The Romantics: A One Track Mind

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Liszt (clockwise), Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, Schubert. Liszt (clockwise), Brahms, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Chopin, Schubert. (Wikipedia Commons)

This series is dedicated to the great romantic composers of the piano — Franz Schubert, Felix Mendelssohn, Frédéric Chopin, Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt and Johannes Brahms. Each of these composers made the piano the center of their compositional worlds. On the Season Finale of The Romantic Piano, David Dubal features works from all six of these influential composers, showcasing their connections to each other.

Paganini had an incredible influence and effect on all six of our romantic composers and because of this he is the spiritual father of romantic virtuosity. Schubert was the first to hear the great violinist in Vienna in 1828. It was the first city that Paganini conquered. Mendelssohn heard him in Berlin and was stunned, and then Chopin in 1829 in Warsaw.

Liszt heard all 10 recitals that Paganini gave in Paris and took notes. Schumann became breathless with excitement when he heard him in Leipzig, so much so that he began to transcribe his caprices just as Liszt was doing in Paris. Schumann was so impressed that he recreated Paganini's violinistic playing in his great Carnivale by way of one minute's worth of piano writing.

Besides Paganini, all six of these romantic composers had a strong bond, and all knew one another except for Schubert; he had died just a bit too early for camaraderie. However, later, Liszt became Schubert's true champion. He edited Schubert's piano sonatas and transcribed 55 of his songs. 


Mendelssohn, Felix: On the Wings of Song (Auf Flügeln des Gesanges) / Michael Levin

Chopin, Frédéric: Souvenir de Paganini / Vladimir Ashkenazy

Schumann, Robert: Carnaval, Op. 9 / Daniel Pollack

Brahms, Johannes - Paganini, Niccolò: Variation for Piano on a theme by Paganini, Op. 35 / Evgeni Kissin

Liszt, Franz: Transcendental Etude No. 1 for Piano, S 139 / György "George" Cziffra

Liszt, Franz: Nuages gris for Piano, S 199 / Sviatoslav Richter

Schubert, Franz - Liszt, Franz: Serenade / Vladimir Horowitz

Mendelssohn, Felix: Songs without words, vol 4, Op. 53, No. 5, Volkslied "Folksong" / Daniel Barenboim

Schumann, Robert: Intermezzo from Humoreske for Piano in B flat major, Op. 20 / Vladimir Horowitz

Brahms, Johannes: First Movement, Sonata for Piano no 2 in F sharp minor, Op. 2 / Hélène Grimaud

Chopin, Frédéric: Prelude for Piano, Op. 28: no 20 in C minor / Alfred Cortot

Schubert, Franz: Scherzo from Sonata for Piano in B major, D 575/Op. posth / Klára Würtz

Brahms, Johannes - Cortot, Alfred: Cradle Song, Op. 49, No. 4 "Wiegenlied" / Alfred Cortot

Comments [7]

Thomas W from Chicago

A superbly produced series---intellectually stimulating and artistically fulfilling.
I listen to the program broadcast in Chicago by WFMT. Due to family commitment, I had to miss the first episode on Chopin. On visiting the web page for the episode, I found no audio button to enable one to listen to the program online (some others have the audio button.) Would the folks at WQXR be kind enough to upload the episode to the web for online listening?

Jan. 20 2014 12:19 AM
Tony from NYC

Please be sure to have David Dubal back for more seasons. His passionate advocacy and wide-ranging selection of recordings offer a richness of listening experience otherwise missing from New York radio -- perhaps even the worldwide web. It's also music education without pedantry. So please, let's have more!

Jul. 01 2013 12:09 AM
Bernie Hughes from Bridgewater, N.H.

This is a beautiful offering.

Jun. 30 2013 11:16 PM
Robert Levine from Athens, Ohio

I have just heard the final program of the tremendous series of " The Romantic Piano", and I have never heard anything to compare with such a perfect programming , and commentary. Every school in the United States should start their day with a one hour program such as these. Our Children will become different people. I who use to love Rock and Roll have come to realize through WQXR how deprived I was all my life. Mr. Dubal is like a shining light and I look forward to him each week. Today I read David Dubal's magnificent article on Gottschalk in the Wall Street Journal. Bless you at WQXR, and thanks goodness that it is heard all over the world.

Jun. 30 2013 11:15 PM
Silversalty from Brooklyn

So this "season" of Mr. Dubal's insights and analyses of piano composition and interpretation is over (after 11PM tonight). Will there be another season?

I don't know the significance of "most listened." It may be an insignificant aspect of web based access as compared to local radio listening. The reverse might be true in terms of significance in that the web is "world wide." The actual numbers might tell the story but they're not provided. Whatever the significance, Dubal's hours are consistently listed as "most listened."

Either way, for my ears Dubal's presentations are the best that WQXR has to offer. By far.


"How much is that doggy in the window?" Chopin - Souvenir de Paganini

Jun. 30 2013 02:35 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Congratulations and kudos to you Mr. DUVAL for presenting the best of the piano literature and performance in sync with the developments occurring in real time in their times. The masterpieces that deserve widespread hearing and repeated hewarings are so in need of a informed dynamic force like you.

Jun. 28 2013 09:27 AM
MARIA from tenafly. nj

Thank you to David Duval and WQXR for adding joy to my live, I look forward to every Thursday.

Jun. 27 2013 08:05 PM

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