Sigismond Thalberg

Austrian composer and pianist Sigismond Thalberg was born in Pâquis, Switzerland on 8 January 1812. There is some confusion over who his parents were, and not much is known about Thalberg's early life. We know that he studied with Moscheles in London in 1826, performed in London in 1826 and in Vienna regularly from 1827.

His first published composition dates from 1828. Amongst his works are a series of fantasies on themes from well-known operas by Auber, Bellini, Donizetti, Mozart, Rossini, Verdi and Weber.

In 1930 he met Chopin and Mendelssohn in Vienna, who both commented positively on Thalberg's technical skills. From 1835, he visited Paris, Lyon and Geneva. He was praised by Berlioz, Meyerbeer and Rossini, but Chopin wasn't so impressed, and a rivalry developed between Thalberg and Liszt.

Thalberg undertook several European tours from 1937 onwards, but later began to spend more time composing than playing.

When his own operas Florinda and Cristina di Svezia were unsuccessful, he had the time to tour America, where he made a great deal of money performing.

After a final tour to Brazil in 1863, Thalberg ended his career, retiring to Italy. He died on 27 April 1871, aged fifty-nine.


A selection of articles about Sigismond Thalberg

CD Spotlight. Delicately Sensitive Performances - Operatic fantasies by Sigismond Thalberg, strongly recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... characteristically intense and warm ...'

CD Spotlight. Mastery of Adaptation - Opera transcriptions for piano, heard by Howard Smith. '... illuminating performances ...'