Ignaz Moscheles described himself as the necessary contrast (‘nothwendigen Contrast’) between the old and the new schools of the nineteenth century. By identifying Moscheles’ concert life from 1807 to 1846 and the relationship between the diverse events and the music performed, the thesis analyses Moscheles as a touring musician, virtuoso pianist, composer, teacher and conductor across Europe to show his influence and importance in preserving the classical element.
Drawing from newspapers, periodicals, letters and playbills, it examines Moscheles’ reception and the listening experience of audiences and critics in the Austrian-German realm (Austria, Bohemia, Germany), Great Britain, Belgium, France, the United Kingdom of Netherlands, the Kingdom of Denmark and Sweden. By focusing on Moscheles as a cosmopolitan Jewish Bohemian, the project sheds new light on touring musicians (patronage and concert arrangements), audiences and their attentiveness, as well as concert life across Europe.
It proposes further that Moscheles was a transitional figure with three styles of virtuosity: the Bravura Pianist, the Expressive Pianist and the Classical Pianist. The connecting link between these styles and his career as a pianist-composer lay in his free fantasias. The thesis gives new perspectives on Moscheles’ influence as a pianist-composer on free fantasias in relation to his compositions, specifically his arrangements (transcriptions and paraphrases), and associates arrangements with aesthetical and ethical issues.
As a performer, Moscheles played a remarkable role in the creation of the canon. The analysis of his dominant repertoire, especially that of his pianoforte soirees (1837–1839 and 1845–1846), reveals his influence on the piano recital and audience behaviour. It emphasises his importance in canon creation through his concert programming, music revival, especially of Bach and Beethoven, and the aesthetical forces which influenced the musical world.