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The nineteenth century was the age of the piano. The newly developed instrument, decorated in the domestic taste of the time and strengthened by the use of an iron frame, making maintenance much easier, proved an admirable centre of home entertainment. The piano enjoyed also a social cachet. Young ladies with any pretension to gentility were expected to play the instrument, which had the additional advantage of being self-sufficient and a useful adjunct in the accompaniment of singers or other instrumentalists.
Composers and music publishers were quick to realise the importance of the new market for short piano pieces that were not too demanding. Tekla Badarzewska-Baranowska's well known Maiden's Prayer was an aptly named response to just such a maiden need for playable and attractive repertoire, ensuring the otherwise unknown composer a measure of immortality.
Tekla Badarzewska-Baranowska: The Maiden's Prayer, Op. 4
The Maiden's Prayer, Op. 4
Antonin Dvorak: 8 Humoresques, Op. 101
Humoresque in G flat major, Op. 101, No. 7
Ludwig van Beethoven: 6 Minuets, WoO 10
Minuet in G major, WoO 10, No. 6
Camille Saint-Saens: Carnival of the Animals
Carnival of the Animals: XIII. Le Cygne (The Swan)
Anton Rubinstein: 2 Melodies, Op. 3
Melodie in F major, Op. 3, No. 1
Jacques Offenbach: Les contes d'Hoffmann (The Tales of Hoffmann)
Barcarrolle from The Tales of Hoffmann
Peter Nagy: 6 Romances, Op. 6 (arr. for piano)
6 Romances, Op. 6: No. 6. None But the Lonely Heart (arr. for piano)
Franz Liszt: Mendelssohn - Lieder, S547/R217 (7 Lieder from Mendelssohn, Op, 19a, 34, 47)
Mendelssohn - Auf Flugeln des Gesanges (On Wings of Song) (from Op. 34, No. 2), S547/R217, No. 1
Luigi Boccherini: String Quintet in E major, Op. 11, No. 5, G. 275 (arr. for piano)
Minuet from String Quintet in E major, G. 275
Fritz Kreisler: Liebeslied (arr. for piano)
Christian Sinding: 6 Stucke, Op. 32
6 Pieces, Op. 32: No. 3. Rustle of Spring
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky: 12 Morceaux, Op. 40
12 Morceaux, Op. 40: No.2. Chanson triste in G minor
Ignacy Jan Paderewski: Humoresques de concert, Op. 14
Minuet in G major, Op. 14, No. 1
Gustav Lange: Edelweiss, Op. 31
Edvard Grieg: Lyric Pieces, Book 8, Op. 65
Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, Op. 65, No. 6
Franz Drdla: Souvenir (arr. for piano)
Souvenir in D major
Francois-Joseph Gossec: Gavotte in D major, "Rosine"
Gavotte in D major, 'Rosine'
Edward Elgar: Salut d'amour, Op. 12, "Liebesgruss"
Salut d'amour, Op. 12
Franz Lehar: Die lustige Witwe (The Merry Widow)
Vilja Song from The Merry Window
Zdenek Fibich: Moods, Impressions and Reminiscences, Op. 41