Elias Parish Alvars: Grand Duo Concertante, Op. 65 on motifs from Donizetti's 'Linda di Chamounix' for Two Pianos or Piano & Harp [Printed Music]
The story of Elias Parish Alvars is a journey from obscurity, ascending to something of an international celebrity. He was dubbed ‘the Franz Liszt of the harp’ by another celebrated composer Hector Berlioz, who was repeatedly spellbound by concerts Alvars gave in Germany. This sorcerer of the harp (and equally phenomenal pianist) received patronage from the aristocracy and royalty of Europe throughout his short-lived career.
His list of acquaintances and collaborators is impressive, including Carl Czerny, Hector Berlioz and John Field. Felix Mendelssohn may have briefly taught Alvars composition, also organizing concerts in which
Alvars participated. Alvars performed in royal courts throughout his career, including those of Friedrich August II of Saxony and Queen Victoria. His principal patron, Countess Jeanette Esterhazy, was the dedicatee of many of Alvars’ works, including the Grand Duo on Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix, which he composed in collaboration with Czerny (NMP1143). In 1848 Alvars’ health suddenly declined and he succumbed to pneumonia a month before his 41st birthday. He left behind a wife, Melanie Lewy, and two small children. Many of his works are lost, including a symphony, and his opera, The Legend of Teignmouth. The arrangement for piano four hands of the popular Overture to The Legend of Teignmouth (NMP1142) was made by Carl Lewy, a composer of songs, and presumably related to the family. Luke D. Whitlock