Henri Herz


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(b Vienna, 6 Jan. 1803; d Paris, 5 Jan. 1888). Austrian pianist, composer, teacher, and piano manufacturer. A child prodigy, he showed musical gifts from the age of eight. In 1816 he entered the Paris Conservatoire to study the piano and composition; he later spent over 30 years as a piano teacher there. In 1851 he founded his own piano factory, producing instruments highly regarded by his contemporaries. As a performer he toured widely in Europe and the Americas, but as a composer his output—chiefly for piano—was intimately linked to the needs of his virtuoso career. For Schumann, writing in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, Herz's music was merely vapid, meretricious display, without originality or enduring qualities. Time has proved him correct on the last feature, though we can see in Herz's variation sets and piano concertos a fertile keyboard imagination, if never allied to a comparable musical inventiveness.

From The Oxford Companion to Music in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Music.

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