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Book Title: My Life and Music|
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The author of the book: Artur Schnabel
Edition: Colin Smythe
Date of issue: December 1st 1988
ISBN 13: 9780861402762
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 19.95 MB
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Schnabel's memoir is divided into two sections. The first consists of the twelve talks he gave at the University of Chicago in 1945, discussing his childhood, music lessons, his life in Vienna and Berlin, what it was like to live in Germany after the loss of World War I, various places across Europe and the U.S. where he played concerts, and all the famous musicians he crossed paths with. His teacher was the renowned Theodor Leschetizky. As a boy he also came to know Brahms and Richard Strauss, met Anton Bruckner, and heard the young Vladimir Horowitz before he left Russia. He was good friends with Arnold Schoenberg. The Jewish Schnabel left Germany for good in 1933. His mother seems to have died at the hands of the Nazis; this is rather hazy, as the only thing he says regarding it is that a particular visit to Vienna in the 30s was the last time he saw her. Schnabel's life stories are interesting, but his delivery is a little rote.
The second section is a verbatim transcription of the twelve question-and-answer sessions he had with the students of the University of Chicago after his talks. Here we see his personality and ideas emerge. He didn't believe in "practicing," or making his students practice. Students would learn the music inspired by love of it. When he gave piano lessons, all of his students attended the others' lessons, so that their learning would be magnified. Schnabel stopped playing Chopin and Liszt at a certain point in his career and played Beethoven and Mozart, because he no longer wanted to play pieces or composers who didn't present challenges. With Chopin and Liszt he felt that all the interpretive problems had been solved. With Mozart, there were always such challenges remaining to be explored.
I first heard the name Schnabel as a child. Perhaps we used some of his editions (he edited rather extensively). Recently I read Leon Fleisher's memoir; Fleisher as a young boy had sought out Schnabel to be his teacher. Schnabel didn't take young students and resisted, but Fleisher and his mother begged, and Fleisher studied with Schnabel at his home on Lake Como. Fleisher is mentioned in one of the Q&A chapters; though he isn't named, it's clear he is the highly talented 17-year-old being discussed.
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Read information about the authorArtur Schnabel was an Austrian classical pianist, who also composed and taught. Schnabel was known for his intellectual seriousness as a musician, avoiding pure technical bravura. Among the 20th century's most respected and most important pianists, his playing displayed a vitality, profundity and spirituality in the Austro-German classics, particularly the works of Beethoven and Schubert. His performances of these compositions have often been hailed as models of interpretative penetration, and his best-known recordings are those of the Beethoven piano sonatas. Harold C. Schonberg referred to Schnabel as "the man who invented Beethoven".
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