Henri Herz

Piano four hands
Mixed chorus
by popularity


18 Grandes Études de concert, Op.1532 Ballades, Op.11724 Etudes, Op.15124 Etudes, Op.15224 Exercices et préludes, Op.213 Airs de ballets de 'Mosè in Egitto'3 Duos concertans, Op.753 Morceaux de salon, Op.913 New American Polkas, Op.1603 Nocturnes caractéristiques, Op.4530 Études progressives, Op.1196 Airs de ballets de 'Guillaume Tell'6 Amusements, Op.107


Air suisse varié, Op.46


Bagatelle sur 'La bergère du Valais'Bagatelles, Op.85


Californienne, Op.167Caprice No.1, Op.32Chant d'amour, Op.203Chant de guerre, Op.204Contredanses variées suivies d'une valse, Op.35Contredanses variées, Op.49


Divertimento No.1, Op.15Divertissement brillant No.2 sur une cavatine favorite, Op.22Duo concertant sur 'Postillon du Lonjumeau', Op.96


Fantaisie brillante en forme de rondo, Op.106Fantaisie brillante sur 'L'ambassadrice', Op.95Fantaisie brillante sur 'Les Huguenots', Op.208Fantaisie brillante sur 'Marco Spada', Op.173Fantaisie dramatique sur le célèbre choral dans 'Les Huguenots', Op.89Fantaisie et rondo sur "Cara! deh attendimi!" de 'Zelmire', Op.12Fantaisie et variations sur la marche d''Otello', Op.67Fantaisie mexicaine, Op.162Fantaisie sur 'Le prophète', Op.183


Gaily the troubadourGrand Duo Concertant No.2, Op.72Grand duo concertant sur 'Niobe', Op.110Grand duo du couronnement, Op.104Grand duo sur des motifs de l'opéra 'Il barbiere di Seviglia', Op.212Grand galop brillant, Op.188Grande fantaisie sur des motifs de l'opéra 'L'Africaine', Op.205Grande fantasie sur 'La Romanesca', Op.111Grande polonaise brillante, Op.30Grande sonate di Bravura, Op.200Grandes variations brillantes sur l'air favori 'Le Petit Tambour', Op.41Grandes variations sur la marche de l'opéra 'I puritani', Op.82Grandes variations sur le choeur des chasseurs d'Euriante', Op.62Grandes variations sur le choeur des grecs du siège de Corinthe, Op.36Grandes variations sur une marche favorite de 'Guillaume Tell', Op.50


Introduction, Variations and Finale, Op.7


La Parisienne, Op.58La polka del SigloLa Tapada, Op.171Le chant du Pèlerin, Op.187L'écume de mer, Op.168Les difficultés du piano, Op.216Les sirènes, Op.124Les trois genres, Op.88Les Trois Grâces, Op.68


Madrid, Op.190March and Rondo on Paganini's 'Clochette', Op.63Marche et rondo sur 'Ernani', Op.189Marche nationale mexicaine, Op.166Méthode complète de Piano, Op.100


Nouvelle Tyrolienne variée, Op.154


Petite méthode élémentaire de pianoPiano Concerto No.1, Op.34Piano Concerto No.2, Op.74Piano Concerto No.3, Op.87Piano Concerto No.4, Op.131Piano Concerto No.5, Op.180Piano Concerto No.6, Op.192Piano Concerto No.7, Op.207Piano Concerto No.8, Op.218Piano Trio, Op.54Polka capricePolonaise brillante, Op.25


Récréations illustrées, Op.215Récréations Musicales, Op.71Rêverie Nocturne, Op.194Rondo alla Cosacca, Op.2Rondo brillant sur un Air Favori de 'La Neige', Op.14Rondo brillant, Op.99Rondo de concert, Op.27Rondo sur un chœur favori de l'opéra Moïse de Rossini, Op.37Rondo sur un motif favori du ChaletRondo-Capriccio sur 'La Muette de Portici', Op.44


Taegliche Studien bestehend aus 18 besonderen EtüdenThe Flower of AmericaTribut à l'Amérique, Op.161Trois airs de ballets de La muette de Portici


Variations brillantes avec introduction et finale alla militare, Op.48Variations brillantes d'une Coupe nouvelle, Op.78Variations brillantes et finale à la hongroise, Op.77Variations Brillantes et Grande Fantaisie sur des Airs Nationaux Américains, Op.158Variations brillantes on Rossini's 'Cenerentola', Op.60Variations Brillantes on 'The Last Rose of Summer', Op.159Variations Brillantes sur la Dernière Valse de C.M. de Weber, Op.51Variations brillantes sur la marche favorite de Moise, Op.42Variations brillantes sur 'La sonnambula', Op.105Variations brillantes sur le choeur favori de 'Il Crociato', Op.23Variations brillantes sur un thème favori de l'opéra de 'Zampa', Op.66Variations brillantes sur un thème original, Op.55Variations Caractéristiques sur un Thème Arabe de F. Burgmüller, Op.137Variations Concertans sur la Romance 'C'est une Larme', Op.18Variations concertantes sur la chansonnette favorite de L'enfant du Regiment, Op.24Variations concertantes sur la Tyrolienne favorite de 'La Fiancée', Op.56Variations de Bravoure sur la Romance de Joseph, Op.20Variations de concert sur une marche favorite de 'Guillaume Tell', Op.57Variations et rondeau brillant, Op.16Variations et Rondeau sur un Air Allemand Favori, Op.9Variations sur la barcarolle favorite de 'Fra Diavolo', Op.59Variations sur un Air Tyrolien Favori, Op.13Variations sur un Célèbre Valse du Desire


Études de l'agilité, Op.179
Henri Herz (6 January 1803 – 5 January 1888) was a virtuoso pianist, composer and piano manufacturer, Austrian by birth and French by nationality and domicile. He was a professor in the Paris Conservatoire for more than thirty years. Among his major works are eight piano concertos, a piano sonata, rondos, nocturnes, waltzes, marches, fantasias, and numerous sets of variations.
Herz was born Heinrich Herz in Vienna. He was Jewish by birth, but he asked the musical journalist François-Joseph Fétis not to mention this in the latter's musical encyclopaedia, perhaps a reflection of endemic antisemitism in nineteenth-century French cultural circles. As a child he studied with his father, and in Koblenz with the organist Daniel Hünten, father of the composer Franz Hünten. In 1816 Herz entered the Conservatoire de Paris, where he studied piano with Louis-Barthélémy Pradher, harmony with Victor Dourlen and composition with Anton Reicha. He won first prize in piano in 1818. Herz's style of playing was, by his own admission, strongly influenced by Ignaz Moscheles. His brother Jacques Simon Herz (born Jacob-Simon; 1794–1880) was a fellow-pupil at the Conservatoire who also became a pianist and teacher. In the first of many extended concert tours, Henri Herz—along with the violinist Charles Philippe Lafont—visited Germany and England in 1831 and 1834, respectively, winning great acclaim.
In 1825, Herz joined the piano workshop of Henri Klepfer et cie as a partner, but that connection proved unsuccessful, and in 1839 he founded his own piano factory, which became one of the three most important factories in France, the others being Erard and Pleyel. All three were awarded the "Médaille d`honneur" for "Pianos d'une sonorité très-remarquable" at the Paris World's Fair in 1855. Among important developments of Herz's early time as a piano maker in the 1820s and 1830s was the change from a single-layered hammer to one that was multi-layered, on the inside two layers of leather, several layers of fabric, and rabbit fur; on the outside wool felt in up to nine layers of decreasing hardness. The characteristic sound of Frédéric Chopin's grand pianos, to which the labor-intensive, hand-made hammers after Herz's patents make a distinctive contribution, disappeared with mid-century developments in the USA (Steinway). The Herz hammer sets have the drawback that pianos cannot be played quite as loud, because the hammers are less densely pressed, but the dynamics and colorfulness – in combination with traditional materials of wrought iron strings (before the invention of Bessemer steel) – are very finely graduated and fiery. In the second half of the 19th century, simplification and impoverishment of the piano's sound variety occurred with two-layer, industrially produced Dolge hammers. To Herz's work as a piano maker can also be attributed the implementation of a simplified version of Sebastian Erard's double repetition. Through the "Herz spring" (Repetierfeder) the mechanics of the instrument found their modern form.
Among the most important performance venues in Paris were halls built by the instrument manufacturers. In 1838, Herz and his brother Jacques Simon Herz followed this model and built the 668-seat Salle des Concerts Herz on the rue de la Victoire, used for performances by Berlioz and Offenbach. The Ecole Spéciale de Piano de Paris, which the brothers founded, was housed in the same building. The building was still in use for concerts as late as 1874 but was demolished in that year.
Herz was possibly married to Pauline Thérèse Lachmann (or Esther Lachmann), a French courtesan known as La Païva. It is generally believed that they married in London, but it is not clear that this actually occurred. In any case, such a marriage would have been bigamous, as she was already married. By him she had a daughter. Her extravagant spending nearly ruined Herz's finances, and he traveled to America in 1848 to pursue business opportunities. While he was away, Herz's family turned Thérèse out of the house.
A celebrated pianist, Herz traveled worldwide, including tours in Europe, Russia, Mexico, South America, and in the United States of America between 1846 and 1850, where he concertized all the way to San Francisco. His performances were compared to the more extravagant manner of Leopold de Meyer, concertizing in the United States during the same period (1845–47). He wrote a book about his experiences abroad, Mes voyages en Amérique (Paris: Achille Faure, 1866), translated by Henry Bertram Hill as My Travels in America (1963).
Herz taught at the Conservatoire between 1842 and 1874. Of his pupils, only Marie-Aimée Roger-Miclos (1860–1950) recorded, in the early 1900s, for Dischi Fonotipia.
Herz composed many pieces, the opus numbers of his published works reaching 224, according to Laure Schnapper's catalogue (Henri Herz, magnat du piano, 2011, p. 270–280). Virtually all are for the piano, including eight piano concertos. Among his many musical works, he was involved in the composition of Hexaméron (the fourth variation on Bellini's theme is his). Many, however, found his piano style showy and shallow. Robert Schumann was among those who criticized it, but his wife Clara saw in it the praiseworthy quality that it could challenge a performer's interpretation.
Herz was also an inventor of a mechanical device he named a dactylion, designed to loosen and strengthen a pianist's fingers. The device consisted of two parallel wooden bars, where the bottom one could be attached under a keyboard to fix the dactylion in place; and the top bar had ten rings hanging on strings for individual fingers to provide certain resistance while playing the piano. The dactylion had a considerable success then. He patented the dactylion in France in 1835. In the period 1843-1866 he also registered several patents related to construction and fabrication of pianos.