Sunday, 12 June 2011

Friedrich Kalkbrenner

I've recently been reading Chopin's biography, and as I'd expected, the bio mentions Chopin's musical friends while in Paris (Franz Liszt, Hector Berlioz, Mendelssohn etc.). I also came across a name I'd never heard of before: Friedrich Kalbrenner, a pianist. According to the biography, Chopin thought very higly of Kalkbrenner, and Chopin even said once that he 'felt unworthy of untying his shoelaces'.

I grew interested about this guy, so I looked him up on the internet, and was astounded to find that he had written more than 200 piano works, piano concertos and operas of which a few have ever been recorded. He was also the first pianist to introduce rapid octave scales into the piano repetoire.

I think it's time to revive Kalkbrenner on Youtube! I'm currently transcribing his Brilliant Variations on a Mazurka by Chopin (Op. 120), and hopefully I'll finish it someday.


  1. Kalkbrenner was regarded as a pompous social climber and was not taken seriously by many of fellow musicians, although he was clearly both an excellent pianist and a good musician. Chopin's opinion changed for the worse after a few months in Paris. I have played through some of his piano music and it is not especially memorable-more like Dreyschock than Henselt, to think of two people of a similar pianistic ilk. There is some of it on YouTube, including a piece entitled Aeolian Harp that is probably the best thing of his I have heard, with a quite interesting and original introduction, although after that it is well-written Salon Music. Like a lot of second rate composers, he does not vary his textures enough, and is often "led by his fingers" in his composition.

    There are interesting things about him in Harold Schoenberg's book "The Great Pianists" and in Arthur Loesser's "Men, Women and Pianos, which has a very funny section on his endorsement of an instrument of pianistic torture called a "Chiroplast".-and endorsement that made Kalkbrenner a rich man!

  2. Hola.

    Bien, he visto tu canal de youtube, en especial un vídeo titulado "prelude" hecho por tí.

    me ha gustado mucho esa partitura ¿me envías un link para descargarla? muchas gracias

  3. si deseas descargar partituras no olvides de visitar

    Es una biblioteca llena de partituras muy interesantes.

  4. Did you die or something? It's been a year and two months and not a single post ._.