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Cat. No. CHAN 10793 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10793 - Liszt at the Opera
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Available From: 16 September 2013
Liszt at the Opera

In this new release, the exclusive Chandos artist and award-winning pianist, Louis Lortie continues his critically acclaimed exploration of piano works by Liszt, turning his hand to opera transcriptions, paraphrases, and fantasies that revolutionised composition for the piano with their unheralded technical innovation.

In Réminiscences de ‘Don Juan’, based on three scenes from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Liszt creates a work renowned for its extreme technical difficulty. He dazzled audiences in his own time with performances of it, and it has remained notorious ever since, Ferruccio Busoni claiming that ‘this piece among pianists has acquired the almost symbolic significance of a pianistic summit’.

The Paraphrase de concert on Rigoletto is one of three Verdi paraphrases only published in 1960, each of which concentrates on one particular moment of its respective Verdi opera, presenting it in highly pianistic terms whilst maintaining the general lines of the original. In the Rigoletto paraphrase Liszt focuses on the aria ‘Bella figlia dell’amore’.

In the Valse de l’opéra ‘Faust’ de Gounod Liszt cleverly combines the waltz from Act I of the opera with a melodious love duet from Act II. After these materials have been transformed and Liszt has added his own musical tangents, the piece accelerates into a vertiginous whirl, reminiscent of Ravel’s much later La Valse, and finally the main theme reappears with majestic swagger and grandeur.

Completing the album are several more or less straightforward transcriptions based on operas by Richard Wagner who, despite a rocky start to their relationship, forged a close musical bond with Liszt. Among these transcriptions is the popular ‘Liebestod’ from Tristan und Isolde. Liszt never completed a transcription of its natural musical companion, the Prelude to the same opera, so here Louis Lortie has recorded his own arrangement of that piece. 

Reviews

 “…recommended. Superbly readable annotations by Jonathan Summers are a significant addition.”

Adrian Corleonis – Fanfare – March/April 2014

                                *** (Good)      **** (Excellent)
 
Stefano Pagliantini - Musica magazine (Italy) - February 2014

"...His [Lortie] technical expertise and colouristic range lead to awesome performances on the Tannhäuser Overture and the Don Giovanni paraphrase. Yet as so often with Lortie, virtuosity is never an end in itself and he is often at his most subtly expressive when Liszt is at his most introverted and restrained."    ****
Tim Ashley - The Guardian - 22 November 2013

                 IRR Outstanding
“… I don’t know another recording of Liszt operatic fantasies quite as pleasurably satisfying as this one…”
Patrick Rucker – International Record Review – November 2013

"... Liszt intended all these transcriptions to be a showcase for his pianistic virtuosity, so they are not for the fumble fingered. Louis Lortie rises to the keyboard challenge wonderfully, and this is a superb 77 minutes entertainment."
Peter Spaull - Liverpool Post - 24 October 2013

                       Performance ***       Recording ****
"...Lortie’s sparkling and swarthy playing is impressively glamorous..."
Tim Parry - BBC Music magazine - December 2013

"... A dollop of old-fashioned showmanship is required to make these concoction s as alluring  as the originals, and Lortie has it in spades, an impression underlined by the sonice range of Chandos’s recording..."  ****
Andrew Clark - Financial Times - 19 October 2013

"... he [Lortie] finds great depth and spaciousness in the extracts from Wagner’s Tannhauser, supremem panache in the waltz fro Gounod’s Faust and in the most articulate version I have heard of the great quartet from Rigoletto ... this is a good set."
Michael Tumelty - The Herald - 20 October 2013

 

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