Clash of Titans
*Date and venue TBA
Is a reenactment of the historical 1837 pianistic duel between Lizst and Thalberg. Long before American Idol, musical battles were fought in the leading European salons, as music held a central role in the cultural life of 1830’s Europe. Great virtuosi, accorded star status, traveled performing before enthusiastic audiences, often playing their own compositions, which would include transcriptions of orchestral or operatic works. The public had its favorites and would split among different camps, just as with the famous rivalry between Callas and Tebaldi in the XX century.
The program centers on the 1837 pianistic duel between Liszt and Thalberg at the home of Princess Belgiojoso, recreating the atmosphere of the salon, accented by the contemporary dress.
Arch-rivals Liszt and Thalberg were championed by throngs of faithful followers. Thalberg was known for his refined, accurate mechanism and lyrical playing. Clara Schumann once remarked that “his passages could be compared to rows of pearls”. Liszt, on the other hand, inspired by Paganini’s technical development of violin technique, sought to expand the possibilities of the piano. He was lionized by his orchestral playing and innovative compositional style. The testimonies of his contemporaries leave no doubt about his genius, performing ability, and magnetism.
The program, featuring two highly accomplished concert pianists, will recreate the program of that electrifying evening, before adoring salonnière.