SIGISMOND THALBERG (1812 - 1871)
One of the most distinguished pianists of his time, pitted by some as a rival to Liszt, Thalberg was a pupil of the pianist and composer Hummel. He embarked on an international career in the 1830s, providing himself with a virtuoso repertoire in which he was able to display his virtuosity and his gift for a singing melody. He spent his final years at Posillipo, on the Bay of Naples.
Thalberg’s piano music inevitably includes a number of operatic fantasias, a standard element of virtuoso repertoire, as well as sets of variations, studies and a final modest collection of great charm, recalling evenings at Posillipo.
A number of Thalberg’s operatic fantasias and paraphrases include an optional orchestral accompaniment. In his Piano Concerto he found a further chance for virtuoso display and created a work which should not be lightly dismissed.