Personalities of the musicians

The mannerisms of Pachmann

The Russian pianist, Vladimir von Pachmann was known for his funny mannerisms:

Everyone knows that the Russian pianist has funny ways of his own, which the public tolerate for the pleasure he affords them as an artist. On this occasion, we read, he remarked, first of all, “Too few people; I cannot play. This is a sham.” The audience applauded and were told, “Not now! Now now! Listen till I have done; then I like you to applaud.”

A row of gas jets having offended his eyes, Mr. Pachmann stopped playing. They must be extinguished. “I like to play in not too much light” — this confidentially to the audience — “I like to look up and think. But all that light — no, no.” The artist then left the stage for ten minutes, whereat the public grew restless.

Returning, Mr. Pachmann asked his patrons to be patient. Meanwhile, the hall-keeper could not be found and the lights blazed on. Finally, however, they were extinguished, and the pianist got to work again. But the comedy has not ended. The hall-keeper returned, and seeing no gas jets, marched on with a taper to relight them.” “Go away, go away!” exclaimed Mr. Pachmann, “I do not want you.”

Noticing some ladies quitting the hall, the artist remarked — playing, as we understand, all the time — “Ladies! They are not ladies. They ought to stay and hear such an artist.”

It cannot be denied that the Portsmouth Recital was an entertainment.

An account from a Portsmouth newspaper about a Pachmann recital in Musical Times, April 1893. Cited in: Scholes, Percy (1947) The Mirror of Music. London: Novello and Company, vol. 1, p.316.

By Greg

Australian composer and pianist