Carl Friedberg (1872–1955)

Carl Friedberg studied at the Hoch Conservatoire in Frankfurt between 1883 and 1887, first with James Kwast and then two years with Clara Schumann. As early as the age of 21, he was employed himself as a piano teacher at the Frankfurt Conservatoire, where he taught until 1904. He taught in Cologne between 1904 and 1916 and then went to the USA. In New York, he taught at the Institute of Musical Art, which later merged with the Juilliard School of Music. In the course of his long teaching career, he trained several great pianists, such as Ernst Freudenthal, Ilse Fromm and Yaltah Menuhin. His concert career was also extremely successful.

He played together with Julius Stockhausen, Eugène Ysaÿe, Pablo de Sarasate and Fritz Kreisler. Carl Friedberg used his excellent technique exclusively for musical goals and not as an end in itself. For him, bel canto, the singing element in the interpretation, and expressiveness of the sound were paramount. In 1953, at the age of 81, Friedberg was persuaded to record some of Schumann’s works, including the Symphonic Études and the Romance in F-sharp major, Op. 28/ 2. He was known for an extremely delicate pianissimo, a breathtaking legato and a very sophisticated use of the pedal.

(J.M.N., translated by Th. H.)

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