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Classical - Released February 7, 2012 | Zig-Zag Territoires

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Pianiste Maestro - Choc de Classica - Exceptional sound
Franz Liszt's transcriptions of Beethoven's symphonies date from different phases of his career. His attitude toward his symphonic transcriptions and other non-pianistic works is difficult to determine: he rarely played such transcriptions in concert, and they may have been at least partly commercial in motivation. But he wrote a great many of them and was plainly interested in the project, furnishing one set of Beethoven publications with a preface (reproduced in the booklet here) in which he proclaims that Beethoven's symphonies "cannot be meditated enough." These transcriptions have occasionally been performed, but this outing by Russian pianist Yury Martynov is a standout. One attraction is the piano: the 1837 Erard is nearly contemporaneous with the transcription of the Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 ("Pastoral"), and even for the Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36, composed in the mid-1860s, it serves well. It's a remarkable instrument, with rich but clear tones in pedaled passages, and it seems uncannily well attuned to Liszt's intentions here. These pieces lie somewhere between transcriptions and interpretations, and, especially in the "Pastoral" rendering, Liszt does not hesitate to omit orchestral details in favor of the larger narrative, often letting density adjustments stand in for those details. Martynov is magical in passages like the fourth-movement storm in the "Pastoral" symphony, where Liszt augments the action with some chromatic rolls in the bass; throughout this symphony he gets fabulous results with the pedal, giving the listener an idea of how Liszt heard Beethoven and also of what a technically startling pianist Liszt himself was. The "Pastoral" seems to shimmer throughout with the Romantic mysticism Beethoven intended, and the entire album is a triumph for the idea of recording 19th-century music on original instruments.

Classical - Released January 29, 2013 | Zig-Zag Territoires

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année - Hi-Res Audio

Solo Piano - Released January 20, 2014 | Zig-Zag Territoires

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles de Classica - Hi-Res Audio

Solo Piano - Released January 22, 2016 | Alpha

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - Choc de Classica
Perhaps no musician in the 19th century was a greater promoter of the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven than Franz Liszt, who not only conducted them regularly in Weimar, but made piano transcriptions of all nine, which were published together in 1865. The keyboard version of the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, "Choral," was one of the most challenging for Liszt, who agonized over making a viable arrangement of the complex choral finale, the famous setting of Schiller's Ode to Joy. Yet Liszt's bravura transcription was a success, and the Ninth was made available to musicians and listeners who, in the age before recordings, were unable to hear this work any other way. For this recording, Yury Martynov has recorded Liszt's reduction on a Blüthner piano, ca. 1867, which gives a good idea of the sonorities he would have known, though for his own performances he favored a Bösendorfer, which could withstand his powerful playing. This recording shows that the Blüthner piano is a good choice, and Martynov holds nothing back in his virtuoso performance, which offers many thrilling passages. The sound of this Alpha CD is well balanced and gives a fairly close-up impression of Martynov's playing, though there is enough space between the piano and the microphone to let the resonant church acoustics have an effect.

Solo Piano - Released January 13, 2015 | Zig-Zag Territoires

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - Exceptional sound
Franz Liszt's piano transcriptions were among his most important contributions in promoting the music of the early Romantic masters, and he labored over the symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven for more than two decades, completing the entire set of transcriptions in 1865. Yury Martynov has been releasing them on Zig Zag Territoires since 2012, and this fourth and penultimate volume in his series presents the Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major and the Symphony No. 5 in C minor, performed on a Blüthner piano, ca. 1867, from the Edwin Beunk collection. This vintage instrument gives a good idea of the varied sonorities available to Liszt, and Martynov skillfully re-creates the orchestral effects that are so brilliantly imitated in these arrangements. Some listeners who avoid historic keyboard instruments may be cautious about this recording, but the sound of the Blüthner piano is rather close to a modern piano in tone and dynamics, and it is fuller and much more robust than a fortepiano. Martynov's performance of the Fourth is light and agile, while his Fifth is dramatic and full-blooded, with a virtuosic flashiness that is wholly in the Lisztian tradition.

Solo Piano - Released June 6, 2017 | Melodiya

Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason

Classical - Released October 13, 2017 | Alpha

This set brings together the five separate discs containing Franz Liszt’s transcriptions of Beethoven’s nine symphonies performed by the pianist Yury Martynov. Reducing these complex works for piano solo was an enormous challenge for Liszt, who nevertheless succeeded in recreating their prodigious character and their incredible power. ‘An event on a period piano, thanks to which we rediscover the colours... of the orchestra’ (Pianiste): the piano combines the whole orchestra, sometimes even with vocal soloists and chorus, bringing their voices together in a single instrument. The energy and the textures of the symphonies are laid bare and magnified in the interpretation of Yury Martynov on a Blüthner piano dating from 1867 and an Érard piano of 1837, both from the collection of Edwin Beunk: the Russian pianist reveals ‘details usually obscured in orchestral performances, which come to light thanks to his meticulous phrasing and colouring of every bar’ (The Guardian). © Alpha Classics

Classical - Released September 23, 2014 | Zig-Zag Territoires

Hi-Res Booklet