The romantic piano


Back when I was still a very tiny boy my mother listened to some classical piano while I was lying lazily on the couch. That must have been the very first time I heard classical music, and I was not impressed. I probably asked her to put on my favorite record again (I couldn’t get enough of Francis Goya!) and moved on. When I saw this record and the title, it reminded me of that. I expected the same vibe.

So imagine my surprise when it turned out to be slightly different. All of this is mostly unknown works by second rate composers. But it is in the unknown that I find my pleasure! Anton Rubinstein is best known as a pianist, but here is his fourth piano concerto. Xaver Scharwenka, a Russian composer born in what is now Poland. Adolph von Henselt from Bavaria, totally unknown to me. It all ends with the Totentanz by Franz Liszt, a piece not for the faint hearted.

Raymond Lewenthal was an American pianist specialized in that lesser known romantic repertoire. His wiki page says that he was the leader of the so called romantic revival, and it mentions more names of composers that nobody knows. Many of these also feature in a long standing series of piano concerts that is released by the English label Hyperion. Lewenthal was not on contract with them, so this was a nice surprise.

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