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Paul Pabst (1854-1897)

Christian George Paul Pabst was a German/Russian pianist, composer and teacher born on 15th May 1854 in Köenigsberg (now Kalinigrad the enclave of Russia surrounded by the E.C.). He died suddenly on 16th May 1897 in Moscow and was buried in the German Cemetery in Moscow.

Professor Imp.Con.Moscow
Pavel Augustivich
Born 15th May 1854 Died 16/17 May 1897

His funeral wreath from the Russian Musical Society contained the epitaph

To Honored Artist
Indefatigable Professor
Hardly simply a man

Paul studied piano with his father, violinist, pianist and conductor August Pabst later in Dresden and with Anton Door in the Academy of Music and Lyric Arts in Vienna and spent some time with Franz Lizst in Weimar.

His performing career was established by the age of 11 when he accompanied touring the singers and violinists of the period. Paul’s mother, Pauline Condee was an opera singer, and his brother Louis, a pianist-composer who, after as spell at the Liverpool Philharmonic went to Australia and taught in the first piano school in Melbourne where one of his pupils was Percy Grainger.

In the season 1874/5 Paul Pabst was assistant Kapell Meister in the Kiev opera returning to Riga in 1875 where Paul Pabst taught piano in his fathers Music School. He went to Moscow in 1878, at the invitation of Nicholas Rubinstein, to join the Moscow Conservatoire as assistant professor of piano. He was made Professor in 1881 and professor of the high degree in 1886 and he remained teaching at the Conservatoire until his early death in 1897.

Married to Olga Gelink, also known as Alexandra Petrovna who survived her husband by more than ten years. Their childless marriage was a home, for a while, to Bouyukli, the illegitimate son of Nicholas Rubinstein and Polish pianist Lebedeva-Gertzevich, teacher of Sofronizkij .

Pabst was one of the greatest ever teachers of piano, his students formed Russian Piano School for the 20th century. No less than 18 Professors of Piano for Moscow and St Petersburg an other Conservatoires were trained by him.

Pabst was deliberately denigrated and his music deemed worthless by the musical establishment, when the "new formula" was adopted.

Recent revelations about the relationship betweenPabst and Tchaikovsky show that;

Pabst was appointed by Tchaikovsky to edit and improve his piano works in 1884 and that Pabst is almost certainly the virtuoso that Tchaikovsky admitted (but never named) who assisted him in the completion of his first piano concerto .

Pabst himself wrote a Piano Concerto opus 82( possibly for the Coronation of the Tzar) and a Trio dedicated to his cousin Elsbeth Chrambach Dresde in memory of Anton Rubinstein. Anton a lifelong friend og Pabst family signed the visitors book in Elbeths house in Dresden in December 1893.

Tchaikovsky called Pabst “a pianist blessed by God” to whom he dedicated "Polacca de Concert" part of opus 72 - his last work, which seems to be a "farewell" all his close collegues and friends.

Rachmaninoff was not a student of Pabst as he left the conservatoire after completing only his lower degree. However Pabst provided the opportunity for Rachmaninoff to play with him the Fantasy Tableau Opus 5 for two pianos. In gratitude Rachmaninoff dedicated his Opus 10 to Paul Pabst and in almost his final work in 1941- he reworked "Humouresque" from this opus .



June 2006 - MUSIC MANUAL