The Passionate Intellect

By 1806, recital programs began to take place in a chronological program order with Bach, Scarlatti, Beethoven, Chopin, and many other romantic composers with Liszt’s Rhapsody as the finale. In 1830, several major schools began to emerge – German, Russian, elegant French, and the eclectic English one. Piano was being developed into the substantial instrument... Continue Reading →

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The Virtuous

There were all the showmen like Thalberg, Herz, Dreyschock, Gottschalk and other virtuosos who were the salonists, martinee idols, tinklers in their own ways. They were counter balanced by another group of great pianists, the real virtuous ones. The ones who dedicated themselves to be the best in music and the ideals of art.  Initially,... Continue Reading →

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Hysterical Franz Liszt

When Liszt (1811 - 1866) played the piano, ladies flung their jewels on stage instead of bouquets. They rushed madly to the stage to fish out the stub of cigar that Liszt smoked and the ladies who recovered them carried them in their bosom to the day she died. Other ladies came away with priceless... Continue Reading →

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Treatment of Tempo Rubato in Chopin

Chopin detested  public appearances, and thus he would seldom make appearances outside of the salons. He was fading away due to the onset of his tuberculosis, and his physical strength weakened  to the point that he was unable to play forte. He came to compensate for this weakness by using pianissimo with an infinite degree... Continue Reading →

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The Father of the Poet

Chopin (1810 – 1849) was a slender, refined looking man, not weighing more than a hundred  pounds, with a prominent nose, brown eyes and a pale complexion with beautiful hands. He was a snob but also a social butterfly. He dressed in the latest fashions, had a precise mind and manner,  and could also be... Continue Reading →

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Romanticism in Europe

Most Romanticism pianists were born around the same time. –Felix Mendelssohn in 1809, Chopin 1810, Liszt 1811, Thalberg 1812 and Henselt in 1814. Musicologist have done extensive work studying the baroque and pre-baroque music to the extent that they ignored the nineteenth century. Hence, musicians today are beginning to understand the eighteenth century value and... Continue Reading →

Pianist in Transition – Part 2

Friedrich Kalkbrenner (1785 – 1849) Like Clementi, Kalkbrenner was an old school pianist who advocated for fingers close-to-keys. He, however, was a more superficial musician, was self-centered and preferred himself to any other pianists. He only associated himself with English and French nobility and forgot his common origins. Kalkbrenner made great effort to make acquaintances... Continue Reading →

Pianists in Transition – Part 1

There are four very important pianists prior to the arrival of the romantic pianists: John Field, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Friedrich Kalkbrenner and Ignaz Moscheles. Kalkbrenner was a virtuoso with the most superficial brilliance. Field was the most poetic pianist and the one who came closest to Chopin’s style; Hummel was a classicist; Ignaz Moscheles was... Continue Reading →

Who is Mozart’s Rival

The Italian-born English Virtouso, Muzio Clementi (1752 – 1832), who was four years Mozart’s senior, was not too well known on the continent but after his first tour in 1780, his reputation swept over Europe. Emperor Joseph II arranged for competitions between the greatest Austrian pianists and the greatest pianists outside of Austria. The great... Continue Reading →

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