Historical interpretations of Friderick Chopin works

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Maurycy Rosenthal - biography


Maurycy Rosenthal, a Polish pianist, was born on 18 December 1862 in Lemberg (now L'viv), and died on 3 September 1946 in New York. He began learning the piano at the age of seven. From 1872 to 1874 he was a pupil of Karol Mikuli in Lemberg, and made his first public appearance playing with Mikuli the Chopin Rondo in C major for two pianos. In 1875 he left for Vienna to study under Rafael Joseffy (Liszt's pupil). In the following year he debuted there playing solo pieces by Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Chopin and Liszt, and the Chopin Piano Concerto in F minor with Joseffy at the second piano. Next he went on concert tours to Belgrade and Bucarest, where he was awarded the title of the "court pianist of the Romanian monarchy". In October 1876 Rosenthal met Liszt in Vienna and from 1876 to 1879, and later from 1884 to 1886, he studied under his directions. He also completed the philosophy course at the Viennese university. He made his Warsaw debut in 1877, but it did not win him any particular praise. It was only after his two concerts in 1880, that Jan Kleczyński wrote about his playing: "as for a few Liszt's pieces, he developed a great deal of bravura, elegance or even poetry. [...] Let us say it again then: this is not an ordinary talent". On 9 November 1888, in Boston, he made his first appearance in the United States, and four days later he played pieces by Liszt, Chopin, Schumann and Henselt in New York. He also accompanied there the thirteen-year-old violinist Fritz Kreisler. In 1894 he gave a recital in Poznan. "His exceptional technical skills" - wrote a critic - "placing the artist among the leading pianists of today, could be noticed while Mr Rosenthal's demonic performing of Réminiscences de Don Juan, arranged by Liszt, Schlözer's Etude, and the extremely difficult Variations on a theme of Paganini by Brahms. We doubt whether any of the living pianists could perform these giant tasks with the same brightness, persistence and strength." In the subsequent years he gave concerts throughout the world and played alternately on European and American continents. In 1928 on the invitation of Józef Hofmann, he commenced teaching at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. He boasted extraordinary technical skills, which enabled him to overcome the biggest obstacles with much easiness. He specialised in works by Chopin and Liszt, but he was equally successful at playing pieces by Field, Heller, Hummel, Bortkevich, Leschetizky, Moszkowski, Sauer, Schytte, Scharwenka, Debussy, Szymanowski, Stravinsky, as well as compositions included in the classical and romantic canon. He boasted so much expertise in Chopin's works that after seeing just one bar of the score he could tell which piece it was exactly. As a composer he left piano pieces: two paraphrases on Johann Strauss's waltzes, Papillons, Preludium, Romans, Tango-Habanera and Variations. His pupils included Kenneth Amada, Robert Goldsand, Josephine Innis, Julius Puewer, Charles Rosen and Hilde Somer

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