n.d. July 1860

Artists’ Matinee


Paris: Giochino Rossini’s Residence


Free Piano Fantasia, incl. a Waltz and Fugue by RossiniMr. Moscheles
Principal Instrumentalists: Mr. Moscheles


Moscheles: Die Verwandten, Mme. Erard, Crémieux, Alle nehmen mich gastfreundlich auf und zuletz muss ich vorspielen. Sie wollen wissen, wie der Moscheles aus der alten Zeit sich in der neuen ausnimmt. Bei dem Lobe denke ich mir dann: Rabattez la moitié et marchandez sur le reste. . . . Bei einer Künstler-matinée, die ich gab, übersetzte ich mir die blumenreichen Epitheta, die man mir, wie einer Ballettänzerin die Sträusse, zuwarf, in die richtige Prosa. [AML II, 303.]


Le Journal de Rouen (July 15, 1860): 254.

Le célèbre Moschelès, à qui l’école du piano est redevable de si grands progrès, est en ce moment à Paris, où il compte passer une quinzaine de jours.

Le Ménestrel ; journal de musique (July 22, 1860): 271.

—Le célèbre pianiste-compositeur Moschelès est en ce moment à Paris. Son séjour parmi nous sera, dit-on, de courte durée


The Musical World, a Weekly Record of Musical Science, Literature, and Intelligence, vol. XXXVIII,(July 28, 1860): 476.

MOSCHELES, as the foreign papers inform us, is in Paris. The master and friend of Mendelssohn was also a contemporary of Schubert (ante, page 460); and as upon the present mania for “revivals” (a mania to be nurtured not strangled) the revival of one or two of the pianoforte concertos of Moscheles has exercised a certain measure of healthy influence, our readers may not be unprepared for a brief survey of his general merits as a composer—and more especially as a composer for the most universal of instruments.

Ignace Moscheles was unquestionably the originator of the brilliant school of writing which has produced such striking modifications of the style and taste of the last thirty years. Moscheles, indeed, may be denominated the real inventor to whom the pianoforte is indebted for certain new effects, which, could Mozart or Dussek now hear, they would surely fail to recognise as legitimately belonging to the instrument. A pianist of extraordinary capabilities in early youth, Moscheles, already acquainted with the composition of every contemporary and predecessor, was gifted enough to imagine and bold enough to realise something altogether different from all that he knew. The well-known piece called The Fall of Paris, may be symbolised as the acorn which afterwards grew, flourished, and expanded into the wide-spreading oak of modern fantasia. Its appearance was hailed with much the same astonishment that Clementi’s celebrated octave-sonata had created so many years before, on a very different and much more serious race of men. Moscheles developed the school thus, no doubt, unwittingly originated; but his taste having a higher tendency he did not, like others, wholly abandon himself to its fascination.

His studies, concertos, and many works of minor importance, conceived in a spirit almost precisely opposite to that which had actuated him in the composition of The Fall of Paris, are among the glories of the instrument, and have materially assisted those of Beethoven and his great predecessor in preserving a taste that has resisted all the charms of that “romantic” and inferior school which has so widely obtained since, and to which nine out of ten pianists of the present day are uncompromising adherents. It is the more to the honour of Moscheles that this school, though his own creation, the accidental birth of a leisure hour, the bagatelle of a moment’s wantonness, has never so wholly influenced him as to make him overlook the fact, that the art of which he is one of the most brilliant ornaments, was destined for a nobler end than that of mere amusement, was capable of loftier appeals than those exclusively addressed to common and vulgar understandings.

Moscheles influenced his contemporaries by the novelty of his invention, it is true; but what injury he may have inflicted—if injury he has inflicted—was far more than counterbalanced by those graver studies to which we owe his most beautiful and thoughtful works. These cannot be over-rated, and will live for ever, while the others, even now, have not been surpassed for brilliancy of effect, and for that peculiar kind of display, which demands at the utmost a combination of manual dexterity with a graceful variety of style. Though all his best works show how thoroughly well Moscheles had mastered the sonata form, he has produced but few specimens of the sonata for piano solus, having been doubtless as much deterred by the singular fertility of Dussek from exercising his genius in that direction, as his young friend and almost pupil, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, was later deterred by the universal genius of Beethoven. As familiar as we are with most of the works of Moscheles, we only know two sonatas for the pianoforte alone which have proceeded from his pen—that in E major, dedicated to his friend and master, Beethoven; and that in F sharp minor, called the Sonata Melancolique. Both of these are thoroughly classical works, and though the former (an early effort) exhibits a redundancy, proceeding from a flow of ideas which mature experience had not yet taught to check (how difficult is it for a young writer to know what to retain and what to reject), there is so strong a feeling for regularity of form—one of the principal charms of Haydn’s glorious invention—that little doubt is left, after its perusal, of the purely classical taste of its author.

Le Ménestrel ; journal de musique (July 29, 1860): 278.

—La semaine dernière, une matinée et une soirée musicales s’improvisaient à la villa Rossini. L’illustre maestro, entouré de quelques amis, admirait la verve étincelante et le goût irréprochable du célèbre pianiste compositeur Moschelès, qui a conservé tout le feu de la jeunesse. Parmi les morceaux qu’il a déchiffrés, improvisés et fait entendre, on a surtout remarqué une admirable fugue composée par Rossini, et un grand caprice valse traité par Moschelès en grand maître qu’il est. Ces deux morceaux écrits dans deux genres complètement opposés d’ailleurs, ont enthousiasmé l’auditoire qui comptait, entre autres connaisseurs, Carafa, Levasseur et Ponchard. Mlle Moschelès, belle et brillante cantatrice, a fait apprécier plusieurs mélodies qu’elle dit avec infiniment de goût et de la voix la plus pure, la plus suave. Ces réunions improvisées ont doublé le regret de voir M. Moschelès et sa fille s’éloigner de Paris après un si court séjour parmi nous.