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Emil von Sauer (1862 - 1942)

Of all the Liszt pupils who made records, Sauer is the pianist whose discs are the most successful. His first teacher was his mother, and although his parents had chosen the career of a lawyer for their son, his life took a dramatic turn at the age of fourteen when he attended a recital by Anton Rubinstein. He had already heard Clara Schumann play her husband’s Piano Concerto and Hans von Bülow play the last five sonatas of Beethoven, yet Rubinstein’s playing had an extraordinary effect on the boy. Shortly afterward Sauer played for the great pianist, whose advice was for him to study with his brother Nicolas Rubinstein. He did so (on a full scholarship provided by Anton Rubinstein) at the Moscow Conservatory from 1879 until Rubinstein’s death in 1881. Sauer then gave concerts in Germany and made his debut in London in 1882 where, curiously, he had no success. Fortunately, whilst playing at a party in London, Sauer was heard by a wealthy amateur painter named Hercules Brabazon who became his patron. They toured together, Brabazon painting and Sauer playing. Sauer appreciated painting and his maternal grandfather, Julius Gordon, had been a portrait painter.




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