Franz Xaver Scharwenka
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Franz Xaver Scharwenka - Piano Concerto No. 4 (1908)

I'm starting to wonder if a composer's name helps maintain their status? Think about that for a moment. How many composers have names that are difficult? There are a few, mainly Russian, but by and large names such as Verdi, Mozart, and the like are easy to pronounce.

Chopin is a little tricky but it's pleasant to pronounce. Who doesn't want to say, "We went and heard some Chopin"?

How about Scharwenka?

Schar-who-nka?

Franz Xaver Scharwenka does not have an easy or pleasant name to pronounce. Could this be why he's the esoteric pick of the week?

I've listened to his third and fourth piano concertos and they are phenomenal. Take Rachmaninoff, mix him with Tchaikovsky, add a little Schumann, and you get a Scharwenka piano concerto.

I'm through the roof listening to this guy. Why, why, why isn't he performed more? Is it a brand recognition thing? Are music organizations afraid people won't come to hear a composer they've never heard of?

It's possible. Would audiences love Scharwenka? Yes, without a doubt.

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