Historical interpretations of Friderick Chopin works

skip to menu

Vladimir de Pachmann - biography


Also called Vladimir von Pachmann, an Austrian-Russian pianist, was born on 27 July 1848 in Odessa, and died on 6 January 1933 in Rome. He began music lessons in his early childhood with his father, an amateur violinist and professor at Odessa University. Between 1866 and 1869 he studied at the Viennese Conservatory in piano classes under Josef Dachs, and in composition and music theory classes under Anton Bruckner, and graduated with the gold medal. In 1869 he debuted in Odessa, and next went on tour of Germany. There he heard Karol Tausig, whose playing impressed him so much that he decided to cease his own performances and to continue mastering his pianistic skills and the art of interpretation. In 1882 he debuted in Budapest. On 17 October 1884 he came to Krakow, where his performance at the Saska Hall was a great success. Critics wrote: "virtuoso virtues, especially in terms of technical accomplishment". On 17 December 1885 he gave concerts in Moscow, impressing the audience with his performances of the Chopin Waltz in A flat major op. 42, and the Liszt Paraphrase of "Rigoletto". At that time he was also a keen chamber musician playing, inter alia, Beethoven's trios with the violinist Joseph Joachim and the cellist Alfredo Piatti. In 1890 he debuted with Chopin recitals in New York and Boston. On 21 April 1892 he gave a Liszt recital, during which he played the Sonata in B flat minor, the Etude Harmonies du soir, the Legend St François de Paule marchant sur les flots, the Polonaise in C minor, the Mazurka brillante, the Etude "La leggierezza", Eglogue, Cantique d’amour and Tarantella (of the Venezia e Napoli cycle). On 10 November 1894 he reappeared in Krakow. On 9 April 1911 to celebrate the centenary of Liszt's birthday he performed pieces by Chopin and Liszt at the London Queen’s Hall. He had a varied repertoire including pieces by Bach and his sons, Barnett, Beethoven (the majority of sonatas, Concertos Nos 3, 4 and 5), Bülow, Brahms, Clementi, Cramer, Dvořák, Field, Godard, Godowsky, Grieg, Haydn, Henselt, Moscheles, Hummel, Liszt, Mendelssohn, Moszkowski, Mozart, Raff, Schumann, Sgambati, Taubert, Tchaikovsky (The Great Sonata in G minor), Saint-Saëns, Tausig, Weber (inter alia Sonatas Nos 2, 3, and 4) and others. His repertory was particularly absorbed with Chopin's works: two Concertos, Allegro de concert, four Ballades, Barcarolle in F sharp major, Berceuse in D flat major, Bolero in A minor, 22 Studies (without the one in A minor op. 10 No 2 and in A minor op. 25 No 11), Fantasy in F minor, 4 Impromptus, Mazurkas, 14 Nocturnes, 7 great Polonaises, 5 Preludes, Rondo in E flat major, Sonatas in B flat minor and in B minor, Tarantella in A flat major, Ecossaises and 11 Waltzes. In 1900, the Warsaw press noted: "Soon we shall have an opportunity to observe an interesting display of virtuoso's literary talents, as the eminent pianist Pachmann, upon commission from one of the leading American publishing houses, is about to finish a work on Chopin. We shall see what new or sound facts about the tone poet an excellent on-keys-interpreter of Chopin is going to give us on paper." The subsequent history of this work is not known. Pachmann was an eccentric pianist, who would criticize himself aloud while playing, or comment on the pieces being performed. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries he was especially noted for his interpretation of Chopin's works. His pupils included Aldo Mantia, Maggie Oakey ( his wife-to-be), and his sons Adrian and Leonid (later Lionel).