LISZT Piano Works, Vol. 5 – Bolet
One cannot quite say that this is the best volume of Bolet's Liszt series, yet it is the one that we needed most. This is because there is no significant alternative complete version of these pieces, the only other relevant performance being Arrau's characteristically searching account of ''Vallee d'Obermann'' (Philips SAL3783, 8/70). Bolet places this in the context Liszt intended and it thus makes an impact which in retrospect is experienced as being more complex. He uses paler colours than Arrau, though just as subtly differentiated, and his control of textures, as of phrasing, displays the most exceptional sensitivity. Although the Obermann piece is his major essay, one finds in the other eight pieces, also, the new qualities that Liszt brought to music, the extraordinarily fresh perceptions which they embody.
As that freshness survives we may glimpse how disconcertingly original this music must have sounded when new. Yet some of these pieces, such as ''Au lac de Wallenstadt'' or ''Eglogue'', are remarkably simple. Bolet plays these, and ''Au bord d'une source'', limpidly, with a pearl-like tone. They are a series of pastorals and, in this haunting interpretation, a series of enchantments, above all perhaps, in the case of ''Les cloches de Geneve''. He is as imaginatively evocative in ''Chapelle de Guillaume Tell'', and it is in keeping with everything else on this absolutely outstanding, and finely recorded LP that ''Orage'', the most etude-like piece, with its profuse octaves, is shown to be a purely musical emanation. ''Le mal du pays'' is as original as ''Vallee d'Obermann'', and receives another performance of surpassing beauty.'