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Solomon (1902 - 1988)


Born Solomon Cutner in London’s East End, the pianist used only his first name professionally. The seventh child born to tailors of German-Jewish and Polish-Jewish extraction, Solomon had musical parents and he began to play the family piano at the age of five. He received piano lessons from a local teacher and at eight was taken under the tutelage of Mathilde Verne, a pupil of Clara Schumann and head of her own Piano School in London. Verne made Solomon’s parents sign a contract giving her complete control over the boy for five years: recent investigation by biographer Bryan Crimp shows that Verne exploited the child for her own gain. His London debut, at the age of eight, was a great success and the following year Verne had the nine-year-old play Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor Op. 37 and Liszt’s Hungarian Fantasy with the Queen’s Hall Orchestra and Henry Wood. Verne pushed the child to learn large works and his performances served as an advertisement for her teaching and her Piano School. At the age of twelve he played at six Prom Concerts, the repertoire being totally unsuitable for a child of his age, including as it did concertos by Grieg, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, and Liszt’s Hungarian Fantasy. The following year, 1915, the thirteen-year-old Solomon performed at least fifteen times with Wood, playing the concertos from the previous year and adding those by Schumann and Brahms, as well as arrangements for piano and orchestra by Liszt of Schubert’s ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy and Beethoven’s Die

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Saverio Mercadante – I Briganti



 

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