Wonderful find: Daniel Gottlieb Steibelt piano music

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Lance
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Wonderful find: Daniel Gottlieb Steibelt piano music

Post by Lance » Fri Apr 01, 2005 12:22 am

Piano Music of Nägeli, Clementi, Cramer, Beethoven & Steibelt
MGB 6193, Stereo, 79:14, ADD
Hiroko Sakagami, piano
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So many composers embracing the Baroque through the end of the Romantic periods in music have been sorely neglected that shouldn't be. Throwing out a few names: Bargiel, for one, Alabiev for another, Anton Rubinstein, etc., et al. While the best of the best seemed to survive, it doesn't mean that those who didn't or ones we don't hear about much weren't great composers. Some have gained, such as Alkan, and then move into near oblivion again, at least for a while. The lists of music we love and enjoy by neglected composers could go on endlessly.

Recently, I listened to a Swiss recording on the MGB label [6193], the superb Japanese pianist, Hiroko Sakagami, has put together a collection of music we rarely hear by these composers: Hans Georg Nägeli (1773-1836), a music publisher, composer, and pianist; Johann Baptist Cramer (1771-1858), Muzio Clementi (1752-1832), a publisher, piano builder, and pianist of the first rank from what we know; Daniel Gottlieb Steibelt (1765-1823). Included is a marvelous interpretation of Beethoven's Sonata in E-flat Major, Op. 31/3. All told, a generously filled CD of 79'14".

But it was the two-movement Piano Sonata #2 in E Major by Daniel Gottlieb Steibelt that caught my ears immediately. The man is certainly not lacking in musical ideas, and his work seems entirely ahead of its time, just based on this one composition, where he creates Romantic musical suggestions throughout. The second movement, marked Pastorale contains hints of Alkan, not in that master's overpowering technical demands, but in his curious way of making the simplest musical gestures come to life in an inspiring and invigorating and clever manner.

The biography of Steibelt is too lengthy to go into here, but Groves has some good, in-depth information. Steibelt will be remembered chiefly for his notorious contests with other pianists, including Beethoven. He befriended John Field (of nocturne fame) and the pair appeared in joint recitals between 1811 and for the next decade. Steibelt was married to an Englishwoman who was well known for her virtuoso work with, of all instruments, the tambourine! Steibelt, who was born in Germany and died in St. Petersburg, Russia, was as loved by the Russians just as was John Field.

Steibelt's opus numbers run over 110, but they are surrounded by virtually countless unnumbered works. There were 160 sonatas and sonatinas for the piano alone, harp compositions, stage works, orchestral and chamber works, eight (8!) piano concertos, songs, string quartets, trios ... and on and on it goes. So, the question might be, what happened to Herr Steibelt and his music? Good question, and I can't answer it. But it seems to me that it is worth resurrecting.

What about what's already on record of Steibelt. Not much, I can assure you. Those of you who loved the pianistic art of Raymond Lewenthal may recall an Angel LP (S-36080). That wonderful recording (which should be reissued on CD) contained Steibelt's three Bacchanales, Op. 53 for Piano with Tambourine and Triangle! (Ah yes, I remember that, you say!) Chandos issued a marvelous Sonata for Piano Four Hands [9418, which also was available on a Musical Heritage Society compact disc [515467W], with Alexander Bakhchiyev and Yelena Sorokina, pianists. Once upon a time, there was an English Oryx LP with Steibelt's music performed on period instruments (Pleyels, etc., pianos of the time.) That is as much as I can find in quickly surveying my own collection.

Pianist Iroko Sakagami, first-prize winner of the Clara Haskil Competition might give you some indication of what kind of pianist we have here. Her teachers included Hubert Harry and Nikita Magaloff. In Lucerne, at the Conservatory, she took the concert diploma with the highest distinction in 1987, the first time such a mark had been given. She teaches at the Lucerne Conservatory and has given masterclasses at the British Columbia University in Vancouver. With her MGB recording, she has brought to light the music of several composers, and particularly the piano music of Daniel Gottlieb Steibelt.

It is my fervent hope that MGB will issue more recordings of Sakagami playing the music of Steibelt. If not, some enterprising company such as Naxos, Hyperion, Marco Polo, Dabringhaus und Grimm should investiate this music. Hyperion would be a logical choice for their outstanding Romantic Concerto series of recordings.

If anyone knows of other recordings of Steibelt, please contact me with information.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
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When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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Donald Isler
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Post by Donald Isler » Fri Apr 01, 2005 1:31 am

This sounds very interesting, Lance!

Also, is the composer Bargiel you refer to Clara Schumann's stepfather?
Donald Isler

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Post by Guest » Fri Apr 01, 2005 3:27 am

Steibelt was a distant relative, by marriage, of Ach's.

Lance
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Post by Lance » Tue Apr 05, 2005 9:43 am

Donald Isler wrote:This sounds very interesting, Lance!

Also, is the composer Bargiel you refer to Clara Schumann's stepfather?
I believe you are correct. Bargiel was her half-brother as was Marie Wieck her half sister. Robert Schumann also taught Bargiel, and both, Robert and Clara, recognized something special in Woldemar Bargiel's pianism and his compositional skills.

Some of the finest music of Bargiel appears on the Musikproduction Dabringhaus und Grimm [MDG] label (chamber music). The superb pianist, Daniel Blumenthal, has recorded some solo piano music for the Marco Polo label - and still more of Bargiel's music can be found on the Koch, Hyperion, and FSM labels.
Lance G. Hill
Editor-in-Chief
______________________________________________________

When she started to play, Mr. Steinway came down and personally
rubbed his name off the piano. [Speaking about pianist &*$#@+#]

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