From My Life, the autobiography of the famed music critic Eduard Hanslick, appeared toward the end of his life, in 1894, when it went through three printings. It was republished in 1911, and again, more recently, in 1987, by Bärenreiter, and in 2011, by Taschenbuch. Born in Prague, Hanslick studied piano with Tomaschek, and though, like other compatriots and contemporaries, he studied law and became a government functionary, he went on to become the most noted and honored music critic in nineteenth-century Vienna, making his mark with his relatively brief disquisition On the Musically Beautiful, first issued in 1854. In the Brahms-Wagner controversy, he was on the side of the former, and was the target of Wagner’s vicious anti-semitism, even though he had been among the first to champion Wagner’s work in Vienna. His long and informative autobiography has never appeared in complete translation to English or any other language.
Tom Moore holds degrees in music from Harvard and Stanford and studied traverso with Sandra Miller. He is presently head of the sound & image department of the Green Library, Florida International University, Miami, Florida.
To read Eduard Hanslick’s From My Life is to be transported through time into the genial company of a delightful conversationalist, one who is warmly acquainted with many of the most fascinating cultural figures of nineteenth century Europe. Tom Moore’s consummate translation allows Hanslick his full range of expression, while allowing the rest of us a truly magical opportunity.
Tom Moore’s smooth and highly readable translation of Eduard Hanslick’s memoirs gives us the committed aesthetician, the enthusiastic pianist, and the intimate of Theodor Billroth, Jacques Offenbach, and Johannes Brahms. We are introduced to some of the biggest personalities in nineteenth-century German music, not just as public figures but also as close friends knew them, providing a gentle counterweight to an age known for its thundering debates and bitter rivalries.