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5 Minutes on Franz Liszt’s Funérailles

Pianist Daniel Barenboim, now celebrating 75 years, has published a series of short videos titled “5 minutes on…” in which he discusses well-known piano pieces. In this episode he talks about Franz Liszt’s Funérailles from the piano cycle Harmonies Poétiques et Religieuses. Read more >>

Poll
Question: Who was the true pioneer of the 19th pianist century Romantic ERA
Schumann - 0 (0%)
Thalberg - 1 (9.1%)
Chopin - 2 (18.2%)
Liszt - 7 (63.6%)
Mendelssohn - 1 (9.1%)
Total Voters: 11

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Author Topic: Who was the true pioneer pianist of the 19th century Romantic ERA  (Read 895 times)
adodd81802
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« on: March 11, 2016, 04:11:07 PM »

Friendly poll, would be interested to get your opinions, feel free to back it up with what you think is the performers best piece (maybe link to youtube?)

Some may query the list, I have chosen a reputable group of pianists that were all born within 1-2 years of eachother. (1809-1812)

Feel free to suggest others with your reason why. My piano teacher has suggested Schumann above all of this group.
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ronde_des_sylphes
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« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2016, 04:51:41 PM »

I feel obligated to point out that Alkan was born 1813 and Henselt 1814. Together with Chopin b.1810, Liszt b.1811 and Thalberg b.1812 I think they are the five greatest pianists of the first half of the 19th century.

I'll vote for Liszt, because he introduced so many stylistic, compositional, and technical innovations to the piano, in addition to being a truly revolutionary composer. Ultimately he was more forward-looking than Chopin, though to be fair the majority Liszt's most revolutionary work occurred later on in his compositional career. Liszt of course was the romantic performer par excellence, imbued with the literary and intellectual spirit of the times.

Liszt's finest work (finest work with a piano in it, to be accurate):

Schumann wasn't a good enough pianist imo to be considered in this poll; Mendelssohn was much more of a late classicist imo.

Henselt is important in the context of the early development of the Russian piano tradition: you can see the influence of his, at the time, unusual facility for left hand figurations perpetuated in Liapunov's studies and in Rachmaninov (some say the three-note opening motif of Rachmaninov's infamous C#min prelude is a lift from the Henselt piano concerto).

Alkan is a sidestep from Romanticism; there's Haydnesque style severe mixed in with a sometimes ultra-Lisztian physicality and harmonic density. Finest work, imo, is the Symphonie.

Chopin is of course, simply Chopin. He's a unique voice: probably changed attitudes to fingering every bit as radically as Liszt did. I don't see him as the ultimate pioneer of romanticism per se because he was more a of a salon performer and I don't think ultimately he leaves much heritage outwith early Scriabin. Finest work imo the fourth Ballade.

Thalberg was probably almost as much of a technical innovator as Liszt was; he gets underestimated because much of his compositional output doesn't transcend the instrument in the way that greater composers did. But if you look at his work in detail, it is apparent that he must have been one hell of a fine and inventive pianist. I don't see him as fully Romantic though; I've posted about this in the past and feel there is rather a lot of classicist residue to his style mixed in with his absorption of the new sonic capabilities of the piano. Finest work imo - not sure; Sonnambula fantasy, La traviata or his achievement in putting together the L'art du chant collection (the source material is of varied quality).
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visitor
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« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2016, 05:04:03 PM »

+1 to Rds

i think the question is too broadly defined to say 'greatest'.  better to potentially ask who the the most innovative, or who broke more rules, or who contributed the most to the repertoire and advancement of the art of performance and composition, etc., etc.  they each had their own genius and impact.

although my vote is for liszt. simply said he did things at the instrument no one had ever done/thought to do, the writing is almost fundamentally different, also he was the most progressive especially with his work mid and late life such as the pre impressionism see in  'Les jeux d'eaux ŕ la Villa d'Este',

hard to say Liszt didn't arrive in the same neighborhood before Ravel, at the least laid some groundwork


or the vague tonality seen in Nuages gris.
His orchestration and writing of piano music for orchestra and also art of transcribing ie Beethoven concerti, Bach organ works, etc., his impact was profound.

in the niche of pure piano solo composition, sure there others who shine, but overall he had his hand in pretty much everything, and did it all pretty well/great while also moving the style forward. again he was looking at what was coming after romanticism almost before anyone else was
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thalbergmad
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« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2016, 07:15:07 PM »

Since the thread title uses the word pioneer, i have voted for Thalberg.

Not because of his music or his legendary playing, but because of his huge tours of the Americas and Canada in which he gave over 350 concerts and did more to promote European piano music than any of his contemporaries.

It is absurd to mention Schumann. All he did was chuck himself in a river and write horsecrap.

Thal
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perfect_pitch
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« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2016, 11:02:12 PM »

What about Beethoven for goodness sake? His music radically changed from the very beginning writing complex classical era sounding pieces, to trying to beautifully turn the Piano sonata into something more deep and connecting with the human heart?

I'm surprised his name isn't up there - especially since his music seems to be helped influence the others that are on the list.
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huaidongxi
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2016, 04:57:37 AM »

the 'romantic' with capital R as a movement or ideology was probably irrelevant, possibly abhorrent to LvB ; he was inspired and motivated by the ideals of the Enlightenment, which were to a large degree rejected by the Romantics.  none the less, in terms of music and specifically piano music, piano virtuosity, LvB could be considered the original Romantic when he grew into his mature period, and the others, derivative or descendant.  Liszt's pianism did not arise fully mature like the goddess Athena, but had a direct lineage to LvB via czerny.  Chopin probably would reject the R label, looking back as much as he did to Bach and Mozart.

not as a piano virtuoso, but as a piano composer, Schumann is deserving as any to be a pioneer R.
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ahinton
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« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2016, 07:52:55 AM »

It is absurd to mention Schumann. All he did was chuck himself in a river and write horsecrap.
What? WHile he was in that river? That would have been quite a technical achievement in itself.

No, what needs to be done here is extend that 1809-1812 period by just one year in order to accommodate Alkan. That said, I am not suggesting that there was or could be only one such pianist.

Best,

Alistair
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