Vladimir de Pachmann was perhaps history's most notorious pianist. Widely regarded as the greatest player of Chopin's works, Pachmann embedded comedic elements-be it fiddling with his piano bench or flirting with the audience-within his classic piano recitals to alleviate his own anxiety over performing. But this wunderkind, whose admirers included Franz Liszt and music critic James Gibbons Huneker (who cheekily nicknamed Pachmann the "Chopinzee"), would by the turn of the century find his antics on the concert stage scorned by critics and out of fashion with listeners, burying his pianistic legacy.
In Chopin's Prophet: The Life of Pianist Vladimir de Pachmann, the first biography ever of this remarkable figure, Edward Blickstein and Gregor Benko explore the private and public lives of this master pianist, surveying his achievements within the context of contemporary critical opinion and preserving his legacy as one of the last great Romantic pianists of his time. Chopin's Prophet paints a colorful portrait of classical piano performance and celebrity at the turn of the 20th century while also documenting Pachmann's attraction to men, which ultimately ended his marriage but was overlooked by his audiences. As the authors illustrate, Pachmann lived in a radically different world of music making, one in which eccentric personality and behavior fit into a much more flexible, and sometimes mysterious, musical community, one where standards were set not by certified experts with degrees but by the musicians themselves. Detailing the evolution of concert piano playing style from the era of Chopin until World War I, Chopin's Prophet tells the fantastic and true story of an artist of and after his time.
Publisher: Scarecrow Press
Number of pages: 488
Weight: 839 g
Dimensions: 239 x 161 x 40 mm
This book explains all. Even those with only a marginal interest in the piano and pianists will be entertained by the procession of eye-popping anecdotes in this portrait of a monstrous ego, for the story of Pachmann's life and career is diverting to say the least. . . . the book is superbly written and edited. * Teaching History: A Journal of Methods *
As one of the most significant pianists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Vladimir de Pachmann (1848- 1933), if he is now remembered at all, has also been one of the most unfairly maligned. This long-awaited study of his life, career, and pianism has been some 50 years in preparation and should accomplish a great deal toward a proper reassessment of Pachmann's role in the annals of piano Playing. . . .I highly recommend this volume to library collections and pianophiles. * Notes: Quarterly Journal of the Music Library Association *
Chopin's Prophet is a fabulously researched book that is both entertaining and easy to read. The authors have drawn from a rich supply of newspaper reviews, letters, library artifacts, and personal interviews. In addition, the book contains eighty-two photographs. More importantly, Blickstein and Benko not only provide invaluable insight into Pachmann's life and work, but also into the sensibilities and attitudes that were prevalent during his era, views which are now largely lost. The book ends with fascinatingly detailed descriptions of Pachmann's numerous recordings from 1907 through 1927. [This work] is a wonderful resource that every serious pianist should have in his library. * Clavier Companion *
At last! A thoroughly researched, sympathetic yet well-balanced biography of the most fascinating of the 29th century piano virtuosi, Vladimir de Pachmann. * The Pianola Journal *
[This] is a detailed, well-documented life story of a fascinating pianist. * Pianist *
They [the authors] offer valuable material based on interviews with Pachmann's friends and family, creating a rounded, vivid portrait. * International Piano Magazine *