus was laid the solid foundation of his musicianship.
Moscheles' compositions for this year were the B major concerto, the impromptu in E flat major, and a composition made with Mendelssohn on the Gypsy March from Weber's Preciosa.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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