Friedrich Kalkbrenner’s London decade (1814-1824) as told in his letters

Di Grazia, Gigliola (30 June 2023). Friedrich Kalkbrenner’s London decade (1814-1824) as told in his letters (Unpublished). In: 13th Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain Conference 2023. Milton Keynes. 28-30.06.2023.

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Friedrich Kalkbrenner (1785-1849) stood out as a highly acclaimed pianist during his time, garnering admiration for his skill as a performer and composer. He also played a significant role as an authoritative teacher and partner of the Pleyel piano factory. However, despite his influence and lasting impact, there is a scarcity of literature available about him, which primarily concentrates on his later years in Paris (1824-1849). But it was above all in London that Kalkbrenner developed and cultivated most of the virtuosic skills that would mark his career in the years to follow. Knowledge about this ten year sojourn (1814-1824) has not been critically reviewed for a long time due to the lack of new sources. Recently, a largely unedited body of correspondence has come to light, providing new evidence relating to this period. The letters reflect - among others - strategies for navigating the music publishing market, his extremely active performing life, and the care in arranging concert programmes. Two letters addressed to Ignaz Moscheles also deliver insight into their close friendship and shared activities, with the pianists taking over the sale of each other’s compositions, or commenting on the most peculiar season debuts at the Philharmonic Society: “Kiesewetter played at the Phil. like a demon, all the violins had their faces extended by an inch the next day” (26.04.1824, US-NYp). This paper will also focus on the letters dealing with the most influential London, French and German piano builders, as during this period, Kalkbrenner cultivated an extensive knowledge of the international piano construction business. Shortly after moving back to Paris, he would exploit those skills when becoming a Pleyel associate.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Bern Academy of the Arts
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Interpretation
Bern Academy of the Arts > Institute Interpretation > Performance and interpretation


Di Grazia, Gigliola0000-0001-8934-7649


M Music and Books on Music > M Music
M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music




Gigliola Di Grazia

Date Deposited:

11 Jul 2023 11:22

Last Modified:

02 Oct 2023 21:46


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