Wilhelm Backhaus


Wilhelm Backhaus ('Bachaus' on some record labels) (March 26, 1884July 5, 1969) was a German pianist and pedagogue.

Wilhelm Backhaus.


  • How do I produce the effects which I obtain from the piano? … In answer I would say I produce them by listening, criticizing, judging—working over the point, until I get it as I want it. Then I can reproduce it at will, if I want to make just the same effect; but sometimes I want to change and try another.
    • Quoted in Piano Mastery: Talks with Master Pianists and Teachers (1915) by Haeriette Brower

Quotes about BackhausEdit

  • Mr. Backhaus rarely used a percussive touch, and only for a special reason. One might listen to recital after recital without hearing a single unbeautiful tone.
    • Mary Cochran, “Facts and Fallacies in Pianism,” Australian Journal of Psychology and Philosophy 11 (1933): 193-203.
  • Backhaus was a wonderful pianist, not really representative of the German style. About him I can speak with real enthusiasm. He was more relaxed than most of them. I once heard him play the Chopin etudes and it was remarkable. In the first one in C major not a single note fell under the piano. It was fantastic. He heard me play Liszt's Feux follets and came up to me. “Horowitz,” he said, “I could never do that." But he was being nice. He could have if he wanted. I have often been asked what I consider the most difficult piece I have ever played. I can answer that quickly. It was Feux follets. The Liszt Don Juan is not an easy piece, either.

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