Adolf von Henselt
Adolf von Henselt
He usually spent his summer holidays in his former homeland Germany. In 1852 and again in 1867 he visited England, though in the latter year he made no public appearance. Saint Petersburg was his home practically until his death, which occurred during a stay at Warmbrunn, Germany (now in Poland), due to cardiac disease. The characteristic of Henselt's playing was a combination of Franz Liszt's sonority with Hummel's smoothness. It was full of poetry, remarkable for the great use he made of extended chords, and for his perfect technique.
Indeed, his cantabile playing was unequalled: even Liszt was envious, once exclaiming "I could have had velvet paws like that if I had wanted to." His influence on the next generation of Russian pianists is immense. It is in Henselt's playing and teaching that the entire Russian school of music had its genesis, developing from the seeds planted by John Field. Sergei Rachmaninoff held him in very great esteem, and considered him one of his most important influences. He excelled in his own works and in those of Carl Maria von Weber and Frédéric Chopin. His Piano concerto in F minor op.
16 was once frequently played in Europe; and of his many valuable studies, Si oiseau j'étais was very familiar. At one time Henselt was second to Anton Rubinstein in the direction of the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. However, despite his relatively long life, Henselt ceased all composition by the age of thirty. The reasons are unclear. Chronic stage fright, bordering on paranoia, caused him to withdraw from concert appearances by age thirty-three. Read more on Last.fm.
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