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Fantasies on Operas By Bellini

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Audio CD, July 17, 2001
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Fantasies on Operas By Bellini + Fantasias on Operas By Rossini + THALBERG: Fantasies on Operas by Donizetti
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Editorial Reviews



Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 17, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • Run Time: 75 minutes
  • ASIN: B00005K3P8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366,027 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hexameron on June 26, 2006
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sigismond Thalberg's name in today's view of music history is almost exclusively linked with the great pianistic rivalry he shared with Franz Liszt. But Thalberg's life, influence on the composers around him, and the popularity of his music during his lifetime reveals that he had a far more substantial role in music history. Thalberg's peculiar mannerism of sitting at the piano with a firm and motionless composure while playing heavily demanding virtuosic passages led Mendelssohn to believe that Thalberg, "within his more restricted sphere, is more perfect as a real virtuoso." Thalberg's style of performance, however, seems totally incongruous with his own compositions, especially his operatic fantasias, which effuse not only brilliant pianistic effects, but also emotionally expressive music. Apparently, Thalberg studied singing for five years, and it shows in the vocal qualities of his own piano-writing. This Naxos release is a reissue from the Marco Polo label, and I feel it deserves five stars for the special first-recorded content and the excellent interpretations given. The performances by the stupendous Francesco Nicolosi, the president of the Thalberg International Study Center, are marvelous and without defects.

Thalberg's Grande Fantaisie on Bellini's Norma Op. 12 is an exceptional work, and Robert Schumann gave it a positive review in his New Journal of Music. Being familiar with Liszt's Norma Fantasy, I found a lot in common between the two. But while Liszt's dramatic mood far exceeds Thalberg's, the virtuosic thrill and beautiful thematic material makes Thalberg's Fantasy as equally memorable as Liszt's. In his insightful book,
...Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Phillip J. Rodgers on June 4, 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Sigismond Thalberg was Franz Liszt's only serious rival in the early 19th century. Many of the best musical minds of the time (i.e. Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann) actually seemed to have preferred Thalberg as a performer to Liszt. Thalberg was also one of the first major musical stars to tour the younf United States. This CD is of Thalberg's fantasies on operas of Vincenzo Bellini. Bellini was one of the great tunesmiths in music so you know that the raw melodic material will be superior. Thalberg's great failing as a musician seems to have been that he stopped growing. He brought one of the final elements of modern piano technique to the instrument and was then content to rest on his laurels. The fantasies on this album, played superbly by Francesco Nicolosi, date from when Thalberg was on the cutting edge. The "Norma" fantasy was actually in Liszt's repertoire until he wrote his own. It is interesting to note that Liszt follows Thalberg's choice of thematic material very closely, though Thalberg's treatment of the themes occasionally has a raucous, music hall type brio that you do not find in Liszt. If you were looking for one example of the sort of musical fireworks that were once the norm in concerts this CD is an excellent choice. The music is delightful, the performances dazzling and the price excellent. It falls short of the highest rating only because Thalberg was more of a very gifted arranger than a composer. Nevertheless this is worth your time.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hiram Gomez Pardo HALL OF FAME on August 12, 2010
Format: Audio CD
The Thalberg revival has brought the light many brilliant and virtuosi pages of the extended piano literature.

I just have to celebrate the great interest aroused since the seventies (where Michael Ponti (1937-)and Earl Wild (1915-2010) were his most indomitable and encumbered interpreters).

This album is part of the huge legacy of operatic transcriptions of this genial composer, who never had the chance to shine with own light due the radiant and incandescent presence of Franz Liszt.

But at last, the time has brought a well deserved act of justice for this new generation. Thanks to the great explosion of new and daring pianists who have bet for new possibilities in the wide pianist repertoire.

Francesco Nicolosi is one of the youngest and gifted pianists of his generation. His demoniacal technique and thundering fingering fits as ring to finger to assume the challenge of playing this composer whose difficult is well known for most of instrumentalists.

Absolutely recommended.
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