Friedrich Kalkbrenner

Friedrich Wilhelm Michael Kalkbrenner (2–8 November 1785 – 10 June 1849) was a pianist, composer, piano teacher and piano manufacturer. German by birth, Kalkbrenner studied at the Paris Conservatoire starting at a young age and eventually settled in Paris, where he lived until his death in 1849. For these reasons, many historians refer to Kalkbrenner as being a French composer.

At his peak, Kalkbrenner was considered to be the foremost pianist in Europe. The only serious rival he had was Johann Nepomuk Hummel. When Frédéric Chopin came to Paris, Kalkbrenner suggested that Chopin could benefit by studying in one of Kalkbrenner's schools. It was not until the late 1830s that Kalkbrenner's reputation was surpassed by the likes of Chopin, Thalberg and Liszt.[1]

Kalkbrenner was a prolific composer of a multitude of piano works (altogether more than 200), piano concertos, and operas.

Author of a famous method of piano playing (1831) which was in print until the late 19th century, he ran in Paris what is sometimes called a "factory for aspiring virtuosos"[2] and taught scores of pupils from as far away as Cuba. His best piano pupils were Marie Pleyel and Camille-Marie Stamaty. Through Stamaty, Kalkbrenner's piano method was passed on to Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Camille Saint-Saëns.

He was one of the few composers who through deft business deals became enormously rich. Chopin dedicated his first piano concerto to him. Kalkbrenner published transcriptions of Beethoven's nine symphonies for solo piano decades before Liszt did the same.[3] He was the first to introduce long and rapid octave passages in both hands – today so familiar from 19th century piano music – into his piano texture.

Today he is not so much remembered because of his music, but because of his alleged vanity.[4] Kalkbrenner was convinced that, after the death of Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn, he was the only classical composer left, and he never hesitated to let the world know this. Although of humble origins, he had a lifelong aspiration to be an aristocrat and delighted in rubbing shoulders with the nobility in London and Paris.[5] He is invariably described as a somewhat pompous, formal, overly polite, yet intelligent and business-wise and extremely shrewd man. He was the target of many anecdotes during his own lifetime and bitingly satirised by the German poet Heinrich Heine.[6]

Not much of his huge output has survived, although several pianists have taken some shorter works of his into their repertoire. A recording[7] of two of his piano concertos (No. 1 and No. 4) was released in 2005; an older (and abridged) recording of the Piano Concerto No. 1 is still available. The year 2012 saw a new CD release of his second and third piano concertos.

Friedrich Kalkbrenner
Friedrich Kalkbrenner


Descent and parents

Friedrich Wilhelm Kalkbrenner was the son of Christian Kalkbrenner and an unidentified mother. Kalkbrenner was born, allegedly in a post chaise, during a trip his mother made from Kassel to Berlin. His birth was consequently unable to be registered with the authorities, and hence the exact date of his birth was not recorded. Kalkbrenner's father was going to be appointed Kapellmeister to Frederica Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt, Queen Consort of Prussia, in 1786. Thus, it is possible that Kalkbrenner's mother was on the way from Hesse to Berlin to join her husband, who would shortly take up his new duties at the court of Potsdam.

1785–1798: Childhood and first education in Berlin

Kalkbrenner's father was his first teacher. The boy must have progressed rapidly. By the time he was six he played a piano concerto by Joseph Haydn to the Queen of Prussia. When he was eight he spoke four languages fluently. Although his education must have been privileged and took part in beautiful surroundings in Potsdam and Rheinsberg castle, Kalkbrenner retained the heavy Berliner argot, characteristic of working-class people to this day, for the rest of his life.[8]

1798–1802: At the Conservatoire de Paris

At the end of 1798, Kalkbrenner was enrolled at the Paris Conservatoire. He was in the piano class of Alsatian pianist and composer Louis Adam, father of the now more famous opera composer Adolphe Adam. Louis Adam was for 45 years the most influential professor for piano at the Paris Conservatory.[9] According to French pianist and piano professor Antoine François Marmontel,[10] he put his pupils to work on great masters like Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart, and Clementi – at that time a notable exception among piano teachers. In harmony and composition he was taught by Charles Simon Catel. Kalkbrenner was a fellow student of opera and ballet composer Ferdinand Hérold and did well at his studies. In 1800, he won second prize for piano (Pierre-Joseph-Guillaume Zimmerman came in first), in the following year first prize. When he left Paris at the end of 1802 for Vienna to continue his studies, Kalkbrenner was not yet a finished artist, but he could already look back on a solidly musical education from recognised masters in their own fields.

1803–1806: Studies in Vienna and concert tours in Germany

In the latter half of 1803, Kalkbrenner travelled to Vienna to continue with his education. It is not yet clear why he took this step, it could be that he assumed that he wanted to crown his studies with lessons from some representative of the Viennese classical school. It must have been easy for him anyway because he spoke German as his native language and he probably had help from his father who was a known musical personality in the Austrian capital.

In Vienna he took counterpoint lessons from Antonio Salieri and Johann Georg Albrechtsberger, then already quite old, but the eminence in Austrian music theory and the finest contrapuntist of his day. Moreover, Albrechtsberger had been the teacher of Beethoven, Carl Czerny, Hummel, Ignaz Moscheles, Josef Weigl, and Ferdinand Ries, and he was a close friend of Joseph Haydn. Who better was there to claim as his teacher for an impressive resume, especially for one like Kalkbrenner, who always had his eye on wealth and fame? Besides taking lessons in counterpoint he met Haydn, Beethoven and Hummel, playing duets with the latter, his only serious rival as a pianist. Thus, it is not entirely without warrant when Kalkbrenner styled himself as the last classical composer for the rest of his life. He firmly maintained that he was of the old school, and the old school was Beethoven, Haydn, Ries, and Hummel.

With his education finally ended, Kalkbrenner in 1805 and the year thereafter appeared as concert pianist in Berlin, Munich, and Stuttgart.

1814–1823: Pianist, teacher and businessman in London

From 1814 to 1823 Kalkbrenner lived in England. He gave many concerts, composed and established himself as a successful piano teacher. It was here that Kalkbrenner, always the astute businessman, came across an invention made by Johann Bernhard Logier. This invention was the so-called chiroplast or "hand guide". The chiroplast was a contrivance made from two parallel rails of mahogany wood that were placed on two feet and loosely attached to the piano. This apparatus should restrict vertical motions of the arms thereby helping nascent pianists to attain the (perceived) correct position of the hands. Camille Saint-Saëns, who was put to work with it as a boy, describes it:

"The preface to Kalkbrenner's method, in which he relates the beginnings of his invention, is exceedingly interesting. This invention consisted of a rod placed in front of the keyboard. The forearm rested on this rod in such a way that all muscular action save that of the hand was suppressed. This system is excellent for teaching the young pianist how to play pieces written for the harpsichord or the first pianofortes where the keys responded to slight pressure; but it is inadequate for modern works and instruments."[11]

This invention became a runaway success. There are reports that it was still available for sale in London in the 1870s. In 1817, Logier teamed up with Kalkbrenner to found an academy where music theory and piano playing, of course with the help of the chiroplast, were taught.[12] The proceeds from the patent made Kalkbrenner a wealthy man. In 1821, Ignaz Moscheles had also settled in London. His powerful and finished playing had a great influence on Kalkbrenner, who used his time in London to hone his technical skills even more.[13]

1823–1824: Concerts in Austria and Germany

In 1823 and 1824, Kalkbrenner gave concerts in Frankfurt, Leipzig, Dresden, Berlin, Prague, and Vienna. Where he went he was received with loud applause. Considering the fact that Ignaz Moscheles was touring the same places at roughly the same time, this was quite an achievement. During the same period, he composed a variation on a waltz by Anton Diabelli for Vaterländischer Künstlerverein.

1825–1849: Pianist, teacher and piano manufacturer in Paris

Kalkbrenner returned to Paris a rich man. Here he became a partner in Pleyel's piano factory, which by the time of Kalkbrenner's death (1849) had risen to a place second only to Erard in prestige and output.[14]

Kalkbrenner, although of German birth, became the ranking head of the modern French pianoforte school. The 1830s were his greatest time. He was at the pinnacle of his pianistic powers and his virtuosity aroused the greatest enthusiasm in the years 1833, 1834, and 1836 on his trips to Hamburg, Berlin, Brussels, and other places.[15] After the arrival of Liszt and Thalberg, Kalkbrenner's fame was on the wane. What he lost in pianistic reputation he compensated through a happy marriage to a much younger, titled and wealthy French heiress, descendant of aristocrats of the Ancien Régime. The couple entertained in a grand fashion and did all it could to copycat the resurgent Bourbon aristocracy of the 1830s.

Kalkbrenner died in 1849 in Enghien-les-Bains from cholera, which he attempted to treat himself.

Notable pupils

Kalkbrenner had many pupils and some of them became fine pianists and composers. This is a list of Kalkbrenner's most famous students:[16]

  • Cornelius Ábrányi (1822–1903): Hungarian pianist and composer and a lifelong friend of Franz Liszt, was Kalkbrenner's pupil from 1843 until 1844. During the same time he also had lessons from Chopin. In 1845 he returned to his native Hungary to devote himself to composition and the buildup of the Hungarian national school of composition.
  • Arabella Goddard (1836–1922): English pianist. She began to study with Kalkbrenner at the age of 6 and also had lessons from Sigismond Thalberg. She made tours of Germany and Italy (1854–55); later toured the U.S., Australia, and India (1873–76). Harold C. Schonberg calls her the most important British pianist from 1853 until 1890.[17] At her London debut (1853) she played Beethoven's Hammerklavier Sonata from memory "which in those days took a great deal of courage".[18]
  • Ignace Leybach (1817–1891): Alsatian pianist and composer. He studied in Paris with Pixis, Kalkbrenner, and Chopin; in 1844 he became organist at the cathedral of Toulouse.
  • Joseph O'Kelly (1828–1885): Irish composer and pianist born in Boulogne-sur-Mer, resident in Paris since c. 1835.
  • George Alexander Osborne (1806–1893): Irish pianist and composer, born in Limerick and died in London, lived in Paris for about 15 years until 1844.
  • Marie-Félicité-Denise Pleyel (1811–1875): was a pianist with a German mother and a Belgian father. She studied with Henri Herz, Ignaz Moscheles, and Kalkbrenner. By the time she was 15 her virtuosity created a sensation in Belgium, Austria, Germany, and Russia. Before her marriage, Hector Berlioz was in love with her (1830). From 1848-72 she was professor of piano at the Brussels Conservatory.
  • Ludwig Schuncke (1810–1834): German pianist. He studied with his father, the horn player Gottfried Schuncke (1777–1840). From there he went to Paris, where he was a pupil of Kalkbrenner and Anton Reicha. He settled in Leipzig in 1833, and became the intimate friend of Robert Schumann. He was co-founder of the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik.
  • Camille-Marie Stamaty (1811–1870): French pianist, teacher and composer of piano music and studies (études). He was one of the preeminent piano teachers in 19th century Paris. His most famous pupils were Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Camille Saint-Saëns.
  • Thomas Tellefsen (1823–1874): Norwegian pianist and composer. In 1842 he went to Paris, where he studied with Kalkbrenner. In 1844 he became a pupil of Chopin, and accompanied him to England and Scotland in 1848. He published an edition of Chopin's works, and played Chopin's music at recitals in Paris and in Scandinavia.

Through Arabella Goddard and Camille Saint-Saëns – who studied with Kalkbrenner's star product Camille-Marie Stamaty – Kalkbrenner's influence reached well into the first half of the 20th century.

Stories and anecdotes

Louis Moreau Gottschalk: father of a wunderkind (c. 1828)

This is no incident the American pianist and composer could have witnessed, as he himself arrived in Paris from his native New Orleans only in 1843. It is one of the many anecdotes about Kalkbrenner's larger-than-life figure that Gottschalk would have heard in Paris salons. He wrote it down, yearning for his Paris days, either in a hotel room or in a railway carriage in May 1864 during a disastrous concert tour through Canada.

"Kalkbrenner had a son whom he hoped to make the inheritor of his glory, but who, after having been a child prodigy, aborted and became a prodigious nullity. One night after having boasted before the French court of the improvisations of his child, then eight years old, the king expressed his desire to hear one of these marvellous inspirations. The child placed himself at the piano and played for some minutes, then, stopping all at once, turned toward his father and artlessly said to him: "Papa, I have forgotten –".[19]

Frédéric Chopin: almost a pupil (1831)

For a few hectic weeks in the autumn and winter of 1831, Frédéric Chopin considered becoming Kalkbrenner's pupil in earnest. Kalkbrenner, though, had demanded that Chopin study three years with him. Chopin's deliberations, whether he should or should not study with Kalkbrenner, caused a flurry of letters between Chopin's native Poland and Paris:

Warsaw, 27 November 1831, Józef Elsner (Chopin's composition teacher) to Chopin in Paris: "I was pleased to see, by your letter, that Kalkbrenner, the first of pianists, as you call him, gave you such a friendly reception. I knew his father, in Paris, in 1805; and the son, who was then very young, had already distinguished himself as a first-rate virtuoso. I am very glad that he has agreed to initiate you into the mysteries of his art, but it astonishes me to hear that he requires three years to do so. Did he think the first time he saw and heard you, that you needed all that time to accustom yourself to his method? or that you wished to devote your musical talents to the piano alone, and to confine your compositions to that instrument?"[20]
Paris, 14 December 1831, Chopin to Józef Elsner in Warsaw: "Three years of study is a great deal too much, as Kalkbrenner himself perceived after he had heard me a few times. From this you can see, dear Mons. Elsner, that the true virtuoso does not know what envy is. I could make up my mind to study three years, if I felt certain that would secure the end I have in view. One thing is quite clear to my mind; I will never be a copy of Kalkbrenner; he shall not destroy my resolution – bold it may be, but sincere – of creating a new era in art. If I take any more lessons now, it will only be that I may become independent in the future."[21]
Paris, 16 December 1831, Chopin to Titus Woyciechowski in Poland: "I wish I could say I play as well as Kalkbrenner, who is perfection in quite another style to Paganini. Kalkbrenner's fascinating touch, the quietness and equality of his playing, are indescribable; every note proclaims the master. He is truly a giant, who dwarfs all other artists. (...) I was very much amused by Kalkbrenner, who, in playing to me, made a mistake which brought him to a standstill; but the way in which he recovered himself was marvellous. Since this meeting we have seen each other every day; either he comes to me, or I go to him. He offered to take me as a pupil for three years, and to make a great artist of me. I replied that I knew very well what were my deficiencies; but I did not wish to imitate him, and that three years were too much for me.[22] (...) But many friends[23] advise me not to take lessons; they think that I play as well as Kalkbrenner, and that he only wants to have me as a pupil out of vanity. That is absurd. Anybody who understands music must appreciate Kalkbrenner's talents, although he is personally unpopular, as he will not associate with everybody. But I can assure you there is something superior about him, to all the virtuosi whom I have hitherto heard. I told my parents so, and they quite understood it, but Elsner did not; he considered that Kalkbrenner found fault with my playing out of jealousy."[24]

Charles Hallé: almost a pupil (1836)

The German-British pianist, conductor and founder of the Hallé Orchestra, Charles Hallé, had as a very young man of seventeen called on Kalkbrenner to inquire about lessons. At first he seriously intended to become Kalkbrenner's pupil, but he changed his mind after this encounter with the celebrated man:

"Kalkbrenner and Hummel were at that time considered the greatest pianists, and even Chopin had come to Paris a few years before to learn from Kalkbrenner. I therefore approached him with considerable trepidation, and great was my disappointment when he told me that he no longer took pupils. He, however, kindly invited me to play something, to which he listened carefully, and then made some unpleasant remarks and advised me to take lessons from one of his pupils. As I was about to leave him he offered to play for me, saying that it might prove useful to me to hear him. I accepted eagerly and was full of expectation, when he sat down and played a new piece of his composition, entitled 'Le Fou', one of the most reasonable and dullest pieces ever perpetrated. I admired the elegance and neatness of his scales and legato playing, but was not otherwise struck by his performance, having expected more, and wondering at some wrong notes which I had detected."

Clara Schumann: "smiling sweetly" (1839)

Clara Schumann, wife of composer Robert Schumann, and herself an eminent pianist and composer, spent several months in Paris during the year 1839. She met many of the Parisian pianists, Kalkbrenner among them. In a letter home to her father, piano pedagogue Friedrich Wieck, she wrote:

"A sextet of Kalkbrenner's was played yesterday, which is miserably composed, so poor, so feeble, and so lacking in all imagination. Of course Kalkbrenner sat in the front row smiling sweetly, and highly satisfied with himself and his creation. He always looks as if he were saying, "Oh God, I and all mankind must thank Thee that Thou hast created a mind like mine" (Probst's words and interpretation very good, aren't they?)."[25]

Heinrich Heine: "a bon-bon fallen into the mud" (1842)

German poet and satirist Heinrich Heine in his Letters on Music from Paris (1840–47) wrote with biting wit on musical life and musicians in the French capital. Kalkbrenner was the target of some of Heine’s more famous squibs.

"Kalkbrenner reappeared this winter in the concert of a pupil; there still plays on his lips that embalmed and balmy smile which we lately noted in an Egyptian Pharaoh when his mummy was unrolled in the museum here. After an absence of more than twenty-five years, M. Kalkbrenner lately revisited London, the scene of his earliest success, and harvested a great crop of fame. The best is that he returned with his neck unbroken, and we now need no longer put faith in the mysterious report that M. Kalkbrenner avoided England so long on account of the unhealthy law which there prevails of punishing the gallant crime of bigamy with the halter.[26] (...) Koreff said as wittily as neatly of him that he looked like a bon-bon which had fallen into the mud."[27]

Marmontel: a fish free of charge (c. 1844)

"One day Kalkbrenner gave a dinner for a group of society celebrities, among them several famous artists. During the first course a magnificent fish caught the eye of his guests. They asked Kalkbrenner whence he had procured this beautiful specimen. Kalkbrenner was only too glad to explain. He himself had visited the famous Paris market in the morning to search for the best and freshest fish. Upon spotting the fish his guests were now eating, he was inconsolable to learn that the fish vendor had already promised the beauty to the personal chef of an archbishop. Kalkbrenner, devastated, nevertheless pulled out his card; on handing it to the vendor the lady cried: Oh you are Kalkbrenner, the famous master, well in this case I not only will give the fish to you, I will also give it to you absolutely free of charge."[28]

Louis Moreau Gottschalk: "classical pieces" (1845)

The American pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk was a pupil of Camille Stamaty, Kalkbrenner's substitute teacher and heir to his piano method. Kalkbrenner was in the audience when Gottschalk gave his debut concert in the Salle Pleyel playing Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1. After the concert Chopin went backstage and congratulated Gottschalk on his success. Kalkbrenner, who deigned it beneath his dignity to seek out a mere debutant, chose not to go backstage, but rather waited for Gottschalk to come and see him. Gottschalk dutifully obliged the next day. This is what Gottschalk relates about their memorable encounter:

"In 1844,[29] then very young, I gave in Paris a soirée to which all the illustrious pianists of the period were invited, among others Kalkbrenner. I played Chopin's Concerto in E Minor, Thalberg's Fantasia on Semiramide, and a fantasia by Liszt. The next day I went to thank Kalkbrenner for having come to hear me. This attention softened a little the generally sour disposition of the old pianist, who did not forgive the new school for knowing something; he took my hand and said with the air of majestic condescension: The style is good, as for the rest there is nothing astonishing; you are my grandchild (alluding to Stamaty, who was his pupil), but for god's sake, who advised you to play such music. Chopin! I hardly pardon you; but Liszt and Thalberg, what rhapsodies! Why did you not play one of my pieces? They are beautiful, please everybody and are classical".[30]

Notes and references

  1. ^ On 18 September 1831, Chopin wrote: "I am in very close relations with Kalkbrenner, the 1st pianist in Europe, whom I think you would like." (Chopin 1931), p. 152. And on 12 December 1831, Chopin wrote again: "Through Paer, who is court conductor here, I have met Rossini, Cherubini, Baillot, etc. – also Kalkbrenner. You would not believe how curious I was about Herz, Liszt, Hiller, etc. – 'They are all zero beside Kalkbrenner'." (Chopin 1931), p. 154.
  2. ^ (Starr 1995), p. 176.
  3. ^ Liszt took Kalkbrenner's edition seriously and wrote to his publishers Breitkopf and Härtel (probably in December 1837): "I thank you much, gentlemen, for the obliging letter that you have written me. Up to the present time I have had none but the most pleasant business relations with Mr. Hofmeister, who has the kindness to publish the greater part of my works in Germany. As I do not know very much of the laws which regulate literary and musical proprietorship in Saxony, I had spoken to him about the Beethoven symphonies, of which I have undertaken the arrangement, or, more correctly speaking, the pianoforte score. To tell the truth, this work has, nevertheless, cost me some trouble; whether I am right or wrong, I think it sufficiently different from, not to say superior to, those of the same kind which have hitherto appeared. The recent publication of the same Symphonies, arranged by Mr. Kalkbrenner, makes me anxious that mine should not remain any longer in a portfolio. I intend also to finger them carefully, which, in addition to the indication of the different instruments (which is important in this kind of work), will most certainly make this edition much more complete."(Liszt 1894), p. 22; italics added.
  4. ^ This is a judgement probably first uttered by Louis Moreau Gottschalk: "The perfect elegance of his (Kalkbrenner’s) manners, his cultivated elegance, and his talent gave him great success in society, but his extreme vanity, which had become proverbial, had in time rendered him unsupportable". (Gottschalk 2006), p. 220. This opinion still reverberated with Schonberg more than 100 years later: "But Kalkbrenner was a more superficial musician, in addition to being a bourgeois gentilhomme of colossal vanity." (Schonberg 1984), p. 118.
  5. ^ Marmontel wrote: "Kalkbrenner, homme d'ailleurs distingue, de belles manières, avait encore une faiblesse, celle de se croire un grand seigneur. L'habitude de frayer avec la noblesse anglaise et française lui fait fait comme une seconde nature; il en parlait avec la familiarité la plus surprenante." (translation: "Kalkbrenner, who was otherwise a distinguished man of good manners, had one other weakness; this was that he took himself for a great nobleman. His habitude of hobnobbing with English and French aristocracy had for him become second nature. He talked about it with the most astonishing implicitness." (Marmontel 1878), p. 105.
  6. ^ Heinrich Heine called him a Bonbon fallen into the mud. (Heine 1893), p. 277.
  7. ^ Hyperion recording of Kalkbrenner's 1st & 4th Piano Concerto
  8. ^ This is well documented by Heinrich Heine and Ferdinand Hiller who both knew Kalkbrenner. Heine wrote: "German codfish aristocrats (Stockfische) are vexed at such a 'fish story', are not able to spread themselves so grandly in this wise like M. Kalkbrenner, and because, over and beyond this, they envy his elegant mien, his admirably attired form, his polish and sweetness, his whole candied sugar cake exterior, which is, however, disagreeably jarred to the calm observer by many 'involuntary Berlinisms of the lowest class' ..." (Heine 1893), pp. 386-87.
  9. ^ (Marmontel, 1878), p. 238.
  10. ^ (Marmontel 1878), pp. 236-243. Marmontel wrote: "Pendant que les fils affirmaient ainsi leur talent dans des genres divers, mais également artistiques, le père se consacrait avec un ardeur de dévouement a sa classe de piano du Conservatoire, y maintenant les grandes traditions, l'étude approfondie, l'analyse raisonné des maîtres anciens qui l'avaient formé lui-même: Bach, Händel, Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart et Clementi." (Marmontel 1878), p. 239 (translation: "While his sons thus showed their talents in different artistic fields, the father devoted himself with the ardour of selfishness to his piano class at the Conservatory. Here he maintained the great traditions, the profound erudition and the well reasoned study of the old masters that had shaped himself: Bach, Handel, Scarlatti, Haydn, Mozart et Clementi."
  11. ^ (Saint-Saëns 1919), pp. 8–9.
  12. ^ (Weitzmann 1897), p. 150–51.
  13. ^ (Weitzmann 1897), p. 151.
  14. ^ (Ehrlich 1990), p. 117.
  15. ^ (Weitzmann 1897), pp. 151–2.
  16. ^ (Slonimsky 1958), see relevant articles.
  17. ^ (Schonberg, 1984) p. 251.
  18. ^ (Schonberg, 1984) p. 251.
  19. ^ (Gottschalk 2006), p. 221.
  20. ^ (Karasowski 1881?), pp. 233–4. Italics added.
  21. ^ (Karasowski 1881?), pp. 238-38. Italics added.
  22. ^ (Karasowski 1880?), pp. 243-4.
  23. ^ These friends included Felix Mendelssohn and probably Franz Liszt as well.
  24. ^ (Karasowski 1881?), p. 243. Italics added.
  25. ^ (Litzmann 1913), p. 209. Italics added
  26. ^ (Heine 1893), pp. 384-5.
  27. ^ (Heine 1893), p. 387. Italics added.
  28. ^ (Marmontel 1878), pp. 105-6.
  29. ^ (Gottschalk 2006), p. 220. As pointed out by pianist and musicologist Jeanne Behrend, editor of Gottschalk's Notes of a Pianist, the concert took place in 1845. Gottschalk was sixteen years old.
  30. ^ (Gottschalk 2006), pp. 220-1.


  • Chopin, Frédéric. Chopin's Letters. Unabridged and slightly corrected Dover Reprint (1988) of the original Knopf Edition. Edited by E.L. Voynich. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1931. ISBN 0-486-25564-6
  • Gottschalk, Louis Moreau. Notes of a Pianist. Reprint of the 1964 edition, ed. Jeanne Behrend, with a New Foreword by S. Frederick Starr. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. ISBN 0-691-12716-6
  • Hallé, C.E. Hallé and Marie. Life and Letters of Sir Charles Hallé. London (GB): Smith, Elder, & Co., 1896.
  • Heine, Heinrich. The Works of Heinrich Heine. Translated by Charles Godfrey Leland (Hans Breitmann). Vol. 4. London: William Heinemann, 1893.
  • Hiller, Ferdinand. Erinnerungsblätter (Leaves of Remembrance). Köln (Cologne), 1884.
  • Karasowski, Moritz. Frédéric Chopin - His Life and Letters. London: William Reeves, 1881? New Edition: ISBN 1-113-72791-8
  • Liszt, Franz. Letters of Franz Liszt. Edited by La Mara. Translated by Constance Bache. Vol. 1 From Paris to Rome. Covent Garden: H. Grevel & Co., 1894.
  • Litzmann, Berthold, ed. Clara Schumann. An Artist's Life. Translated by Grace E. Hadow. Vol. 1. 2 vols. London: Macmillan & Co., 1913.
  • Marmontel, Antoine Francois. Les Pianistes célèbres. Paris: Imprimerie Centrale des Chemins de Fer A. Chaix et Cie, 1878.
  • Nicholas, Jeremy. Liner Notes to Hyperion CD recording of Kalkbrenner Piano Concertos No. 1, Op. 61 and No. 4, Op. 127. Published by Hyperion Records Ltd., London, 2006.
  • Saint-Saëns, Camille. Musical Memoirs. Translated by Edward Gile Rich. Boston: Small, Maynard & Company, 1919.
  • Saint-Saëns, Camille. Musical Memoirs. Newly annotated edition by Roger Nichols. Oxford (GB): Oxford University Press 2008. ISBN 0-19-532016-6
  • Schonberg, Harold C. The Great Pianists. Revised and Updated Edition. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1984.
  • Slonimsky, Nicolas, ed. Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. 5th Edition. New York: Schirmer, 1958.
  • Starr, S. Frederick. Bamboula - The Life and Times of Louis Moreau Gottschalk. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995 ISBN 0-19-507237-5
  • Walther Killy, Rudolf Vierhaus, Hrsg. (ed.) Deutsche Biographische Enzyklopäde (German Biographic Encyclopaedia). Bde. (Vol.) 5. K-G. 10 Vols. Munich: K. G. Saur, 1999. ISBN 3-598-23186-5
  • Weitzmann, C. F. A History of Pianoforte-Playing. 2nd augmented and revised edition. Translated by Dr. Th. Baker. New York: G. Schirmer, 1897.

External links

1824 in music

This article is about music-related events in 1824.

A-flat major

A-flat major (or the key of A-flat) is a major scale based on A♭, with the pitches A♭, B♭, C, D♭, E♭, F, and G. Its key signature has four flats.

The A-flat major scale is:

The relative minor is F minor. Its parallel minor, A-flat minor, is usually replaced by G-sharp minor, since A-flat minor, which would contain seven flats, is not normally used. G-sharp major, its enharmonic, with eight sharps, including the F, has a similar problem, and so A-flat major is often used as the parallel major for G-sharp minor. (The same enharmonic situation occurs with the keys of D-flat major and C-sharp minor.)

Alexandre Pierre François Boëly

Alexandre Pierre François Boëly (19 April 1785, Versailles – 27 December 1858, Paris) was a French composer, organist, and pianist. Born into a family of musicians, Boëly received his first music lessons from his father, Jean François, who was a countertenor at the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and a composer and harp teacher at the court of Versailles. He also studied under the Tyrolian pianist Ignaz Ladurner, who introduced him to the work of Bach and Haydn, which Boëly would champion in his adult career. Besides mastering the piano and organ, Boëly was also a talented violist.

As the Romantic movement swept through Europe during the 19th century, Boëly was shunned by the official mainstream of musical life in Paris because of his Classical sensibilities and his "elitist" fidelity to writing serious music. Boëly regarded with distaste the music that was written and feted by many of his contemporaries. The most popular standards during the Napoleonic period were compositions that swelled with patriotism or operatic intensity. Entrenching his reactionary reputation, he used his appointment as organist at Saint Germain l'Auxerrois in 1840 to promote the works of dead composers who were then only scantily appreciated by the public. These included Frescobaldi, Couperin, and most importantly of all, the supposedly impenetrable, unplayable Bach.

Such efforts did not win Boëly popular favor, for he was dismissed from his position in 1851 for the "austerity" of his playing. He died a simple piano teacher, but not without enjoying the respect and confidence of a close circle of friends which included Marie Bigot, Pierre Baillot, Friedrich Kalkbrenner, and Johann Baptist Cramer.

Although Boëly was and remains largely unknown to the public, this does not diminish the part he played in the flourishing development of French music during the 19th century. He left behind an impressive oeuvre which numbers about 300 individual works, especially in the genres of chamber music and instrumental pieces for piano or organ. These include twelve books of practice-pieces of different styles and four books for organ with pedals or piano three hands. In Boëly's old age, he was sought out by two rising young artists, César Franck and Camille Saint-Saëns, who revered him as a guardian of a noble and pure classical organ tradition.

Arabella Goddard

Arabella Goddard (12 January 1836 – 6 April 1922) was an English pianist of the middle to late 19th century.She was born and died in France. Her parents, Thomas Goddard, an heir to a Salisbury cutlery firm, and Arabella née Ingles, were part of an English community of expatriates living in Saint-Servan near Saint-Malo, Brittany. She remained very proud of her French background all her life, and spiced her conversation with French phrases . She had an older sister, Ann.

At age six she was sent to Paris to study with Friedrich Kalkbrenner. She was feted as a child prodigy, and played for the French Royal Family, and Frédéric Chopin and George Sand (she would later also play for Queen Victoria). Her family suffered financial distress during the 1848 Revolution and had to return to England; there, Arabella had further lessons with Lucy Anderson and Sigismond Thalberg. She first appeared in public in 1850, under the conductor Michael William Balfe, at a Grand National Concert at Her Majesty's Theatre.

Thalberg sent her to be tutored by James William Davison, the influential but staunchly conservative chief music critic for The Times. She made her formal debut on 14 April 1853, in Beethoven's "Hammerklavier" Sonata, the first time the work had been performed in England. She spent 1854 and 1855 in Germany and Italy. She played at a concert at the Leipzig Gewandhaus and was very favourably received by the German critics.

She was one of the first pianists to play recitals from memory, although her concerto appearances were with the score in front.Arabella Goddard returned to England and gave concerts with the Philharmonic Society, at the Crystal Palace, and at the Monday Popular Concerts. In 1857 and 1858 she played all the late Beethoven sonatas in London, most of which were still complete novelties to her audiences, and many other works.

In 1859 she married her mentor J. W. Davison. She was 23, he 46. In 1871 she was in the first group of recipients of the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society.

From 1873 to 1876 she conducted a major tour, organised by Robert Sparrow Smythe, of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Java. In America, the critics were less impressed by her playing of Romantic music, but liked her classical playing. This may have been due to Davison's influence on her: he did not approve of any composers after Mendelssohn. In June 1874, while returning to Townsville, Queensland from Java, her ship was wrecked, and she had to spend a night in an open boat in torrential rain, with Charles Blondin, who was also arriving for an Australian tour. In October 1875, she appeared in New York with Thérèse Tietjens.

In England, George Bernard Shaw was struck by her effortless ability to play the most complex pieces. He described Teresa Carreño as "a second Arabella Goddard". She retired from performing in 1880.

She was appointed a teacher at the Royal College of Music in 1883, its first year of operation.A number of composers dedicated pieces to her, including William Sterndale Bennett's Piano Sonata in A-flat, Op. 46 "The Maid of Orleans". She herself composed a small number of piano pieces, including a suite of six waltzes.After the birth of her two sons Henry and Charles, she separated from her husband, who died in 1885. She died at Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, on 6 April 1922, aged 86.

Camille-Marie Stamaty

Camille-Marie Stamaty (Rome, March 13, 1811 – Paris, April 19, 1870) was a French pianist, piano teacher and composer predominantly of piano music and studies (études). Today largely forgotten, he was one of the preeminent piano teachers in 19th century Paris. His most famous pupils were Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Camille Saint-Saëns.

Stamaty was the star pupil of Friedrich Kalkbrenner and heir to Kalkbrenner's teaching method. He taught a crisp, fine, even filigree piano playing that concentrated on evenness of scales, independence of fingers and minimum movement of body and arms.Stamaty composed a great number of piano studies (études), various other shorter piano works (the usual waltzes, fantasies, quadrilles, and variations so dear to the 19th century), a piano concerto and some chamber music. None of his music is still in the repertoire today, although a good look at his once famous études might be very worthwhile. New recordings of his best output (concert études, piano concerto), possibly on period instruments, would be desirable.

Camille Pleyel

Joseph Étienne Camille Pleyel (December 18, 1788 – May 4, 1855) was a French virtuoso pianist, publisher, and owner of Pleyel et Cie. He also ran a concert hall, the Salle Pleyel, where Frédéric Chopin played the first and last of his concerts in Paris.

The youngest son of Ignace Joseph Pleyel, he studied with Jan Dussek. He became a partner of his father in 1815 and owner of the firm after his death in 1831. His salons hosted the greatest talents of his day in France. Pleyel provided pianos to Frédéric Chopin.

Pleyel's wife, Marie-Félicité-Denise née Moke (1811–1875), was also an accomplished pianist who studied under Friedrich Kalkbrenner. Before their marriage, Marie's mother called off her engagement with Hector Berlioz, inspiring Berlioz to elaborately plan to kill Marie, her mother, and Camille using two stolen double-barreled pistols, though he did not carry through with his plan. Chopin's Nocturnes Op. 9 (1833) are dedicated to "Madame Camille Pleyel". Camille and Marie separated after four years of marriage on account of her "multiple infidelities", and she went on to become a professor of piano at the conservatory in Brussels in 1848.

Edouard Silas

Edouard Silas (22 August 1827 – 8 February 1909) who was born in Amsterdam and died in London, was a Dutch composer and organist.

He studied in Paris with Friedrich Kalkbrenner, François Benoist and Jacques Fromental Halévy. He lived in London from 1850. Silas was organist at the Catholic Chapel of Kingston upon Thames and Professor of Harmony at the Guildhall School of Music. He was a composer of symphonies, piano concertos, string quartets and organ works. He composed a Mass for four voices and organ for which he won a Belgian competition for sacred music in 1866 and he also composed other sacred music.

Edward Simms

Edward Simms (10 February 1800 - 15 January 1893) was an English organist and composer.

Elizabeth Randles

Elizabeth Randles (1 August 1800 – 6 May 1829), also known as "Little Cambrian Prodigy", was a Welsh harpist and pianist. A child prodigy, she started playing the piano at the age of sixteen months, and performed in public for the first time before she was two years old. Randles was taught by her blind father, who was organist at the Holywell parish church. She performed for local aristocracy, leading to a performance for King George III and his royal family when she was three and a half. Caroline, Princess of Wales, hoped to adopt her but her father did not allow it. She did, however, spend a few days at the Princess of Wales' summer home, often playing with Princess Charlotte of Wales. Randles went on to tour the country as a child, performing with John Parry. In 1808, she returned home and learned the harp. She went on to take lessons from Friedrich Kalkbrenner, before moving to Liverpool and becoming a teacher.

Ignace Leybach

Ignace Xavier Joseph Leybach (17 July 1817 in Gambsheim, Alsace – 23 May 1891 in Toulouse) was a French pianist, organist, music educator and a composer of salon piano music.

He had his early training as an organist with Joseph Wackenthaler (1795-1869), the organist and maître de chapelle of the Strasbourg Cathedral, and then was a pupil in Paris of Friedrich Kalkbrenner and of Chopin. He was a famous pianist in his time, but is largely remembered for a single piece, his Fifth Nocturne, Op. 52, number 5, for solo piano; it is still in print. His Fantasie elegante improvised on familiar themes from Gounod's Faust.

From 1844 he was organist at the cathédrale Saint-Étienne, Toulouse, succeeding Justin Cadaux. He published a three-volume method for the organ for which he also wrote about 350 pieces. Leybach also wrote motets and liturgical music.

Jean-Henri Ravina

Jean-Henri Ravina (20 May 1818 – 30 September 1906) was a French virtuoso pianist, composer and teacher.

Jean-Henri Ravina started his musical studies with his mother, Eugénie Ravina, a famous professor in Bordeaux. He made his first public appearance performing works by Friedrich Kalkbrenner at the age of 8, and the violinist Pierre Rode, who was present at the concert, encouraged him to continue his musical studies. Ravina then went to Paris, where he attended the private musical school of Alkan Morhange (Charles-Valentin Alkan's father), later he entered the piano class of Pierre-Joseph-Guillaume Zimmermann at the Paris Conservatory. He also studied counterpoint with Anton Reicha and Leborne there. In 1834 he received a first prize for piano performance.

The 17-year-old Ravina became assistant to a professor at the Conservatory, but he resigned two years later to devote himself to his career as a virtuoso. He became a touring pianist, with performances in France, Spain and Russia. His whirlwind tours were highly acclaimed, and his compositions were immensely popular with his fans. At the same time he acquired an excellent reputation as a music teacher.

Joseph Christoph Kessler

Joseph Christoph Kessler (26 August 1800 – 14 January 1872), also seen as Kötzler, was a German pianist and composer who was active mostly in the Austrian Empire. His études, nocturnes, variations, preludes and bagatelles were praised by such people as Franz Liszt, Sigismond Thalberg, Ignaz Moscheles and Friedrich Kalkbrenner, and he was the dedicatee of the 24 Preludes, Op. 28 by Frédéric Chopin.

Kessler was born at Augsburg in 1800. He studied under the organist Bilek at Feldsberg and at a seminary at Nicolsburg. He then studied philosophy in Vienna. He became a piano teacher in Lemberg, where, at the house of Count Potocki, he wrote his 24 Études, Op. 20, one in every key. These were published in 1827. The études were celebrated in their day, being played by Franz Liszt in his concerts, and praised by Fétis, Moscheles and Kalkbrenner, who used some of Kessler's works in their own pedagogical material. He also taught at Landshut.

Frédéric Chopin became exposed to Kessler's music while he was in his teens, in Warsaw. Kessler arrived in Warsaw in 1829, and quickly became part of the musical life there. He was one of a number of people who gave regular musical soirees attended by Chopin. It was at such Kessler soirees that Chopin heard for the first time works such as Beethoven's "Archduke" Trio. Kessler and Chopin became firm friends. Kessler's Études were arranged in a circle of fifths, unlike Johann Sebastian Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, which is arranged in ascending chromatic order. It has been said that Chopin may have even borrowed the title "étude" from Kessler, and copied from Kessler the idea of using metronome marks in his scores.Kessler dedicated to Chopin a set of 24 Preludes, Op. 31, one in each of the major and minor keys. A decade later, Chopin repaid the dedication in his own 24 Preludes, Op. 28, and he also employed the circle of fifths that Kessler used in his 24 Études; however, he may have been earlier influenced by Hummel's Preludes, Op. 67 (1815), which also use this schema.

On 6 February 1836, Robert Schumann wrote an article in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik comparing the significance of études written by various composers. Bach, Clementi, Cramer, Moscheles and Chopin were considered "the most important", while Kessler was described as "merely capable".

On the other hand, Schumann said of Kessler: "Mann von Geist und sogar poetischem Geist".

Kessler moved back to Vienna, then returned to Warsaw; he also lived at Breslau, and for 20 years at Lemberg. He returned to Vienna in 1855, where he died in 1872.


Kalkbrenner is a German surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Christian Kalkbrenner (1755–1806), German bandmaster or Kapellmeister, violinist, organ and keyboard player, composer and father of

Friedrich Kalkbrenner (1785–1849), German pianist, composer, piano teacher and piano manufacturer

Fritz Kalkbrenner (born 1981), German electronic musician, producer and actor, younger brother of Paul Kalkbrenner (born 1977)

Paul Kalkbrenner (born 1977), German electronic musician and actor, older brother of Fritz Kalkbrenner (born 1981)

List of compositions by Friedrich Kalkbrenner

This is a list of compositions by Friedrich Kalkbrenner.

Mary Louise Boehm

Mary Louise Boehm (July 25, 1924 – November 29, 2002) was an American pianist and painter.

A descendant of Joseph Boehm, a piano-maker active in Vienna during the early 19th century, Mary Louise Boehm was born in Sumner, Iowa, and soon proved to be a child prodigy. She studied with Louis Crowder at Iowa State Teachers College and subsequently with Robert Casadesus and Walter Gieseking.Boehm's repertoire and recorded output was notable for works by American composers such as Amy Beach and Ernest Schelling, who are far from mainstream, even now. She also performed and made premiere recordings of works by several early romantic composers such as John Field, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Johann Peter Pixis, Ignaz Moscheles and Friedrich Kalkbrenner. Her advocacy introduced a generation of music lovers to these neglected composers. She was also interested in performance on period instruments at a time when this was rare.

From the 1960s she began painting, working in oils, watercolor and inks. While on concert tours in South America she became interested in textiles, which led to her involvement with weaving, textile design and the complicated field of dye and color chemistries. Eventually she chose batik as a painterly textile medium. She studied the traditional Indonesian batik techniques and pioneered modern adaptations, and had major shows in the United States.She married the Dutch violinist Kees Kooper with whom she performed regularly. In 2002 she died in Spain. Her sister Pauline Boehm Haga was also a pianist; the Grand Sonata Op. 112 by Moscheles was recorded by the sisters together.

Muzio Clementi

Muzio Filippo Vincenzo Francesco Saverio Clementi (23 January 1752 – 10 March 1832) was an Italian-born English composer, pianist, pedagogue, conductor, music publisher, editor, and piano manufacturer.

Encouraged to study music by his father, he was sponsored as a young composer by Sir Peter Beckford who took him to England to advance his studies. Later, he toured Europe numerous times from his long-standing base in London. It was on one of these occasions, in 1781, that he engaged in a piano competition with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Influenced by Domenico Scarlatti's harpsichord school and Haydn's classical school and by the stile galante of Johann Christian Bach and Ignazio Cirri, Clementi developed a fluent and technical legato style, which he passed on to a generation of pianists, including John Field, Johann Baptist Cramer, Ignaz Moscheles, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Friedrich Kalkbrenner, Johann Nepomuk Hummel and Carl Czerny. He was a notable influence on Ludwig van Beethoven.

Clementi also produced and promoted his own brand of pianos and was a notable music publisher. Because of this activity, many compositions by Clementi's contemporaries and earlier artists have stayed in the repertoire. Though the reputation of Clementi was exceeded only by Haydn and Beethoven in his day, his popularity languished for much of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Piano Concerto No. 3 (Ries)

Piano Concerto No. 3 in C-sharp minor, Op. 55, by German composer Ferdinand Ries was written around 1813. It was composed in the proto-Romantic style, similar to the concertos of Johann Nepomuk Hummel, and anticipates stylistic developments of future Romantic composers.

Vaterländischer Künstlerverein

Vaterländischer Künstlerverein was a collaborative musical publication or anthology, incorporating 83 variations for piano on a theme by Anton Diabelli, written by 51 composers living in or associated with Austria. It was published in two parts in 1823 and 1824, by firms headed by Diabelli. It includes Ludwig van Beethoven's Diabelli Variations, Op. 120 (a set of 33 variations), as well as single variations from 50 other composers including Carl Czerny, Franz Schubert, Johann Nepomuk Hummel, Ignaz Moscheles, Friedrich Kalkbrenner, Franz Liszt (aged only 12 at the time of publication), and a host of lesser-known names including a son of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and others now largely forgotten.

Vaterländischer Künstlerverein has various translations, including "Patriotic Artists' Association", "Art Association of the Fatherland", "Patriotic Culture Club", "Fatherland's Society of Artists", "National Artists' Association", "Native Artist's Association" and "Native Society of Artists".

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