Before the time of television and the internet, live music performances were a primary form of entertainment. Performances were held in private homes, as well as concert halls. Many rivalries formed among pianists and composers. This created a unique angle for entertainment as individuals could then debate the merits of each musician and choose sides. One of the more famous piano duels was held between Franz Liszt and Sigismond Thalberg.
Sigismond Thalberg (January 8, 1812 – April 27, 1871) was a composer and one of the most distinguished virtuoso pianists of the 19th century.
Sigismond Thalberg was born in Pâquis near Geneva, Switzerland, on January 8, 1812. According to his birth certificate, he was the son of "Joseph Thalberg" and "Fortunée Stein", both from Frankfurt-am-Main, but the names in the birth certificate are now regarded as fictitious. For reasons of Thalberg's illegitimate birth, during his lifetime it was common use not to call his parents true names. François-Joseph Fétis, in the article "Thalberg" in his Biographie universelle des musiciens (1863), therefore wrote that Thalberg was son of a Prince „M.. D..“ and a Baroness „W...“...
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