LISZT Early Transcriptions

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Johann Sebastian Bach, Franz Liszt

Genre:

Instrumental

Label: Cobra

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: COBRA0056

COBRA0056. LISZT Early Transcriptions

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
(16) Concertos Johann Sebastian Bach Composer
Mariam Batsashvili
Fantasia on two themes from Mozart's 'Le nozze di Franz Liszt Composer
Mariam Batsashvili
(3) Sonatas and 3 Partitas Mariam Batsashvili
Johann Sebastian Bach Composer
Almira sarabande and chaconne (Handel) Mariam Batsashvili
Franz Liszt Composer
Georgian-born Mariam Batsashvili won first prize at the 2014 International Franz Liszt Competition in Utrecht, the first female artist to carry off the trophy; and in her debut recording (disregarding a disc of performances from the competition) she lives up to that billing. Admittedly these somewhat curiously titled ‘Early Transcriptions’ absolve her to a degree from interpretative responsibility, since that job has already largely been done by the arrangements themselves. But she undoubtedly shows the requisite agility and range of touch and temperament that establish trust in her artistry.

The Marcello is by no means an obvious choice. True, its slow movement used to be a favoured encore piece. But there is little a pianist can bring to the fast outer movements beyond level-headed musicianship, as Batsashvili offers here. Nor is the Handel/Liszt Sarabande und Chaconne exactly an attention-grabber, with Liszt in comparatively restrained mood. The Bach-Busoni Chaconne is at the other extreme, of course – the acme of attention-seeking. If Batsashvili doesn’t embrace its gothic excesses as wholeheartedly as certain virtuosos of yore, that may actually be a bonus for some listeners. Similarly, the Mozart/Liszt/Howard conflation is carefully and persuasively unfolded but without the full monty of abandon and calculated tastelessness it invites (demands?). All fair enough for a debutante, you might say.

The rather airless acoustic gives a feeling of listening forensically in a classroom rather than in the warm, communicative environment of a concert hall. I do look forward to hearing Mariam Batsashvili in the future but she deserves more sympathetic recording.

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