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The Romantic Piano Concerto, Vol. 41: Friedrich Kalkbrenner: Piano Concertos Nos. 1 & 4 ()

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German-born Frédéric Kalkbrenner was perhaps the top pianist in Paris when Chopin came on the scene. The exemplary booklet notes by Jeremy Nicholas here, which are full of information useful to anyone interested in the period, include various entertaining put-downs of Kalkbrenner and his music -- poet Heinrich Heine likened the composer's ineffective pomposity to "a bonbon fallen in the mud," and Nicholas himself calls the music "emotionally and dynamically limited." Its strong point is its elegant virtuosity. The two piano concertos recorded here are compendia of technique, with everything artfully deployed to show off Kalkbrenner's own skills over a background of rather formless material, Beethovenian in mood. As a pianist he was "polished as a billiard ball," one contemporary wrote, and the music moves episodically along, the orchestra receding as Kalkbrenner steps into the spotlight to display a run of octaves or a blaze of sixty-fourth notes. Kalkbrenner's influence as a teacher was considerable;... Hide synopsis

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