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Alexander Dreyschock was famous for playing the left-hand arpeggios of Chopin's Revolutionary Étude in octaves, at every concert.
Born in Žáky in Bohemia, his musical talents were first noticed at age of eight, and at age fifteen he travelled to Prague to study piano and composition with Václav Tomášek. By the age of twenty, Dreyshock undertook his first professional tour in December 1838, performing in various northern and central towns in Germany.
Subsequent tours saw Alexander visiting Russia (1840–42); Paris (spring 1843); London, the Netherlands, Austria and Hungary (1846); and Denmark and Sweden in 1849. Elsewhere he caused a sensation with prodigious execution of thirds, sixths, and octaves, plus other tricks. When he made his Paris debut in 1843 he included a piece for the left hand alone. Dreyschock's left-hand was renowned, and his most famous technical stunt was to play the left-hand arpeggios of Chopin's Revolutionary Étude in octaves. Observers of the time report that he played it in correct tempo, and it is known that he programmed it in all of his recitals.
In 1862 Dreyschock became a staff member at the newly founded St. Petersburg Conservatory at Anton Rubinstein's invitation. His students included Arkady Abaza. He was appointed Court Pianist to the Tsar as well as Director of the Imperial School of Music for the Operatic Stage. Whilst he maintained this double post for six years, his health suffered from the Russian climate. He moved to Italy in 1868, but the change of residence did him little good; on April 1, 1869, he died of tuberculosis in Venice, aged fifty. At the wish of his family he was buried in Prague.
DREYSCHOCK, Alexander, born Oct. 15, 1818, at Zack in Bohemia, died April 1, 1869, at Venice; a pianist of great executive attainment, and a well-trained musician to boot. J. B. Cramer, who in his old days heard him at Paris, exclaimed: 'The man has no left hand! here are two right hands!' Dreyschock was the hero of octaves, sixths, and thirds, his execution the non plus ultra of mechanical training. He played his own pieces principally, though his repertoire included many classical works, which latter he gave with faultless precision, but in a manner cold and essentially prosaic. In very early youth, already a brilliant performer, he became the pupil of Tomaschek at Prague. He began his travels in 1838, and continued them with little interruption for twenty years. Up to 1848, from which year the golden time for itinerant virtuosi began to decline, Dreyschock gathered applause, reputation, orders, decorations, and money in plenty, from one end of Europe to the other. In 1862 he was called to the professorship of the pianoforte at the Conservatoire of St. Petersburg, and was at the same time chosen director of the Imperial school for theatrical music, and appointed court pianist; but his health failed, and he was sent to Italy in 68, where in 69 he died. The body buried at Prague in accordance with the desires of his family. Dreyschock's publications for his instrument have not met with much success. They are 'salon music' of a correct but cold and sterile sort. He also brought forth sonata, a rondo with orchestra, a string-quartet and an overture for orchestra, all still born, spite of their solid and respectable musical parentage.
Bohemian pianist and composer. It is presented in public with only 8 years old. In 1833 he settled in Prague, where he studied piano and composition with Tomasek. Then he began a brilliant career of virtuoso all over Europe, becoming one of the most spectacular pianists of his time. More interested in causing honda feeling in their public thanks to his prodigious technical skill which left a brilliant legacy of compositions, his works were conceived for interpretive purposes. Most of his works are currently forgotten and among his scores for piano, bright style, some are only written to be played with the left hand, a skill that he cultivated. He became famous internationally thanks to their ability to play with the left hand, reaching the Kullak composer declaring technically superior to Liszt.
In 1862 he settled in Petersburgo as Professor of the Conservatory and director of the school of music of the theatre; In addition there he became Court pianist. Thanks to his tours as a soloist, he amassed a great fortune. He died in Venice, where he arrived fleeing the Russian climate.
Marc Honegger. Dictionary of music. (Madrid: Espasa Calpe, Second Edition, 1993).
History of classical music. (Madrid: Planeta, 1983).