Text Box: PIAnIST autographs


Phone: 212-860-5541  *  Fax: 917-677-8247


Price: $2000.00



Three page autographed letter signed to pianist Adolf Jensen, Berlin, September 15, 1866.

Tausig writes:

My dear Sir,

You can imagine how delighted I was when Weitzman came yesterday to tell me that you are interested in joining my business, which I hope will have a considerable future. I want to make everything known to you, so that you have no doubts about anything and can make your decision quite freely…...We must start small, as with everything to properly grow and thrive.  What I can offer you is certainly little, but it will soon become more and eventually it should guarantee you a  small but secure salary for the costs of living in Berlin.  Talented people never have money.  The cost of lessons are 5 Thalers per month (60 Thalers per year), for which they will receive 16 lessons every 4 weeks.  I think that is as inexpensive as possible….apart from you and I, the only other teacher at the beginning will be Herr Bendel who is an excellent pianist…….which incidentally you do not need to accept, and which you may freely decline sans gȇne….lessons devoted to sight reading and ensemble playing….that is three hours per week, which will stop when there is a larger number of students and you will only teach solo lessons…...I am not accustomed to the business tone…..Above all, come to Berlin soon; I shall stand by you as a friend in all your activities and will be the first to praise and admire your excellent talent at your concerts everywhere……

Tausig (1841-1871) was born in Warsaw to a Jewish family and was a prodigy pianist.  He was initially a pupil of his Father Aloys who had studied with Sigismund Thalberg.  His Father took him to Franz Liszt in Weimar in 1855 where he was initially refused, as Liszt did not like to teach child prodigy’s, but after hearing him play Chopin’s A flat major Polonaise, op. 53, Liszt promptly agreed to accept him as a pupil.  He moved into his home and lived there for 2 years becoming Liszt’s favorite pupil.  Perhaps the most important musical relationship he had with any pupil.  He made his professional debut in January, with Hans von Bülow on the podium in Berlin.  He met Wagner in Switzerland in the Summer of 1858 and while Wagner had issues with his consumption of food and cigars, as well as his Liszt mannerisms, Tausig became a devoted disciple.  Tausig toured Europe during the years 1859 and 1860 giving recitals and playing with orchestra while based in Dresden. After taking some time off to study philosophy, he moved to Vienna in 1862 where he led a subscription of concerts following in von Bülows’ footsteps.  He also met Johannes Brahms through Peter Cornelius whom he met during the Summer of 1858 in Switzerland.  He gave Brahms the working manuscript of Wagner’s Paris version “Tannhäuser” which apparently was not his to give and an angry request came from Wagner to Cornelius to return the work and Brahms sat on the request for 10 years before finally agreeing to return the manuscript.  As an artist, Liszt described him as “Infallible”, Wagner declared that his playing, “made me tremble.”  Eduard Hanslick, the famous Vienna critic had issues with his “chords” and “metallic sounds”.  Hans von Bülow, one of his closest friends, but a noted anti-Semite wrote to piano manufacturer Carl Bechstein in Vienna, 1864, You can then tickle my sympathies and antipathies a little, for instance, by telling me nice things about Tausig and indulging in a few insults to his majesty of trills!  Don’t forget. And abuse a few of those flashy Jew musicians a bit too! (Letters of Hans von Bülow, p. 25) Tausig married a pianist, Serafina Vrabély in 1864 and toured for the next year, arriving in Berlin in 1865 with the desire to open the piano school which brings us to the letter offered.

Tausig opened the school which he named, Schule des höherin Clavierspiels, or,  The School of Advanced Piano.  Adolf Jensen (1837-1879) indeed was a teacher at the school from 1866-1868.  Jensen was a Köhler student, had spent time in Copenhagen with Niels Gade and came back to Berlin to work with Tausig.  Franz Bendel (1833-1874) mentioned in the letter, another Liszt pupil taught in Berlin from 1862, started at the Kullak Academy there and went to work for Tausig’s Academy.  He opened the doors with Jensen and the pianists, Ludwig Ehlert (1825-1884) and C. F. Weitzmann. The pupils who attended the School included, Amy Fay, Rafael Joseffy, Gustav Lewinsky, Sophie Menter, Alexander Michalowski, Adolf Andrey Schulz-Evler, Vera Timanoff and Henri Völlmer.  (Joseffy, Menter and Timanoff were later pupils of Franz Liszt.) American pianist Amy Fay wrote about her time there in her book, Music Study in Germany, describing Taussig as a task master, his cries of “Terrible, shocking, dreadful and Oh, God” would lead to his pushing the pupil from the piano bench and demonstrating the work himself.  Eventually, his concert tours and the major competition from Theodor Kullak and the Schwarenka Brothers schools led to the closure of Tausig’s school in Octrober 1870.  Tausig would only live until July of 1871, contracting Typhois fever and dying several weeks later at the age of 29.

Tausig as a composer left a body of work as a composer of his own works and arrangements and transcriptions of other composers.  His own works included; Impromptu, Op. 1a, Das Geisterschiff Op. 1b, Deux Études de Concert, Op. 1c, Introduction and Tarantella, Op. 2a, L'Espérance (nocturne varié), Op. 3, Rêverie, Op. 5, Le Ruisseau, Op. 6a, Ten Préludes, Ungarische Zigeunerweisen and Valse-Caprice.  His transcriptions and arrangements included: J. S. Bach: Chorale Preludes, J.S. Bach: Praeludium, Fuge und Allegro, BWV 998, J.S. Bach: Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565, Beethoven: Sechs Sätze aus Streichquartetten, Berlioz: Gnomenchor und Sylphentanz, Chopin: Piano Concerto No. 1 in E minor, Liszt: Les preludes, Liszt: Tasso (incomplete but published), Liszt: Hamlet (unpublished), Liszt: Orpheus (unpublished), Liszt: Die Ideale (unpublished), Liszt: Hungaria (unpublished), Liszt: Ce qu'on entend sur la montagne (unpublished), Liszt: Heroïde funèbre (unpublished), Liszt: Faust Symphony (unpublished),
Liszt: Dante Symphony (unpublished), Moniuszko: Reminiscences de Halka, Scarlatti: Five Sonatas
Schubert: Andantino und Variationen, Op. 84, No. 1, Schubert: Marche Militaire, Op. 51, No. 1, Schubert: Polonaise, Op. 75, No. 3, Schubert: Rondo, Op. 84, No. 2, Schumann: Die Contrabandiste, Johann Strauss II: Nouvelles soirées de Vienne, Wagner: Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (solo piano and four hand arrangement), Wagner: Kaiser-Marsch, Wagner: Meditation from Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Wagner: Three paraphrases on Tristan und Isolde, Wagner: Two transcriptions from Die Walküre and
Weber: Invitation to the Dance.

Tausig autographs are among the most difficult to obtain of all the legendary pianists.  They are highly prized and this letter is incredibly important and has insight into his thinking when he founded his Schule des höherin Clavierspiels.