I’ve said it many times. These series that I organize in my head are by no means comprehensive. We did a pretty thorough one back in July and into August where we discussed some early piano works of some big composers: Mozart (concertos and sonatas), Beethoven (piano trios and sonatas and a concerto), Chopin, Schumann, and then Brahms.
But that’s obviously not all of what there is to talk about in that span of time. We managed to get through Beethoven’s ops. 1 and 2, each made of three pieces, and Chopin’s ops. 1-9, but had to skip and pick and choose with Schumann and Brahms.
In any case, people are inevitably left out. It saddens me to admit I left out one of the most significant names after Beethoven, one Franz Schubert, but that just has to be that for now. He’s in the works for next year.
We’ve come off our month of modern string quartets and other 20th-century works, and before we jump into a giant project that will take us through to the end of the year, I thought it would be nice to spend a few weeks addressing two other composers who need to be mentioned along with Chopin and Schumann as outrageously important names of pianist/composers from the same era, within a few years of Chopin and Schumann, one only a year younger, one a few years younger (born in 1811 and 1813, respectively). While we won’t be doing any kind of stretch of multiple works, these two composers deserve their honorable mentions among the earliest of Romantic greats. One is overwhelmingly, timelessly, historically famous; the other is decidedly (and tragically) not. These two men were also considered friends and colleagues, not only of each other, but also of Chopin himself, occupying positions as the virtuoso pianists in Paris.
That’s about all there is to say now. As for the former composer, almost anyone who’s ever listened to any classical music of any kind has heard something he’s written; as for the latter, the piece of his we shall discuss is an early set of three pieces dedicated to the former.
I actually didn’t mean for this to be so cryptic. Think of the works (or their composers) as honorable mentions for that extensive-but-not-extensive-enough little series we did this past summer. See you Thursday.
Romantic Piano Music: An Epilogue