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Arrau Heritage: Liszt (6 CD box set, APE)

Arrau Heritage: Liszt (6 CD box set, APE)
Arrau Heritage: Liszt (6 CD box set, APE)

Composer: Franz Liszt
Performer: Claudio Arrau
Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Sir Colin Davis
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 6 CD box set
Format: APE (image+cue)
Label: Philips
Size: 1.44 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Disc: 1
Sonata In B Minor
01 1. Lento Assai – Allegro Energico
02 2. Grandioso – Recitativo
03 3. Andante Sostenuto
04 4. Allegro Energico

Concerto For Piano And Orchestra No. 1 In E Flat Major
05 1. Allegro Maestoso
06 2. Quasi Adagio
07 3. Allegro Vivace – Allegro Animato
08 4. Allegro Marziale Animato

Concerto For Piano And Orchestra No. 2 In A Major
09 1. Adagio Sostenuto Assai – Allegro Agitato Assai
10 2. Allegro Moderato
11 3. Allegro Deciso – Marziale Un Poco Meno Allegro
12 4. Allegro Animato
Performer: Claudio Arrau
Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Sir Colin Davis

Disc: 2
12 Études D’Exécution Transcendante
01 1. Prélude (Presto)
02 2. Molto Vivace
03 3. Paysage (Poco Adagio)
04 4. Mazeppa (Allegro)
05 5. Feux Follets (Allegretto)
06 6. Vision (Lento)
07 7. Eroica (Allegro)
08 8. Wilde Jagd (Presto Furioso)
09 9. Ricordanza (Andantino)
10 10. Allegro Agitato Molto
11 11. Harmonies Du Soir (Andantino)
12 12. Chasse-Neige (Andante Con Moto)

Disc: 3
01 Valse Oubliée In F Sharp Major

6 Chants Polonais De Frédéric Chopin
02 The Maiden’s Wish
03 Spring
04 The Ring
05 Drinking Song
06 My Darling
07 The Bridegroom

08 Funérailles (From Harmonies Poétiques Et Religieuses)

Bénédiction De Dieu Dans La Solitude (From Harmonies Poétiques Et Religieuses)
09 Moderato
10 Andante
11 Più Sostenuto Quasi Preludio – Tempo I – Andante Semplice
12 Ballade No. 2 In B Minor

Disc: 4
01 Liebestraum (Rêve D’Amour) No. 3 In A Flat Major

Paraphrases De Concert Sur Des Opéras De Verdi
02 Rigoletto
03 Ernani
04 Il Trovatore (Miserere)
05 I Lombardi (Salve Regina)
06 Aida (Danza Sacra E Duetto Finale)
07 Don Carlos (Cordo De Festa E Marcia Funebre)
08 Simone Boccanegra (Réminiscences)
09 Mephisto Waltz No. 1

Disc: 5
2 Études De Concert
01 1. Waldrauschen (Murmures De La Forêt)
02 2. Gnomenreigen (Ronde Des Lutins)

3 Études De Concert
03 1. Il Lamento (A Capriccio – Allegro Cantabile)
04 2. La Leggierezza ( A Capriccio – Quasi Alegretto)
05 3. Un Sospiro (Allegro Affettuoso)

Sonata In B Minor
06 1. Lento Assai – Allegro Energico
07 2. Andante Sostenuto
08 3. Allegro Energico
09 4. Andante Sostenuto – Lento Assai

Disc: 6
Les Années De Pèlerinage
01 Les Jeux D’Eau À La Villa D’Este (From Années De Pèlerinage. Troisième Année: Italie)
02 Vallée D’Obermann (From Années De Pèlerinage. Prèmiere Année: Suisse)
03 Après Un Lecture Du Dante (From Années De Pèlerinage. Seconde Année: Italie)
04 Sonetto 104 Del Petrarca (From Années De Pèlerinage. Seconde Année: Italie)
05 Sonetto 123 Del Petrarca (From Années De Pèlerinage. Seconde Année: Italie)
06 La Chapelle De Guillaume Tell (From Années De Pèlerinage. Prèmiere Année: Suisse)

great Liszt recordings

With this box set Universal Music (France) has restored to the catalogue all of the Liszt recordings Claudio Arrau made for Philips. While I would rather have had the recordings in this set sequenced as they were originally issued, and those who know Arrau’s great 1969 and 1970 Liszt LP’s will understand why, the fact that these recordings are once again available is cause for celebration.

Although Arrau had impressive credentials as a Liszt player – his only teacher was Martin Krause, who was a student of Liszt – and he performed many of the composer’s works early in his career, he neither exploited his association with the Liszt tradition, nor did he become known as a Liszt specialist. While his Liszt interpretations must reflect technical insights passed directly from the composer to Krause and then to Arrau, it is the mythic/heroic and spiritual aspects of Liszt’s music that is most evident in these recordings.

Arrau didn’t begin his Liszt series for Philips until he was nearing seventy, not necessarily an auspicious age to be recording such technically challenging music; yet what emerges here is the pianist in prime form where the poet-philosopher is ultimately in charge. Even such obvious examples as the Transcendental Etudes reveal themselves under Arrau’s hands as music first and technical exercises second, not because they are toned down, which they aren’t, but because the pianist drills down into the musical core and that is what pours out. Indeed there are technical miracles all over the place even though many listeners won’t necessarily be aware of them (just listen to the Verdi paraphrases), but displays of raw power was not what Liszt’s, or for that matter any composer’s music, was all about for Arrau.

Virtually every recording in this box set is exceptional – from the Sonata, which was hailed as a classic when it was first released in 1970, to the selections from Annees de Pelerinage. Les jeux d’eaux a la Villa d’Este glitters with shimmering colors while making a profound spiritual impact. And what a gorgeous sound Arrau’s piano makes here! Arrau infuses the Sonetto del Petrarca 104 with grandeur and mines such sublime transcendance in no. 123, that the uninitiated will be forced to rethink what Liszt is all about. Listening to Benediction de Dieu dans la solitude again reminded me of the many unforgettable Arrau recitals I attended during a time when the maestro frequently programmed the Sonata, second Ballade and Les jeux d’eaux. All of this is truly desert island Liszt.

One minor caveat: since this set contains all the Liszt Arrau recorded for Philips, it includes the concerto recordings made with Colin Davis, readings which don’t compare well with recordings from the pianist’s earlier years — the first concerto with Ormandy (1951) and a live performance of the A flat major concerto from 1953 with Guido Cantelli. Let me also mention that the digital remake of the Sonata from 1985, included here for the sake of completeness, doesn’t improve on the 1970 effort; nor does the Mephisto Waltz, which was recorded when the maestro was 87, necessarily add to our memory of this great artist.

12 thoughts on “Arrau Heritage: Liszt (6 CD box set, APE)”

  1. I always believe that Arrau is the greatest interpreter of any music from Baroque to impressionistic. He has a very wide repertory and he plays all of them equally very well. Thank you my friend. Your blog is amazing.. I really appreciate you for sharing your amazing music.

  2. Thank you very much for Bolet’s & Arrau’s Liszt, Admin. I rememeber requesting Arrau’s recently. Thanks again. Just when I was worried that there is no update on boxset site. you presented a huge update.

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