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Rebecca Goldberg

Kirchner was a master of small forms and also an expert arranger, with transcriptions of works by Haydn. Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Schumann for one or two pianos. He was also an outstanding concert-pianist and accompanist, regarded in his time as one of the best interpreters of the works of Schumann and Brahms. He also enjoyed the friendship of Felix Mendelssohn and of Robert and Clara Schumann and was held in high respect by many musicians, including Wagner and Liszt.

Born near Chemnitz on 10 December 1823, the son of a teacher, Kirchner was a pianist and organist. In 1843, on the recommendation of Mendelssohn, he was appointed organist in the Swiss town of Winterthur and remained there for twenty years.

During his time at Winterthur Kirchner composed very little (just ten opus numbers). Nonetheless Robert Schumann in 1853, in his well-known Brahms article Neue Bahnen (New Paths), counted him among the up-and-coming artists of the younger generation. Shortly before his 39th birthday, in November 1862, he moved to Zürich to take over the direction of the subscription concerts. He remained in this position for three years, following this with appearances as a concert-pianist, organist and accompanist.




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