A photo by Claude Harris is not reproduced here; its caption is: "Vladimir de Pachmann the veteran pianist, world famous as an exponent of Chopin's music, tells in the accompanying article some interesting memories of his long life as a musician".

p. 57 Par 1 There is no wireless listener who is not familiar, to some extent, with Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Liszt, Chopin, and Godovsky [Godowsky]. The spirit of their work lives, but to the majority of people their names are merely names. To me these great men are living personalities, friends.
Par 2 Shall I be accused of egotism if I say that I am the only living link with these super-musicians of the past? Those who read on will see that this is true. In the little spare time that he had as a University professor, my father taught me to play the piano, which he thought was the best instrument. He would not allow me to practise for more than one hour a day, but he was greatly astonished by my progress. In less than two years I frequently played trios with a violin and 'cello.

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Par 3 When I first went to the Conservatoire of Vienna to apply for admission, I was asked by Professor Dachs to open my roll and choose the piece I preferred to play. I promptly told the professor that if he would name any musical composition I would endeavour to play it from memory. Turning a stern and almost reproving glance upon me, the professor said that the Conservatoire was no place for joking. So I sat down and played Liszt's Selection from Verdi's Rigoletto.
Par 4 When I had finished the wonder-struck professor, bereft of words, ran to call the Principal of the Conservatoire, the famous Professor Helmesberger. He requested me to return the following day and to prepare two studies of Chopin. I came back, punctually, and played the pieces, turning over the pages of the music myself. Afterwards, I showed the astonished professors that the music book had been upside down all the time! [*] Then I told them that I was prepared to play the whole forty-eight preludes and fugues of Bach in any key they might desire. I then played Chopin's Sonata in B Minor.
Par 5 The divine strains being hushed, Professor Dachs, sensibly affected, embraced me and said, 'My boy, I have heard those things played by Chopin himself. Your playing is perhaps better, and he could not but be flattered by your perfect rendering.'
Par 6 I met Brahms at Vienna, too, but my most intimate friend was Liszt. He was a great man. And in spite of his enormous, powerful hands, he was really full of tenderness. I can recollect clearly the day when Liszt received the news that Wagner was dead. He was teaching some pupils at the time, when somebody came in with the news. Papa Liszt merely looked unconcernedly at his informant, and said: 'Enough, I have nothing to do with the dead!' But when the class was over I found him in his room weeping like a little child.

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Par 7 This wonderful man gave me much encouragement, although I was only a youngster. A year before he died Liszt gratified my ambition and took me to lunch with Wagner. I found Mme. Cosima Wagner charming, and at table Liszt poured out the wine and Wagner lighted our cigars. Afterwards, I played for them. Papa Liszt asked me to play a Ballade of Chopin for the great man. I played with all my soul, and when I had finished, the great Wagner took my hand and kissed it. 'One day', Liszt prophesied, 'you will be a great pianist.'
Par 8 Amazed that so great a musician should kiss my hand, I fell on my knees and sobbed. 'Master,' I cried, 'it is I who should kneel at your feet and kiss your hand.' But Wagner would not listen. He told me that he usually hated the piano, and that he was born for an orchestra. This was at Bayreuth in 1882. Later, he told me that if I would come to play for him again, he could listen to me all day.
p. 58 Par 9 Liszt's prophecy has since come true. But I have become well known as a pianist only in the last few years, and I am now nearly seventy-eight years of age. [That indicates that the interview took place fairly shortly before 27 July 1926.] When people tell me that I play with the fire of genius, and with a technique as effortless as a flowing stream, they do not perhaps realize that I have spent thousands of hours at the piano, and that I must have perfection before I allow the public to hear any piece that I propose to play. I have practised one passage of Godovsky's [Godowsky's] no less than 13,000 times, and I must yet play it many more times before I feel justified in playing before an audience.
Par 10 Some years ago, to practise for two hours would fatigue me. Now, in my old age, I could play for twenty-four hours at a stretch if I had not to stop for food and sleep. My system of playing, which does away with the fatigue ordinarily associated with the piano, enables me, whilst playing, to have my hands always in a perfectly straight line with my wrists. There is no lateral movement of the wrists whatever and, in consequence, there is no strain. At all times the arm is perfectly relaxed, and all side to side movements proceed from the elbow, not from the wrist.
Par 11 In my method of fingering, the thumb is never allowed to touch a black key, because doing so necessitates an unnatural movement of the wrist, which causes fatigue. I strike with the last joints of the fingers, not with the high wrist and the hammer stroke from the knuckles taught today.
Par 12 Always when I play have a second audience, an invisible audience gathered about my piano. As I close my eyes I see them, nodding, smiling, bowing grave approval, advising, praising, encouraging me. Beethoven, that gentle soul of soaring inspiration; Schumann, the spinner of exquisite melodies; Chopin, the fiery spirit who loved life and loved death; Papa Liszt, so quick to give young genius its due; Brahms, with his mastery and his companionship. These invisible spirits are my real audience. For their approval I live and work. And how can a man do less than his best with such presences as these to spur him on?

[ * That recalls an anecdote about the great Canadian soprano Lois Marshall (1924-1997), related to me by Weldon Kilburn: she very often sang in Handel's Messiah and knew all the parts of the music intimately from memory, so she had no need to sing from a score. However, the other soloists did use scores, so the stage appearance was asymmetrical, and she was asked to use her score. She obliged by bringing the score, but held it high up in front of her face, concealing the fact that behind it her eyes throughout were closed! — NN]