Text Box: PIANIST autographs


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Price: $200.00



Autographed 9” x 12” mounted presentation photograph, April 13, 1918.  The photograph features the embossed Faelten Piano School, Incorporated seal dated 1908.

Faelten (1846-1925) is extremely important to the story of American classical music, but is not well remembered as he should be.  The pianist was born in Thuringia under modest circumstances and his parents could encourage their sons musical interest and introductory teachers but not the tuition necessary for him to progress privately.  He therefore applied and was accepted into a state run orchestra school called the Stadtpfeiferein in Armstadt at the age of fifteen.  While there he was able to pursue piano, but also learned the violin and clarinet.  He was upset as they enlisted him to play dance music which was not what he was interested in pursuing. After graduating four years later, his career took him to several German and Swiss orchestras for seven years where he played violin and clarinet in the orchestras.  He auditioned and was hired by a small orchestra in Frankfurt where he was able to study the piano again in his spare time.  His local piano recitals brought him to the attention of the pianist Julius Schoch, who was a pupil of Aloys Schmitt, Ferdinand Hiller’s teacher.  Schoch inspired Faelten to pursue the piano as a career and the pianist made great progress under his tutelage.  Then the German Army interceded and drafted him as an infantryman during the Franco-Prussian War.  When he returned after the War in 1871, his hands were no longer limber and he had to virtually start again.  After three years of hard work, he made his first appearance as a professional artist in 1874 in a concert with other artists and orchestra in Frankfurt.  He was a critical success and his touring career was launched with recitals in Berlin, Vienna, London, the Hague and German provincial cities including Wiesbaden, Cassel, Schwerin, Bremen and others between 1874 and 1877.  His success led him to the composer Joachim Raaf who had been Franz Liszt’s assistant during the 1850’s.  Raff was so taken with Faelten that he made him his musical assistant.  On September 22, 1875, Faelton gave the world premiere of Raff’s Suite for Piano and Orchestra in E flat major, op. 200 in Hamburg.  When Raff was appointed Director of the Frankfurt Hochschule für Musik in 1878, his first two hires for the piano department was Clara Schumann and Faelten.  Faelten was also given the responsibility of teaching the teachers Raff’s methods.  Raff had a heart condition and the stress of his work took a toll on his health.  On June 24, 1882, Faelton and his brother Reinhold invited Raff and his daughter Helene to take an evening cruise on a boat.  Raff arrived in a carriage and decided not to go as he wasn’t feeling well and waved to the brothers.  He passed away of a heart attack during the night, his wife found him the next morning.  Faelten with his mentor gone had always aspired to go to the United States and the Peabody Conservatory had pursued him, so he and his brother, also a pianist headed via boat to Baltimore, Maryland where he was immediately hired as a professor of piano.  He remained there for three years when the New England Conservatory of Music pursued him.  After a visit to Boston he readily agreed and from 1885 to 1897 he was on the faculty of the Conservatory, becoming Director from 1890 until his forced resignation in 1897.  The faculty rebelled against his moves to structure the Conservatory on the German model.  The same year, down the street, Faelten with his brother Reinhold established the Faelten Piano School.  He became a huge success from the start.  Over 2,000 pupils passed through the school from 1897 to 1900, graduating 200 per year, with an average enrollment of 700 pupils.  Leopold Godowsky visited the school in 1899 and was so impressed with the school and Faelten that he dedicated his Arrangement du Concert du Rondo in E flat major au Chopin Op. 16 on August 29, 1899.  That said, the majority of his pupils were society children as well as music educators.  For several decades his pupils led piano departments of conservatories and universities throughout America.  His most famous pupil was George Gershwin’s friend and collaborator William Daly whose work with Gershwin and Irving Berlin was hailed and early death robbed America of a true up and coming composer.

As a concert pianist, Faelten was prolific!  His solo recitals around the Boston area were legendary and well attended and critically received.  His concerts at Harvard were legendary and well covered.  In 1884 while still at Peabody he gave his first concerts with orchestra, playing the Raff Concerto in C minor with both the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Henschel) and New York Philharmonic (Leopold Damrosch).  He further performed with the New York Philharmonic the same year in December, the Beethoven “Emperor” again with Damrosch and then one other series of concerts with the Philharmonic of the Schumann A minor Concerto in 1886.  In Boston, he performed with the BSO through 1895 playing the Beethoven “Emperor”, Schumann A minor, Maas C minor and Rubinstein Concerto over the years under several conductors, Artur Nikisch, Wilhelm Gericke and Emil Paur.  In 1909 Amy Beach came to visit his school and the two performed her piano concerto, with Beach playing the solo part and Faelten playing the orchestra part.  The pianist was also a big proponent of chamber music and regularly performed in recitals with trios, quartets and larger ensembles.  He was invited to make his Carnegie Hall debut during their first season on March 19, 1892 with the Beethoven String Quartet.  In addition to the chamber works with the quartet, the pianist performed the 15 Beethoven Eroica Variations, op 35.

One of the earliest founders of a piano school in America!