Hans von Bülow
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Baron Hans Guido von Bülow (January 8, 1830 – February 12, 1894) was a German conductor, virtuoso pianist, and composer of the Romantic era.
- Here Chopin has the conviction that he has lost his power of expression. With the determination to discover whether his brain can still originate ideas, he strikes his head with a hammer (here the sixteenths and thirty-seconds are to be carried out in exact time, indicating a double stroke of the hammer). In the third and fourth measures on can hear the blood trickle (trills in the left hand). He is desperate at finding no inspiration (fifth measure); he strikes again with the hammer and with greater force (thirty-second notes twice in succession during the crescendo). In the key of A flat he finds his powers again. Appeased, he seeks his former key and closes contentedly.
- On Chopin's E major Prelude Op.28 No.9, quoted in Harold C. Schonberg, The Great Pianists.
- In the intellectual market the quantity of the demand rises in proportion to that of the supply, but its quality does not keep pace with this increase. For example, the Old Testament of pianoforte players, Bach’s “Wohltenoerurtes Klavier” is perhaps in almost as many hands as the New Testament, Beethoven’s Pianoforte Sonatas, but in few more heads than it was in former years, when it could only be had for six times the present price. Doubtless, its leaves are somewhat oftener turned over, but now, as then, about the sixth part, likely enough just the first sixth, is all that is studies in the real meaning of the word. Here truly is little more gained than a merely superficial acquaintance with the great father of German music.
- Preface to Instructive ausgabe. Klavier-Etuden von Fr. Chopin, 1880.
- The editor of this selection from Chopin’s Pianoforte Studies has, however, no such intention; on the contrary. he wishes to make some of them, which owing to their difficulty have hitherto remained unpopularised, more accessible, particularly to the amateur, by pointing out the way to their correct study. And thus, on the basis of the technical facility to be acquired through these pieces, to enable even the non-professional to enjoy a more intimate acquaintance with those works of the classical romanticist, which, though representing the best and most undying side of his genius, have found till now but a small, though daily increasing circle of admirers; for the “Ladies’-Chopin”, which for forty years has blossomed in the pale and sickly rays of dilettantism; the “talented, languishing, Polish youth” to whom the most modest place on the Parnassus of musical literature was denied by the amateurish criticism of German professors, is as little the genuine entire Chopin, as is the Beethoven of “Adelaide” and the “Moonlight Sonata”, the god of Symphony. Truly a span of time must yet elapse before the matured and manly Chopin, the author of the two Sonatas, the 3rd and 4th Scherzos, the 4th Ballade, the Polonaise in F# minor, the later Mazurkas and Nocturnes etc., will be completely and generally appreciated at his full worth. At the same time much may be done by preparing and clearing the way; and one of the best means towards this end is sifting the material, and replacing favourite and unimportant works, by those less known though more important.
- Preface to Instructive ausgabe. Kalvier-Etuden von Fr. Chopin, 1880.
Quotes about Bülow
- It was von Bülow more than anybody else who by the force of personality, skill, perseverance and rasplike intelligence established the supremacy of the German school for several decades. He was the archetype of the German Tonkünstler: demanding, dictatorial, testy, chauvinistic, convinced of his superiority, possessed of a fine musical culture plus executive ability and leadership, and also of virulent, pathological anti-Semitism...
- Harold C. Schonberg, The Great Pianists.
- Through his life he cut a wide swath through Europe and American, terrifying and amazing people with his intellect, his temper, his sarcasm (Brahms once said, "Hans von Bülow's praise smarts like salt in the eyes so that tears run") and his undisputed musicianship. His temper was legendary. As a teacher he was a holy terror. Often he would take over Liszt's classes and attempt to weed them out. He told one of Liszt's young ladies that she should be swept out of the class "not with a broom but a brommstick. Go home!" To a girl who played Liszt's Mazeppa, the Étude that describes the galloping of a horse, von Bülow's compliment was that her only qualification for her playing the work was that she had the soul of a horse.
- Harold C. Schonberg, The Great Pianists.