LISZT Piano Sonata

Author: 
Bryce Morrison
CDA68067. LISZT Piano SonataLISZT Piano Sonata

LISZT Piano Sonata

  • Sonata for Piano
  • Années de pèlerinage année 2: Italie, Sonetto 47 del Petrarca
  • Années de pèlerinage année 2: Italie, Sonetto 104 del Petrarca
  • Années de pèlerinage année 2: Italie, Sonetto 123 del Petrarca
  • Années de pèlerinage année 2: Italie, Après une lecture du Dante, fantasia quasi sonata

Writing in her personal and engaging notes, Angela Hewitt tells us that Liszt’s B minor Sonata is ‘quite simply one of the greatest works ever written for the piano by any composer’ and, continuing, that it is music that makes you realise ‘that our everyday worries are so trivial and unimportant’. And so it is in her superbly serious performance, one that eschews all personal vanity, all preening mannerism and flamboyance but which, with strength in abundance, locates the still centre at the heart of Liszt’s raging heroics. What enviable poise and expressive beauty to launch the central Andante, what muffled and sustained opening octaves (in this she follows both her own inclination and also Brendel’s rather than Horowitz’s sharp cut-off), what concentrated focus rather than a breathless hurtle through the final section’s fugue. Her coda, too, breaths ‘glassy sighs and threats’; and if there is one concession to display (a bass reinforcement), well, why not? Despite a catalogue brimming over with greatness – Horowitz (his early 1938 recording), Arrau, Brendel, Gilels, Argerich, Richter, et al – Hewitt holds her own to such an extent that she makes you forget all about odious comparisons and listen instead to one of the great milestones in all music.

If her Petrarch Sonnets and Dante Fantasia (Liszt’s ‘other’ sonata) don’t quite reach this exalted level, they are nonetheless front-rank performances. There is a richly inclusive sense in the Sonnets of ardour and reflection (‘I fear, yet hope, I burn, yet am turned to ice’ and ‘I beheld on earth angelic grace’). Hewitt’s Dante Sonata is a vibrant and intensely musical alternative to Volodos’s stunning virtuoso recreation (Sony Classical, 6/10). Hyperion’s sound and presentation are as immaculate as ever and there is ample breathing space between each item. This is possibly the very finest of Angela Hewitt’s many recordings.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£64/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe
From£64/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£64/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2017