Henselt, Adolf von


Henselt, a Bavarian, is ranked by critics as one of the four greatest musicians of his time, the other three being Liszt, Mendelssohn and Chopin, and as one of twelve pianists who represent the highest perfection in technical execution between the years of 1830 and 1870. Frau von Fladt was his first teacher. At the age of seventeen he won the regard of King Ludwig of Bavaria, who sent him to study under Hummel, in Weimar. Henselt at once showed his marked individuality by opposing Hummel's methods. He remained under his tuition but eight months, and during the next two years pursued his own methods and studied theory with Sechter. His method of execution was peculiar, and considered by many as needlessly awkward, requiring


Epwerful hand and wrist muscles; but is appearances were greeted by Schumann and Herr von Lenz as those of a truly great pianist. In 1838 he went to St. Petersburg; was appointed Court pianist and teacher to the Imperial children, and later inspector of all Imperial schools of music of Russia. His success was phenomenal, and in his capacity of inspector his influence over piano-music in Russia was very marked. His strong personality showed itself in all his work and this, coupled with the most zealous labor, gained for him his high rank as virtuoso, teacher and composer. Henselt had an aversion to public performances and appeared in concerts but three times in thirtythree years. Among his compositions are two sets of twelve etudes, which, though not particularly original, present some of his characteristic difficult effects, and rank high as true lyrical effusions. A number of smaller salonpieces like Fruhlingslied and La Gondola are of rare finish. Other works of merit are his arrangement for piano and clarinet of Weber's duo in E flat, and of selections of Cramer's etudes, to which he added a secondpiano part. His transcriptions of Weber's overtures, parts of Weber's operas, and his edition of Weber's principal piano works with variations show the touch of a master musician.