Hans Von Bülow: A Life and Times

By Alan Walker | Go to book overview

Bülow the Pedagogue:
The Frankfurt Masterclasses,
1884–1887

The interpreter should be the opposite of a grave-digger: he should
bring what is buried into the light of day.

—Bülow1

So you are a piano teacher? But are you not the music teacher to the
whole world in general, and to musicians in particular?

—Adolf Brodsky2


I

For four summers, from 1884 through 1887, Bülow gave masterclasses at the Raff Conservatory in Frankfurt-am-Main, in aid of the Raff Memorial Foundation. Because these classes flowed directly out of his Meiningen years, this is the proper place to consider them, together with their influence on the history of piano pedagogy. The fact that Bülow was willing to sacrifice so much of his time to an activity that he held in near contempt, and which he had once described as ‘slavery of the most annihilating kind’, speaks volumes about the high regard in which he held Raff himself. But in order to understand why Bülow became attached to Frankfurt at all, we have to go back a few years.

Joachim Raff had been appointed the first director of the newly created Hoch Conservatory of Music in 1878, an institution that had been brought into existence by virtue of a massive endowment of 900,000 gold

1. BAS (part 2), p. 274.

2. Unpublished letter to Bülow, dated December 18, 1884. BKHB, p. 79.

-333-

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