Moscheles, Ignaz

views updated Jun 11 2018

Moscheles, Ignaz

Moscheles, Ignaz , eminent Czech-born pianist, conductor, pedagogue, and composer; b. Prague, May 23, 1794; d. Leipzig, March 10, 1870. Of a well-to-do family (his father was a Jewish merchant), he was trained in music as soon as his ability was discovered. His first piano teacher was Dionys Weber at the Prague Cons. (1804–08), and at the age of 14, he performed one of his own concertos at a public concert. He then went to Vienna (1808), where he continued his studies with Albrechtsberger and Salieri and earned his living by teaching; his conspicuous talents won him access to the best circles; a friend of Beethoven, he prepared the piano score of Fidelio.He then traveled throughout Europe as a virtuoso (from 1815), winning great applause in the leading music centers. He was a pioneer in developing various modifications of tone by touch, afterward exploited by Liszt. He made his London debut at a Phil. Soc. concert on June 11,1821, settling in London in 1825 and becoming a teacher at the Royal Academy of Music. He was also active as a conductor, serving as co-director of the Phil. Soc. (1332–41), continued to appear as a pianist, and also founded an important series of historical concerts in which he played the works of Bach, Handel, and Scarlatti on the harpsichord. He gave Mendelssohn piano lessons in Berlin (1824); the teacher-pupil relationship between Moscheles and Mendelssohn developed into a close friendship, and the two gave the premiere of Mendelssohn’s Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orch. in London (July 13,1829). After founding the Leipzig Cons. (1842), Mendelssohn invited Moscheles to join its faculty (from 1846), where a host of pupils were trained by him with sympathetic consideration, and yet with unflinching discipline in musical matters. He was noted for his energetic, brilliant, and strongly rhythmic playing; his virtuosity equaled his emotional absorption in the music; his romantic pieces for piano expressed clearly his ideas of the extent and the limitations of the instrument. Moscheles tr. Schindler’s biography of Beethoven into English (with numerous additions), pubi, as The Life of Beethoven (2 vols., London, 1841). His wife, Charlotte (née Embden) Moscheles (b. 1805; d. Detmold, Dec. 13, 1889), wrote Aus Moscheles’ Leben (2 vols., Leipzig, 1872; Eng. tr., London, 1873). His correspondence with Mendelssohn was pubi, by his son, F Moscheles, in 1888, who also pubi, his father’s memoirs as Fragments of an Autobiography (London, 1899). His works include a Sym. (1829), 8 piano concertos (1819–38), other works for Piano and Orch., several fine sonatas for Piano, including Sonate mélancolique (1814), Sonata in D major (1815?), Grosse sonate (1816), and 2 grandes sonates for 4-Hands (1816, 1845), many salon and didactic piano pieces, chamber music, and songs. A thematic index was publ, in 1885 (reprint, London, 1967).


A. Coleridge, Recent Music and Musicians as Described in the Diaries and Correspondence of I. M.(1873; reprint, N.Y., 1970); I. Heussner, I. M. in seinen Klavier-Sonaten, -Kammermusikwerken, und -Konzerten (diss., Univ. of Marburg, 1963); E. Smidak, Isaak-Ignaz M.: The Life of the Composer and His Encounters with Beethoven, Liszt, Chopin and Mendelssohn (Aldershot, 1989).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis Mclntire

Moscheles, Ignaz

views updated May 14 2018

Moscheles, Ignaz (b Prague, 1794; d Leipzig, 1870). Ger.-Bohemian pianist, composer, and teacher. Made pf. score of Fidelio, 1814, under Beethoven's supervision. After success of his Variations, Op.32, in 1815 he toured Europe for 10 years, visiting London 1821 and 1823. Gave pf. lessons to Mendelssohn 1824. Settled in London 1826. Cond. f. (private) London p. of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, 1832; and 9th Sym. 1837 and 1838 at Philharmonic Soc. Founded series of chamber concerts and played Bach and Scarlatti on hpd. Prof. of pf. at new Leipzig Cons. 1846–70. Comp. 8 pf. concs. (1819–38) and numerous other works. Trans. Schindler's biography of Beethoven into Eng., 1841.

Moscheles, Ignaz

views updated May 08 2018


MOSCHELES, IGNAZ (1794–1870), pianist and composer. Born in Prague, he studied in Vienna, but settled in London in 1826 as a concert pianist. In 1846 Felix *Mendelssohn (to whom he had given piano lessons in 1824) invited him to become piano teacher at the Leipzig Conservatory. He taught there to the end of his life. Moscheles' playing was noted for its precision and brilliance, but in comparison with Chopin and Liszt was rather classicist in attitude. He wrote many compositions in a Mendelssohnian style, the best being the "Etudes" (Op. 70). He also prepared the piano-vocal score of Beethoven's Fidelio under the composer's supervision (1814), and translated A. Schindler's biography of Beethoven into English, with additions (1841).


Baker, Biog Dict, s.v.; mgg, s.v.; Riemann-Gurlitt, s.v., incl. bibl.; J. Roche, in: Musical Times (March 1970), 264–6.

[Claude Abravanel]