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MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS & ANTIQUARIAN
Text Box: MUSIC AUTOGRAPHS AND EPHEMERA BOUGHT AND SOLD
Text Box: PIANIST ICONOGRAPHY

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

 

Price: $350.00

HENRI HERZ - PIANIST & COMPOSER

FINE CONDITION

Large 9.5” x 12.5” youthful lithograph on heavy stock paper by Godefroy Englemann and published by Maurice Schlesinger in Paris, 1824.

Heinrich “Henri” Herz (1803-1888) was one of the leading piano virtuosos who toured the world during the 19th Century.  Austrian, he studied initially with his Father from the age of four and when he went beyond his Father’s capability he went to study in Coblenz with Daniel Hünten.  He was admitted as a child prodigy to the Paris Conservatoire in 1816.  He studied piano with Louis Pradere (Pradher) and composition with Anton Reicha and won a first in piano performance in 1818.  His career as a performer started immediately and after hearing Ignaz Moscheles perform in Paris in 1821, he decided to model his technique on Moscheles’ method.  Not a bad thing as Moscheles had been one of Beethoven’s few protégés.  Until the 1840’s, Herz became the most important pianist in Europe, save the older Moscheles and Friedrich Kalkbrenner.  His position suffered in the 1840’s with the rise of Franz Liszt and Sigismund Thalberg.  By then Herz in addition to touring, was manufacturing pianos and running a piano school with his brother who was also a very fine pianist, composing and acting as impresario in his own concert venue.

Herz, like his rivals was a composer who would play his over-the-top salon pieces in concert.  Many were popular operatic paraphrases with variations, ballades, etudes, fantasies,  rondos, waltzes and the like.  He also composed 8 piano concertos.  During the 1820’s and 1830’s he was the hottest composer of piano pieces in Paris and according to Arthur Loesser in his famous book, Men Women and Pianos, Fétis claimed publishers were willing to pay Herz four times the amount of money per work that they would pay any other composer. 

That reputation started with the pianists relationship with Maurice Schlesinger, the German born Parisian music publisher.  Schlesinger, the scion of a Berlin publishing house opened his own publishing house in Paris in 1821.  Herz brought him a “Collection de Etudes” in 1822, which Schlesinger successfully published in 1822.  In 1824 he brought the publisher his “15 Divertissements” In 1824.  Schlesinger, pleased with the sales and the desire to obtain more of Herz’s work commissioned the engraving we offer with the older and established Godefroy Engelmann, leading lithographer of his day in Paris.  Schlesinger’s name was prominently featured on the bottom of the engraving, so customers would know where to find Herz’s works.  This was an expensive step for a publisher who at the time was not financially stable.  After 1824, Herz went elsewhere to publish. 

The story does not end there, it blew up in 1834 when Schlesinger in his newly acquired “Gazette Musicale” decided to get his revenge from a decade before and pollute the waters for Herz and began to publish derogatory information about Herz and his business dealings, which led to a libel suit and a duel with one of his pupils.  By then Schlesinger was one of the most important publishers in Paris and financially sound.  Whilst Herz’s career certainly was not over, the Parisan public, as well as the public in London, two of Herz’s most prominent performance cities never quite looked at him the same.  Keep in mind this was long before his triumphant American tours in the early 1850’s.

An excellent article on the story can be found on-line, “Propaganda and Reception in Nineteenth Century Music Criticism: Maurice Schlesinger, Henri Herz and the Gazette Musicale” by Shaena B. Weitz.  The article features an example of our lithograph from the archive of the University Library Johann Christian Senckenberg - UB Frankfurt.