Sigismund Thalberg: Piano Music

Sigismund Thalberg: Piano Music

by Stefan Irmer

CD

Item is available through our marketplace sellers.

Overview

Sigismund Thalberg: Piano Music

Sigismund Thalberg, Liszt's rival, was one of the great pianists of the nineteeth century. Before an 1837 keyboard duel between the two, Liszt penned an essay charging Thalberg's music with "impotence and monotony." Modern tastes have awarded Liszt the palm, but, as pianist Stefan Irmer points out here in his own booklet notes (in German, French, and English), observers at the time would not have been unanimous in that judgment. He includes a hilarious commentary by Heinrich Heine, not naming Liszt but praising Thalberg in terms that unmistakably refer to him: "The frail women are no less fond of [Thalberg], even though he does not appeal to their sympathy with epileptic fits on the piano, even though he does not speculate on the extreme sensitivity of their tender nerves...." Certainly the music here doesn't have the expressive range of Liszt's, but Thalberg, originally from Switzerland, was technically a match for the Hungarian. The two fantasies on themes from Rossini (tracks 1 and 8) are distinct from the potpourri type, with the operatic tunes worked into original music by Thalberg rather than just loosely knitted together. But the heart of the program consists of the "12 Etudes, Op. 26," which are impressive compendia of keyboard technique. Irmer's notes describe these evocatively: the awe-inspiring five minutes of tremolos in the "Etude No. 8" (track 10) are "fluorescent." Irmer might take a slight breath in the "Etude No. 7," where a tune persists in the middle register among dense thickets of accompanying chords in both hands (in a characteristic example of Thalberg's three-hands-illusion trademark). But he beautifully brings home what he calls Thalberg's "extension of the pianistic sound space." He uses a 1901 Steinway; a period piano might have been more in keeping with the MDG label's usual authenticity-minded productions, but this is a virtuoso performance, and the sound engineering captures all of its dimensions. Strongly recommended for anyone interested in Liszt, Chopin, or Romantic pianism in general.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/21/2009
Label: Mdg
UPC: 0760623155128
catalogNumber: 6181551

Tracks

  1. Fantasia on themes from "Moïse," Op 33 (Rossini)
  2. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 26: No. 1. Allegro
  3. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 26: No. 2. Allegro
  4. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 26: No. 3. Allegro moderato
  5. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 26: No. 4. Presto
  6. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 26: No. 5. Allegro
  7. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 26: No. 6. Presto. Molto agitato
  8. Fantasia and Variations on Rossini's "La Donna del Lago," for piano, Op 40 bis
  9. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 26: No. 7. Allegretto moderato
  10. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 26: No. 8. Andante ma non troppo
  11. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 26: No. 9. Presto
  12. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 26: No. 10. Lento
  13. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 26: No. 11. Allegretto
  14. Etudes (12) for piano, Op. 26: No. 12. Allegro

Album Credits

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews