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German-born pianist.

Career Summary

Sauer studied with Nikolay Rubinstein in Moscow and Liszt in Weimar, and concertized widely in Europe and the United States. He was appointed professor of piano at the Vienna Conservatory (= Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst) in 1901, and was head of its Meisterschule für Klavier 1901-07, 1914-21, 1930-42. He edited the complete piano works of Brahms.

Sauer and Schenker

Despite Sauer's reputation as a leading virtuoso of his day, Schenker had a low opinion of his playing at a concert on December 6, 1906 (OJ 1/5, p. 29): Sauer, second concert: Beethoven Op.109 [...]. Raw, without understanding, especially the second movement. But even the finger dexterity does not prove reliable (last variation). So what is all the fuss about it, when it lets him down in the most difficult, in its particular style so-to-speak most conceivable and most beautiful tasks, or is one to call a finger technique still great, even when it functions--and then only shoddily--in pieces of lesser spirit? Dreadful performance of the Chopin Nocturne in G major (6/8); a player of such shallow spirit. Head of a master school! Especially since he is the first--and for the time being the only--Imperial-Royal Professor in Austria! What a mixed-up world!

No correspondence between Sauer and Schenker is known to have existed.


  • MGG
  • NGDM2 (2001 and online)