Talk:Sigismond Thalberg

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Absence of Neutrality, Gorged With Peacock Terms, Poor English Grammar[edit]

To a native English speaker, who I am inclined to believe is the target audience for this encyclopedia, this article almost immediately stands out as contrived. The article repeats itself numerous times, and is FULL of comma splices of the sort an American or British schoolchild would make before advancing to high school. The article is practically unreadable because of the poor organization of its content, and the repetitive nature of that jumbled content. Numerous instances of time-consuming copyediting are needed, which I will undertake soon.

To any person with a knowledge of composers and the pecking order of their importance, the article immediately stands out as a laughably amateurish and biased hagiography. The author (for there certainly and obviously is one primary author) has done Mr. Thalberg a great service, of which Thalberg would most certainly be proud. Utterly ridiculous in tenor, it is notable that a quick "Find" command in one's browser results in "over 100 results" (sic) for the search term "Liszt;" this is an unfortunate and glaring tell-tale sign of the author's intent (by comparison, a similar search of the Franz Liszt article returns "4 results"). Also notable is the fact that this article is quite a bit longer than the articles for Liszt, Beethoven, Mozart, Wagner, et al.

Liszt apparently said that Thalberg's music would be all but forgotten; and in 2009 the instances of performance, recording, and distribution of Thalberg recordings are rare indeed. Why, then must the casual encyclopedia reader be subjected to an entire article of one author's strange preoccupation with a Liszt-inferiority complex? The Liszt article can be written with either no mention of Thalberg or a passing mention; however this particular Thalberg article written in this particular peculiar way would hardly exist if it weren't for Mr. Liszt.

There are relatively few standalone achievements of Mr. Thalberg to speak of, and this article does Thalberg's actual achievements a great disservice by discouraging reading with such length disproportionate to his accomplishments, and with such single-minded repetitiveness. Also, the obsessive mention of Franz Liszt is embarrassing and serves as a continual reminder to any casual reader that he or she is in fact, reading an encyclopedia on the internet that anyone can edit. The repeated splicing of commas is the icing on the amateur cake, so to speak, and the entire thing needs to be remanded and edited, and in the meantime until these changes are affected, the article should certainly be tagged.

It is over-cited. The author wants to make a serious point here.

Unfortunately, because Mr. Thalberg is infrequently mentioned in modern times, this sort of travesty can take place relatively unnoticed and undisturbed for months; this 'dusty' Wikipedia article, as it were, is a biased pet-project of which, if a comparable mess were made of Sergei Rachmaninov's or one of the above-mentioned and frequently-looked-up composers' pages, would not stand very long. And so tag & edit I shall...User:Blue Alert 19 February 2009

First: No. No Liszt article without mentioning (or passing mentioning) Thalberg can be considered complete. Thalberg was Liszt's main rival and much more successful for a long time. In those times it was exactly the opposite of what you insinuate here: Liszt was for a long time preoccupied with Thalberg whereas Thalberg was popular and had the critics on his side. Today, perception and evaluation changed: Thalberg is not even a member on the modern pecking order of importance. Almost all people know Thalberg via Liszt (me either). He is nowadays only known as "the other pianist" in Liszt's era, so he is "worth" mentioning only in relation to Liszt and not as a must-know composer of his own. I think, that is the reason why Liszt is mentioned here so often.
Second: The length of an article should not correlate to your subjective ranking of importance. Wikipedia is no printed encyclopedia where printing space has to be considered. If there is more material and more to write than in Rachmaninov's article then it should be done. (talk) 00:56, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

The Piano Duel[edit]

this article: "Until the end of Liszt's stay in Vienna Thalberg did not perform at all. Nevertheless, he was still praised. In a review of Liszt's own charity concert on April 18, 1838, for example, he was described as the winner of the "piano duel" of spring 1837 in Paris." while dana gooley's liszt the virtuoso: "Sigismund Thalberg, a pianist of uncertain origins – though reputedly of noble but illegitimate birth – burst on the Paris scene at the end of 1835 and was quickly hailed in some quarters as the world’s foremost piano virtuoso. Liszt, then in Geneva with the Countess Marie d’Agoult, probably had not yet heard Thalberg play, but responded all the same with a long and damaging article about his compositions in the Paris Revue et gazette musicale. Thus began a rivalry, much inflamed by the press, that culminated in the duel staged in 1837 by the Princess Belgiojoso. Its outcome has been variously assessed, but what everyone remembered was the Princess’s airy bon mot, “Thalberg is the first pianist in the world; Liszt is the only one”." (talk) 16:55, 7 March 2008 (UTC)

I just happened to see this entry. Putting some words to it, Gooley cites a large amount of contemporary sources which show that indeed Thalberg was the winner of the duel. His claim , however, Thalberg was merely liked by the dilettants, is wrong. The famous bonmot, actually saying nearly nothing at all, was not put by the Princess Belgiojoso but by Marie d'Agoult. It was neither "remembered by everyone". The rivalry was not "inflamed" by the press but solely by Liszt, by the way. He was from the side of the press heavily criticized for this. (talk) 10:05, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Liszt's infamous review of Thalberg[edit]

Just a minor issue--I distinctly remember reading somewhere (not in Alan Walker) that the infamous review of Thalberg's compositions by Monsieur Liszt was most likely actually written by Marie d'Agoult. Have you read anything to support that theory? K. Lásztocska 12:45, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

According to the "mainstream" opinion, the review was in parts written by d'Agoult, whereas Liszt gave those parts to it which are in a more technical sense concerning Thalberg's music, especially the "Grande fantaisie" op.22. But this is only a theory which people are used to write without really thinking about it, and there are no reliable sources at all. Regarding the review's language style, it seems to sound more like Liszt, since Marie d'Agoult's writing style (I read much of her.) was more elegant, not to say more intelligent. In fact, the review contains lots of errors and mistakes which can only be regarded as stupid. (I'm sorry for Liszt, but it is the truth.)
Concerning the literary collaboration of Liszt and Marie d'Agoult, there is to the date of November 18 an entry in Liszt's Agenda for the year 1836. It is "Zyi a commence une lettre p[our] la gz. musicale". ("Zyi commenced a letter for the Gazette musicale") "Zyi" is Marie d'Agoult, and the "letter" she commenced is most probably the "Lettre d'un bachelier ès music" which was published under Liszt's name in the ‘’Revue et Gazette musicale’’ from February 12, 1837. (Liszt's Agenda is an unpublished source, so that it must not be used in Wikipedia articles, although I have a copy of it.) The "letter" cannot have been the review, because Thalberg's fantasy op.22 had not yet been printed. The copy which for legal purposes was given to the ‘’Bibliothèque nationale’’ has a stamp from early January 1837. (The stamp is "Janvier - No.9". "No.9" is a current number, indicating that only 8 further compositions had been stamped before, during that year.) It is therefore to be presumed that the fantasy was printed in the second half of December 1836.
Looking at the analysis of the "Grande fantaisie", given in the review, there is an interesting point to it. The fantasy, although mainly written in a lyrical style, has after an introduction the usual sonata form with exposition, development section and recapitulation. The analysis in the review ends exactly at the page where the development section ends. In other words, the person who wrote it, had no patience to look at the rest of the piece too. It is this a behaviour which can be regarded as typical for Liszt, just turning the pages and having a fugitive look at them. Had the review been written by Marie d'Agoult, she would have done it with more care, at least mentioning that several pages were still following. The other pieces, analysed in the review, are the Caprices op.15 and op.19. Liszt, although he had claimed, Thalberg had no fantasy at all, playing nothing else but only arpeggios and thumbs-melodies, took much from Thalberg's opp. 15, 19 and 22 in his own compositions. For this reason it is not even clear, whether Liszt actually disliked Thalberg's works. 09:41, 2 July 2007 (UTC)

NPOV and peacock terms[edit]

Mr. Scholar,

Surely someone so intelligent and educated as yourself can tone down the hagiographic text a little? This is a very biased portrait of Thalberg and needs to be thoroughly cited and verified before I can even think about finishing touches like grammar and style. For example, did you really need to write "He was a God when sitting at the piano"? This entire article is currently written in a very unencyclopedic style and I would urge you to make an effort to improve that.

Kind regards, K. Lásztocska 12:51, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Schumann wrote: "Er ist ein Gott, wenn er am Klavier sitzt.", which is in English: "He is a God when sitting at the piano."

Greetings. 17:09, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for the clarification--as it was previously, it was unclear whether or not Schumann had said that or if it was just a statement by the article's author. I put it in quotation marks to avoid such confusion in the future. K. Lásztocska 17:28, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

"Missing" sources.[edit]

I actually don't mind to be criticized, but it does not make sense when it is overdone. When, for example, I wrote, Liszt was feeling as if he was himself the exiled Napoleon, it is exactly this which he wrote in his letter to d'Agoult from April 29, 1836. The “missing” reference had therefore already been given. Another example is Clara Wieck's diary. Everything I wrote is to be read there. The fact, that Liszt claimed, all of Thalberg's music was completely worthless, is known by anyone who read his review. It is written in explicit words there. The fact, that Liszt, for the purpose of gaining applause from his audience, distributed free tickets, might be shocking for you at first sight. But it is quite well known from his own letters. In similar ways I could comment all of the rest of it. I took everything from sources which are not disputable. To this, everything I wrote has already been published in books and essays, which can be taken as WikiSources, thereby obeying the strictest rules. In the still missing parts of “Thalberg’s tours” you will see, by the way, that until now it is only an impression of the beginning of his career which I could give. During the following years, Thalberg was still increasing. As a general comment, I’d like to say: “Be welcome in the 21th centuries musicology!” 18:38, 30 June 2007 (UTC)

I have already been welcomed to the field of musicology, thank you very much. I do not doubt that you have sources for much of this article. What needs to be done is to properly cite the sources, ideally with footnotes. In case you haven't done this before, what you do is to add <ref>(author, title, page number)</ref> after the statement you're citing, and then at the end of the article type <references/>, which will produce a complete and very classy-looking list of all references and citations. See WP:CITE for a better explanation than I can give. K. Lásztocska 19:28, 30 June 2007 (UTC)
That was the best laugh I've had in ages, scholar; congratulations. You should become a comedian someday. You asked Lastochka to critique you and then you complained that it was too much—best comedy I could ask for. You are so funny! —  $PЯINGrαgђ  21:14, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
I shall come back to the foot-note buisiness at a later phase. Following the rules after which the creative part of my mind works, I must write a complete text (the biographical part, at least) and do it rather fast (because of reasons of the form). In further steps I correct mistakes which always happen. (During the first phase I mainly quote from memory.) Adding footnotes is correlated with the optical layout of the article. For this reason it will be better done in a later step. Regarding the chapter "Compositions", I suggest to do an extra article instead. Writing this, would be more easy and much more fun for me than the biographical part, although I must learn some of the English terms of musicology before. Fortunately, I can take some of them from your article about the violin-sonata D Minor by Brahms. Brahms played a fantasy by Thalberg at his debut in Hamburg, by the way. 10:01, 3 July 2007 (UTC)


Can't believe I'm breaking my wikibreak already....curse my insatiable curiosity, I just HAD to log on and check my messages....however, it may be a good thing that I did that, since we appear to have a major misunderstanding here.

I can't help but notice, Anonymous Scholar, that you have reverted all your work back to the article's earlier and much inferior form. If I interpret your latest message on my talk page correctly, you were offended by the tags I slapped all over the article; noticing that I had not slapped any tags on the old version, you concluded that I must have thought the earlier version was already perfect. I assure you that is not the case: the only reason I never tagged the old version was simply that I never bothered to read it. (Thalberg is usually not at the forefront of my mind.)

I certainly meant you no personal offense by adding those tags--I had thought you wanted my professional criticism of your work so we could collaborate on writing a good article. However, after thinking about it, I suppose I laid it on pretty thick, for which I apologize. My bigger miscalculation, however, may have been my timing: when I added those tags, the article was clearly still under construction and very much a work in progress, so to suddenly jump in in the midst of your work with loads of tags and criticism may have been unfair and unhelpful on my part. (I'm reminded of a rather frightening former violin teacher of mine, who was in the unfortunate habit of berating me and criticizing me quite viciously on account of my habitual failure to fully master a difficult Paganini caprice or Brahms sonata in less than a week.) I certainly wouldn't appreciate being treated that way, and I sincerely apologize for treating you that way. I meant no offense or discouragement at all, and I encourage you to re-instate your work-in-progress text (senza tags) and continue working on it. (One tag I would suggest, however, is {{Underconstruction}}!)

As soon as I post this message I will be logging off and taking my necessary wikibreak--I should be back in a week or two. By then, perhaps you will have finished your work on the Thalberg article and I can have a look at it then (and I will try to be a bit more tactful with my criticism.) Apologies again for any untoward rudeness, and my best wishes. K. Lásztocska 22:56, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

You are, without any doubt, a big professional expert of everything being correlated with piano music of the 19th century and have very much knowledge of all further questions in the whole field of musicology besides. It is therefore quite natural that whenever a person comes who contradicts your opinions, all Lisztians, without the least bias, in true objectivity of course, must rally. That infamous person must be called a pretender, even be regarded as a liar. It doesn't matter to distribute false quotes from his postings, he must be persistently blocked, his entries in talk pages must be deleted, and, surely, he must be called a person to be at best regarded as a comedian to be laughed at.
To give an impression that there are some more people who had unpleasant experiences in Wikipedia too, the following quotation from an old posting might be interesting.
I want to work to write articles in a fair, neutral way, without things getting personal and unpleasant. I do not abuse people. I do not call names. I apologize frequently when I know that I have upset someone. I rarely report anyone. And in return I find myself regularly getting walked on. This is not the first time, but I am, after a year of this, starting to grow tired of it. Why can't wikipedia be a place where rules of civil behaviour are appropriately enforced, so that the process is not disrupted? Is the right answer, like *** says, to just let bullies drive you off articles as it did with him? How is that the way to write an article well? Is that how wikipedia wants to operate?
In fact, regarding the five months since I entered this game, there is not a single rule of civilized communication left which has not yet been broken at your side. Regarding your experiences during the violin lessons you may be sure that neither am I a pupil nor are you my teacher. We could work together as colleagues, but until then, much would have to change. (I’m thinking of a special friend of yours.)
(To add a remark concerning Liszt's review, a comparison of Liszt's and Marie d'Agoult's writing styles is, of course, only possible, when their writings are read in their original version in French. Lina Ramann, whose version of the review was at least until 1990 usually taken as source, had changed the style, in parts even the sense. My opinion concerning the stupid errors was shared by all contemporaries who wrote about it, including Schumann, by the way. In a sense, it was even shared by Liszt himself.) 12:15, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I already apologized for my past rudeness, and have no intention of continuing such behavior. My "rally the Lisztians" comment was made in a somewhat joking fashion, but I only meant to say that I did not think I could handle all of this Thalberg stuff myself. It was getting to be a pretty long article, and copyediting-critiquing-etc. can be a rather difficult job if one wants to do it well.
"Regarding your experiences during the violin lessons you may be sure that neither am I a pupil nor are you my teacher." No, that's not what I meant to say (but be sure that I am not your pupil either.) I was giving an example, from my own personal experience, of unfairly harsh and poorly-timed criticism, similar to the unfairly harsh and poorly-timed criticism I gave you. For which I again apologize, incidentally.
I don't know who wrote that quotation "I want to work to write articles in a fair, neutral way, etc......." but it describes me as well. Perhaps I have been guilty of some name-calling in the past (if you like, you may report me to the admins over that, I would deserve it) but I don't abuse people, and I certainly apologize when I realize I've offended or upset someone. (As I attempted to do in my earlier post, and which you apparently didn't notice.) I want to work in a civilized, civil environment as much as anyone.
"there is not a single rule of civilized communication left which has not yet been broken at your side." Surely that is an exaggeration. I admit again that I have been rude at times, and once again I apologize for that. But surely I haven't broken every single rule of civilized communication? I never hurled obscenities at you, I never questioned the legitimacy of your parentage, I never threatened you with physical harm or legal action, I never disparaged your nationality, in fact, I never even reported you to an admin or tried to have you blocked, so it is unfounded to accuse me of that particular crime. Regarding my "special friend," if you have a problem with him, then talk to him about it. He is only trying to "defend" me from someone he perceives as a rude and condescending tormentor--a view in which he is certainly mistaken.
That said, however, do not pretend that all instances of rudeness and unpleasant behavior have been exclusively confined to my side in these debates. Even in your most recent post, I come across the sentence: "You are, without any doubt, a big professional expert of everything being correlated with piano music of the 19th century and have very much knowledge of all further questions in the whole field of musicology besides." Why is such snide sarcasm necessary? First of all, you have no idea who I am--I'm just an ordinary Wikipedian writing under a pseudonym, I could be anything from a high school cheerleader to a published scholar on 19th-century Romanticism. (Neither of those possibilities is true, but you get my point.) Similarly, I have no idea who you are. You could be a world-famous Liszt scholar, or you could be a grumpy college student with a lot of books and a point to prove. However, for as long as I have known you, I have gotten the impression that you consider yourself far superior to me in the realm of mental capacity and knowledge about music and music history. You therefore have frequently made condescending and sarcastic remarks and made it quite clear that you consider me little more than a nationalist crank, or a loud-voiced troll ruled only by emotion, or an uninformed ignoramus who should simply know her place and shut up. As tired as you are of my admitted rudeness (for which I AGAIN apologize), I am pretty tired of your superior attitude and assumptions of my stupidity. I may not be as widely-read as you, that's true, but I'm not stupid and I'm not ignorant.
So, a hundred more apologies for my misbehavior. I won't demand an apology from you, but I do request that for the sake of Thalberg, we put past disagreements behind us and try to work together as colleagues. Perhaps I must make it clear that if I raise a question about something you have written, ask for a citation, question the neutrality of your writing style at certain points, or even disagree strongly with one of your opinions, I do not mean any personal offense or personal attack by it. I am criticizing your writing, not yourself as a human being.
Best wishes again, K. Lásztocska 16:24, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Hear Lastochka. There is not one thing you said that I disagree with.
Scholar…perhaps I am the one who needs to tone down his sarcasm, and I certainly apologise for reading you wrong which I certainly have done before. However, there seems to be an endless circle which I am tiring of (and I assume you are as well), where you are—please understand I mean no personal attack whatsoever—entering very sarcastic and condescending entries on talk and user talk pages while we are trying to help you, and where at other times you are working hard at the articles in your field and we, to our shame, are hindering you by arguing and disagreeing on the said pages…none of this helps anyone. If we are going to truly work together on these articles, we must average out our differences and put them aside for the good of the project. Alternatively, we can pick each other apart every chance we get, lace our comments with sarcastic pride, and butt heads every time we meet. It is your decision as well as ours. What will we choose? —  $PЯINGrαgђ  20:35, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
I really have to go on my wikibreak...but for the record, I agree with Springeragh's observation that we've all been a bunch of jerks and we all need to clean up our act. For my part, I hereby agree and resolve to forgive (if not forget) past disputes and offenses, put them behind me and move forward into the future, a future which hopefully will be a productive one. I'll also do my best to keep my hot-blooded Magyar temper in check and quit taking things so personally. :) I assume that Springeragh has made the same decision. Anonymous Scholar, I kindly request that you do the same, and then when I get back from my wikibreak (!!) the three of us (and maybe a few others as well) can get this Thalberg article up to a very high quality. K. Lásztocska 21:52, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
We can surely do a great job, as long as you trust me. I actually have much knowledge, but it might turn out, I have too much of it. According to your impression, my first chapters had already been hagiographic, but you did not yet read the following ones. To give some hints at least, there was at the end of 1840 and in the beginning of 1841 at short period, during which Thalberg was attacking Liszt from his side. He was successful as ever and was in spring 1841 in Vienna praised as Liszt's conqueror. (The picture in the article is from this time.) One year later in Paris he was symbolically crowned as "Emperor Sigismond" and was in a review called "Holy Thalberg" to whom still after 100 years all pianists would pray. In spring 1844 he met Liszt in Paris again and was, without touching a key, once more successful. It was this the time, when Liszt resigned. Instead of his own Norma-fantasia, which had been published shortly before, he played the Norma-fantasia by Thalberg. There is even a source according to which Liszt went to Thalberg and apologized for his former attitude. On May 3, 1848, Thalberg gave his last concert in Vienna. It was attended by Liszt who was sitting on the stage, carefully listening and loudly applauding. It was since 11 years the first time he actually heard his former rival's playing. In 1852, when Liszt's "war-horse" from 1837, the Niobe-fantasia, was a forgotten piece, Thalberg's "war-horse" from 1837, the Moise-fantasia, was still played by Liszt's daughter Blandine. In 1856 Thalberg was in Paris still called "le roi des Pianistes" ("the King of pianists").
It is this, of course, a story of a kind, which cannot be found in Alan Walker's books, although it is an interesting one. If you want to read it, I shall think of it and perhaps write it. But at moment I must take a break at my side. I posted a bit too much to Wikipedia pages and want to do some piano practising to recover my mind. Besides, I went to a library yesterday and ordered some new books about Thalberg. One of them is concerning his tours in America, of which I presently know nearly nothing. It will be a good idea, to read the books before further thinking of the Thalberg article project. I'm still sure, I can write a featured article about him, but it cannot be done when I must always struggle against enemies. So, please, try to remain peaceful and have some patience until I return. (My sentence concernig your knowledge of piano music and several further subjects was meant in a sense that nobody can possibly know everything. It should therefore have been regarded as not more insulting than telling a person, he had not more but only two legs.) 10:06, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Wow. I surely would not have wanted to be against either Liszt or Thalberg—monumental. At least I was born 175 years after they were. ;) Good work. —  $PЯINGrαgђ  16:33, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Hi guys. Yes, I will certainly try my best to remain peaceful and in a good mood (things are going very well for me in real life right now so that should help my general attitude). I certainly hope you do not consider me your enemy anymore despite the many disagreements we have had--I am now holding out an olive branch and I am happy that you appear to have accepted it and forgiven me for my past rudenesses and indiscretions. I'm still on my break as well, I should be back in a week if all goes well. Please enjoy your research and writing about Thalberg, and just let me know whenever you would like me to read through it and offer suggestions. K. Lásztocska 19:06, 8 July 2007 (UTC) --hmm, perhaps we can take an example from our two great pianist friends in the story you quote above? ;-) I will play the part of Liszt, you will be Thalberg, and I will graciously apologize for my past unfair treatment of you and do my best to listen carefully to you (or in this case, read you carefully) and find the many things of value there. ;-) K. Lásztocska 19:09, 8 July 2007 (UTC)
I'd like to politely ask that additions (which began on 06:09, 28 June 2007 by be re-added and worked with to a satisfactory end by those with the most appropriate skills. I appreciated the additional material--and the subsequent clarifications--and hope those involved will return to the task. The current version is thin indeed. --Sstrader 19:35, 10 July 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, we had a bit of a nasty misunderstanding and our anonymous friend reverted all his additions. The disagreement appears to have been worked out, but he's busy in real life lately (as am I so I really shouldn't be onwiki right now.) I assume work will resume as normal in a week or so. K. Lásztocska 22:20, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

Returning to Thalberg[edit]

I put the first three of my chapters back to the Thalberg article. In comparison with their former versions, I added some details as well as many sources and references. The sources are in the footnotes quoted with short titles, the meaning of which will be clear after the complete bibliography has been added. According to my own taste, it is somewhat overdone, not to say very unusual, to give so many references to an encyclopaedia article, but it will be your taste which will count in the end. So, please have a look at it and tell me, of which kinds your impressions are. In one case I kept the "citation needed" hint. The reference can be found in the Leipziger Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, but I had not enough time to search for it. A further exception is my statement, Thalberg's "Moise" fantasy was one of the most famous concert pieces of the 19th century, which has been left without source. Wanting to give a reference for that, would be ridiculous (I'm sorry for it.) since it is a fact which is known by everyone with knowledge of 19th century's piano music. I could as well try to give a reference in order to prove that Clementi was a famous composer.

I have tried to English your contribution. Also I have toned down a bit your antipathy to Liszt; you don't have to do Liszt down to assert Thalberg's qualities (which I agree with you are substantial).--Smerus 13:08, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
There is not the least antipathy at my side, but I'm just writing the article according to the sources. So far as you may believe, the behaviour shown by Liszt in spring 1837 was "as usual", please give sources for it. For the moment, I'll revert the article to my former state. 17:08, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
This is English Wikipedia and should be written in conventional English. Don't revert those who are trying to help you make a useful article. --Smerus 18:45, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Hi guys. Smerus, as I understood my earlier communications with him, the anonymous scholar agreed to let me and others fix his English, once he had finished writing all he could. I might be misinterpreting something, but I get the impression it annoys him when we interrupt his train of thought with linguistic issues and fact tags.

As for the Moise fantasy--yes, people who are intimately familiar with the history of 19th-century piano music will know it was very popular, but most people, sadly, aren't all that familiar with the history of 19th-century piano music. (And what is Wikipedia's job if not to inform?) ;-) In any event, even though it is not a very controversial statement, it still needs a citation--that's just common practice. K. Lásztocska 21:53, 16 July 2007 (UTC)

Well, we all have trains of thought and maybe they move at different speeds. If Anon decides he wants to contribute (or, as in fact seems to be the case, translate the German WP Thalberg article) bit by bit, (without deigning to reveal even a decent alias), he will have to get used to being edited bit by bit. The primary purpose of (English) WP is not to allow us to unroll our great thoughts at leisure for the benefit of the ignorant masses, or to translate German WP in parody-style, but to communicate information in good English.--Smerus 22:34, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
No he will not have to get used to being edited bit by bit, because he has said that he will work on it and when he is done we can edit it—as a further note I will revert all your hinderings of this scholar, who is in fact Günther Protzies so I hope you're happy about knowing who he is at least. As for parody-style, that can be fixed when he's done. —  $PЯIПGrαgђ  22:39, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
 $PЯIПGrαgђ , this is just bad behaviour. As you seem to be a mate of this 'scholar', you perhaps are not as impartial in your approach to this matter as WP would require you to be. But I, like anyone else, who wishes to edit any article in WP, have the right to do so by the nature of the website. We are not to be discouraged by persons claiming themselves, or claimed by others, to be greater or better 'scholars' than we are. Nor do you, or anyone else, have the right to revert he edits of others because some third party is alleged to have 'scholar' status. Some of us may even be 'scholars ourselves, even if we do not pompously arrogate to ourselves privileges as a consequence.Smerus 06:51, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
(To the most respected colleague Smerus.)There must be some rules in every game. Without being arrogant in the least, it has turned out that yours truly is the person with knowledge is at this place. So far as you want to "English" my writing style, please do it and be welcome. But before changing the sense, please ask me before. During your previous attempts you not only added statements without any foundation in sources and deleted important sources, because you did not like them, but put lots of mistakes to the article's text besides. To give some examples for it, the question, whether Thalberg or Liszt was the winner of the "piano duel", was in my version left open since an encyclopaedia article is not the place for debating about it. (In Gooley: The Virtuoso Liszt, p.52, it is shown from many sources, that Thalberg was the winner.) Your version, "Liszt was the leading piano virtuoso", is a typical "Peacock-term", whereas my version, he was regarded as that, was correct. The added "until then" cannot be skipped, after it was shown, just two paragraphs before, that something had changed. Thalberg's concert on April 16, 1836, was not a "solo concert", but it was his first own concert in Paris, just as I wrote it. (He did not play alone but several further artists took part besides.) The note in Ménestrel from March 13, 1836, was not written by Berlioz, and the "Society of the Parisian conservatory concerts" is the "Society of the Parisian conservatory concerts" and nothing else. In the second sentence of chapter 1.2, there was no need to pretend, "all sources" would say this or that. In fact, there were several authors who wrote books and essays, and nobody knows, whether they had taken any sources at all. In chapter 1.1, it was not "due" to Thalberg's illegitimate birth that his parents' names were not called, but it was "for reasons" which are difficult to explain. Fétis did not claim, he knew both parents, but according to his article he knew Thalberg and his mother as persons. Some parts of your "Englished" versions had already been "Englished" before, by the way, and this by people who might be suspected to be rather fluent in your language. It is therefore my pleasure that I can learn very much, not getting only a single version of correct English, but many of them. 10:04, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for clearing it up, scholar. :) Might I be so bold as to suggest that in your writing you sound quite like Liszt himself? ;) $PЯIПGrαgђ  17:42, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
Who knows? I'm thinking of an old essay "Rosemary's Babies" by Glenn Gould, in: High Fidelity, December 1970. It is concerning a British lady Rosemary Brown who was during the 1960s for several times posthumously visited by Liszt. He was still composing, and some of his posthumously composed works have already been published. Humphrey Searle, a great Liszt expert, found them very interesting and absolutely authentic. Unfortunately, Mrs. Brown's posthumous piano teacher was neither Liszt nor Thalberg, but only Rachmaninov. So, maybe, I might turn out to be F.L. in disguise after all. But, returning to Thalberg again, I put a further footnote to the last paragraph of chapter 1.3. I hope, K. Lastochka will now be satisfied. 13:29, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Thalberg's name[edit]

There is a problem concerning Thalberg's name. I recently found that in English publications he is rather often called "Sigismund" instead of "Sigismond". An example is the dissertation of Ian Glenn Hominick. There is even an American "Sigismund Thalberg Society", founded by Daniel L. Hitchcock. (No, he is not the Hitchcock. That Hitchcock was working with Irving Thalberg.) On the other hand, in Gooley's The Virtuoso Liszt, written in Cambridge, Thalberg is called "Sigismond". It therefore seems that he is "Sigismund" in America and "Sigismond" in Great Britain. Since his true name was actually "Sigismund", it might be the best solution when we take this version for our article too. What do you think about it? 09:38, 19 July 2007 (UTC)

Um, I don't really see how we know "his true name was actually 'Sigismund'"—and as long as Sigismund Thalberg redirects here, wouldn't that eliminate confusion? I don't really care which name is his "true" name, I should say, so I'm not really in favour of one or against the other. However I have never heard or seen "Sigismund"… —  $PЯIПGrαgђ  18:28, 19 July 2007 (UTC)
If you want to see an example for Thalberg being called "Sigismund", try the link "Biography" at the article's end. (There are several errors included.) Thalberg's true name was the name given to him by his parents, and there is no doubt that he got a German name. Since the version "Sigismond" does not exist in German, his true name was "Sigismund". He is also called "Sigismund" in the book From Paris to Peoria by R. A. Lott which was published in Oxford. At moment, the majority seems to speak in favour of "Sigismund". ("Sigismund" is pronounced like "Zeagismoond" or "Zigismoond", by the way. The "oo" ist taken rather short (like "look") in most parts of Germany and rather long (like "doom") in Bavaria and Vienna. In Vienna, the first "i" in "Sigismund" is also rather long.) 09:27, 21 July 2007 (UTC)
Well I know how the German is pronouced (I'm de-4 by userbox code), but I didn't know that Sigismond was not a German name. In that case the arguement (?) for Sigismund is better, but I still don't really care one way or another which one it is—you could have a registered user move it to Sigismund Thalberg or just leave it and either is fine with me. —  $PЯIПGrαgђ  23:13, 21 July 2007 (UTC)

Scholar—would it be fine if I moved the article to Sigismund Thalberg? — $PЯINGεrαgђ 01:47, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

More images[edit]

It will be a good idea to put some more images to the article. In order to find them, take the "Biography" link at the article's end. Scrolling down, at the bottom left edge a symbol like a house can be seen. Clicking at that leads to a page of an Italian research centre. There is at left a list, including an entry "Albumfoto". The album includes five images of Thalberg as well as an image of his death mask. (The image "Thalberg 57 years old" is, in fact, from about 1860.) The images can be extracted and afterwards used. The only one, beeing in private posession, is apparently the image of the death mask. Unfortunately, I have no experience of such things until now. Perhaps you can help me?

To this comes a further problem of which I don't know how to solve it. I need examples from printed music, especially from Thalberg's Moise-fantasy. The music can be taken as pdf-score from the internet. It should be possible to extract a small part of some bars and turn it into jpg. The image should be placed not left nor right, but more in the middle, so that it is in the article looking as in the page of a book. The effect would undoubtedly be great. A single line from the Moise-fantasy as well as from the Waltzes op.47 will do. 11:13, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Actually you don't need to worry about copyright if you can get someone who has the Sibelius music software (there are some images made by it but I can't think of them at the moment), because it would be self-made. I however only have a demo-type version which will not let me save files so I can't help. :( Other people should be able to though. As for centring the images, I personally love the idea but I'm in the minority—people are always moving them left or right. —  $PЯIПGrαgђ  16:25, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
I love the idea too, I'd say we have a concensus :P Unfortunately I can't help either, might be worth putting in a request at wikiproject classical music. I suppose we could do it from a pdf, get a screen shot and cut out the bit we want. Could do it with print screen and microsoft paint if necessary. M A Mason 16:37, 22 July 2007 (UTC)
I got the same idea and already started. 10:42, 24 July 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately, the editing of the examples with Paint did not work. Reason is that the note-lines in the scanned originals were not exactly parallel. As consequence the lines in the screenshot are not looking as precise lines but rather ugly. I can, of course, take the old lines away and draw new ones. But in this case the notes are no longer suiting to the lines. As a better solution I can take the examples from a Word document (the examples are embedded) which I used for my thesis about Liszt. A friend of mine made them with a notation program. (It may have been Sibelius.) In print they are looking absolutely brilliant. So, there is only the problem left, in which way to get them into the article.
There is a further request, by the way. I want to quote from C. F. Weitzmann's Geschichte des Klavierspiels (1879), but it does not make sense, to give a source which a casual reader of an English article cannot get. Fortunately, there is an English edition of the book. It is: Weitzmann, C. F.: The History of Pianoforte Playing and Pianoforte Literature, New York, Da Capo Press, 1969. It would be nice, if someone of you went to a library and tried to get it. If your library doesn't have it, there should be a possibility to order it from another library. As soon as you have it, I'll tell which part I need. (It is not much, only some lines.) The quotation is very important. 08:54, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Can't help with the quote, but I'm pretty sure I can help with the excerpts from the printed music (I can download it, open the window, take a screen capture, then fiddle around a bit in Photoshop to get a jpg image of the notation.) Can you please direct me to the best place to download the music? K. Lásztocska Review me? 19:56, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

My critique[edit]

There is clearly a vast wealth of information contained in this article. My concern, however, is the appropriateness of the current style to the medium in which we present it. This should be an encyclopedia entry, and as such should be as clear and concise as possible. Remember we are primarily writing for a general audience of interested laymen. I am of the opinion that there is much here that would be more appropriate in an academic journal, not an encyclopedia.

For example, the section about Thalberg's parentage, his parents' probable identities, and their family histories, is quite interesting but in this context, it is somewhat gratuitous. Is it really all that important to go into such detail about the Thalberg family history in an article whose primary function should be to provide an accurate, clear and concise account of who Thalberg was, what he did, and what his legacy was?

I am not concerned with the article's length, I'm concerned with its coherence. In its present state it tends to ramble on and occasionally get lost in side-notes and tangents. I will certainly make every effort to find a way to tighten it up without removing any pertinent information. I have to warn you though, it may turn out that for the sake of the article, some superfluous sections will need to be removed. (If it comes to that, please don't take it personally.)

I will look at it more closely over the weekend (no more time today for such a big project.) Until then, best wishes, K. Lásztocska Review me? 19:54, 3 August 2007 (UTC)

Without wanting to be personal, I may be allowed to put a critical comment to your sentence: "it may turn out that for the sake of the article, some superfluous sections will need to be removed." You can, of course, remove everything whatever you like to remove, but it is almost sure, that it will not be for the article's sake. My version was written with knowledge of common views and opinions about Thalberg. The examples and quotations were selected in a way, so that the result was an understandable and convincing text, balanced with a consistent internal logic. It was written for people who actually want to learn much. There was absolutely nothing superfluous to it.
To show the difference with your attempt, I take a look at the first paragraph in its new version. The first sentence is bad in many respects. At first, it is a golden rule of style, at the beginning of a new paragraph to let a person enter not as pronoun, but as name. At second, in your version Thalberg was not even born, and you already want to debate about his name! The following sentences were written by yours truly and are correct. But then you wrote: "Thalberg was illegitimate, and during his lifetime it was customary to give illegitimate parents false names on their child's birth certificate."
A sentence of this kind is a typical "Peacock-term" which cannot be verified. There were, without doubt, many illegitimate parents in those times. But claiming to know, how many of them took false names on birth certificates, would be adventurous. My version had been, that it was common use not to call Thalberg's parents full names. And this statement can be verified by giving examples. The following sentence, concerning Fétis, is an example of that kind. Besides, my previous sentences gave an explanation for the attitude of Fétis. In contrast to this, in your version every logical connection has been lost.
The warnings are therefore completely on my side. If you proceed in the way in which it is at moment to be feared, it is almost sure that the result will not be a featured article, but a catastrophe. So far as you want to change or remove a thing, please ask me before. You will gain a better result doing it that way. 13:28, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Good grief. Sorry for trying. You know what? If you don't want my help, don't ask for it. If you don't want me to try reworking the style into something a bit more readable (and more in tune with general Wikipedia style guidelines) then pray tell, what DO you want me to do? K. Lásztocska Review me? 13:56, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

(I know it's not super good to insert comments in the middle, but this won't make much sense at the bottom.) I think he was only trying to help, Lastochka—and although his tone may not have been the best, he had good at heart. Surely we can blend his preferences and Wikipedia's policy together in an acceptable form for this article? — $PЯINGεrαgђ 04:08, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
Well I had a scan through myself and I don't think it's as concise as it could be, either. Perhaps some form of compromise is in order? Take for example the waffling on about his name, perhaps we should just add it as a footnote that there are many variants according to the place and the author, and go into details there? I think there probably are superfluous sections also, I'll come up with specifics later. We don't need a PhD thesis to be an informative article, and nor are we really aiming this at someone who is attempting to write one. Though I suppose that is just my opinion.
I have to add that I'm not sure you're attitude is helpful, and nor do I think it is in the spirit of Wikipedia. I respect and acknowledge the fact that you have clearly read a lot on the subject of Thalberg, but that doesn't give you the ownership of this article. Asking people for help, but only on your terms, is not going to encourage people to assist you.
I found a nice surprise at the bottom of the bibliography. Funny how Walker, the most renowned biographer of Liszt isn't good enough for Liszt's article, unreliable, biased; but it's fine for Thalberg. . . A double standard? And as for adding yourself to the bibliography, I'm not sure whether that's encouraged or not. M A Mason 15:29, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Technically, adding himself to the bibliography is fine if it's a published work from a reliable source (academic journal, etc.) Interesting about Walker though. ;-) K. Lásztocska Review me? 15:33, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

At moment only two remarks: 1st Walker and 2nd my thesis. Walker is a prominent author, may he be biased or not. For this reason he must be mentioned. If you scan through the article, you will find that he is only referenced in n.4. It was exactly this purpose for which Walker was needed in the bibliography. Concerning my own thesis, it has been used twice. At first, I needed a reference for Liszt’s letter to Fétis of December 15, 1840. The letter is an unpublished source which can only be used doing it that way. At second, my thesis was used to give a reference for the most complex relations of Thalberg and family Dietrichstein. (see n.71).
So far as you may have a chance to look at the new “Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart”, a kind of German “Musical Grove”, you will notice that the volume including the Liszt-article was published at end of 2004. The article was written by Detlef Altenburg, Weimar, worldwide recognized as one of the leading Liszt experts. He read my thesis in spring 2004 and put it to the index of his article. After this, my thesis has certainly the rank of a WikiSource.
To give an impression, which kind of relevance my thesis has with respect of Thalberg, it might be compared with the thesis by Hominick. Hominick used large letters (12pt), large borders and 25 lines per page, writing all in all 100 pages. His main references from newer literature are two authors. I took small letters (10pt), small borders and 65 lines per page instead, writing 120 pages about the rivalry of Liszt and Thalberg thereby taking everything from original, in parts unpublished sources. (In fact, this is only the third part of my work.) I may therefore assure that my thesis is indeed a little bit more interesting than Hominick’s. 10:34, 5 August 2007 (UTC)
(To K. Lásztocska) After rereading my posting of August 3 on your page, I cannot see for which reason you want to complain and in such kind. You asked on August 2, what to do, and I replied. So, please, do exactly that. Concerning the "general Wikipedia style guidelines", please, click here and there. I wrote the article in perfect congruence with those rules. 18:08, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
I have been clarifying the grammar and usage, as you requested, and I also deleted one paragraph that was off-topic. Please tell me what exactly I have been doing wrong. K. Lásztocska Review me? 18:51, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
I also do not understand this. I don't want to be mean or belligerent, scholar, but we seem to be following two different policies. Can we try to use the same guidelines so that we all know what the others are doing (and going to do), and so that we don't have as many misunderstandings? — $PЯINGεrαgђ 19:28, 6 August 2007 (UTC)
The question, what was wrong, can be answered in short. It was mainly your posting of August 4. As far as you wanted to refute my critique, you could try it, but with reasonable arguments. (In fact, your case would have been rather weak.) Instead of doing this, you came with an outburst, claiming I had asked for this or that kind of help. In my posting of August 3, I had asked to upload the images from the Italian page instead. To this I had asked for opinions to the article. In case, you wanted to add or change a thing, you should tell it. What else could have been more precise? 14:09, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
Are you speaking to me or K. Lastochka? —  $PЯINGεrαgђ  18:57, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
I believe he is addressing me. Incidentally, Scholar, I have uploaded the pictures from the Italian website as you requested. K. Lásztocska Review me? 21:31, 7 August 2007 (UTC)


It has unfortunately turned out, that the editor K. Lásztocska has shown strong attempts to systematically delete all sources in which a single artist of the 19th century, Franz Liszt, is not recognized as Hungarian and not worshipped as hero. Since it is obvious that such kind of attitude has nothing to do with neutrality of point of view and is therefore absolutely intolerable in an encyclopaedia project, I may very urgently ask that editor, to radically change her behaviour. For the moment, I put chapter 1.4.5 to a reasonable state again. 15:08, 7 August 2007 (UTC)

Thank you very much, dear sir, for informing me of my own viewpoints and motives. For my part, I thought I had deleted the section about the Rhine crisis and the issue of Liszt's nationality because, as I said in my edit summary, it was out of context and a non-sequitur. If it belonged in any encyclopedia article it belonged in the article about Liszt himself (putting it in Thalberg's article would be like inserting a five-paragraph discussion of Ferenc von Vecsey's relative merits in an article about József Szigeti.) Moreover, the general style of the writing was more suitable for an essay or thesis than an encyclopedia article. I thought that was why I deleted that section, but of course since you are the one here with the PhD, you must be the correct one. Would you care to offer any more brilliant insights into my own character and motivations while you're at it? K. Lásztocska Review me? 17:11, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
Please, scholar, let this rest. I could not bear it if we became enemies again. K. Lastochka is trying to help you, and I am trying to help you both, but if you argue about the sources, etc. we cannot be building an encyclopædia while we do that. I have asked before if we can share the informatiom we all agree on, and meld the information we do not agree on into something acceptable. We cannot do this amid such infighting as has passed on this very page, and to a lesser extent at User talk:K. Lastochka and Talk:Franz Liszt. Please allow me as a middle-man to help you agree (or even agree to disagree if necessary) more often. —  $PЯINGεrαgђ  18:55, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
Since you assure that you deleted that paragraph only for those reasons, it was an error on my side for which I apologize. But the paragraph about the Rhine crisis is still very important. Liszt could, of course, compose as many "Rheinweinlieder" as he liked and perform them in Paris. Nothing would have happened. But it was his problem that he was suspected to have a chameleon personality.
Comparing Liszt with the members of the travelling opera company, they were Germans, coming from Mainz in the Rhineland. Their director Schumann (not Robert Schumann) had huge debts and went into prison. But, the members of the company, although Germans, were not treated as enemies in Paris. They were looked at with much sympathy and supported by charity activities. The one thing, which people in the 19th century did not like at all, was toying with patriotic emotions. It was this the reason for which Liszt had made enemies, and not only in France, but simultaneously in Austria and Germany as well. If you want to learn more of it, you should try to get the book of Gooley.
Since Thalberg is the main subject at this place, I'll look at him again. It is obvious that Liszt's bad luck was his advantage. I gave many more examples of the same kind in my thesis. Some of them might give at first sight the impression of looking at fairy tales, even though they are true. After this, it is characteristic for Thalberg's career that he was not only a virtuoso with great skills, but was besides a very, very lucky guy. (The name "Fortuné" would be perfectly suiting to him.) It was a main purpose of my chapter 1.4.5, to show it. While there had been a tie between him and Liszt in the former chapter, Liszt afterwards lost nearly everything.
To add a remark concerning the "electrified or galvanized" women, it is important to keep this form. There are, of course, well-known stories about ladies in Berlin, fighting for an empty water glass or being transported to the mad house. But those stories were all taken not from reality, but from caricatures. It would therefore be wrong to state them as facts. In contrast to this, my version, mentioning "electrified or galvanized" women as part of commonly used descriptions of the "Lisztomania", was correct. If you like it, I'll add a source. (The advantage of a Ph. D. is not, to be always right, by the way, but to have much experience with certain kinds of traps.) Just for avoiding misunderstandings, a last remark. I must take a short break, but shall return in some days. 11:09, 8 August 2007 (UTC)
Thank you your apology, I appreciate the courtesy. I certainly don't object to a mention of Liszt's bad luck and Thalberg's ensuing good fortune! I just thought that as it was previously, the scale was all wrong and we were expending too much time discussing the ins and outs of Liszt's life and character. Brevity is the soul of wit, and economy the soul of the encyclopedia! (OK, that was a failed attempt at inventing an aphorism, but you see my point.) I think there is still a lot of tightening-up and trimming of excess material that can be done--as I said before, there's good information here, the problem is just that the article is a bit bloated for this form.
As for our "electrified and galvanized" friends...I don't mind at all your changing that back, as I couldn't come up with any better way of saying impetus for changing it came from a very disturbing mental image I got upon reading the phrase: the naively literal side of my imagination suddenly sprang into action and I pictured a row of finely-dressed countesses sitting in the audience, all wearing some sort of diabolical mad-scientist's invention (brain-zapper hats, or something.) At the first few notes from Monsieur Liszt, an electric current shot through the wires of this contraption and, quite literally, "electrified and galvanized" the unfortunate ladies. :) Shaking my head frantically to try and dispel the bizarre apparition, I attempted to find a less comically literal phrase, but apparently was unsuccessful. Anyway, it's just a problem of my mind working in its usual odd manner, no need to change it for the benefit of our sane readers. :) K. Lásztocska 14:26, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Some further corrections[edit]

At first, I must say, thank you very much for your collaboration and your patience towards some of my eccentricities. Nevertheless, the article can, without doubt, still be improved. The question whether it is bloated or not, will be hard to decide and in the end depend on the readers taste. Speaking for myself, I would have been very happy to get such a source when writing my thesis about Liszt. There is nearly no Thalberg research at all, so that I had to find out nearly everything for myself. (Regarding that Italian page, it says much that no Italian article about Thalberg exists.) The thesis by Hominick is not a masterwork, and especially the part about Thalberg’s European concert career includes many mistakes. The articles in the "New Musical Grove" and the new "Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart" are even worse. It was therefore my aim, to do a better thing, writing an article, which can be used as reliable scholarly source. But it must, of course, also be readable for casual users of Wikipedia. The article's size can be reduced by moving the complete work list to a special page, by the way. It has been done in the same way in the (featured) article about Lutoslawski.

At moment, the best I can do, is giving some comments to the article’s present form. The last paragraph of chapter 1.1 can probably be deleted. It was my idea, at first to show the family Dietrichstein as old Austrian nobility family (Following the social logic of those times, an old family had a very high rank.), at second to give more evidence for a connection between the names Dietrichstein and Thalberg, and at third to give a hint for an early connection between family Dietrichstein and Liszt. Looking at the announcement of Liszt's famous "Weihekuss"-concert on April 13, 1823, in Vienna, it is to be read that the concert was given "mit hoher Bewilligung" ("with high permission"). Since Moritz von Dietrichstein was "Musikgraf", it had been him who was responsible for that permission. It might have been exactly this reason for which his brother visited a lesson of the boy Liszt with Salieri. But I must admit that the traces are rather hidden, and it would not change much if the paragraph was missing.

At the end of the forth paragraph of chapter 1.4.4, the sentence "In short, according to Fétis he was, harmonically Fétis and ..." sounds a bit unpolished for my taste, and it is because of the twofold "Fétis". In fact, the statement, Liszt was harmonically Fétis and pianistically Thalberg, is a summary of the previous ones. It should therefore be sufficient, to write "In short, he was harmonically Fétis ...". Taking this form, there is still the problem that this sentence as well as the following one is commencing with "In". For avoiding this, I suggest "He was, in short, harmonically Fétis ...".

At the end of the sixth paragraph everything had been taken from Clara Schumann's diary entry. It should therefore be superfluous, repeating in every single sentence that only her opinions are told. (Clara's opinions were shared in all Europe by everyone who wrote about Thalberg.) In order to solve the problem, I put a direct quotation instead. (I’m not sure whether it must be “played to the delight” or “played up to the delight”. Clara wrote “bis zum Entzücken schön”, and with “Entzücken” a very high degree of delight is meant. Perhaps you can find a better word instead of "delight".) In the last sentence of the last paragraph it goes without saying that the description was taken from the review. Even in most pedantic scholarly papers it is common use to give an indirect quotation of that kind

In the first sentence of the second paragraph of 1.4.6, instead of "after his operas ... failed", it seemed to be better, writing "after his operas ... had failed". The last sentence of the paragraph is in the subsequent paragraphs shown to be true. A virtuoso who makes such a tour and is described in such kind (see the quotation from the New-York Musical Review and Gazette of July 24, 1858, at the chapter's end), actually is the most perfect virtuoso ever heard in America. A further citation should therefore be superfluous. The sentence "offering highly polished renditions of both the great classics and his own compositions" is correct, but somewhat misleading. Thalberg played mainly own works, of course. In my version I therefore referred to those, and only afterwards wrote that Thalberg played some classical masterworks besides. (By the way, Chopin and Mendelssohn were not "great classics", but still modern composers in those times.) 15:57, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Guten tag and welcome back. Thanks for taking our concerns into consideration, I have to log off in a few minutes right now but will take a closer look at your posting above and see what I can do with the article later today. This could be quite significant once it's done--you're certainly right that there is no comparably detailed biography of Thalberg accessible anywhere else on the internet, for one thing.
I can move the list of works to a separate article right away (I did that for Béla Bartók just the other day.) Oh, and thanks for catching my slip about calling Chopin and Mendelssohn "great classics"--momentarily forgot what century I was in, I guess. :) K. Lásztocska 16:04, 12 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm at moment thinking about adding a bit more comfort for English eyed readers. Until now, many sources are references to books in German and French, and it is in some cases unavoidable. However, it should be possible to replace at least some of them with English ones. An example is the book about Beethoven by Thayer. Thayer was an Englishman, even though he wrote his book in German. Perhaps, there is an English edition as well. Schumann's reviews and essays do exist in English (in two different editions); and also the letters of Mendelssohn to Moscheles have been published in English (London 1888). I don't know, of course, how difficult it might be for you, to trace such books in a library. But, if there is not too much of labour to it, you could try it. 08:32, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

Harold C. Schonberg's opinion of Thalberg[edit]

A friend of mine just sent me the following quote from former New York Times music critic Harold C. Schonberg's book "The Great Pianists", pg. 191-2:

"Toward the end of his career, Thalberg stopped composing. Wilhelm Kuhe, a Czech-born teacher resident in London, asked him why. "Alas!" said Thalberg. "My imitators have made me impossible." His music, though, was doomed to a short life. Today it is forgotten, and he himself is a shadowy figure. Liszt moved with the times, constantly growing, while Thalberg was content to be the virtuoso with his little bag of dated tricks."

Is this an isolated opinion, or could it hint at a larger truth--namely, the reason why Thalberg is barely remembered today? In any event, whether this is a correct interpretation or not, I respectfully suggest that we do need to find out why it is that someone so renowned in his time as Thalberg was is almost totally forgotten in modern times. Whether justified or not, his being almost forgotten today probably deserves a mention and explanation in the article. K. Lásztocska 16:40, 14 August 2007 (UTC)

The question, for which reasons Thalberg is almost forgotten in modern times, already includes the proposition that he is almost forgotten. In fact, he is mentioned in nearly every book about history of piano music and until today recognized as one of the most prominent artists of the 19th century. In contrast to Wilhelm Kuhe, who actually is a forgotten person, Thalberg's name is still alive.
Coming to Thalberg's music, Schonberg claims, it was forgotten. His book is of 1963 and therefore rather old. Eight years later, Ch. Suttoni wrote his thesis Piano and Opera with a long chapter about Thalberg's works. Since then, Thalberg's music can no longer be regarded as forgotten, at least in the scientific world. After this, Schonberg’s statement is wrong; but in order to give an explanation, he writes,Thalberg’s music was "doomed to a short life". At second, he writes, Thalberg was content to be a virtuoso "with his little bag of dated tricks".
The "doomed" theory is obviously no explanation at all. The second theory, Thalberg was content &c, is wrong. A person, being content with that kind of role, would not have composed Thalberg's piano-sonata and his two operas. The phrase of that "little bag of dated tricks" is no reasonable explanation either, but rather cheap polemic and, besides, also wrong. An inspection of Thalberg's piano works leads to the result that they include not a "little bag of tricks" but everything what could possibly be included in piano works of those times. It would be very astonishing, by the way, that persons like Mendelssohn and Schumann liked Thalberg's music when there was nothing more to it than a little bag of tricks.
The fact that nearly nothing of Thalberg's works is still played today, shows that the fashion must have changed. If wanting to give an explanation for this, you would have to find out first, in which time that change exactly took place. Already this would be a complicated kind of original research. At next, you had to ask for reasons. In the end you would find out nothing more than that the fashion has changed because there was a change of the fashion. You could also try to investigate the mechanisms after which opinions about certain composers are usually built. For that purpose just go to a conservatory and talk with the students. (I myself studied piano playing at a conservatory.) Doing it that way, you can find out very much. It is common use to talk about this composer in this, and about that composer in that way. A person who does not take part in this kind of game makes many enemies. In order to avoid trouble, people pretend they would actually think this or that way. In the end they are falling for their own role and are confusing their collective "opinion" with reality.While the historical Thalberg was, without doubt, a virtuoso of the Vladimir Horrowitz calibre and even as composer standing in a huge distance above nearly all of the students, he is typically considered to have been a kind of musical pygmy, "not even" having composed a masterwork like Beethoven's 9th symphony.
The chapter about Thalberg as composer is not yet ready. I just saw your posting of August 3 concerning the music examples. (I forgot to look at it, I'm sorry.) In order to find the music, take the link which I added to the new article (List of compositions). You should download the Moise-fantasy, the Sonnambula-Caprice and the Waltzes op.47. The most commonly used example from the Moise-fantasy is the first line of page 85 (It is page 17 of the pdf.) From the Waltzes, the first line of "Valse No.6" would be nice. It is an example of the chromatic octaves which were praised by Mendelssohn. In the Sonnambula-Caprice, look at the last pages. You will find an example with similar chromatic octaves also there. There are some short and some long passages. Take a line with a passage of full length. The needed quotation from Weitzmann can be taken as translation from the German original which I have. I afterwards still need an example from Liszt's fantasy on "La Juive". (I hope that I can find it on the internet.) Putting all these things altogether, I can show that the mechanism of building an opinion about certain composers was already in the 19th century exactly of the kind which I tried to describe with the example of the students. You may be sure that the result will make a rather sensational reading. 09:11, 15 August 2007 (UTC)
What an interesting topic. I remember discussions with my piano teacher at college about Liszt's harmonic advances in his later works (stretching the tonality of the day). This goes with the argument that he "moved with the times." I can't say much about my teacher's opinion on Thalberg because, for whatever reason, I never learned of Thalberg through him.
The statement that Thalberg's music contained "everything what could possibly be included in piano works of those times" has within it the suggestion that he was simply not forward-thinking and instead wrote, deftly, within the current style. This is not in any way a value judgement. I suspect that those who are remembered most are those who excelled and expanded upon the style of their age, adding to it something personal and new.
The question is: how are we defining and quantifying "remembered"? It feels cheap to say, for instance, that Bach is more remembered than Biber, and yet despite Biber still being taught and performed it's a true statement. Biber is never compared with Bach so we don't need to say it. Thalberg is constantly compared with Liszt, and so the issue of comparing the two naturally comes up (whether it's adds to or takes away from the discussion). Sstrader 16:02, 16 August 2007 (UTC)
Thalberg was quite well recognized as a composer who actually did expand the current piano style of his time. So far as I can see, it was only Liszt who most frequently claimed, his rival had nothing invented at all. But Liszt was just the one who took extraordinary much from Thalberg's works for his own. Concerning Liszt's advances in his later works, stretching the tonality, I'd say that the statement is obviously true, but after my impression, Liszt is usually liked for other works. In his most popular works like Les Preludes, the Piano Concertos, and most of the Hungarian Rhapsodies, there is not more stretching the tonality than in Schubert's works. In the "Liebesträume" and the "Petrarca-Sonnets" there is nothing of those qualities at all. The harmonic of the "Galop chromatique" is very simple. (This is not to say, Liszt's popular works were bad, of course.) The eccentric harmonic of the fugue in Beethoven's Sonata op.106 ("Hammerklavier") was unmatched until the end of the 19th century. As general comment I'd suggest, better not to try to "prove" that a composer or a piece of music is great. Thick books have been written about this topic, but I have never seen a successful attempt. Great philosophers like Kant, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche did in the field of aesthetics nothing more but stating their own opinions, following their own taste. We are living in the 21st century. Looking back at the 20th century, there was the generation of Bartók and Hindemith who hated everything sounding like 19th century. The next generation, Cage, Stockhausen and Boulez, hated eveyrthing sounding like music. After this, it should be obvious that an "objective" measuring of aesthetical values is a most problematic thing.

In addition to my posting of August 15: You can take Liszt's fantasy on "La Juive" from here. The example which I need is the first line of page 28. It shows the same chromatic octaves as in the examples from Thalberg's works. (Thalberg took it from Liszt in this case.) 09:47, 18 August 2007 (UTC)

OK, I'm too tired right now to get into a probably fascinating discussion about what makes a composer great--however, I have uploaded the excerpts you requested from Thalberg's and Liszt's works. The Moise-fantasy may be found here, the Waltzes op. 47 here, and Liszt's "La Juive" fantasy here. I leave it up to you to decide where in the article to put them and what to write for captions. K. Lásztocska 15:58, 18 August 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for the music examples. But the example from the fantasy on "La Juive" will be better taken in a different form. The first line (two systems) is an ossia which is not needed. The last line (further two systems) has nothing to do with the cromatic octaves. The best solution would be, taking everything away with exception of the line with the chromatic octaves. 09:46, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Fine, here are your chromatic octaves. K. Lásztocska 14:55, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Thalberg's little bag of dated tricks[edit]

schonberg is an ass The quotation from Schonberg about Thalberg's "little bag of dated tricks" can be regarded as typical example for the kind in which it is by some thought about him. It will be a good idea, to take this as starting point for a chapter about Thalberg as composer. But the form taken by Schonberg is in no sense precise. (It is for this reason polemic.) Better examples can be taken from C. F. Weitzmann and Lina Ramann, but there is a problem to be solved. Their writing style was very fuzzy. It is therefore a hard task, finding an adequate translation. It would have been the best solution, if someone of you went to a library in order to get English editions via interlibrary loan. It is for sure that those editions exist, and it would have been not more than one or two weeks to get them. Unfortunately it seems to be against the habits of English Wikipedians to get experiences of this. The problem must therefore be solved in a different way.

In the following, I'll give the German originals as well as suggested translations in which the rather complicated style with long sentences is reproduced. Please, look at it and correct it in a way in which the structure of the original sentences is kept. Ramann's sentence "inzwischen längst verallgemeinert" is problematic because it is somewhat hard to guess what Ramann wanted to say with "verallgemeinert". It can be "generalized", but more likely it is meant in a sense that the effect had become commonly used. "inzwischen" is "meanwhile" or "in the meantime". "längst" is "for a long time" or "a long time ago". But I have no idea how to connect both in order to get "inzwischen längst". "in the meantime for a long time" would sound rather bad in my ears. For this reason I took only "for a long time". Instead of "which above and beneath, through all octaves, were rushing around a melody" it would be better to take "which were above and beneath, through all octaves, rushing around a melody". But the "huge" distance between "were" and "rushing" might be looking somewhat irritating for an English eye. "Mittellage" is the medium range of the keyboard, but I don't know which word is usually taken by English pianists. "übertönend" means that the melody can be distinctly heard as main part of the music. The question whether it is "drowning" as my dictionary says, or whether there is a better word for it, is open. To repeat the task, the exact sense as well as the structure of the sentences must be reproduced, as far as it is possible. Taking "Google translation" would be no solution at all.


  • Dieser Effekt, inzwischen längst verallgemeinert, bestand aus harfenartigen Arpeggien, welche eine Melodie oben und unten, durch alle Oktavlagen umrauschten, während sie selbst in den Mittellagen ruhig und jene übertönend ihre Weise fortsetzte, - in jenen Tagen ein pianistisches Wunder, der Glanzpunkt der „Moses-Fantasie“ Thalberg’s! Die Ausführung desselben besteht aus der bekannten Arbeitsvertheilung an Finger und Hände, nach welcher, während die Hände kreuzweise die fortlaufenden Passagen ausführen, die Daumen im Moment des Ablösens der Hände abwechselnd die Melodie vortragen.
  • This effect, for a long time to have become common, consisted of harp like arpeggios, which above and beneath, through all octaves, were rushing around a melody, while the melody in the medium ranges was for itself, calmly and drowning those, continuing its tune, - in those days a pianistical miracle, the brilliant climax of Thalberg's "Moise-fantasy"! The execution consists of the well known partition of work to fingers and hands, after which, while the hands are crosswise executing the running passages, the thumbs - at the moment of relieving one hand with the other - are by turns executing the melody.


  • Seine Bravourstücke, Fantasien über Melodien aus Moses und der Donna del Lago von Rossin, über Motive aus Bellini’s Norma und über russische Volkslieder wurden durch den eigenen, glänzenden Vortrag ausserordentlich beliebt, sie bearbeiten jedoch ihre Themata stets auf eine und dieselbse Weise, und ihr immer wiederkehrender Haupteffect ist es, die Töne einer Melodie der mittleren Oktave des Claviers bald vom Daumen der rechten, bald der linken Hand spielen zu lassen, während die übrigen Finger Arpeggien dazu ausführen, welche den ganzen Umfang des Claviers einnehmen.
  • His bravura pieces, fantasies on melodies from Rossini's Moise and the Donna del Lago, on motifs from Bellini's Norma and on Russian folk-songs, became extraordinary favourite by his own, brilliant execution; they, however, treat their subjects always in one and the same way, and their always returning main effect is, to let the tones of a melody in the medium octave of the keyboard be played now by the thumb of the right, now of the left hand, while the rest of the fingers are in addition executing arpeggios, which are filling the whole range of the keyboard. 09:42, 19 August 2007 (UTC)

Might I suggest that the appropriate English term for "Mittellage" would be "middle register"?

It is certainly accurate to point out that the arpeggio passage in the Moses Fantasy does not match the descriptions given of it by Ramann and Weitzmann. I prefer the oft-used terminology of "three-handed effect" for the specific pianistic device that Thalberg is generally considered to have introduced, not least because this term covers a wider range of possibilities. Compare, for example, the section 27 bars before the arpeggios (three pages earlier in my score): here the melody is also shared between the hands (and, incidentally, not an arpeggio in sight). Furthermore, the melody is clearly not only played by the thumbs. It is often the case than in such passages, Thalberg's effect is in reality accompaniment in the bass (left hand), melody in the middle register (shared between the hands) and ornamentation in the treble (right hand). Another example of the "three-handed effect", this time in a non-virtuoso context, would be in his arrangement of Casta diva (from L'art du chant, op.70).

However, it is only fair to say that he did use this textural device rather a lot.

Paraphrase 10:41, 19 September 2007 (UTC)

May I quote a comment from German Wikipedia on Weitzmann's claim?

"Die Durchsicht der Noten führt zu dem Ergebnis, dass die von Weitzmann und in entsprechender Art auch von vielen anderen Autoren beschriebene Spielweise weder in den von Weitzmann genannten, noch in einem einzigen der übrigen Werke Thalbergs zu finden ist. Thalberg ist in diesem Sinn für eine Spielweise berühmt, die er nicht verwendet hat."

So Weitzmann claims something which doesn't seem to be true. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:22, 16 January 2015 (UTC)

Revision of "Thalberg as composer"[edit]

The revision was written for those Wikipedia users who are actually interested in Thalberg. Those others who still prefer playing a role or riding a hobbyhorse will better read a different text. 09:42, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

I still don't appreciate these snide remarks of yours which are so obviously directed at me, Mr. Scholar. The new section is fine, although I would consider making the picture (the music example) a little smaller. K. Lásztocska 12:13, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
Another one of those curious sayings: "Wer sich den Schuh anzieht, dem passt er." ("Who's putting on the shoe, it suits to him.") But concerning the image's size you're right. The example should be smaller and the distance to the text should be the same as between subsequent paragraphs. I must still figure out how it is to be done. If you want to do a helpful job, please take your Photoshop once again. In the bottom of the example, right of "ben marcato il canto", there is a rest (8......) belonging to the next line of the piece and somewhat confusing. So far as you can find a free minute in the course of your innumerable occupations, you may like to take it away. For the case, you have even more free time: I'd like to add a further example, from Liszt's Norma-fantasy. You can get the score from here. I need from p.13 the first line with the large arpeggios. 09:38, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately I am unable to do any further work with images at this time: I am using a different computer now and I do not have Photoshop installed. Apologies; maybe someone else can help. K. Lásztocska 16:06, 6 September 2007 (UTC)
You are welcome to create an account for yourself, most reverend sir (User:Günther Protzies is still as of yet uncreated here). Then you will be able to upload your own images. —  $PЯINGεrαgђ  01:25, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
I second that. It would be much more convenient to work together if you had a talk page, contribs list, etc. like the rest of us. K. Lásztocska 02:25, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Disputed neutrality[edit]

At the article's top it is to be read that the neutrality is disputed. I may then ask for details. Should an impression of a hagiographic style be meant, there is unfortunately nothing that can be changed. According to all contemporary sources which have come to light until now, Thalberg's career actually was of the described, very exceptional kind. Since there is indeed a problem of credibility, I searched for different sources and did it for several years. But I found nothing, and – as far as I know – nobody else has been successful. After this, the true astonishing aspect is the picture drawn of Thalberg in most of the Liszt-literature. 09:31, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Surely you can understand that it is not a problem of facts, but a problem of writing style? You insert too many of your own opinions, which (as I'm sure I've said before) is fine in an essay but not an encyclopedia. If Thalberg were really as great as you claim, his life and legacy would shine forth in all its brilliance without your help. Surely the great Mr. Thalberg does not need disparagement of the intelligence of everyone who disliked his music or snide side-remarks against Franz Liszt (both man and musician), to begin with. This is not the Neue Zeitschrift and is thus not the place for commentary. K. Lásztocska 12:22, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Further to K. Lásztocska's comments, I would add that undue weight is indeed given to Thalberg on too many occasions. The fact that the style is hagiographic is a problem in an encyclopaedia, which is why we have a policy of neutral point of view. The main problem though, as I see it, is the comparison with Liszt. It reads from the beginning as if you have an agenda, in raising Thalberg's profile in comparison to Liszt - which I believe you do. Take for example your discussion of his successful concerts in comparison to Liszt's less successful ones, fair enough, but what of the "piano duel"? You devote whole sections to rivalry with Liszt, yet the most famous episode in their rivalry is given one sentence? Something is a awry here, clearly. Is it the fact that Thalberg when actually compared to Liszt in the same place at the same time didn't actually outshine him? You are not giving enough facts for a fair comparison.

Take also for example, the mention of Liszt making enemies while Thalberg was recieving the Legion of Honour, as if Liszt didn't... When of course he did win it in 1860 and was made a commander the next year. But the impression is left that Liszt was not successful in France. Thalberg's failure as a composer is skirted around. What of his failed operas? All that is mentioned is that his piano compositions were successful. There's a big difference.

Phrases such as "The contemporaries of the 19th century only saw that what they wanted to see." are simply your own opinion. Implying that your version is the truth, and the contemporaries were wrong. I assume this applies also to people like Heine who wrote favourably about Thalberg? M A Mason 12:50, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

If you want to read more about the famous "duel" you can have it, of course. (What about a special article?) Many sources have come to light, and I know very much of it. But in the end Liszt would be looking much, much worse than until now. Concerning the failure of Thalberg's operas you are right, when taking a theoretical point of view. Unfortunately there is no possibility for getting knowledge of those works. No score and no nothing is available. For this reason, all authors did not write more about the operas than I did. Had I done a different thing, it would have been original research. (It would be interesting, though, but at moment I can't do it.) Liszt got the Cross of the Legion of Honour in 1845, by the way, and if this might be important for you, please put it to the article. (I'll add a reference afterwards.) I myself cannot see the least connection with Thalberg. Heine did not write a single word about the arpeggios with thumbs-melodies, and it was only in this connexion when I wrote that the contemporaries only saw what they wanted to see. Although the sentence is obviously true, it can as well be deleted, since it says much about the contemporaries and nothing about Thalberg. So, if you don’t like this sentence, please take it away.
The fact that Thalberg was much more successful in Paris than Liszt is known from many sources and was confirmed by Liszt himself. Thalberg was also much more successful in Italy and Great Britain. The rivalry was most important for him, because it was following him until the end of his career, and he had much advantage of it. He was until 1862, in Paris as well as in North and South America, still announced with a hint to this. His success as composer was exactly as imposing as it was described in my version of the text. This is not to say, Thalberg was my own favourite composer, but he was the favourite of many contemporaries of large parts of the 19th century. Especially Liszt took extraordinarily much from Thalberg’s works. Since you wrote, I had given only own opinions of mine, I'd like to see some concrete examples for it. 18:23, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Since the article is in all parts splendidly cited with first rate original sources, the tag concerning "disputed neutrality" seems to be misleading and superflous. Besides, the above debate speaks for itself. So, as far as during the following two weeks no contradiction comes, I'll take it away. (talk) 09:43, 11 June 2008 (UTC)

Nothing's happened. For the purpose of wanting to be fair, I'll wait for another week and then delete the tag. (talk) 08:31, 24 June 2008 (UTC)

Thalberg's composition[edit]

Quote "While Thalberg was in the late 19th century only recognized as "Old Arpeggio", the imposing command of counterpoint in the fugue-finale of his Norma-fantasy had been forgotten" I found this misleading as it wasn't really a fugal finale, but was only like 20 bars of contrapuntal writing. (talk) 10:50, 18 July 2011 (UTC)19th cent music

Fugato, then? Schissel | Sound the Note! 11:59, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Full name?[edit]

His full name - which we usually include very early in an article - is usually given as Sigismond Fortuné François Thalberg , or some variant thereof. See Musicsack (which lists a number of sources- not sure which one provides the middle-names). Any thoughts? Schissel | Sound the Note! 11:58, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

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