Richard Zimdars, Arthur Bird’s Piano Works after his Time with Liszt

Arthur Bird (1856-1923) began his compositional career chiefly as an orchestral composer. His first attendance at Liszt’s master classes took place in Weimar in the summer of 1883. From 1886 to 1890, Bird’s compositions were written almost exclusively for piano solo or for one piano, four-hands. After his contact with Liszt, Bird wrote waltzes, a waltz cycle, mazurkas, eleven sets of character pieces, and a theme and variations for piano. During the past decade, Bird’s chamber music for wind instruments has been revived in performance and been recorded. However, his solo and four-hand piano music, published by reputable companies in his lifetime, is no longer heard today or available in modern editions. This article will examine Bird’s piano music composed from 1886-1890 and feature excerpts from several dance pieces, character pieces, and the theme and variations.