Moriz Rosenthal plays, Frieder Weissmann conducts Chopin: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1 in E Minor, op. 11
Moriz Rosenthal (December 17, 1862 – September 3,
1946) was a skilled Polish pianist. He was a pupil of Franz Liszt and a friend
and colleague of some of the greatest musicians of his age, including Johannes
Brahms, Johann Strauss, Anton Rubinstein, Hans von Bülow, Camille Saint-Saëns, Jules
Massenet and Isaac Albéniz.
Rosenthal was born in Lemberg,
Austria-Hungary (now Lviv,
Ukraine), where his
father was professor at the chief academy. At eight years of age he commenced
his piano studies under Galoth.
In 1872, Rosenthal became a pupil of Karol Mikuli, Chopin's
pupil and editor, who trained him along more academic lines at Lviv
Conservatory. Rosenthal then studied with Rafael Joseffy, student of Carl
Tausig and Liszt. A tour through Romania
followed when he was fourteen. In 1878 Rosenthal became a pupil of Liszt, with
whom he studied in Weimar and Rome.
As Liszt's pupil, Rosenthal made appearances in St.
and elsewhere. His general education, however, was not neglected, and in 1880
Rosenthal qualified to take the philosophical course at the University
of Vienna. Six years later he
resumed his career with the piano, achieving brilliant success in Leipzig,
and in Boston, where he made his U.S.
debut in 1888, and subsequently in England
in 1895. From 1939, he taught in his own piano school in New
York City, where he died in 1946.
Rosenthal recorded less than three hours' worth of music.
What he did record, however, is considered some of the most legendary
piano-playing on disc.
Rosenthal also recorded a large number of American Piano
Company (Ampico) piano rolls.
Rosenthal's usually malicious wit was legendary. When he
heard Vladimir Horowitz blaze through the octave passages of Tchaikovsky's First
Piano Concerto at his Vienna debut,
he remarked: "He is an Octavian, but not Caesar." In similar vein,
after hearing Ignacy Jan Paderewski, whose reputation had preceded him,
Rosenthal said: "Yes, he plays well, I suppose, but he's no
Paderewski". A colleague once played Rosenthal's arrangement of Chopin's Minute
Waltz in thirds at a recital, after which Rosenthal thanked the pianist
"for the most enjoyable quarter of an hour of my life". Towards the
end of his life Rosenthal lived at the Great Northern Hotel in New
York, which he referred to as "more Northern
One of his pupils is the pianist and musicologist Charles
Rosen, who relates several anecdotes about him in his book Piano Notes: The
World of the Pianist. Another was the pianist Robert Goldsand, who had a
long performing and recording career, and taught at the Manhattan School of
An anthology of Rosenthal's autobiographical writings was
published as Moriz Rosenthal: In Word and Music (ed. Mark Mitchell,
Allan Evans. Indiana University Press, 2006), which also contains a CD of
representative and unpublished recordings.