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Francesco Piemontesi: Liszt – Transcendental Etudes, Piano Sonata (24/96 FLAC)

Francesco Piemontesi: Liszt - Transcendental Etudes, Piano Sonata (24/96 FLAC)
Francesco Piemontesi: Liszt – Transcendental Etudes, Piano Sonata (24/96 FLAC)


Composer: Ferencz Liszt
Performer: Francesco Piemontesi
Number of Discs: 2
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Pentatone
Catalogue: PTC5187052
Release: 2023
Size: 1.54 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

CD 01
Études d’exécution transcendante, S. 139
01. No. 1, Prélude (Presto)
02. No. 2, Molto vivace
03. No. 3, Paysage (Poco adagio)
04. No. 4, Mazeppa (Presto)
05. No. 5, Feux follets (Allegretto)
06. No. 6, Vision (Lento)
07. No. 7, Eroica (Allegro)
08. No. 8, Wilde Jagd (Presto furioso)
09. No. 9, Ricordanza (Andantino)
10. No. 10, Allegro agitato molto
11. No. 11, Harmonies du soir (Andantino)
12. No. 12, Chasse neige (Andante con moto)

CD 02
Piano Sonata in B Minor, S. 178
01. I. Lento assai – Allegro energico
02. II. Andante sostenuto
03. III. Allegro energico – Andante sostenuto

Pianist Francesco Piemontesi presents Franz Liszt’s Transcendental Etudes and Sonata in B Minor, two of the highest mountains to climb within the piano repertoire. The metaphor of climbing a mountain not only applies to the technical demands placed on the player, but also to the sublime nature of these works: colourful, poetic, lyrical, and bold in their construction. Piemontesi has taken his time before embarking on this epic journey, and the recording documents how his interpretation of these legendary works has matured over time. Unique to this album are the liner notes, written by Nike Wagner, the great-great-granddaughter of Liszt.

Francesco Piemontesi is among the most-cherished pianists of our age, and presents the fourth fruit of his exclusive collaboration with Pentatone, having released the acclaimed Schubert – Last Piano Sonatas (2019), Bach Nostalghia (2021) and Schoenberg, Messiaen & Ravel with the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande and Jonathan Nott (2022).

To hear pianist Francesco Piemontesi tell it, he waited until middle age to attempt the Liszt Transcendental Etudes, even though these works are often programmed by hotshot young pianists intent on displaying their technical mastery. What Piemontesi gets is that Liszt’s most difficult works have technical depths that are still achieved by only a few. A piece like “Scarbo,” from Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit, was at the edge of the technically possible when it was written, but now any competent conservatory graduate can play it. The Transcendental Etudes and the Liszt Piano Sonata in B minor are different. A good performance is quite possible, but great ones that evoke the spell in which Liszt held his audiences are rarer. The latter is what the music gets here from Piemontesi. He is strong throughout, but it is in the dense virtuosic passages, with sheets of sound issuing from his piano, unfortunately unidentified in the booklet, that leave the listener amazed. Sample “Mazeppa” from the Etudes or the fugal treatment of the main sonata material for an idea; those sheets of sound never lose their individual notes. Piemontesi is hardly less effective in the slower passages, which have a kind of majesty. He records on home ground at the Auditorio Stelio Molo in Lugano, and it is an appropriate venue for his remarkable achievement.

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