Josef Hofmann

Piano

Schubert Club Performance: May 4, 1898

Josef Hofmann

Artist note by Richard Evidon

Born into a family of musicians in Austrian Poland and educated in Berlin, Hofmann was a phenomenal prodigy – during his American tour of 1887-88 the 12-year-old boy was compared with the young Mozart and Mendelssohn. Later he would be called “the greatest pianist alive” by no less than Rachmaninoff, himself one of the supreme virtuosos of music history. His best-known pupil, Shura Cherkassky, said that no recording Hofmann made came near to capturing his unique sound. These twelve selections from the gala recital at the Metropolitan Opera House marking the 75th anniversary of Josef Hofmann’s US debut offer a good sampling of this “Golden Age” pianist’s core repertoire. In 1937, before the onset of his late decline (alcohol played a role), his devoted audience could still be astounded by Hofmann’s fabled keyboard style and facility:

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