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This review is from: Thalberg - Grand Concerto (Audio CD)
Sigismund Thalberg (1812-1871) is a name that kept on cropping up in books and articles I have read whilst I have been investigating nineteenth-century piano works; there is not much of his work available on CD, so I took a small chance and ordered this inexpensive Naxos CD. Now, I have to say that the pianist, Francesco Nicolosi, plays well (he has recorded a few Thalberg CDs for Marco Polo - some re-released on Naxos) and the orchestra back him well enough. However, this is flashy, virtuoso, shallow music.
As Harold C Schonberg says in his excellent book The Great Pianists, "His (Thalberg's) music, though, was doomed to a short life. Today it is forgotten, and he himself is a shadowy figure. Liszt moved with the times, constantly growing, while Thalberg was content to be the virtuoso with his little bag of dated tricks". I often find "forgotten" music to be well-worth investigating, but not Thalberg; it's empty stuff.
Schonberg also quotes Chopin on Thalberg from 1830: "As for Thalberg, he plays excellently, but he is not my man. Younger than I, pleases the ladies, makes potpurris from "la Muette" [ Auber's opera "La Muette de Portici"], gets his soft passages by the pedal, not the hand, takes tenths as easily as I take octaves - has diamond shirt studs - does not admire Moscheles."
Whilst apparently a lovely man, Thalberg's music has seemingly little utility in the twenty-first century, but you might listen once or twice, diamond shirt studs and all.