Adolf von Henselt

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Adolf von Henselt was a German composer and pianist who was regarded as one of his generation’s greatest virtuosos. He retired from the stage early and abandoned a potential career as a composer, but later rose to prominence as the top piano teacher in St. Petersburg in the mid-nineteenth century, influencing generations of Russian pianists. Henselt has had a passion for music since he was a toddler, and he began learning music at the age of three. He completed his studies under Simon Schechter in Vienna, and then went into seclusion for two years, honing his rich lyrical playing style. He later had a nervous breakdown, probably as a result of the acute stage fright he felt while performing in front of an audience. Following that, while recuperating in Weimar, he grabbed the notice of the Tsar’s daughter, Grand Duchess Maria-Pavlovna, and was invited to play in Russia. He then relocated to St. Petersburg permanently, where he was employed as a court pianist. He spent the rest of his life in the city, working as a school inspector and a teacher for the royal family. Henselt stopped composing and departed from the stage at the age of 33 due to stage fright. He is primarily known as a teacher and a pivotal factor in the formation of the Russian school of piano playing.

Childhood and Adolescence

Adolf von Henselt was born in Schwabach, Bavaria, Germany, on May 12, 1814. His family relocated from Schwabach to Munich when he was three years old, and he began his music education, first in violin and subsequently in piano.
Henselt has a network of people that were crucial in his achievement. He travelled to Weimar to study under Johann Hummel for a few months with the support of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. Later, in November 1832, he made his public concert debut in Munich and became a tremendously popular concert pianist.

Career of Adolf von Henselt

After receiving widespread acclaim for his public debut in Munich, he moved to Vienna in 1832 to study for a year with Simon Sechter. Henselt practiced for two years in solitude after learning with Sechter, during which time he developed his distinctive manner of extending the span of the hands to a degree that allowed him command of the keyboard.

In order to improve his health, Adolf von Henselt had a nervous breakdown in 1836 and started on a long tour of the major German cities. He married and settled in Breslau in 1837, but in 1838 he moved to St. Petersburg, Russia, where he conducted a series of spectacular concerts that dazzled the audience.

Later, he was assigned as Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna’s court pianist, as well as the Imperial Institute of Female Education’s inspector of musical studies. He used to spend his summer vacations in his native Germany during this period.

He also taught at Anton Rubinstein’s Conservatory and at academies and Imperial Institutes for young girls in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kharkiv, Kiev, and other Russian cities in his senior years. Adolf Henselt is often recognized as an important link between Hummel and Liszt as a pianist. His works were mostly for piano, including a piano concerto, two sets of études, and a number of salon pieces. As a defining composer, he composed symphonic, chamber, and voice works in addition to his piano solo works.

Major Projects of Adolf von Henselt

Adolf von Henselt’s ‘Studies,’ which he performed in St. Petersburg in 1838, was one of his most famous pieces, and it made such an impression on the royal court that he was promptly hired as a pianist. His only significant orchestral piece, the ‘Piano Concerto in F Minor,’ was composed in 1846 and was routinely performed throughout Europe for the next several decades. It turned out to be one of his final masterpieces. His key characteristic was that he played with a lot of poetry in it. He’s known for his mastery of prolonged chords as well as his impeccable technique.

Personal History and Legacy

Adolf von Henselt fell in love with Rosalie Vogel, the wife of a court physician, during a visit to Weimar in the 1830s. Rosalie eventually divorced the physician and married Henselt in Bad Salzbrunn, Silesia, on October 24, 1837.
Despite his lengthy life, he stopped writing music while he was in his thirties for unclear reasons. By the age of 33, it was claimed that he had stopped performing in concerts due to persistent stage fright. Adolf von Henselt died on October 10, 1889, in Bad Warmbrunn, Germany, from cardiac disease (now in Poland).

Estimated Net Worth

Adolf is one of the wealthiest composers and one of the most well-known. Adolf von Henselt’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.