Aside from his greatness as a virtuoso and composer for the piano-forte, whose works will always remain classics in spite of vicissitudes of public opinion, even as those of Spohr will for the violin, the influence of Moscheles in furtherance of a solid and true musical taste was very great, and worthy of special notice. Perhaps no one did more to educate the English mind up to a full appreciation of the greatest musical works. As teacher, conductor, player, and composer, the life of Ignaz Moscheles was one of signal and permanent worth, and its influences fertilized in no inconsiderable streams the public thought, not only of his own times, but indirectly of the generation which has followed. It is not necessary to attribute to him transcendent genius, but lie possessed, what was perhaps of equal value to the world, an intellect and temperament splendidly balanced to the artistic needs of his epoch. The list of Moscheles’s numbered compositions reaches Op. 142, besides a large number of ephemeral productions which he did not care to preserve.
Robert Schumann’s Place as a National Composer.—Peculiar Greatness as a Piano-forte Composer.—Born at Zwickau in 1810.—His Father’s Aversion to his Musical Studies.—Becomes a Student of Jurisprudence in Leipzig.—Makes the Acquaintance of Clara Wieck.—Tedium of his Law Studies.—Vacation Tour to Italy.—Death of his Father, and Consent of his Mother to Schumann adopting the Profession of Music.—Becomes Wieck’s Pupil.—Injury to his Hand which prevents all Possibilities of his becoming a Great Performer.—Devotes himself to Composition.—The Child, Clara Wieck—Remarkable Genius as a Player.—Her Early Training.—Paganini’s Delight in her Genius.—Clara Wieck’s Concert Tours.—Schumann falls deeply in Love with her, and Wieck’s Opposition.—His Allusions to Clara in the “Neue Zeitschrift.”—Schumann at Vienna.—His Compositions at first Unpopular, though played by Clara Wieck and Liszt.—Schumann’s Labors as a Critic.—He Marries Clara in 1840.—His Song Period inspired by his Wife.—Tour to Russia, and Brilliant Reception given to the Artist Pair.—The “Neue Zeitschrift” and its Mission.—The Davidsbund.—Peculiar Style of Schumann’s Writing.—He moves to Dresden.—Active Production in Orchestral Composition.—Artistic Tour in Holland.—He is seized with Brain Disease.—Characteristics as a Man, as an Artist, and as a Philosopher.—Mme. Schumann as her Husband’s Interpreter.—Chopin a Colaborer with Schumann.—Schumann on Chopin again.—Chopin’s Nativity.—Exclusively a Piano-forte Composer.—His Genre as Pianist and Composer.—Aversion to Concert-giving.—Parisian Associations.—New Style of Technique demanded by his Works.—Unique Treatment of the Instrument.—Characteristics of Chopin’s Compositions.