Historical interpretations of Friderick Chopin works

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Eugen  d'Albert - biography


Eugen d'Albert, a German pianist and composer, was born on 10 April 1864 in Glasgow, and died on 3 March 1932 in Riga. He began to learn the piano under his father, Charles d’Albert, a French pianist and composer, as well as a ballet master at the King's and Covent Garden Theatres. Eugen's mother was English, whereas he considered himself a German. In 1874 he commenced classes at the National Training School for Music in London (now the Royal College of Music): the piano under Ernst Pauer, a pupil of Franz Xaver Mozart, harmony under John Stainer, counterpoint under Arthur Sullivan, and composition under Ebenezer Prout. In 1881, after winning the Mendelssohn scholarship, he went to Vienna to study under Hans Richter, a German conductor and a co-founder of the Wagner Festival in Bayreuth. Between 1882 and 1884 he mastered his piano skills under Franz Liszt in Weimar. He made his debut performing his own piano concerto during the 1881 Richter Concerts in London. In 1882 he performed in Vienna and in the following year at the Warsaw Philharmonic Hall and in Russia, where Tchaikovsky acclaimed him as a genies virtuoso. From 1889 to 1890 and in 1892 he gave concerts in America, and in 1894, playing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, for the first time ever he performed his Piano concerto No. 2 in E major. In 1885, or according to some sources in 1895, he was appointed the Court conductor in Weimar. The pianist's playing could be distinguished by dynamism and excellent technique. His interpretation was full of poetic expression, although it was considered pathetic at times. This is how the Austrian composer and critic Hugo Wolf described his impressions: "Rosenthal's playing ignites, d'Albert's warms. [...] D'Albert [...] plays more conscientiously, and more to satisfy himself than to delight the audience." His repertoire was dominated by works of German composers – Bach, Beethoven, Schumann, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Reger, R. Strauss. A few Chopin's works were recorded by d'Albert for the companies Odeon, Polydor and Polyphon in the years 1910-1916 and 1921-1924. D'Albert edited publications of works by J. S. Bach and F. Liszt. He composed the cadences for Beethoven's Piano concerto in G major as well as transcriptions of organ pieces by J. S. Bach. His compositions embrace piano pieces such as concertos in B minor and in E major and Sonata in F-sharp minor, as well as other pieces such as string quartets, a cello concerto, a symphony and songs. In 1890 he started writing operas, mainly veristic ones. D'Albert was a distinguished pedagogue following Liszt's guidelines on piano playing. In 1907 he was appointed principal of the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. His pupils included Edwin Fischer, Wilhelm Backhaus, Paulina Szalitówna; he also tutored Josef Hofmann.

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