Sigismond Thalberg was born in Pâquis near Geneva, Switzerland, on 8 January 1812. According to legend, he was the illegitimate son of Prince Moritz Dietrichstein and Baroness Maria Julia Wetzlar von Plankenstern. However, according to his birth certificate, he was the son of Joseph Thalberg and Fortunée Stein who were both from Frankfurt-am-Main.
Little is known about Thalberg's childhood and early youth. It is possible that his mother had brought him to Vienna at the age of 10 (the same year in which the 10-year-old Franz Liszt arrived there with his parents). According to Thalberg's own account, he attended the first performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony on 7 May 1824 in the Kärntnerthortheater.
There is no evidence as to Thalberg's early teachers. Baroness von Wetzlar, his mother, who according to Wurzbach was occupied with his education during his childhood and early youth, was a brilliant amateur pianist. It may be therefore that she gave him his first instruction at the piano.
In spring 1826 Thalberg studied with Ignaz Moscheles in London. Moscheles, according to a letter to Felix Mendelssohn of 14 August 1836, had the impression that Thalberg had already reached a level at which no further help would be needed in order to become a great artist. Thalberg's first public performance in London was on 17 May 1826. In Vienna on 6 April 1827 he played the first movement, and on 6 May 1827 the Adagio and the Rondo of Hummel's concerto in B Minor. After this, Thalberg performed regularly in Vienna. His repertoire was mainly classical, including concertos by Hummel and Beethoven. He also performed chamber music. In the year 1828 his Op. 1, a fantasy on melodies from Carl Maria von Weber's Euryanthe, was published.
In 1830 Thalberg met Mendelssohn and Frédéric Chopin in Vienna. Their letters show their opinion that Thalberg's main strength was his astonishing technical skills. Further information can be found in the diary of the 10-year old Clara Wieck. She had heard Thalberg on 14 May 1830 at a concert which he gave in the theatre of Leipzig. He had played his own Piano Concerto op.5 and a fantasy of his own. Two days before, Clara had played the first solo of the 2nd Concerto of John Field to him, and, together with him, the first movement of a four handed Sonata of Hummel. Her diary, edited by her father Friedrich Wieck, notes Thalberg as "very accomplished". His playing was clear and precise, also very strong and expressive.
In the early 1830s Thalberg studied counterpoint under Simon Sechter. As a result, passages of canon and fugue can be found in some of Thalberg's fantasies of this time. An example is his Fantasy, Op. 12, on melodies from Bellini's opera Norma, which contains a march-theme and variations (one of them a canon), and a fugue on a lyrical theme. The fantasy was published in 1834 and became very popular; but on publication, it was criticised by some, for example by Robert Schumann.
Thalberg successfully changed his composing style, reducing the counterpoint. Several works in his new style, among them the Deux Airs russes variés Op.17, were even enthusiastically praised by Schumann.
In November 1835 Thalberg arrived in Paris. He performed on 16 November 1835 at a private concert of the Austrian ambassador Count Rudolph Apponyi. On 24 January 1836 he took part in a concert of the "Society of the Paris Conservatoire concerts", playing his "Grande fantaisie" op.22. Thalberg was praised by many of the most prominent artists, among them Rossini and Meyerbeer.
Chopin didn't share his fellow artists' enthusiasm. After hearing Thalberg play, in Vienna, Chopin wrote: "He plays splendidly, but he's not my man. He's younger than I and pleases the ladies - makes potpourris on La Muette - produces his piano and forte with the pedal, not the hand - takes tenths as I do octaves and wears diamond shirt studs".
Moscheles, Kalkbrenner, Chopin, Liszt and Herz are and will always be for me great artists, but Thalberg is the creator of a new art which I do not know how to compare to anything that existed before him ... Thalberg is not only the premier pianist of the world, he is also an extremely distinguished composer.
On 16 April 1836 Thalberg gave his first solo concert in Paris, and the success was again sensational. According to Rudolph Apponyi's diary, Thalberg made a profit of 10,000 Francs, a sum which no virtuoso had gained before from a single concert.
Liszt had heard of Thalberg's successes during the winter 1835–36 in Geneva, in spring 1836 in Lyon, and in Paris. In his letter to Marie d'Agoult of 29 April 1836, he compared himself to the exiled Napoleon. In a review of 8 January 1837, in the Revue et Gazette musicale, Liszt controversially denigrated Thalberg's compositions.
After Thalberg returned to Paris in the beginning of February 1837, a rivalry developed between him and Liszt. On 4 February Thalberg heard Liszt play in concert for the first time in his life. Thalberg was stupefied. While Liszt then gave over a dozen concerts, Thalberg gave only one concert on 12 March 1837 in the Paris Conservatoire, and a further concert on 2 April 1837. In addition, on 31 March 1837, both Liszt and Thalberg played at a benefit concert to raise money for Italian refugees.
In May 1837 Thalberg gave a concert in London, following which The Athenaeum gave an enthusiastic review. Such enthusiasm followed Thalberg throughout the following years. His fantasy op.33 on melodies from Rossini's opera Moïse became one of the most famous concert pieces of the 19th century, and was still praised by Berlioz in his Memoirs (1869). The fantasy was published at end of March 1839 and in May 1839 studied by Clara Wieck who was delighted by it. In 1848 the fantasy was played by Liszt's daughter Blandine.
After Thalberg's stay in London in May 1837, he made a first, short tour, giving concerts in several towns in Great Britain, but he became ill and soon returned to Vienna. In spring 1838 he gave concerts in Paris again. A note in the Revue et Gazette musicale of 4 March 1838, shows that Thalberg's fame had in the meanwhile grown. He was now called "the most famous of our composers". Thalberg left Paris on 18 April 1838, travelling to Vienna, the very day that Liszt gave there a charity concert for the benefit of the victims of a flood in Hungary. Thalberg invited Liszt for dinner, and the two great pianists dined together on the 28th with Prince Moritz Dietrichstein, who told Liszt, that he was delighted to have "Castor and Pollux" together in his home. During the evening, Thalberg remarked to Liszt with admirable candour : " In comparison with you, I have never enjoyed more than a succes d'estime in Vienna". They dined again the next day, after Liszt's concert on 29 April 1838. Liszt and Thalberg were both dinner guests of Metternich During Liszt's stay in Vienna Thalberg did not perform at all.
In October 1838 Thalberg became acquainted with Robert Schumann. According to Schumann's diary, Thalberg played from memory etudes by Chopin, Joseph Christoph Kessler and Ferdinand Hiller. He also played with great skill and inspiration works by Beethoven, Schubert and Dussek, as well as Schumann's Kreisleriana, Op. 16 at sight. On 27 November 1838 Thalberg took part in a charity concert, playing his new fantasy, Op. 40, on melodies from Rossini's opera La Donna del Lago ("The Lady of the Lake" after Walter Scott). At one of his own "Farewell concerts" on 1 December 1838, he played three of his Etudes, Op. 26, his fantasy, Op. 33 on "Moïse" and his Souvenir de Beethoven, Op. 39, a fantasy on melodies from Ludwig van Beethoven's symphonies. As a result, in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik of 8 March 1839, an enthusiastic review by Schumann of the second book of Thalberg's Etudes, Op. 26 appeared, concluding "He is a God when sitting at the piano."
After Thalberg's "Farewell concert" in Vienna, he began his first extended European tour. On 19 and 21 December 1838 he gave two concerts in Dresden, and he performed twice at the Court. Receiving honours from the King of Saxony, he told him "Wait until you have heard Liszt!" In Leipzig he gave a concert on 28 December 1838, attended by Mendelssohn who on the following day, in a letter to his sister Fanny, gave an enthusiastic account. Mendelssohn became a friend and admirer of Thalberg.
After a second concert in Leipzig on 30 December 1838, Thalberg travelled to Berlin, to give a series of concerts there. Via Danzig, Mitau and other places he performed at St. Petersburg, receiving excellent reviews. From St. Petersburg he went on a steamboat to London where he gave further concerts. He then journeyed to Brussels, to meet his friend the violinist Charles de Bériot. There he gave several private performances.
After Brussels, Thalberg arrived in the Rhineland, where he gave a series of concerts with Bériot. He returned to London at the beginning of February 1840, and then travelled from London to Paris together with Baroness Wetzlar, his mother, awaiting the arrival of Liszt.
Thalberg had already announced in December 1838, during his stay in Leipzig, that he would take time off at the end of his tour, and did not perform at any concert during his stay in spring 1840 in Paris.
At this time Mendelssohn, after meeting Liszt, compared him to Thalberg in a letter to his mother:
After the end of the Parisian concert season, Thalberg travelled as tourist in the Rhineland. In the beginning of June 1840 he attended a music festival directed by Louis Spohr in Aachen. He got an invitation from the Russian Tsarina and performed at a court-concert in Ems, but this was his only concert during his stay in the Rhineland. According to a note in the Revue et Gazette musicale of 2 August 1840, p. 410, Thalberg's friend, the violinist Charles Auguste de Bériot, would get married two days later in Elsene (Ixelles). His bride was a young lady Maria Huber, born in Vienna, from Germany. She was an orphan and had been adopted by Prince von Dietrichstein, Thalberg's father. It may therefore be presumed that Thalberg wanted to take part in the wedding celebration. During previous visits to the Rhineland he wanted only to relax. He also taught Bériot's son, the pianist Charles-Wilfrid de Bériot.
In the Revue et Gazette musicale of 9 May 1841, an essay by Fétis appeared, 'Etudes d'exécution transcendente', in which Liszt was praised for a new composing style which had been stimulated by Thalberg's challenge. In letters to Fétis of 17 May 1841, and to Simon Löwy of 20 May 1841, Liszt agreed with this analysis.
Thalberg performed in Brussels in fall 1840. He then travelled to Frankfurt-am-Main where he stayed until January 1841. It had been announced that Thalberg would give concerts in Paris again in spring 1841, but he changed his plans. In Frankfurt he only took part in a charity concert on 15 January 1841, playing his fantasies on La Donna del Lago and Les Huguenots. He was busily composing new works; his Second Don Giovanni Fantasy op.42 and the fantasy op.51 on Rossini's Semiramide date from this time.
In the second half of January 1841, Thalberg travelled from Frankfurt to Weimar, where he performed three times at the Grand Duke's court and also in the Theatre. He then went to Leipzig, where he visited Mendelssohn and Schumann. On 8 February 1841 he gave a solo concert in Leipzig, enthusiastically reviewed by Schumann, playing his 'Second Don Giovanni Fantasy' op.42, his 'Andante final de Lucia di Lammermoor ', op.44, his 'Thême et Etude' op.45 and his Caprice op.46 on melodies from Bellini's La Sonnambula.
Clara Schumann noted in her diary:
On Monday Thalberg visited us and played to the delightment beautiful on my piano. An even more accomplished mechanism than his does not exist, and many of his piano effects must ravish the connoisseurs. He does not fail a single note, his passages can be compared to rows of pearls, his octaves are the most beautiful ones I ever heard.
Mendelssohn's student Horsley wrote of the meeting of his teacher and Thalberg:
We were a trio, and after dinner Mendelssohn asked Thalberg if he had written anything new, whereupon Thalberg sat down to the piano and played his Fantasia from the "Sonnambula" ... At the close there are several runs of Chromatique Octaves, which at that time had not previously heard, and of which peculiar passages Thalberg was undoubtedly the inventor. Mendelssohn was much struck with the novel effect produced, and greatly admired its ingenuity ... he told me to be with him the next afternoon at 2 o'clock. When I arrived at his study door I heard him playing to himself, and practising continually this passage which had so struck him the previous day. I waited for at least half an hour listening in wonderment to the facility with which he applied his own thoughts to the cleverness of Thalberg's mechanism, and then went into the room. He laughed and said: 'Listen to this, is it not almost like Thalberg?'
After his stay in Leipzig, Thalberg gave concerts in Breslau and Warsaw. He then travelled to Vienna and gave two successful concerts there. In a review in the Leipziger Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, Thalberg was described as Liszt's only rival.
In winter 1841–1842, Thalberg gave concerts in Italy, while Liszt, from end of December 1841 until beginning of March 1842, gave a series of concerts in Berlin. Thalberg matched Liszt's successes in Berlin. He then returned via Marseilles, Toulon and Dijon, arriving on 11 April 1842, in Paris. On the next day he gave his first, and on 21 April his second concert. According to an account by Berlioz, Thalberg made a profit of 12,000 Francs from his first, and of 13,000 Francs from his second concert. The concerts were reviewed in the Revue et Gazette musicale by Henri Blanchard who two years before, in his review of Liszt's concert on 20 April 1840, had nominated Thalberg as Cesar, Octavian or Napoleon of the piano. In spring 1842, Blanchard reached for new superlatives even surpassing his former ones. In his review of Thalberg's second concert he wrote, Thalberg would in 100 years have been canonized, and by all coming pianists be invoked with name of Holy Thalberg. According to the account by Berlioz, at the end of Thalberg's second concert a golden crown was thrown to the stage.
In addition to his own concerts, Thalberg took part in a concert of Emile Prudent. He then travelled via Brussels to London. Later in 1842 Thalberg was decorated with the Cross of the French Legion of Honour. He travelled to Vienna where he stayed until fall 1842. In the second half of November until 12 December 1842, he made a further tour in Great Britain, and in January 1843 he returned to Paris. At end of March 1843 he performed at a private concert of Pierre Erard, but this was his only concert appearance during that season.
In March 1843 Heinrich Heine wrote about Thalberg:
His performance is so gentlemanly, so entirely without any forced acting the genius, so entirely without that well-known brashness that makes a poor cover for inner insecurity. Healthy women love him. So do sickly women, even though he does not engage their sympathy by epileptic seizures at the piano, even though he does not play at their overstrung, delicate nerves, even though he neither electrifies them nor galvanizes them.
In winter 1843–44 Thalberg gave concerts in Italy again. At end of March 1844 he returned to Paris, where at the same time also Liszt was expected. Liszt arrived on April 8 and gave on 16 April a first concert, at which he played his Norma-fantasy, published shortly before. When composing his fantasy, Liszt had put many Thalberg-effects to it. In his later years, he told August Göllerich, one of his pupils:
As I met Thalberg, I said to him: 'Here I have cribbed everything from you.' 'Yes,' he replied, 'there are Thalberg-passages included which are indeed indecent.'
Shortly after Liszt's concert on 11 May 1844, Thalberg left Paris. He travelled to London and gave a concert there on 28 May 1844. At a further concert in London he played a concerto for three pianos by J. S. Bach together with Moscheles and Mendelssohn. He also took part in a concert of Jules Benedict. In August 1844 he returned to Paris where he stayed until 1845. During the winter 1844–45 he gave a piano course for selected students at the Paris Conservatoire. On April 2, 1845, he gave a concert in Paris, playing his fantasies op.63 on Rossini's Barber of Seville, op.67 on Donizetti's Don Pasquale and op.52 on Auber's La Muette de Portici, as well as his 'Marche funèbre variée' op.59 and the 'Barcarolle' op.60.
In spring 1848, in Vienna, Liszt met Thalberg once more. On 3 May 1848 Thalberg gave a benefit concert which Liszt attended. According to an account by his pupil Nepomuk Dunkl, Liszt was sitting on the stage, carefully listening and loudly applauding. It was 11 years since he had first heard his rival's playing.
On 22 July 1843 Thalberg married Francesca ("Cecchina"), the eldest daughter of Luigi Lablache, first bass at the Théâtre des Italiens in Paris. Thalberg went with his wife to Italy where they stayed for the winter 1843–44.
In 1855, after Thalberg's operas Florinda and Cristina di Svezia had failed, he realized his ambition to give concerts in America. From July to December 1855 he performed with overwhelming success in Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. He returned to Europe, but after a stay of several months in Paris went on the steamboat Africa to North America, where he arrived on 3 October 1856, in New York. After Thalberg's debut there on 10 November 1856, a performance marathon ensued, during which he spent eight months giving concerts 5 or 6 days a week. Occasionally he gave two or even three concerts a day. On Sundays, concerts were generally only allowed if they presented "sacred music", but several times Thalberg performed anyhow, playing pieces like his Moïse-fantasy, based on a prayer from Rossini's opera, or his Huguenots-fantasy with the chorale "Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott" as main subject. His Andante op. 32 and the Marche funèbre varié op. 59 were also allowed.
Thalberg's first American season ended with a concert on 29 July 1857 in Saratoga Springs, NY. On 15 September 1857 he gave another concert in New York, starting his second season. With very few intermissions he was busy until his last concert on 12 June 1858, in Peoria, IL. By then he had visited nearly 80 cities and given more than 320 regular concerts in the United States and 20 concerts in Canada. In addition, he gave at least twenty free concerts for many thousands of schoolchildren. Thalberg also gave a series of solo matinees in New York and Boston at which he played own works as well as chamber music. From 1857, the violinist Henri Vieuxtemps toured with Thalberg. They played works by Beethoven, and Duos composed by Thalberg.
Thalberg's financial success on these tours was immense. He got an average of about $500 per concert and probably made more than $150,000 during his two seasons, the equivalent today of about $3 million. A large part of his appeal on these tours was his unpretentious and unassuming personality; he did not resort to advertising gimmicks or cheap crowd-pleasing tricks, instead offering superbly polished renditions of his own compositions, which had already been well known in America. On rising from the piano, he was always the same quiet, respectable, self-possessed, middle-aged gentleman that he was at the dinner table of his hotel. He played works by Beethoven, among them the sonatas op. 27 no. 2 ("Moonlight") and op.26 ("Funeral March") as well as the first movements of the Third and Fifth Piano Concertos. His cadenza to Beethoven's third concerto was admired. He also played works by Bach, Chopin, Hummel, Mendelssohn and several other composers. The New-York Musical Review and Gazette of July 24, 1858, wrote:
The "unexpected close" referred to the announcement in June 1858 in Chicago that Thalberg would make only one of three scheduled appearances before immediately returning to Europe. In fact, Thalberg did not even perform at that concert, but very hastily left. His wife had arrived from Europe, following reports that Thalberg had an extra-marital liaison.
The true reason why Francesca Thalberg had left for America in June 1858 and shortly afterwards, together with her husband, very hastily returned to Europe is unknown. The death of Thalberg's father in law, Lablache, on 23 January 1858, could be one reason. A further possibility is that there may have been consideration of legitimizing Thalberg to enable him to succeed his natural father Prince Franz Joseph von Dietrichstein.
After Thalberg's return to Europe, he settled in Posillipo near Naples in a villa, which had belonged to Lablache. For the following four years Thalberg lived in silence there. In spring 1862 he gave concerts in Paris and London once again and was as successful as ever. After a last tour in Brazil in 1863 he put an end to his career. He suggested taking a position as piano professor at the conservatory in Naples, but it was defeated since an Italian nationality would be necessary. One year later he got an offer from the same conservatory which he refused. Vitale's claim that he published instructive editions of J. S. Bach's "Well Tempered Clavier" and Muzio Clementi's "Gradus ad Parnassum" has been recently disputed by Chiara Bertoglio. When he died on 27 April 1871 he left behind a collection of many hundreds of autographs by famous composers, among them Bach, Handel, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert and others, even Liszt. The collection was sold after Thalberg's death. He is buried at Nuovo Cemetery in Napoli (Naples) Italy in the Doganella section of Naples
Sigismond Thalberg was one of the most famous and most successful piano composers of the 19th century. During the 1830s and the 1840s his style was a major force in European piano-playing. He was greatly in fashion and was imitated by others. In 1852, Wilhelm von Lenz wrote:
'The piano playing of the present day, to tell the truth, consists only of Thalberg simple, Thalberg amended, and Thalberg exaggerated; scratch what is written for the piano, and you will find Thalberg.'
Ten years later, in 1862, a London correspondent of the Revue et gazette musicale wrote:
Expressions like "exaggerated", "twisted" and "tortured" indicate that some contemporaries were starting to feel jaded of his style. It was at this time when Thalberg's career as composer and as virtuoso came to an end.
In the late 19th century, Thalberg's fame had come to depend on his association with a single piano technique, the 'three-hand effect'. Carl Friedrich Weitzmann, in his Geschichte des Klavierspiels (1879), wrote about this.
The following example from the Mosè fantasy, apparently written after 1836, is typical of Thalberg's style of playing.
It is not a difficult trick, and it sounds (and looks) much harder than it is, but it was new in the 1830s and it caused a sensation. Audiences were entranced, and would rise up from their seats to see how Thalberg did it.
While Thalberg was still in Vienna, in the Revue et Gazette musicale of 8 January 1837, Liszt's review of some of Thalberg's piano works appeared. Liszt claimed that in the Grande fantaisie op.22 the left hand continually played arpeggios and nothing else. The description was polemic, since in large parts of the piece the left hand plays a variety of firms: but thumb-melodies were not mentioned by Liszt.
In response to Liszt's review, in his essay "MM. Thalberg et Liszt"' in the Revue et Gazette musicale of 23 April 1837, Fétis claimed that Thalberg had created a new piano-style by uniting two different schools. While playing brilliant passages, Thalberg simultaneously executed a singing melody. Liszt, in his reply in the Revue et Gazette musicale of 14 May 1837, wrote:
Fétis protested against Liszt's insinuation. But Thalberg had at his concert in the Paris Conservatoire on 12 March 1837, played for the first time his Mosè fantasy. The audience noted a magical effect. They could see that in the finale Thalberg was playing a bass and accompanying with his left hand. His right hand was busily occupied with rapid arpeggios. But in addition, a broad melody was to be heard. Liszt's explanation of the thumb-melodies was accurate. This characterization of his style followed him until the end of his life.
Thalberg by the late 19th century was often only characterised as "Old Arpeggio"; his musical innovations were unrecognised or had been forgotten. Others were tempted by the successes of Thalberg's works to inundate the musical world with imitations ad nauseam. In the end his reputation was submerged by the trivial productions of his imitators.
This article is about music-related events in 1837.1871 in music
This article is about music-related events in 1871.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.Charles-Wilfrid de Bériot
Charles-Wilfrid de Bériot (12 February 1833 – 22 October 1914) was a French pianist, teacher and composer.
He was born in Paris in 1833, the son of the violinist Charles Auguste de Bériot and his then common-law wife, the famed soprano Maria Malibran (they were to marry when Charles-Wilfrid was three, but his mother died only three months later as a result of a fall from a horse, while pregnant with Charles-Wilfrid's sibling). His stepmother, Maria Huber, was an orphan who had been adopted by Prince von Dietrichstein, the alleged natural father of Sigismond Thalberg. Thalberg was one of Charles-Wilfrid's earliest teachers.He became a professor of piano at the École Niedermeyer, and later at the Paris Conservatoire, where his pupils included Maurice Ravel and Ricardo Viñes. His private students included Enrique Granados. As a teacher, he insisted on extreme refinement in tone production, which strongly influenced Granados's own teaching of pedal technique.He composed four piano concertos. There is also a Sonata for Two Pianos, Op. 61. His Flute Sonata, Op. 64 has been recorded. Many of his scores are preserved at the Ricardo Viñes Piano Music Collection at the University of Colorado at Boulder.Ravel dedicated his Rapsodie espagnole to Charles-Wilfrid de Bériot.He died at Sceaux-du-Gâtinais in 1914, aged 81.Elena D'Angri
Elena D'Angri Vitturi (also known as Elena Angri) (May 1821 or 1824 in Corfu – 29 August 1886 in Barcelona) was a Greek-born operatic contralto of Italian origin who was active in the mid-19th century in European opera houses and in the United States.The daughter of Saverio Angri (originally from Naples) and Maria Vitturi di Giovanni, her real name was Nazarena Mattia Elena Catterina. She was baptised on 10 June 1821 at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St James and St Christopher in Corfu, Greece.During the 1855 and 1856 season at the Teatro Regio in Turin, she performed in La Cenerentola (as Angelina), The Barber of Seville (as Rosina), and Il trovatore (as Azucena). Later in 1856, she performed for the first time in New York City, accompanied by the pianist and composer Sigismond Thalberg.Elias Parish Alvars
Elias Parish Alvars (surname sometimes given as Parish-Alvars), (28 February 1808 – 25 January 1849) was an English harpist and composer. He was born as Eli Parish in Teignmouth, Devon; his father was a local organist. His baptismal record at St James’s Church, West Teignmouth, reads: "Eli, son of Joseph and Mary Ann Parish".Parish gave his first concert in Totnes in 1818 and in 1820 was sent to London to study with Nicolas-Charles Bochsa. In 1822 he applied to the Royal Academy of Music, where Bochsa had been appointed harp professor, but was not accepted, because he could not afford the tuition fees without a scholarship. He was able to continue his lessons with Bochsa by undertaking teaching and playing at dances. He was also later able to study in Paris, and in 1828 studied music in Florence. At around this time he changed his first name to "Elias"; Parish appears to have used the name "Parish Alvars" from the early 1830s; the origins of the name are not known. In 1836, the first publication of his music by Artaria in Vienna used the name "Elias Parish Alvars", which was subsequently used in all his publications.In 1836 Alvars became first harp at the Vienna Opera. His 1838 Fantasia, op. 35, is dedicated to Sigismond Thalberg, who is said to have been inspired by Alvars's playing to develop his own three-hand effect piano technique. Alvars's tour of the Near East in the period 1838-1842 resulted in his suite Voyage d'un harpiste en l' Orient, op. 79.In 1842 Alvars married the harpist Melanie Lewy, a member of a Vienna-based family of musicians with whom Alvars frequently performed. His pupils included Charlotte Rothschild of the Rothschild family, to whom he dedicated his Serenade, op. 83. In the same year he acquired a double-action pedal harp designed by Pierre Erard; the innovations he was able to bring to harp technique using this new instrument impressed many of his fellow musicians including Hector Berlioz, Felix Mendelssohn and Franz Liszt. Liszt wrote of Alvars "From beneath his forehead speak his dreamy eyes, expressive of the glowing imagination which lives in his compositions"; Berlioz called him "the Liszt of the harp".In 1847 Alvars was appointed chamber musician to Ferdinand I of Austria. His last performance was in Vienna, at a concert of his own compositions, in January 1848.On 13 March 1848 riots erupted in Vienna and in April amid the general confusion Alvars found himself in serious financial straits. His health worsened suddenly and he died, probably of pneumonia, on 25 January 1849. He was buried in the St. Marx Cemetery.Florinda
Florinda may refer to:
Florinda coccinea, the blacktailed red sheetweaver
Florinda (TV series) from the Philippines
Florinda, Florida, a former communityAs a given nameFlorinda la Cava, legendary Spaniard
Florinda Bolkan, Brazilian actress
Florinda Donner, German-born American author and anthropologist
Florinda Grandino de Oliveira, birth name of Linda Batista, Brazilian musician
Florinda Handcock, Viscountess Castlemaine, wife of William Handcock, 1st Viscount Castlemaine
Florinda Meza, Mexican actress
Florinda da Rosa Silva Chan, Macau civil servantCreative worksFlorinda, or les Maures en Espagne, an 1851 an opera by Sigismond Thalberg
Florinda, an 1852 painting by Franz Xaver WinterhalterFrancis Planté
Francis Planté (2 March 1839 – 19 December 1934) was a French pianist famed as one of the first ever recording artists. He was France's most important pianist in the nineteenth century, apart from Chopin.
Planté was born in Orthez. He studied piano under Antoine Marmontel, his career beginning at the age of seven in Paris. While there he met and befriended many like-minded musicians who would have a long-lasting effect on his career. These included Franz Liszt, with whom he played arrangements of two of Liszt's symphonic poems (Les Préludes, and Tasso, Lamento e Trionfo) for 2 pianos, Hector Berlioz, Gioachino Rossini, Charles Gounod, Felix Mendelssohn, Sigismond Thalberg and Charles-Marie Widor. It is also known that he himself heard Frédéric Chopin play, and because of this, his recordings - and indeed the one film available of him - are seen as a link to a 'lost world' of piano performance.
He toured the concert platforms of Europe after leaving Paris, expanding his reputation for quality of tone and virtuosic, emotional interpretations. The death of his wife in 1908 resulted in him retiring from the stage, except for charity performances and concerts in aid of those wounded in the First World War. He had many pupils, including Alexander Brailowsky. He died in Saint-Avit.
Planté is featured in the 1999 DVD The Art of Piano, in which a short excerpt from the film of him playing Chopin's Étude in C, Op. 10 No. 7 can be seen.
Francis Planté's style is considered very different from modern-day recording artists. The recordings available suggest a more paced performance with a more prominent accent on each beat and with the notes more pronounced.
Recordings that Planté made include:
Chopin: Études Op. 10, Nos. 4, 5 and 7
Chopin: Études Op. 25, Nos. 1, 2, 9 and 11
Mendelssohn: Scherzo in E, Op. 16, No. 3.
Boccherini: MinuetHexameron (musical composition)
Hexaméron, Morceau de concert S.392 is a collaborative composition for solo piano. It consists of six variations on a theme, along with an introduction, connecting interludes and a finale. The theme is the "March of the Puritans" from Vincenzo Bellini's opera I puritani.
Princess Cristina Trivulzio Belgiojoso conceived the piece in 1837 and persuaded Franz Liszt to assemble a set of variations of the march along with five of his pianist-friends. Liszt composed the introduction, second variation, connecting sections and finale, and integrated the piece into an artistic unity. Five well-known composer-performers each contributed one variation: Frédéric Chopin, Carl Czerny, Henri Herz, Johann Peter Pixis and Sigismond Thalberg.
Princess Belgiojoso commissioned Hexaméron–the title refers to the Biblical six days of creation–for a benefit concert for the poor on 31 March 1837 at the princess's salon in Paris. The musicians did not complete the piece on time, but the concert was held as scheduled. The concert's highlight was a piano "duel" between Thalberg and Liszt for the title of "greatest pianist in the world." Princess Belgiojoso announced her diplomatic judgment: "Thalberg is the first pianist in the world–Liszt is unique."Hexaméron is divided into nine parts:
Introduction: Extremement lent (Liszt)
Tema: Allegro marziale (transcribed by Liszt)
Variation I: Ben marcato (Thalberg)
Variation II: Moderato (Liszt)
Variation III: di bravura (Pixis) - Ritornello (Liszt)
Variation IV: Legato e grazioso (Herz)
Variation V: Vivo e brillante (Czerny) - Fuocoso molto energico; Lento quasi recitativo (Liszt)
Variation VI: Largo (Chopin) - (coda) (Liszt)
Finale: Molto vivace quasi prestissimo (Liszt)Pianists Vladimir Horowitz, Ingolf Wunder, Raymond Lewenthal, Leslie Howard, Francesco Nicolosi and Marc-André Hamelin, among others, have recorded the piece.Liszt made arrangements of the piece for piano and orchestra (S.365b) and for two pianos (S.654). Pianists Ingolf Wunder, Leslie Howard and Eugene List recorded the orchestral version.In 2009, six New York-based composer-pianists–Matthew Cameron, Corbin Beisner, Simone Ferraresi, Quentin Kim, Greg Anderson, and Hwaen Chu'qi–created their own Hexameron Variations based on the same Bellini "March". It premiered at the 2010 American Liszt Society Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska, US.Home! Sweet Home!
"Home, Sweet Home" is a song adapted from American actor and dramatist John Howard Payne's 1823 opera Clari, or the Maid of Milan, the song's melody was composed by Englishman Sir Henry Bishop with lyrics by Payne. Bishop had earlier published a more elaborate version of this melody, naming it "A Sicilian Air", but he later confessed to having written himself.
The song's lyrics are:
When the song was published separately, it quickly sold 100,000 copies. The publishers made a considerable profit from it, net £2,100 in the first year, and the producer of the opera did well. Only Payne did not really profit by its success. "While his money lasted, he was a prince of bohemians", but had little business sense. In 1852 Henry Bishop "relaunched" the song as a parlour ballad, and it became very popular in the United States throughout the American Civil War and after. The song's American premiere took place at the Winter Tivoli Theatre in Philadelphia on October 29, 1823, and was sung by "Mrs. Williams."
As early as 1827 this song was quoted by Swedish composer Franz Berwald in his Konzertstück for Bassoon and Orchestra (middle section, marked Andante). Gaetano Donizetti used the theme in his opera Anna Bolena (1830) Act 2, Scene 3 as part of Anna's Mad Scene to underscore her longing for her childhood home. It is also used with Sir Henry Wood's Fantasia on British Sea Songs and in Alexandre Guilmant's Fantasy for organ Op. 43, the Fantaisie sur deux mélodies anglaises, both of which also use "Rule, Britannia!". In 1857 composer/pianist Sigismond Thalberg wrote a series of variations for piano (op. 72) on the theme of "Home! Sweet Home!".
In 1909, it was featured in the silent film The House of Cards, an Edison Studios film. In the particular scene, a frontier bar was hurriedly closed due to a fracas. A card reading "Play Home Sweet Home" was displayed, upon which an on-screen fiddler promptly supplied a pantomime of the song. This may imply a popular association of this song with the closing hour of drinking establishments.
The song was reputedly banned from being played in Union Army camps during the American Civil War for being too redolent of hearth and home and so likely to incite desertion.
The Village of East Hampton acquired his grandfathers seventeenth-century house, known as "Home Sweet Home," and the windmill behind it, converting the homestead into a living museum in the landmarked East Hampton Village District.
The song is known in Japan as "Hanyū no Yado" ("埴生の宿") ("My Humble Cottage"). It has been used in such movies as The Burmese Harp and Grave of the Fireflies. It is also used at Senri-Chūō Station on the Kita-Osaka Kyūkō Railway.
Payne's tune, though, is perhaps most commonly recognized in the score from MGM's The Wizard of Oz. The melody is played in a counterpart to "Over the Rainbow" in the final scene as Dorothy (played by Judy Garland) tells her family, "there's no place like home".In the 1939 film First Love, the song is performed by Deanna Durbin.
In the 1946 20th Century Fox film Anna and the King of Siam, as well as in Rodgers and Hammerstein's 1951 musical, The King and I (and its 1956 film adaptation), Anna Leonowens teaches her students to sing "Home! Sweet Home" as part of her psychological campaign to induce the King to build her a house of her own.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.José Melchor Gomis
José Melchor Gomis y Colomer (6 January 1791 – 4 August 1836) was a Spanish Romantic composer. He was born in 1791 in Ontinyent, Vall d'Albaida, Valencia Province.He was director of music for an artillery regiment during the Napoleonic Wars. An early melodrame by Gomis for voice and orchestra was performed at Valencia in 1817.He wrote the music of the Himno de Riego, named after the rebellious General Riego (1784-1823) and since used as the national anthem by various republican governments of Spain.
Gomis's political views caused him to live in exile after the accession of Ferdinand VII in 1823, in Paris and in London. In both cities he was a friend of his fellow exile the composer Santiago Masarnau, whom he may have introduced to London musical life. In Paris, Gomis wrote a successful singing method, published in 1826 with dedications to Gioacchino Rossini and François-Adrien Boieldieu, and in London his choral work L'inverno was performed in 1827. In 1830 his opera Aben-Humeya was performed in Paris. Gomis's Paris operas Diable à Seville (1831) (staged with the support of Rossini) and Le revenant (1836) gained respectful reviews from Hector Berlioz. Le portefaix, the most successful of his operas, had a libretto by Eugène Scribe (originally offered to the composer Giacomo Meyerbeer).Gomis was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur by King Louis-Philippe. Gomis died in Paris in 1836 of tuberculosis, leaving a number of works unfinished, including the opera Le comte Julien, also to a libretto by Scribe (and eventually set in 1851 by Sigismond Thalberg as Florinda).List of compositions by Sigismond Thalberg
Sigismond Thalberg was a virtuoso pianist and prolific composer of the 19th Century. In his time, he was regarded as a pianist equal in footing to the other two great names of the time, Franz Liszt and Frédéric Chopin.Piano Sonata in B major, D 575 (Schubert)
The Piano Sonata in B major D 575 by Franz Schubert is a sonata for solo piano, posthumously published as Op. 147 and given a dedication to Sigismond Thalberg by its publishers. Schubert composed the sonata in August 1817.Song Without End
Song Without End, subtitled The Story of Franz Liszt (1960) is a biographical film romance made by Columbia Pictures. It was directed by Charles Vidor, who died during the shooting of the picture and was replaced by George Cukor. It was produced by William Goetz from a screenplay by Oscar Millard, revised (uncredited) by Walter Bernstein and based on screenwriter Oscar Saul's original 1952 script (uncredited). The music score was by Morris Stoloff and Harry Sukman with music by Franz Liszt, and the cinematography by James Wong Howe and Charles Lang (uncredited). The film also features music of those contemporaries of Liszt whom he unselfishly championed by featuring them in his numerous performances (e.g., Richard Wagner, Hector Berlioz, among others).The film stars Dirk Bogarde as Franz Liszt, Capucine (in her acting debut) as Princess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, and Geneviève Page as Marie d'Agoult, with Patricia Morison as George Sand, Alexander Davion as Frédéric Chopin, Lyndon Brook as Richard Wagner, Albert Rueprecht as Prince Felix Lichnowsky, Erland Erlandsen as Sigismond Thalberg, Ivan Desny, Martita Hunt, Lou Jacobi, and Marcel Dalio.Thalberg
Thalberg or Talberg is a surname of German origin, which means "valley hill". It may refer to:
Irving Thalberg (1899–1936), American film producer
Irving Thalberg Jr. (1930–1988), American philosopher
Norma Thalberg (1902–1983), Canadian actress
Ole Talberg (born 1982), Norwegian football player
Ruben Talberg (born 1964), German artist
Sigismond Thalberg (1812–1871), Austrian composerTheodor Coccius
Theodor Coccius (8 March 1824 – 24 October 1897) was a German pianist and pedadogue.
Coccius was born in Knauthain near Leipzig in 1824. He was a pupil of Sigismond Thalberg.
He taught at the Leipzig Conservatory from 1864 for the rest of his life, alongside Ignaz Moscheles and Carl Reinecke. His notable pupils included Oskar Merikanto, Aleksander Michałowski (1867–69), and Algernon Ashton.He was the elder brother of the ophthalmologist Ernst Adolf Coccius (1825-1890).
He died in Leipzig in 1897, aged 73.Émile Prudent
Émile Racine Gauthier Prudent (3 February 1817 – 14 May 1863) was a French pianist and composer. His works number about seventy, and include a piano trio, a concerto-symphony, many character pieces, sets of variations, transcriptions and etudes, in addition to his celebrated fantasies on operatic airs. As a teacher, he was very successful and produced several distinguished pupils.