Clementi and Mozart as Points of Departure in Piano-forte Playing.—Moscheles the most Brilliant Climax reached by the Viennese School.—His Child-Life at Prague.—Extraordinary Precocity.—Goes to Vienna as the Pupil of Salieri and Albrechts-burger.—Acquaintance with Beethoven.—Moscheles is honored with a Commission to make a Piano Transcription of Beethoven’s “Fidelio.”—His Intercourse with the Great Man.—Concert Tour.—Arrival in Paris.—The Artistic Circle into which he is received.—Pictures of Art-Life in Paris.—London and its Musical Celebrities.—Career as a Wandering Virtuoso.—Felix Mendelssohn becomes his Pupil.—The Mendelssohn Family.—Moscheles’s Marriage to a Hamburg Lady.—Settles in London.—His Life as Teacher, Player, and Composer.—Eminent Place taken by Moscheles among the Musicians of his Age.—His Efforts soothe the Sufferings of Beethoven’s Deathbed.—Friendship for Mendelssohn.—Moscheles becomes connected with the Leipzig Conservatorium.—Death in 1870.—Moscheles as Pianist and Composer.—Sympathy with the Old as against the New School of the Piano.—His Powerful Influence on the Musical Culture and Tendencies of his Age.
The rivalry of Clementi and Mozart as exponents of piano-forte playing in their day was continued in their schools of performance. The original cause of this difference was largely based on the character of the instruments on which they played. Clementi used the English piano-forte, and Mozart the Viennese, and the style of execution was no less the outcome of the mechanical difference between the two vehicles of expression than the result of personal idiosyncrasies. The English instrument was speedily developed into the production of a richer, fuller, and more sonorous tone, while the Viennese piano-forte continued for a long time to be distinguished by its light, thin, sweet quality of sound, and an action so sensitive that the slightest pressure produced a sound from the key, so that the term “breathing on the keys” became a current expression, Clementi’s piano favored a bold, masculine, brilliant style of playing, while the Viennese piano led to a rapid, fluent, delicate treatment. The former player founded the school