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I am a big Thalberg fan myself, but most of my enjoyment comes from the transcriptions as opposed to the original works.
As far as sonatas go, the Paderewski and Balakirev have always struck me as something special and my recent encounters with sonatas by Pinto, Potter, Nicolai & Dussek have also yielded some pleasing results, even under my fingers.
The list of lesser known composers is far greater than that of well known composers, so who knows what will be found in the future.
My local Borders Books is closing but I picked up a book of Clementi Sonatas for $7.50! Played through a little this weekend...nice music, pretty accessible. Of course, Clementi is not obscure, but may be overlooked somewhat. I think I read somewhere that he was a favorite of Beethoven, and Horowitz like to play him as well.
As far as sonatas go, the Paderewski and Balakirev have always struck me as something special...
Interesting that you mention the Balakirev. The April Gramophone gave a very favourable review to Danny Driver's new recording of Balakirev piano works on Hyperion. Have you heard it by any chance? (I've only heard Earl Wild's recording of the sonata, and that was some time ago.)
It's worth quoting a bit from Jeremy Nicholas' review (I think him a very reliable critic):
With the exception of Mussorgsky's 'Pictures', [the Balakirev sonata] is the only large-scale solo piano work produced by 'The Mighty Handful' and possibly the only piano sonata that opens with a strict fugue (which then alternates with a free rhapsody).
You might want to review some of Alexandr Glazunov's piano music -- specifically, his Theme and Variations, two Intermezzi, and Idyllia. All of these are beautifully written for the piano, and are late-romantic in character. Also, some of Nikolai Medtner's Skazki are possible. Finally, some of the early Alexandr Scriabin efforts are late-romantic and not really played that often.
No, I think that most of the composers referenced ARE, in fact, regarded as "minor", or "lesser known" -- though, that, of course, is an absolute crime, when you consider all the truly wonderful contributions that these people have made to the piano literature -- which is truly endless in its treasures!
A couple of questions: what does "sfogato" mean, or imply? I noticed that specific directive in the Chopin Barcarolle -- did you derive your "handle" from that"
If these composers are NOT lesser-known, whom do you regard as more truly unknown, that have provided "great" pieces (i.e., pieces that are compelling, but nobody's heard at all)?
Another vote for Lyapunov. It is a pity his works do not get played at concerts nowadays. Pieces I have listened to recently: his Transcendental Etudes (Terek, The Storm, etc..), Variations on a Russian Theme and a beautiful Piano Sonata.
Same with Alexander Glazunov
Glazunov also wrote beautiful Etudes, as did Felix Blumenfeld, here played by the amazing Simon Barere
I think the implication is "less often performed", though some of you folks are more knowledgeable than others. But it is undeniable that many of the composers listed in this thread are rarely played in public.
I think the "knowledge problem" discussion is condescending. I 100% agree that it is unfortunate that some of these composers are "unknown", "lesser known", or "never performed", but you're implying it's the fault of the listener... Argerich, Perahia, Kissin et al. are a huge part of the problem. YT and Naxos aside, how can one just magically become aware of such composers? Thanks to the OP for being interested enough to ask the question. I am certain many (including myself) have been very appreciative and enlightened by the suggestions.
Step down from your pedestals.
Currently working on: -Poulenc Trois pièces -Liszt Harmonies du Soir -Bach/Brahms Chaconne for Left Hand