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German pianist, notable especially for his technical mastery and interpretations of Beethoven.

Career Summary

Backhaus was a pupil of Alois Reckendorf in Leipzig (1891‒99) and Eugen d'Albert (1899). He began his successful career as a concert artist in Europe in 1900, winning the Rubinstein Prize in Paris in 1905, and from 1912 worldwide. He moved to Switzerland at the time of World War II.

Backhaus and Schenker

Schenker attended two of the three recitals that Backhaus gave in Vienna in January 1907, commenting that he possessed "the most polished, most intact technique of our day" but lacked maturity (OJ 1/6, p. 320).


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  • WSLB 47 Handwritten letter from Schenker to Hertzka (UE), dated November 9, 1909

    Schenker resists attending a meeting with Hertzka and von Wöß regarding the printing of his edition of the Chromatic Fantasy & Fugue; asserts his rights as an author to control over his own material; and makes claims for the introduction to his Instrumentations-Tabelle, which was not accepted for inclusion in 1908 reprinting.