Valentina Lisitsa plays Liszt

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Franz Liszt

Genre:

Instrumental

Label: Decca

Media Format: CD or Download

Media Runtime: 76

Mastering:

DDD

Catalogue Number: 478 5352DH

478 5352DH. Valentina Lisitsa plays Liszt

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
(18) Lieder (Schubert), Movement: Ave Maria (Ellens dritter Gesang) Franz Liszt, Composer
Franz Liszt, Composer
Valentina Lisitsa, Piano
Ballade No. 2 Franz Liszt, Composer
Franz Liszt, Composer
Aida (Verdi) Danza sacra e duetto final Franz Liszt, Composer
Franz Liszt, Composer
Valentina Lisitsa, Piano
Rondeau fantastique Franz Liszt, Composer
Franz Liszt, Composer
Valentina Lisitsa, Piano
Winterreise (Schubert), Movement: Gute Nacht Franz Liszt, Composer
Franz Liszt, Composer
(6) Melodien (Schubert), Movement: Mädchens Klage Franz Liszt, Composer
Franz Liszt, Composer
Valentina Lisitsa, Piano
(18) Lieder (Schubert), Movement: Erlkönig (second version) Franz Liszt, Composer
Franz Liszt, Composer
(6) Müllerlieder, 'Mélodies favorites' (Schube, Movement: No. 2, Der Müller und der Bach Franz Liszt, Composer
Franz Liszt, Composer
Valentina Lisitsa, Piano
(19) Hungarian Rhapsodies, Movement: No. 12 in C sharp minor Franz Liszt, Composer
Franz Liszt, Composer
Valentina Lisitsa, Piano
One could hardly guess from the demure pose struck by Decca’s photogenic soloist for her CD’s booklet that she can make a piano roar and thunder in the way she does in Liszt’s B minor Ballade. Her performance of this masterpiece will no doubt divide opinion, not least because of her cavalier regard of Liszt’s note values and her old-fashioned deployment of desynchronised hands. She also makes a cut of eight bars on the second appearance of the big tune at the end. Her stablemate Nelson Freire did the same on his Liszt recital (8/11) but not even he matches the enormous wave of sound produced by Lisitsa just before this episode, marked fff and then rinforzando molto – a spine-tingling moment then compromised by a period of complete silence longer than the all-too-brief gaps between every track on this disc. The music simply stops happening.

Confirmation of Lisitsa’s iron-clad technique comes in ‘the ferociously difficult and rarely recorded “El contrabandista”’ (for once a record label’s puff is understated). Even fervent Lisztians, to many of whom the work will be unfamiliar, must admit that the Rondeau fantastique is not the composer’s greatest work, although as a virtuoso showpiece, designed to whip an audience into a frenzy, it is a complete success. Lisitsa is able to exploit its superficial dazzle to the full.

Apart from Liszt’s dull Aida potpourri, the remaining items are five Schubert song transcriptions – their delicate passagework skilfully executed – and lastly the Hungarian Rhapsody No 12, scintillating and idiosyncratic in equal measure, with the final bars (marked presto) played adagio. Why?

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