David Butler Cannata, Adele aus der Ohe (Tchaikovsky & Rachmaninoff)

If indeed Liszt enjoined Adele Aus der Ohe, «You must show the world what Liszt has taught you», he could not have been more prophetic: he thereby entrusted her, and his other pupils, to transmit his technical instruction and artistic vision beyond Rome, Budapest and Weimar –and to subsequent generations. This was never so apparent in the late 19th century as with that landmark of technical virtuosity, Tschaikovsky’s Concerto in B flat, Op. 23 (1875). Bülow’s Boston première of the work notwithstanding, of the 11 public performances Tschaikovsky conducted (1888-1893), all were with Liszt pupils or grand-pupils at the keyboard. This article examines the reception history of the Tschaikovsky work with the Liszt pupils as soloists. Garnering evidence from the contemporary press, and reviewing the work through its three readings (1875, 1879 and 1889), a picture of musical expertise evolves, a picture that would have delighted Liszt himself: not only did his young wards do him proud as executants, but they also had an integral role in shaping the piano text of what remains a landmark in the virtuoso repertoire.