CARL FILTSCH (1830 - 1845)
Carl Filtsch is one of the forgotten personalities of nineteenth-century music. “When this little one begins to tour,” said Liszt, “I will have to close up shop.” Few indeed have enjoyed so brilliant a childhood as did Filtsch. At six he launched his pianistic career with a tour in his native Transylvania. Not long thereafter he left home to continue musical studies in Vienna. “No sooner had my father and I taken off our furs and coats,” he wrote, “than we rushed to the great Mittag…Before becoming his pupil, Wieck (the father of the great Clara) took me in hand.” When Carl was ten, following a début at court, he left the Austrian capital. By December, 1841, Carl and his brother Joseph were settled in Paris, where Carl would enjoy the guidance of Chopin for the next year and a half. In its review of Filtsch’s farewell performance in France, the Monde musical likened him to Mozart, adding “thus we remember Liszt twenty years ago”. In England, where the brothers settled next, critics would be more effusive still. “It must be admitted”, wrote one, “that the pupil [Filtsch] surpassed the master [Chopin]”. When Carl and Joseph returned to Vienna Carl fell ill while waiting in the theatre wings to give the première of an ambitious Konzertstück for piano and orchestra he had composed. He was brought to Venice to recuperate at the home of his patroness and died there of peritonitis; he was not yet fifteen. By the time of his death Carl Filtsch had begun to publish his own solo piano compositions, among them the Premières pensées musicales consisting of a Romanze ohne Worte, a Barcarolle and a Mazurka.
– Ferdinand Gajewski