Schnabel, Artur

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1882-04-17
Death 1951-08-15
US
English, German, French

Biographical notes:

Artur Schnabel was an Austrian pianist and teacher whose performances and recordings made him a legend in his own time and a model of scholarly musicianship to all later pianists. He lived in Berlin from 1900 and was a leading piano teacher at the State Academy of Music in Berlin from 1925 to 1933. Schnabel lived in the United States from 1939 until after World War II, when he returned to Switzerland. He specialized in the music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, and Franz Schubert. As a composer Schnabel was influenced by his contemporary Arnold Schoenberg. Schnabel's thoughts on music were published as REFLECTIONS ON MUSIC (1933) and MUSIC AND THE LINE OF MOST RESISTANCE (1942).

From the description of Music and the line of most resistance, by Artur Schnabel : manuscript, 1942. (Peking University Library). WorldCat record id: 156055912

Austrian pianist and composer, later naturalized American.

From the description of Autograph letter signed, dated : [Berlin] June 13 1929, to Herr [Hermann] Scherchen, 1929 June 13. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270668924

From the description of Autograph letter signed, dated : New York, 25 Dec. 1941, to Miss Behrens, 1941 Dec. 25. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270668920

Artur Schnabel (b. Apr. 17, 1882, in Lipnik; d. Aug. 15, 1951, in Axenstein, Switzerland) was an Austrian-born American pianist, pedogogue, and composer.

From the description of Artur Schnabel collection, 1899-1950. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 748292130

Biographical Note

Artur Schnabel was one of the greatest pianists and pedagogues in the history of musical performance. As a performer, Schnabel eschewed virtuosity in favor of musicianship – indeed, he considered himself a musician foremost, and the piano simply his creative medium – and his sound recordings consistently demonstrate interpretations of sensitivity, commitment, and distinction. He was one of the first pianists to champion new and unfamiliar repertoire (such as the piano sonatas of Franz Schubert), and the first pianist to record the complete sonatas and concerti of Ludwig van Beethoven. As a pedagogue, Schnabel is probably best known for his meticulously annotated performing edition of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, through which countless pianists were introduced to these foundations of the piano repertoire; this edition is in common use even today. Lesser known are Schnabel’s original musical compositions – his uncompromising atonal musical language continues to pose formidable challenges to performers, conductors and listeners – and his contribution to musical scholarship through his autobiography ( My Life and Music, 1961), his two books on the role of music in the twentieth century ( Reflections on Music, 1934 and Music and the Line of Most Resistance, 1942), and through the several articles he contributed to musical journals throughout his life.

Schnabel’s student and confidante, Mary Virginia Foreman Le Garrec (born 1908), donated her collection of correspondence, musical scores, writings, concert programs, press clippings, publications, photographs, and other memorabilia related to Schnabel, to the Library in 1997.

1882, April 17 Artur Schnabel born, Lipnik, Carpathia, Austria 1888 Began piano studies with Hans Schmitt 1889 or 1890 Gave first public concert in Vienna 1891 Began piano studies with Leschetitzky in Vienna 1896 Won prizes for three of his works for solo piano in composition competition organized by Leschetitzky 1897 Graduated from Leschetitzky’s class; received first prize 1898 Moved to Berlin to begin his professional career Met contralto Therese Behr (b. 1876), a “lieder singer of repute” 1905 Married Therese Behr (died 1959), they gave intermittent concerts together for the next twenty-five years, performing together primarily throughout Germany and Scandinavia 1908, April 5 Mary Virginia Foreman born, Minneapolis, Minnesota 1921 Schnabel made first recital tour of United States 1922 Schnabel made second recital tour of United States 1925 1933 Schnabel became professor, piano, Berlin Hochschule für Musik circa 1925 circa 1933 Schnabel performed in recital series with violinist Carl Flesch 1927 Schnabel performed Beethoven’s thirty-two piano sonatas in one season in Berlin, in celebration of the centenary of the composer’s birth 1932 1935 Schnabel recorded Beethoven's thirty-two piano sonatas and five piano concerti for the British firm HMV 1933, Nov. 2 Schnabel and Foreman met, Minneapolis (Schnabel was visiting studio of Foreman's piano teacher) Schnabel was guest soloist with the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra (Eugene Ormandy conducted) 1933, Nov. 3 Schnabel performed Beethoven’s Concerto no. 3, op. 37, at the University of Minnesota’s Cyrus Northrup Memorial Hall Foreman attended concert with her mother (at Schnabel’s insistence, Foreman remained backstage with Schnabel for the concert’s second half, after having delivered sandwiches to him) 1933 Schnabel left Germany and settled in Lake Como, Italy, where he lived for the remainder of his life 1934 Sept. Foreman moved to New York City after accepting parents' offer to study piano for one year with Edwin Hughes (she resided at the Three Arts Club at 340 West 85th Street) 1934 Schnabel published Reflections on Music. New York: Simon and Schuster 1935 Jan. Schnabel performed at Carnegie Hall in New York Schnabel and Foreman were reacquainted after the concert; Schnabel recognized her from earlier meeting in Minneapolis 1935, Jan. 16 Foreman began a correspondence with Schnabel which would last until his death in 1951 1935 Schnabel published his edition of complete piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven, in two volumes (over 800 pages). New York: Simon and Schuster 1936 Schnabel performed thirty-two sonatas of Beethoven on “7 Wednesday nights in Carnegie Hall” 1940 1945 Schnabel became professor, University of Michigan 1942 Schnabel published Music and the Line of Most Resistance. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press (his thoughts on music and musical esthetics) 1944 Schnabel became a naturalized American citizen 1945 Schnabel returned to home in Lake Como, Italy 1946, Dec. 13 Première performance of Symphony no. 1, by Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos (this difficult and atonal work would be the only one of Schnabel's four symphonies to be performed during his lifetime) Schnabel appeared as soloist in Beethoven’s Concerto no. 4 in the same concert 1948, Dec. 11 Schnabel suffered near-fatal heart attack that left him bedridden for nearly four months 1951, Jan. 20 Schnabel's last performance, at Hunter College, New York (of the occasion he wrote, “For the first time I succeeded today in playing the last line of Beethoven’s opus 90 [Sonata] so that I found it convincing”) 1951, Aug. 15 Schnabel died, Grand Hotel in Axenstein, Switzerland 1956 Aug. Foreman met Yves Le Garrec (born 1890, La Rochelle, France) in Paris 1965 Foreman married Yves Le Garrec (after a period of traveling throughout Europe, they settle in Biarritz, France) 1979 Mar. Yves Le Garrec died in Biarritz

From the guide to the Mary Virginia Foreman Le Garrec Collection of Artur Schnabel Materials, 1893-1996, (bulk circa 1920-circa 1950), (Music Division Library of Congress)

Biographical Note

Artur Schnabel was one of the greatest pianists and pedagogues in the history of musical performance. As a performer, Schnabel eschewed virtuosity in favor of musicianship – indeed, he considered himself a musician foremost, and the piano simply his creative medium – and his sound recordings consistently demonstrate interpretations of sensitivity, commitment, and distinction. He was one of the first pianists to champion new and unfamiliar repertoire (such as the piano sonatas of Franz Schubert), and the first pianist to record the complete sonatas and concerti of Ludwig van Beethoven. As a pedagogue, Schnabel is probably best known for his meticulously annotated performing edition of Beethoven’s piano sonatas, through which countless pianists were introduced to these foundations of the piano repertoire; this edition is in common use even today. Lesser known are Schnabel’s original musical compositions – his uncompromising atonal musical language continues to pose formidable challenges to performers, conductors and listeners – and his contribution to musical scholarship through his autobiography ( My Life and Music, 1961), his two books on the role of music in the twentieth century ( Reflections on Music, 1934 and Music and the Line of Most Resistance, 1942), and through the several articles he contributed to musical journals throughout his life.

1882, April 17 Born, Lipnik, Carpathia, Austria 1888 Began piano studies with Hans Schmitt 1889 or 1890 Gave first public concert in Vienna 1891 Began piano studies with Leschetitzky in Vienna 1896 Won prizes for three of his works for solo piano in composition competition organized by Leschetitzky 1897 Graduated from Leschetitzky’s class; received first prize 1898 Moved to Berlin to begin his professional career Met contralto Therese Behr (b. 1876), a “lieder singer of repute” 1905 Married Therese Behr (died 1959), they give intermittent concerts together for the next twenty-five years, performing together primarily throughout Germany and Scandinavia 1921 Made first recital tour of United States 1922 Made second recital tour of United States 1925 1933 Professor, piano, Berlin Hochschule für Musik circa 1925 circa 1933 Performed in recital series with violinist Carl Flesch 1927 Performed Beethoven’s thirty-two piano sonatas in one season in Berlin, in celebration of the centenary of the composer’s birth 1932 1935 Recorded Beethoven's thirty-two piano sonatas and five piano concerti for the British firm HMV 1933 Left Germany and settled in Lake Como, Italy, where he lived for the remainder of his life 1934 Published Reflections on Music. New York: Simon and Schuster 1935 Published his edition of complete piano sonatas of Ludwig van Beethoven, in two volumes (over 800 pages). New York: Simon and Schuster 1936 Performed thirty-two sonatas of Beethoven on “7 Wednesday nights in Carnegie Hall” 1940 1945 Professor, University of Michigan 1942 Published Music and the Line of Most Resistance. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press (his thoughts on music and musical esthetics) 1944 Became a naturalized American citizen 1945 Returned to home in Lake Como, Italy 1946, Dec. 13 Première performance of Symphony no. 1, by Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Dimitri Mitropoulos (this difficult and atonal work would be the only one of Schnabel's four symphonies to be performed during his lifetime) Schnabel appeared as soloist in Beethoven’s Concerto no. 4 in the same concert 1948, Dec. 11 Suffered near-fatal heart attack that left him bedridden for nearly four months 1951, Jan. 20 Last performance, at Hunter College, New York (of the occasion he wrote, “For the first time I succeeded today in playing the last line of Beethoven’s opus 90 [Sonata] so that I found it convincing”) 1951, Aug. 15 Died, Grand Hotel in Axenstein, Switzerland

From the guide to the Artur Schnabel Collection, 1899-1950, (Music Division Library of Congress)



Biographical notes are generated from the bibliographic and archival source records supplied by data contributors.

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SNAC ID:
13656571

Subjects:

  • Sonatas (Piano)--Analysis, appreciation.
  • Piano music--Interpretation (Phrasing, dynamics, etc.)
  • Pianists--United States.
  • Music--Philosophy and aesthetics
  • Music--Performance
  • Music--Manuscripts--20th century
  • Music--Manuscripts.
  • Music--Manuscripts--20th century.
  • Pianists--Correspondence.
  • Sonatas (Piano)--Analysis, appreciation
  • Musical criticism

Occupations:

  • Performers.

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