In many ways Beethoven can be considered the first Romantic pianst. He broke all the rules in the name of expression and in doing so changed forever the way pianists conceive the piano. Before Beethoven, the hands were held close to the keyboard. The sounds of the keyboard were polite and tasteful. But Beethoven was a wild man who snapped strings and broke hammers all in order to fullfill his titanic conception. His performances had emotional depth, charisma and unprecedented power.
Franz Liszt was a Beethoven disciple (having studied with Beethoven's pupil Carl Czerny) and Liszt took the idea of artistic expression to its highest level. With Liszt the Romantic era of piano playing reached its summit. Every composer who wrote for the piano after Liszt was indebted to him and certainly the music of Rachmaninoff and Albeniz show obvious Lisztian influences - in fact Albeniz was a student of Liszt.
The other great romantic poet of the piano was Chopin. Liszt learned a great deal from Chopin and the Chopin Etudes (dedicated to Liszt and to Liszt's lover, the countess Marie D'Agoult) are indispensable for any pianist.
Chopin once wrote in a letter "Liszt is playing my etudes and transporting me out of my respectable thoughts. I should like to steal from him the way to play my own etudes."
My own teacher, Luiz de Moura Castro studied at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest and was a student of a student of Liszt. I might add that Moura Castro himself has been instrumental in continuing the Romantic piano traditions established by Liszt in both his teaching and concertizing. It is inspiring to play this music with the realization that it is all interconnected and as I perform this music in the 21st century, I can trace the connection back to the tradition of the Romantic piano that began with the heroic music of Beethoven.
Paul Bisaccia - New York City
Check out excerpts from Paul Bisaccia's PBS television shows on youtube.com
Critical acclaim for Paul Bisaccia:
"A magical evening which just got better and better... completely passionate in his performance."
The Barrie Examiner Ontario
'Delivered with power, poignancy, authority and aplomb"
Worcester Telegram Gazette
"Bisaccia brought the audience to their feet with genuine spontaneous cheers erupting out od sheer joy. Steinway Society of the Bay Area (CA)
"Bisaccia is a serious artist with a compelling presence at the piano."