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March 22, 1996 - Image 24

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-03-22

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Music To Your Ears

A look at some of the great, but forgotten,
Jewish pianists of the 19th century.

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I refuse to believe this
is true, that a mall is now
being constructed just out-
side Auschwitz?


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mitic Richard Wagner
expressed admiration
for - Tausig, whose
Taegliche Studien of
chromatic finger exer-
cises remains in print
and is still used by pi-
ano students every-
where. Tausig died of
typhus in Leipzig in
Aside from his mas-
terful playing, the
Russian-born Anton Ru-
binstein was famous for
his looks: he bore an un-
canny resemblance to
Ludwig van Beethoven.
Some even said Rubin-
stein must have been
Beethoven's illegitimate
son (a little improbable
considering the fact that
Rubinstein was born in
1829, two years after
Beethoven's death). Although
his parents were apostates,
Rubinstein relied on Jewish
subjects for many of his operas
and oratorios. He had a suc-
cessful concert career, touring
Europe and America to great
acclaim. He died in Moscow in

A: Oh, but it is. Rabbi
Avi Weiss of the Coali-
tion for Jewish Con-
cerns reports that a
mall is being built near
the gates of the death
camp, and that "Polish
authorities claim this is
a municipal issue and
have refused to inter-
If you would like to
express your view on
the project, write or fax
Poland's President
Kwasnieski, c/o Nami-
estnikowski Palace in
Warsaw, Fax: 011-
48-22-628-47-01; or Anton Rubinstein's grave in Moscow.
Prime Minister W.
Cimosaewicz, at A. Ujaz- of his life in France. He had an
dowskie 1/3,00-583, Warsaw, extremely successful career
Fax 011-48-22-625-26-37; or and traveled widely. On a con-
Polish Consul General Sur- cert tour of Mexico, he stayed
dykowski in New York, Fax long enough to compose the
Mexican national anthem. He
(212) 779-3062.
died in France in 1888.
One of the most successful
CI: Recently, Tell Me Why bril-
early Jewish pianists was
liantly described the lives of no- Sigismund Thalberg. He de-
table Jewish violinists of the 19th veloped a novel method of play-
0: Wow, am I excited! I just
century. Famous Jewish pianists ing that sounded like he had a heard that Welch's grape juice is
,Also seem all to live in the 20th third hand. Born near Geneva now kosher. Is it true?
century (Arthur Rubinstein, in 1812, he travel ed a great
deal, and after 1855 he lived in
A: Indeed it is! This year saw
Vladimir Horowitz, Rudolf Serkin, America for several years. He
the introduction of — for the
Emil Gilels, Myra Hess, Misha was a contemporary of Franz first time ever, anywhere in
Dichter, Leon Fleisher, Murray Liszt, and many scholars re- the world — 0-U certified
Perahia, etc.). Were there any gard Thalberg and Liszt the Welch's grape juice.
The 100-percent Concord
great Jewish pianists in earlier greatest piano virtuosos of the
19th century. Thalberg com- grape juice also is kosher for
posed numerous piano pieces, Passover.
A: There were several, al- as well as two operas
though only a musicologist or and other works, all
an extraordinarily devoted now forgotten. He
music lover would recognize died near Naples in
their names. How many times 1871.
If any of the early
have you heard of Charles
Henri Valentin Alkan or Otto Jewish pianists
comes close to hav-
Probably the first Jewish ing made a lasting
master of the keyboard was Ig- impression on histo-
naz Moscheles, born in Prague ry, it is Carl Tausig.
in 1794. As mentioned in a pre- Born in Warsaw in
vious — and equally fascinat- 1841, he played in a
ing — Tell Me Why, he was a grand, impassioned
student of Mozart's rival, An- manner. He had
tonio Salieri. After several great technical
years as a successful concert dexterity, an amaz-
pianist, Moscheles responded ing music memory
to the invitation of his former and phenomenal
student, Felix Mendelssohn, endurance. His Have a drink!
to teach piano at the Leipzig teacher, Franz Liszt, said
Conservatory. He died there in Tausig had "fingers of steel." Send questions to "Tell Me Why"
He was regarded the most gi
c/o The Jewish News, 27676
Henri Herz was born in Vi- ed of the first generation of Franklin Rd., Southfield, MI
enna in 1802, but spent most Liszt pupils. Even the anti-Se- 48034 or send fax to 354-6069.

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