The title of this little book may be misleading to some of its readers, in its failure to include sketches of many eminent artists well worthy to be classed under such a head. There has been no attempt to cover the immense field of executive music, but only to call attention to the lives of those musical celebrities who are universally recognized as occupying the most exalted places in the arts of violin and pianoforte playing; who stand forth as landmarks in the history of music. To do more than this, except in a merely encyclopedic fashion, within the allotted space, would have been impossible. The same necessity of limits has also compelled the writer to exclude consideration of the careers of noted living performers; as it was thought best that discrimination should be in favor of those great artists whose careers have been completely rounded and finished. An exception to the above will be noted in the case of Franz Liszt; but, aside from the fact that this greatest of piano-forte virtuosos, though living, has practically retired from the held of art, to omit him from such a volume as this would be an unpardonable omission. In connection with the personal lives of the artists sketched in this volume, the attempt has been made, in a general, though necessarily imperfect, manner, to trace the gradual development of the art of playing from its cruder beginnings to the splendid virtuosoism of the present time. The sources from which facts have been drawn are various, and, it is believed, trustworthy, including French, German, and English authorities, in some cases the personal reminiscences of the artists themselves.
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