His most infamous bit, really
Gosh, well done!
And rezpek yo taste in rep - this deserves to be played.
Thanks, yeah I think it’s a very cool theme and variations (even if it’s in reality “the second half” of a larger entity). I’m not so convinced by the other part of the fantasy (I did record the full thing): it seems a bit rambling and overlong thus I think it’s quite hard to make it come over effectively. Lewenthal made a pretty kickass recording of the full piece, though I find it also quite eccentric… maybe that’s to be expected with him.
Tru mass rezpec for playing this legendary mofo!
I kinda agree with your opinion of the whole piece; even if I still like it, this section is head and shoulders above the rest.
If I could time-travel, it would be to the Liszt/Thalberg duel, no doubt at all. It must have been amazing to see this first time round; it’s so texturally inventive for its time. There’s a lovely story in Kenneth Hamilton’s “After the Golden Age” where the contemporary pianist- composer Dohler was giving a recital and the audience realised that Thalberg was amongst them. Result being that Dohler wasn’t allowed to continue his concert until Thalberg got up and played Moses.
Did you listen to the Syracuse 1969 recording I uploaded a few weeks ago? I think he does it marvelously there.
Liszt did have a point with Thalberg, but I think this is possibly his best composition and well worth reviving. I am very glad you choose to work on this rather than the Don Juan, say.
Yeah, Liszt was out on deep waters there, with Thalberg surpassing himself and Liszt playing perhaps more an experiment than a masterpiece. Still, I really like Niobe as well. It’s “cool” somehow, and there’s nothing else quite like it.
Is that the recording which was on YT at one point, but it was a semitone flat? In any case, I must recheck it.
Tbh I think the Sonnambula is better, or at least more consistently good. I suppose it helps that the thematic material therein is of really high quality (imo). I like La traviata a lot too and probably more than Moses; it’s deceptively insane though. I’ve recorded it under studio conditions and last time I listened I was happy with the rec, but it’s too difficult for me to play “live” with any degree of reliability and besides I’ve not looked at for a few years now, haha. (Oleg Marshev’s La traviata recording is really interesting btw.)
Yeah, I’ve dabbled with Niobe, keep meaning to get round to taking it seriously. There’s a Gekic masterclass on it on YT, I watched about half of it and never finished…
I actually don’t remember either the Sonnambula or La Traviata. Would you care to share your recording of the latter? (or the Marshev disc?) Many, many years ago now I was part of a team who collected Thalberg’s complete piano works, and I scanned through the paraphrases at the piano then to get an impression of what he did and what they sounded like, but I don’t remember much of it now. I vaguely recall liking his Les Huguenots, Don Pasquale and the Barber in Seville as well, but I haven’t heard either since I was in my late teens.
Call it bad taste if you like but my favorite Niobe is actually still Howard. Gekic is fine, but there are too many eccentricities and too little fury there for me. I think it would have been a different story if he had taken it up ten years earlier however.
The Marshev Traviata is under the YT topic of Oleg Marshev, but the video/audio recording isn’t showing as available. I’ll pm you (and/or anyone else interested!) a dl link for mp3 of my recording. No matter how much I worked on the godamn thing (and believe me, I worked a lot on it) I don’t think it’s nearly as interesting as Marshev though
Nicolosi is always pretty solid in the paraphrases but I’m not sure he’s really a match for the likes of Earl Wild, whose Don Pasquale I love. There’s a recent (c.2014?) Thalberg disc by the Finnish pianist Satu Paavola and it’s great.