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Classical - Released February 19, 2021 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Distinctions Diapason d'or
For his new recital published on the Decca label, Benjamin Grosvenor has chosen Franz Liszt, whose music has followed him since his childhood thanks to his grandfather's initiation. Dedicated to the pianistic monument that is the Sonata in B minor, the English pianist's programme aims to bear witness to the various aspects underlying the Hungarian composer's creation with emblematic compositions (Petrarch's Three Sonnets), original ones (Lullaby), as well as the extraordinary power of re-creation that Liszt distilled in his paraphrases; here we find the Reminiscences of Norma after Bellini and his arrangement of Schubert's Ave Maria.Every concert and every recording of Grosvenor's music is long awaited and desired, so rich is his personality and his extraordinary pianistic mastery. His recent album devoted to the Frédéric Chopin Concertos confirmed the pre-eminence of this pianist within a well-to-do brotherhood.His vision of the famous Liszt Sonata is immediately among the most inspired. Like a bird of prey, Grosvenor knows how to wait for the right moment to pounce on the chords with diabolical precision and contained rage, in a dramatic Mephistophelian tension. At the same time, the fluidity of his piano opens the door to the twentieth century and particularly to Ravel's world so dependent on the Liszt lesson. It is known that Brahms had fallen asleep when Liszt played his Sonata to him after a probably drunken dinner. Nothing probable here with this powerful evocation of life and death. Magisterial! © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 2, 2020 | BIS

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Franz Liszt’s arrangement of Schubert’s Schwanengesang is very much his own work: while it very clearly retains the musical meaning of the original it also provides a vision of Liszt’s understanding of what lies beyond the black dots on paper. In the young Turkish pianist Can Çakmur’s words, Liszt’s ‘songs without words’ are "striking, horrifying, grand, intimate, full of life and yet often as pale as death. The marvel of what a single instrument can attain plays an integral role in all these pieces". Published posthumously, Schwanengesang is a collection of songs that Schubert may have intended to be grouped together, but if so he never provided a definitive order. In his arrangement, Liszt adopted an order of his own, and Çakmur takes the same liberty, seeking "to arrive at a sequence which presents not a storyline but an emotional journey. Liebesbotschaft and Taubenpost constitute the prelude and the conclusion to the cycle: the one focusing on the poet’s promise to return to his lover while the other embraces longing with glistening tears. Sehnsucht is the very feeling that drives the cycle, for it carries both hope and disappointment within itself". The Liszt arrangement was first published in 1840, twelve years after Schubert’s death, and Çakmur contrasts it here with the much later Quatre Valses oubliées. As most of Liszt’s late music they are elusive, and Çakmur describes them as "possibly wistful, sardonic or melancholic – or perhaps all at once". Winner of the 2018 Hamamatsu International Piano Competition, Can Çakmur released his début album in 2019, receiving praise for his technical prowess and sensibility alike – qualities that come well in hand for his new Liszt recital. © BIS Records
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Classical - Released October 2, 2012 | PentaTone

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Classical - Released August 22, 2011 | Sony Classical

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To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Franz Liszt's birth, virtuoso pianist Lang Lang has selected some of the composer's most characteristic pieces for his 2011 Sony release, Liszt: My Piano Hero. Prominent on this album is the Piano Concerto No. 1 in E flat major, which features Lang Lang in a high-energy performance with Valery Gergiev and the Vienna Philharmonic. Without a doubt, most of Lang Lang's fans will savor this Romantic showpiece, and for technical brilliance and drama, the performance doesn't disappoint. He is especially lively and vivid in this work, and his interactions with the orchestra seem spontaneous and playful, as one might well imagine Liszt would have been. But Lang Lang seems more introspective and personally involved with the solo keyboard pieces that make up the greater part of the album. Here also is the flashy side of Liszt, but there is a greater emphasis on the poetic and rhapsodic, so Lang Lang indulges in reflective pieces as much as the flashy encores. Highlights include La Campanella, the Grand Galop chromatique, Liebestraum No. 3, the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 6, and the arrangement of Schubert's Ave Maria. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 10, 2019 | Orfeo

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Classical - Released October 7, 2016 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 4F de Télérama - Gramophone Award - Gramophone Record of the Month - Choc de Classica - Choc Classica de l'année
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Solo Piano - Released April 20, 2018 | Orfeo

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
The church bells that he heard aged four, walking in the streets of Zurich with his parents, were the point of departure for the young Swiss pianist Francesco Piemontesi who still remembers this moment as a shock that violently brought home the power of music. The sonic beauty and harmonic richness in the tolling of the bells set something off in his unconscious, sparking a lifelong quest for the timbres and sonorities that he is so deft at bringing to life on his piano. At the age of five, he tried to reproduce the sound of the bells on a little toy piano; at twelve, he played Grieg's Concerto in A Minor and started to perform in public. But two years later he became aware of the limits of his technical abilities and also of the strange tensions wracking his body. His encounter with the pianist Cécile Ousset was decisive. He re-learned his entire technique and turned to face his career with renewed confidence. Just like in a fairy tale, one day he received a letter from Alfred Brendel who had heard him by chance on the radio, and asked to work with him. After spending a whole hour on the first lines of Beethoven's Fourth Concerto, the young man would work on his whole repertoire with the great master, whom he would regularly visit in London. Later Murray Perahia would teach him the structures of a work, so he could build his own interpretations. Today, Francesco Piemontesi has become a master in his own right, playing all over the world with the greatest orchestras; he was also the musical director of the Ascona Music Weeks, where he heard all the greatest pianists of his youth. The Ticinese worked for a long time with Brendel to bring his Liszt to maturity, which allowed him to offer up this fine recording of the Première Année de pèlerinage, dedicated to his native Switzerland, which he knows so well. This new recording doesn't conjure up an image of Piemontesi as the superficial virtuoso, but rather of Liszt as a great creator of innovative harmonies, who would have so much influence on the generations that followed him. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released October 23, 2020 | Odradek Records

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Italian pianist Michele Campanella has become renowned as a Liszt specialist, but with customary modesty and respect for the composer’s music he has chosen to wait until now to record the seminal Années de pèlerinage. The desire to get to grips with these pieces dates back fifty years to when Campanella was first starting to play Liszt’s music, but he waited, recognising that maturity and experience would bring him closer to Liszt’s own state of mind as he composed these pieces. Liszt’s dazzling virtuosity is often emphasised, but in this recording Campanella has accentuated the composer’s more introspective tendencies, making this a unique and truly insightful interpretation. © Odradek Records
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Classical - Released March 11, 2021 | Printemps des Arts de Monte-Carlo

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Solo Piano - Released May 3, 2016 | Piano Classics

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Classical - Released January 11, 2019 | Naxos

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Russian pianist Boris Giltburg gravitates toward the pure virtuoso tradition of the 19th and early 20th centuries. As such, he's the subject of comparisons with Daniil Trifonov, but it's always better to take performances on their own terms. Giltburg does not have the poetic soul of Trifonov, but he is oriented toward setting up technical problems and then solving them in what can be a very exciting way. Sample the poetic and highly varied Transcendental Etude No. 4, "Mazeppa," which in Giltburg's hands is a rocking roller-coaster ride. Another virtue is the opening of Paraphrase de concert sur Rigoletto, S434, not often heard but typical of the music Liszt would have performed at the height of his fame; here too Giltburg has considerable élan. The final La leggierezza, from the Trois Etudes de Concert, S144, does not have quite the poetic impact one would hope for. The sound is unusually good on this Naxos release; engineers, working at the Wyastone Estate Concert Hall, are up close to Giltburg without going over the top. A generally worthy and enjoyable Liszt release. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 28, 2021 | La Dolce Volta

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Olivier Latry is organist titulaire at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, and he has responded creatively to the destruction of its organ by fire in 2019 with a series of imaginative releases. None is finer than Liszt: Inspirations, which applies the 6,055 pipes and 91 stops of the new Rieger organ at the Philharmonie de Paris Concert Hall to Liszt's rather neglected organ music. There are technical details here that will be of interest to organists and those who love them; for the general listener, this is a real thrill. The big works in the Bachian genres of Fantasia and Fugue and chorale variation are impressive enough, with the arcane realms the organ enters in the nearly 30-minute Fantasia and Fugue on the Chorale Ad nos, ad salutarem undam (try the Un poco più de moto section) having a spooky, futuristic feel. None of this music is terribly commonly heard, and Saint François d'Assise: La prédication aux oiseaux, an orchestral work transcribed by Saint-Saëns, is a real revelation; Latry indicates that his realization was influenced by the sounds of Messiaen's works about birds, but it also seems possible that this work itself influenced Messiaen. Liszt's excessive spirit seems perfectly matched to this powerful instrument and to the confident, even brash playing of Latry. A marvelous organ album that will reward all, even if audiophiles will have the most fun. © TiVo
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Classical - Released May 20, 2011 | Sony Classical

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Classical - Released October 24, 2011 | naïve

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Classical - Released August 7, 2015 | BIS

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Symphonic Poems - Released May 26, 2009 | Chandos

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Symphonic Music - Released January 10, 2020 | audite Musikproduktion

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The series of recordings with Kirill Karabits conducting the Staatskapelle Weimar, continuing a tradition dating back to Liszt's years as Kapellmeister there, have been strongly acclaimed. With this release, listeners can sample a fine performance of one of the major Liszt tone poems, Tasso: Lamento e Trionfo, and hear some lesser-known works. The latter includes a pair of world premieres (for online listeners, at least), which will be motivation enough for perfect Lisztians. The first is the Künstlerfestzug zur Schillerfeier, S. 114, a sort of festive overture composed for a celebration of Schiller's work. This is thoroughly enjoyable, and it's a rare mood for Liszt. That work served as an overture to the melodrama Vor Hundert Jahren, S. 347, a little play with background music showing two characters, Germania and Poesie, being guided by the spirit of Schiller; the music quotes the finale theme of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, Op. 125, several times along the way. This work was performed previously by Karabits in English with the Bournemouth Symphony, but this reading, available online or as a download only, is apparently the first recording of the original German (the German text does not appear to be available anywhere online). To see what Karabits can really do, sample Tasso, and especially the Dante Symphony, with its gloomy evocation of the Inferno in its opening movement. Karabits's performance of this large work is several minutes longer than average, without dragging in the least: he gets the moody quality that is lost in splashier readings. A very strong Liszt release, with fine sound from the Congress Centrum Neue Weimarhalle. © TiVo
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Classical - Released February 25, 2010 | Les Indispensables de Diapason

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Classical - Released February 10, 2014 | HORTUS

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Classical - Released March 6, 2020 | naïve classique

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These Années de pèlerinage by Franz Liszt (1811-1856) – the monumental piano work in three books that he composed over four decades – invites us on a threefold voyage: a journey through the thought and the art of a composer who gifted all his visionary genius to the piano; here he transcribes an actual physical geography, and transcends it with some of the most accomplished piano writing ever crafted. Our radiant guide on this great adventure is French-Hungarian pianist Suzana Bartal. From the bucolic Swiss scenes of nature to the evanescent mysticism of the final book, via the sudden flashes of the well-known Orage (Storm) and Après une lecture du Dante (After reading Dante), the pianist – one of the rare performers to present a complete recording of this dense, demandingly virtuosic masterwork – opens up astounding perspectives of sound and vision. ‘What I wanted was to translate this mixture of inspiration and technical brilliance so as to highlight the poetic aspect of these pieces,’ she says. ‘My core aim is to guide the listener through this poetic journey in all its incredible variety, by clearly defining the character of each piece so as to recreate their different worlds.’ © naive classique