Hans Von Bülow: A Life and Times

By Alan Walker | Go to book overview

The Bülow Chronicles

BOOK ONE: ON THE SLOPES OF PARNASSUS, 1830–1869

The Early Years    31

A severe winter in Dresden, 1830 ~ the river Elbe freezes over ~ Bülow’s birth on January 8, 1830 ~ his childhood marred by chronic ‘brain fever’ ~ discovers his talent for music, aged nine, together with his photographic memory ~ first piano lessons with Cäcilie Schmiedel ~ youthful encounters with the eccentric Henry Litolff, who lives with the Bülow family ~ enrolls at the Dresden Lyceum, where he studies Greek and Latin ~ attends the premier performance of Richard Wagner’s Rienzi in the Dresden Royal Opera House (October 20, 1842) and becomes a confirmed Wagnerian ~ friendship with the Ritter family ~ an early encounter with Franz Liszt ~ studies at the Leipzig Conservatory of Music, where his teachers are Louis Plaidy for piano and Moritz Hauptmann for theory ~ his youthful repertoire includes Bach, Beethoven, and Chopin ~ a memorable encounter with Felix Mendelssohn ~ the turbulent marriage of his parents ~ a sojourn in Stutt gart, 1846–1848 ~ friendship with the Molique family ~ a boyhood prank ~ Wagner praises some of his youthful compositions ~ becomes an unwilling law student at Leipzig University ~ the Dresden Uprising, May 1849 ~ his parents divorce ~ he transfers to Berlin University ~ an excursion to Weimar ~ meets Liszt and sees him conduct Fidelio ~ back in Berlin he begins to write polemical articles for the press and makes enemies.


With Liszt in Weimar    49

Bülow witnesses Liszt conduct the world premier of Wagner’s Lohengrin (August 1850) ~ despite parental opposition he gives up the study of law in favour of music ~ Wagner and Liszt intervene in his behalf ~ Wagner secures temporary

-xvii-

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