Style Brillante, Bel Canto, & Jeu Perlé - Piano Music

As the Piano became more popular in the late 18th century - virtuosi began to emerge. There were serious composers like Beethoven - but also there were composers who made little in the way of MUSICAL advancements but did further the reach of the piano with regards to technique and imaginative ways to dazzle with new textures.
Of late I’ve grown an appreciation of these styles - they present a fun contrast to the weighty serious ‘great’ music.
Share some particular pieces you enjoy and observations you’ve made about this particular era of pianism and in particular how it advanced…with the bel canto & 3 hand arpeggio illusion technique popularized by Thalberg, and the disciplined ‘Classical’ style reaching it’s peak in the works of Czerny and Hummel.

This work in particular represents the culmination of the era! Each composer taking opportunities to dazzle in individual creative ways - exhausting their imagination not only musically but with use their use of the piano’s sheer variety of techniques and sounds.

I’ve loved these guys every since I was in my teens. And the whole era - it was full of optimism, naivety and experimentation, but you could also tell a whole new world was opening up to musicians (the romantic one) and some real advancements were done.

There’s a ton of fun stuff, but my favourite at the moment is Hamelin’s recent (and unexpected!) Herz variations:

I agree incidentally, you’ll rarely find “great” music in these works & by these composers, but there’s lots which is really inventive and fun to listen to. I’m normally not too fond of Herz, but Czerny was one of the best of the genre. I definitely think these things have a place in modern programs - not as substitutes for Op.111, but to complement it and add some variety, colour and air to the program.

Incidentally, you Comme are surely familiar with Katsaris’ Mozartiana disc on Sony, with some brilliant Czerny, Thalberg, Gelinek etc?

Yes! I’ve heard excerpts on Youtube, do you have the full disc?

Yep, maybe not on HD but at the very least in physical form. I’m just off to dine with some mofos, but I can upload late tonight or tomorrow. It’s superb stuff!

Early Chopin works like this definitely show how he took the style and ran with it.

Instead of the passagework being brilliant passagework - he made music out of the runs and they are more nuanced.

Others didn’t try to make every note melodic and were more content to have runs just be runs, and there was no harm in that, in fact there was a charm in that! if the context made it dazzling.

Nothing profound here but this work and performance never cease to dazzle and charm me!

Dis one is good too

In live perfs it was a similar level.
Like a poorer copy of the VH perf!

Speaking of Horowitz, stunning rec.

Yes… more energetic than the released 1944 studio

I dun like da tacked on mini caddy towards da end but otherwise a miracle

Ahh, tru - da HUFFLEPUFF and VH are both superb in this rep.

Not piano, but have you guys heard the Hummel trumpet concert? I really like that work

I prefer the Thalberg paraphrase on the same opera, but a super rare fantasy:

I sense a bit of pastiche Beethoven here.

Really catchy last movement 20.29

Imo the greatest Thalberg fantasy (performance is abridged slightly)

This is a very enjoyable non-opera Thalberg fantasy.

This is unbelievable. I’ve tried to play this piece and failed.

Super rare but some of the material will be familiar to Lisztians:

(The video will probably be :tm: approved, but not for the music :smiling_imp:)
That’s enough for just now :slight_smile:

If the Kalkbrenner is the work I’m thinking about it’s actually really interesting since it shows where Chopin comes from. A lot of Kalkbrenner’s early stuff sounds eerily Chopiny, but yet were written while the greater of the two was still just a boy (and we know through letters that Chopin initially was a major Kalkbrenner fan). His music is also fun since if you fastforward a little more in to the 1830s and 40s, it no longer sounds like Chopin but as a failed attempt to imitate Liszt!

Fun with Pixis too! I really like his Hexameron variation and have played through some of his compositions myself (which I did not like so much however), but I’ve never heard any of his works played for me.