Mozart and the Keyboard Culture of His Time


Hélène de Montgeroult
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Hélène Montgeroult (1764-1836), composer, distinguished keyboard virtuoso, and student of Dussek and Clementi, was one of the first piano teachers at the Paris Conservatoire. During the Reign of the Terror she was accused of treason and sentenced to the guillotine. In 1793 the founder of the Paris Conservatoire, her friend and admirer Bernard Sarrette, appealed for her pardon, successfully, on the grounds that she was one of Paris’s greatest keyboardists and needed as a teacher. To convince the judge, a harpsichord was brought into the court and she improvised on the Marseillaise. She began her three-volume piano method perhaps as early as 1795, including 972 exercises and 114 progressive études. The imprint of hands on this page illustrates the type of technique that was admired in the eighteenth century. The impression is of lightness, poise, and balance, rather than strength and power.

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Hélène de Montgeroult, Cours complet pour L’enseignement du forté piano : conduisant progressivement des premiers eléments aux plus grandes difficultés, 3 vols. Paris: Chez Janet & Cotelle, [18--].
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continue to The Cult of Mozart

From Sketch to Completed Work
From Print to CD
How did Mozart Compose?
The Mozart Myth: Tales of a Forgery
Mozart's Images
Mozart's Images Imagined
What the Score Doesn't Tell Us
The Piano Lesson
The Cult of Mozart
Commodification & Kitsch
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