born on 18/12/1862 in Lviv (Lemberg), Lviv Oblast, Ukraine
died on 3/9/1946 in New York City, NY, United States
Moriz Rosenthal (December 17, 1862September 3, 1946) was a Polish pianist and composer. He was an outstanding 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 (1869-1872).
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. Petersburg, Paris, 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 than Great".
His pupils included Charles Rosen and Robert Goldsand. 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.
- New York Times article, "Pianist at 80, Moriz Rosenthal, Who Can Look Back on Long, Distinguished Career," by Olin Downes, December 13, 1942
- Cf. Harold C. Schonberg, The Great Pianists and many other sources.
- Harold C. Schonberg, The Great Pianists, p. 284.
- Arbiter Records
- Works by Moriz Rosenthal at Project Gutenberg
- Free scores by Moriz Rosenthal in the International Music Score Library Project
- Biographical details about Rosenthal by Allan Evans
- Piano Rolls (The Reproducing Piano Roll Foundation)
This article is based on a text from the Etude magazine, 1909-1922.