THE Violoncello was brought to Russia, as already pointed out, by means of the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp's private band. Joh. Adam Hiller's Wochenliche Nachrichten die Musik- betreffend of May 21, 1770, contains the following: "When the Duke Carl Ulrich of Hollstein-Gottorp (Peter the Great's future son-in-law) fled to the Russian Imperial Court, during the distressed condition of his country, in the year 1720, he conveyed with him the members of his small private band. It consisted of about a dozen German well-trained musicians, of whom the most famous were two brothers, Hubner-the one was Kapellmeister and the other Concertmeister. The selection of music, until then unheard in Russia, consisted of Sonatas, Solos, Trios, and Concertos, by Telemann, Keiser, Heinichen, Schulz, Fuchs, and other famous Germans of the time, as well as by Corelli, Tartini, Porpora, and various Italian composers; but the instruments were a Piano, some Violins, besides a Viol d'Amore, an Alto, a Violoncello or Bassetto, a Contra-Basso, or great Bass Violin, a couple of Hautboys, a couple of German Flutes, two French Horns, two Trumpets, and Kettle Drums. Peter the Great was not only very often present at these ducal chamber concerts, but almost every week had them to play once at his Court. This music therefore, met with general approbation, as it appeared to distinguished Russians more novel and more agreeable, when compared with other music, than any they had hitherto heard.
. . . From that time many Russians offered themselves to be taught by these German musicians, in order to study music on various instruments. The Emperor Peter II. also took lessons on the Violoncello, from the clever master of that instrument, Riedel, a Silesian, who was also a good fencing master, and instructed the young Emperor likewise in that knightly art."
During the life of the Empress Anna, the chamber music once introduced into the Russian Court was retained there, and in the absence of national artists was strengthened by drawing into it foreign talent. King August II. of Poland also contributed to this by giving up "some Italian virtuosi from his superfluity." Amongst these was the Violoncellist, GASPARO. Later on GIUSEPPE DALL'OGLIO, from Padua, was attracted to the Russian Court. In the place of this artist -who, in 1763, after a twenty years' service took his leave in order to return home-came the Italian, CICIO POLLIARI. To this period belongs the first Russian Violoncellist, named CHORSCHEVSKY, who received a place in the Imperial band. Up to the present, however, in regard to the Violoncello, and especially with respect to orchestral instruments, Russia has remained mainly dependent for Supply from abroad. Nevertheless, since the middle of last century, the Cello has been cultivated with success by some Russian amateurs. Their names are-Prince TRUBETZKOI, BARON STROGANOW, and more recently Count MATTHEW WIELHORSKI. The latter, a pupil of Bernhard Romberg, Specially distinguished himself by his performances. One of his nephews also, Count JOSEPH WIELHORSKI, who, with his talented brother MICHAEL, a pupil of Kieseweter and Romberg, lived in Moscow, played uncommonly well both the Violoncello and the Piano. Robert Schumann, who in 1844, during his residence in the Kremlin, had intercourse with both Counts, expressed himself most enthusiastically in a letter to Fr. Wieck concerning Michael Wielhorski, declaring he was the most highly gifted dilettante he had ever met with. (See Rob. Schumann's biography, by the author of this book (Auf. III., p. 195). Leipsic: Breitkopf and Hartel.) MICHAEL WIELHORSKI was born in Volhynia in 1787, and died in 1856. The Wielhorski family was of Polish descent, and took up their residence in Russia after the third division of Poland.
At the present time amongst Russian amateurs who play the Violoncello, Prince TENISCHEFF and the Senator MARKEWITSCH are distinguished; the Grand Duke CONSTANTINE NIKOLAJEWITSCH also, a pupil of J. Seifert already mentioned, is a zealous Violoncello player.
The first really remarkable cellist whom Russia can call her own is
KARL DAVIDOFF. He may be reckoned amongst the most famous representatives of his instrument at the present time. He was born on March 15, 1838, in the little Courland town, Goldingen, where he only spent, however, the two first years of his life, as his parents went to Moscow in 1840. He there began his studies with H. SCHMIDT, who was first Cellist at the Moscow Theatre. He carried on his further studies under H. Schuberth, in St. Petersburg. He received his theoretical training from Moritz Hauptmann, in Leipsic, where he appeared at the Gewandhaus Concert towards the end of 1859. This was such a brilliant debut that, when Fried. Grutzmacher was called away from Leipsic to Dresden in 1860, Davidoff was offered his place, which he accepted. He did not, however, long fill it, having conceived the desire of undertaking a tour, which led him into Holland. He then travelled through Russia, when he returned to St. Petersburg. Not long. after he was appointed Imperial solo cellist, and somewhat later (1862) teacher at the Imperial Conservatoire. In 1874 he took part in the concerts of the Paris Conservatoire. Two years after he was named Director of the Russian Imperial Musical Society in St. Petersburg, as well as Director of the Conservatoire there. He gave up the latter about two years ago.
Davidoff's playing is especially distinguished for its perfect accuracy, as well as by a clever and easy mastery of the greatest difficulties. His Cello compositions consist of several Concertos and a collection of agreeable Drawing-room Pieces.
Amongst his pupils are ALBRECHT, KOUSNETZOFF, GLEEN, and WERGBILOWITSCH. The latter is famous for a fine, full tone. He played the Violoncello in the Auer String Quartet at St. Petersburg, and is also appreciated as a solo player.
To the most noteworthy cellists of St. Petersburg belongs also ARVED POORTEN, born at Riga in 1835. He was Kummer's pupil in Dresden, and attended the Brussels Conservatoire afterwards. When he had played during tours in Russia, Belgium, and Holland, he became a member of the Russian Imperial band and teacher at the St. Petersburg Conservatoire. Six "Morceaux caracteristiques" for his instrument appeared in print by him.
Amongst the younger Russian Cello players of importance must be mentioned : BRANDOUKOFF, DANIELSCHENKO, and SARADSCHEFF. These owe their training to William Fitzenhagen, in Moscow.
ANATOLE BRANDOUKOFF, born in 1859 at Moscow, was Fitzenhagen's pupil in the Imperial Conservatoire of his birthplace, from September, 1870, to May, 1878, and received as an acknowledgment on his departure from the said institution or the distinction he had gained, a gold medal together with an honourable diploma. His first journey was to Switzerland, where he gave concerts in Berne and Geneva with success. He afterwards went to Paris in 1879, appeared there and in other French towns, and then proceeded to London. He everywhere experienced favourable receptions. He gave concerts with extraordinary success during the winter of 1887-1888 at Moscow and St. Petersburg. He chose Paris as his permanent residence, where he is greatly appreciated not only as a solo player, but also as a quartet player. Until now only a Concerto of his Cello compositions has appeared and a few small pieces.
PETER DANIELSCHENKO, born at Kiev in 1860, pursued his studies under Fitzenhagen, in the Moscow Conservatoire, from 1873-1880. He was dismissed from there with the small gold medal as well as an honourable diploma, and, besides, received a special prize for composition. For a year he was then teacher of Cello playing and theory at the Imperial Music School in Charkow. During that time he appeared at concerts successfully in South Russia, and had a brilliant success in 1881 at the Great Exhibition in Moscow. He now entered the Imperial Band and undertook the Cello instruction at the Institute of Music of the Philharmonic Society. He remained in that position until 1887. Since then he has travelled in Switzerland, France, and South Russia.
IVAN SARADSCHEFF, born at Tiflis, in the Caucasus, in 1863, received his training as cellist from Fitzenhagen at the Imperial Conservatoire in Moscow, during the years 1879-1886. Distinguished by the grant of the great silver medal together with a diploma, after his departure from the Conservatoire he undertook the direction of the Imperial Music School at Tambov, but soon exchanged this place, in 1887, for that offered to him of teacher to the Imperial Music School of his birthplace.
Amongst the Slavonian people, the Bohemians take the most prominent place, having ever distinguished themselves above others of their race in all that relates to music. The Bohemian Violoncellists of German extraction have already been noticed in the fifth section of this work. We shall now consider those of distinctly Slavonic descent.
The oldest Bohemian Cellist of whom we have any information, is
IGNAZ MARA, born about 1721 in Deutschbrod. He united to a fine intonation an execution full of expression. In 1742 he went to Berlin, was there married, and was received , apparently through the recommendation of his countryman, the Concertmaster, Franz Benda, into the Royal band, to which he belonged for more than thirty years. Mara died in Berlin in 1783. Of his Cello compositions, consisting of Concertos, several solo pieces and Duets, nothing has been printed.
His son, JOHANN BAPTIST MARA, was more widely known. This was not due to his artistic endowments only, but to the dissipated wild life into which he fell from middle age in consequence of intemperate habits. Endowed with extraordinary musical talent, under the guidance of his father, he developed, during a proportionately short time, into such an excellent Cellist that Prince Henry of Prussia named him Chamber Musician. As he possessed a talent for mimicry, he had also to assist on the stage at the theatrical representations which took place in the Castle of Rheinsberg, inhabited by the Prince.
Mara was born on July 20, 1744. In the year 1773 he married the celebrated singer, Elizabeth Schmeling, who, at that time, belonged to the Berlin Opera. He made use of the large sums paid to his wife to gratify his passions, which led to many disasters and to matrimonial disturbances. Besides this he contracted debts. These irregularities increased to such an extent that his creditors were called together against him by the supreme court. As he had otherwise incurred the king's displeasure, he resolved, in agreement with his wife, to get away secretly by night, but the attempted flight of the married couple was stopped, and Mara condemned to imprisonment. After he had again been set at liberty by the intercession of his wife, he succeeded once more, in 1780, in escaping with her, to avoid the tyranny of the King. They took the road by Vienna and Paris to London, where they arrived in 1784. During the year 1788-1789, they travelled in Italy, returned to London in 17-90, went from thence to Venice, and then lived in London until 1792, where Frau Mara, wearied with the restless, wandering life of her husband, finally separated from him in 1799. Mara now returned to Berlin, but fell into straitened circumstances from having become unaccustomed to work and having neglected his art. He appeared, however, at one concert and then went to Sondershausen, where Gerber heard him, the author of the well-known Musical Lexicon, who said of him that he so finely rendered his Adagio, no orchestra need be ashamed of his playing; "and if so," continues Gerber, "any one of his tones was out of tune, it was not the fault of his handling, but the bad and unequal stringing of his instrument. Perhaps his show pieces deserved less credit, which, however, appeared to be entirely in accordance with the taste of forty years ago. In other ways he conducted himself, while he was there, as a serious, accomplished, and thoroughly educated man, and gave not the slightest sign of inclination to intemperance. But he was in needy circumstances, and although his noble-minded wife had been frightfully disgusted at what she had suffered from him, yet in spite of this he was, from time to time, supplied by her with considerable sums of money." Mara's end was a sad one. He went, as Gerber further says, to Holland, where "his unhappy inclination for drink so gained the upper hand, that after having lost all sense of honour, he used to play for dancing, day and night, in sailors' inns and miserable beer-houses, until at last, in the summer of 1808, at Schiedam, near Rotterdam, death set him free from this wretched life." The Violoncello compositions of Mara, which consist of two Concertos, twelve Solos with Bass accompaniment, a Duet with Violin, and a Sonata with Bass, remained unpublished. The Bohemian, JOSEPH ZYKA, was about twenty years older than Joh. Baptist Mara. Fetis says that Zyka was born about 1730. But his birth must have been earlier, for according to Furstenau's account (History of Music and the Theatre at the Electoral Court of Saxony), he had been already. in 1743, appointed to the Dresden band, though Fetis erroneously makes him a member only in 1756. He received his education as Violoncellist at Prague, and belonged, from 1743-1764, to the Electoral band in Dresden. He then went with his son FREIDERICH, who was likewise a good cellist, as chamber musician to Berlin, where, according to Fetis, in 1791, he died; but, according to Furstenau, at the beginning of our century. He is said to have left behind him, in manuscript, several Concertos.
JOHANN HETTISCH is distinguished as a remarkable Violoncellist. Born in 1748, in the Bohemian town Liblin, be was educated at the Piaristi College at Sehlan, and then went to Prague in order to train as a musician. There he still was in the year 1772, Later, and indeed in 1788, he was, as Gerber asserts, employed at Lemberg in the Imperial civil service, from which it appears that in the flower of his age he had abandoned the practice of Art as a vocation. His playing seems to have been distinguished especially for its rich tone. According to Fetis, he left several Concertos and Cello Solos in manuscript.
The Catholic priest, FRANZ MENSI, born on March 27, 1753, at Bistra, where his father was tutor to Count Hohenems, early occupied himself with music, and when his parents went to Prague he became Joseph Reicha's pupil for Violoncello playing while Cajetan Vogel instructed him in theory. Mensi also played the Violin. On both instruments he was considered clever, and not less so in composition. Some of his works, which consist of church music, Symphonies, and Quartets, are said to be preserved in the convent at Strahow. In the year 1808, Mensi was still living and working as cure at Pher. He also had some pupils, amongst these were JoH. BRODECZKY, WENZEL CZIZEK, and Count SPORK.
J. STIASTNY (Stiasny) should be mentioned as one of the most distinguished Bohemian Cellists. He was born in Bohemia (according to Fetis at Prague) in 1643. The information regarding his education and his life are very limited. He is said to have been in the Prague Orchestra in 1800. On the title page of his Op. 3, consisting of a Divertimento for Violoncello, he describes himself as Violoncellist to the Grand Duke at Frankfort. As the brief existence of the Grand Duchy of Frankfort, of which the Regent was Prince Primate of Dalberg, occurred within the years 1810-1814, there can scarcely be a doubt that Stiastny resided at Frankfort during that time. Later, about 1820, he bore the title of "Musical Director of Nuremberg," and in that year lived at Mannheim. He appears to have gone from there to Great Britain, for many of his later works-as, for example, the "Trois Duos Concertans " (Op. 8) and the "Six pieces faciles" (Op. 9)-are dedicated to Englishmen. Amongst these com- positions the Concertino (Op. 7), dedicated to Robert Lindley, may be favourably distinguished from similar productions among the Cello compositions at that period. The remaining Cello pieces of J. Stiastny, which consist of Variations (Op. 10), Rondo and Variations (Op. 12), two Sonatas with Bass (Op. 2), twelve light pieces for two Cellos (Op. 4), six similar ones (Op. 5), three Concerted Duos (Op. 6), and Six Solos with Bass (Op. 11) are qualified to be placed amongst the best productions of the older Cello literature, as they contained effects which for that period were entirely novel.
Amongst Stiastny's pupils, JOSEPH VALENTIN DONT was remarkable for his performances as quartet and orchestra player. Born on April 15, 1776, at Nieder-Georgenthal, in Bohemia, he received instructions from Stiastny in Prague, where he attended the school. In the year 1804 he was enrolled into the opera orchestra of the Vienna Karnthnerthor Theatre, from which he was transferred to the Burg Theatre orchestra in 1828. On December 14,1833, he died. His son, named Jacob, is the Viennese violinist,who died on November 18, 1888, and who was well known by the publication of his excellent practical works for the Violin.
Stiastny's elder brother, BERNHARD WENCESLAUS, born at Prague, 1770, was also a Violoncellist, and was employed as first performer of his instrument in the orchestra of the Prague Theatre. Six Sonatas for two Violoncellos, and two instruction works were published by him. The first, entitled "Il maestro e lo scolare, 8 imitazioni e 6 pezzi con fughe per due violoncelli" ; the other is a cello school, entitled "Methode de Violoncelle," in two parts. This school is carefully worked out, though somewhat too elaborately, and yet not exhaustively; for the complicated technique of cello playing, especially as regards the thumb position, has not received adequate consideration.
Among the younger Bohemian cellists, WLADISLAW ALOIS is distinguished, who was born June 15, 1860, at Prague, and received his artistic education at the Conservatoire there. At the end of 1878 he went to Kiev, where he gave instruction in the Institute of Music of the Musical Society on the Violoncello and Piano. In this place he remained for seven years. Since September, 1887, he has been occupied as Solo Cellist at the Imperial Theatre, as well as at the Conservatoire in Warsaw.
The Poles have produced a longer list of violoncellists. They began with FRANZ XAVER WOCZITKA, a most distinguished artist in his department, who was born in Vienna about 1730. In 1756 he entered the service of the Court of Mecklenburg- Schwerin. He was, subsequently member of the Electoral band at Munich, where he died. He left behind him in manuscript Concertos and Sonatas for Violoncello, which were highly prized in their time.
NICOL ZYGMANTOWSKI, born in 1770, in Poland. Gerber asserts that already, as a child of six years and nine months, he attracted the admiration of all who were witnesses of his artistic proficiency; he died young. The Polish Count Oginski, (Michael Kleophas, Count Oginski, was born at Gurow, near Warsaw, on September 25, 1765, and died in Florence on October 31, 1833. He was High Treasurer of Lithuania.) who was formerly much noted as a composer of Polonaises, says in his "Lettres sur la Musique," that he had heard Zygmantowski when he was twelve years old, and adds that he possessed a wonderful talent.
ANTON HEINRICH RADZIWILL, Count of Otyka and Nieswiez, born on June 13, 1775, in the Grand Duchy of Posen, had a great musical talent, and was not only an agreeable Violoncellist but also a Composer. In the latter capacity he was extensively known through his music to Goethe's "Faust." For the Violoncello he published only one work, "Complaints de Marie Stuart," with Piano accompaniment. The remainder of his published compositions consist of vocal pieces, of which one is arranged with guitar and cello accompaniment. He was appointed by the King of Prussia, in 1815, Governor of the Grand Duchy of Posen, and died in this prominent position on April 7, 1833. He spent a part of the year generally at Berlin. His house there was the centre of artist celebrities.
KORCZMIET, properly KALTSCHMIDT, of German descent, an accomplished virtuoso player, lived and worked, from 1811 to 1817, at Wilna. He had in his possession a magnificent Stradivarius Cello, which had formerly belonged to Count Michael Wielhorsky. This instrument is now in the possession of Davidoff. There are no more particulars extant concerning Korczmiet.
ADAM HERMANN, born in 1800, at Warsaw, likewise of German descent, was member of the Imperial Opera orchestra, and teacher at the Conservatoire at Warsaw, where, about 1875, he died. During the years 1830-1875 he formed a great number of pupils, of whom, besides his son ADAM, only KOMOROWSKI, THALGRUN, MONIUSZKO, and KONTSKI will be, mentioned.
ADAM HERMANN, the son, who changed his name into the Polish form of HERMANOWSKI, was born at Warsaw in 1836, received the first Cello instruction from his father, and in 1852 attended the Brussels Conservatoire for further training. as a pupil of Servais. Dismissed from there after two years with the first prize, he returned home and undertook successful tours in Poland and Russia. He is at present living in the most absolute retirement at Warsaw.
IGNAZ KOMOROWSKI, born on February 24, 1824, at Warsaw, belonged for many years to the theatre orchestra there, after which he benefited by the instruction of Adam Hermann, the father. As a composer be attained great popularity in his native land by his charming songs, full of poetical sentiment. He died on October 14, 1857.
STANISLAUS THALGRUN, of German descent, was born on August 16, 1843, at Warsaw, and is member of the theatre orchestra in his own country.
BOLESLAW MONIUSZKO, born on October 25, 1845, son of the well-known Polish composer Moniuszko, belongs at the present time to the Warsaw Theatre orchestra.
Finally, SIGISMUND KONTSKI settled in St. Petersburg, after having finished his training under Hermann.
In chronological order, after Hermann (senior), follows SAMUEL KOSSOWSKI, born in Galicia in 1805. He was almost entirely self-taught and, notwithstanding, reached a high degree as a virtuoso on the Violoncello. During the years 1842-1852 he performed at concerts, with success, in Vienna, Berlin, Warsaw, Kiev, &c. He died in 1851 at Kobryn, in the province of Grodno.
JOSEPH SZABLINSKI, born on June 18, 1809, at Warsaw, was employed as first Cellist at the Imperial Theatre for more than forty years. He was distinguished for his fine tone and pure musical rendering. He was especially famous as a quaxtet player.
STANISLAUS SZCZEPANOWSKI, born, 1814, at Cracow, was so accomplished as a Violoncello and Guitar player that during the year 1839 he was able to present himself as a Concert-giver with unusual success on, both instruments in France and England. He was also favourably heard in Berlin. He died in 1876.
MORITZ KARASOWSKI, born on September 22, 1823, at Warsaw, was a pupil of Valentin Kratzer, at that time director of music there, for Violoncello and Piano playing, and was, in 1852, member of the Warsaw Theatre orchestra. In the years 1858 and 1860 he travelled for the sake of study and visited Berlin, Vienna, Dresden, Munich, Cologne, and Paris. Since 1864 he has belonged to the Dresden band as Royal Chamber Musician. Besides some compositions for the voice and Violoncello with piano accompaniment, of which "Reverie du soir," a Nocturne, and an Elegy are the most important, he published several books in the Polish language-as, for example: "A History of the Polish Opera" (1859), "Haydn's and Mozart's Life" (1860 and 1868), "Chopin's Youth" (Part I. in 1862, Part II. in 1869), and Biographical Sketches of Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, and Edmund Kretschmer. His most important work in musical literature is "Friedrich Chopin: his Life, his Works, and his Letters." A German translation of the latter appeared in 1877 which went through two revised and enlarged editions.
JOHANN KARLOWICZ, born on May 28, 1836, in Lithuania, received his training as Cellist from Julius Lyko in Wilna, Gobella in Moscow, Sebastian Lee, finally from Servais also in Brussels. For some years he assisted in the instruction at Warsaw Conservatoire. In his native land Karlowicz enjoys the reputation of a learned linguist.
JOSEPH ADAMOWSKI, born in 1862 in Warsaw, perfected his studies after he had attended the music school in his native city for some time under Fitzenhagen, at the Moscow Conservatoire, in the years 1877-1883. On his leaving he was distinguished by the presentation of a diploma and of the great silver medal. After he had made some Concert journeys in Poland and Galicia, he was appointed teacher at the Cracow Conservatoire, to which he belonged until 1887. Since then he has been without a post and is only engaged as a Concert player. Adamowski has the reputation of being a clever Violoncellist.
Of Hungarian Violoncellists, only Kletzer and Hegyesi have made themselves known beyond their own country.
FERY KLETZER, born in 1830 in Hungary, travelled during his sixteenth year giving concerts. His performances showed more than ordinary talent, but were wanting in the higher artistic training. He attained, however, to a certain reputation, as his name was at the time frequently mentioned in the newspapers. Since then be has disappeared from public life.
LOUIS HEGYESI holds a much higher position. He was born on November 3, 1853, at Arpas; at eight years of age he went to Vienna, and there received his first instruction from the Violoncellist, Denis. Later on, he was received into the Vienna Conservatoire and thus became Schlesinger's pupil. In order still further to prosecute his training he went, in 1865, to Franchomme in Paris. The outbreak of the Franco-German war obliged him, in the summer of 1870, to return to Vienna, where he found a post in the orchestra of the Grand Opera. Five years later he took Hilpert's place in the Florentine Quartet, to which he belonged until it was dissolved. From that time Hegyesi has travelled as a soloist. In 1887 he responded to an invitation to Cologne as first Cellist of the Gurzenich Concerts and teacher at the Rhenish School of Music.
Presented by Cello Heaven