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Cat. No. CHAN 10490 Price: £7 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10490 - Liszt: Symphonic Poems, Volume 4
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Available From: 01 November 2008
Between 1848 and 1858 Liszt wrote twelve Symphonic Poems. He coined the term Symphonische Dichtung around 1853 to describe these musical works whose ideas were inspired by other art forms such as poetry or painting, or by characters and scenes. The works were particularly revolutionary for they are one-movement compositions, rather than the traditional four-movement form and pushed the boundaries of orchestration, form, harmony and structure.

In this fourth instalment, the BBC Philharmonic presents four key works in Liszt’s symphonic catalogue. Widely acknowledged as one of Liszt’s greatest works, Hamlet is rarely performed, yet widely acknowledged as one of Liszt’s greatest works, and chronologically the last of the symphonic poems to be composed. It was intended as an overture to Shakespeare’s play. Hungaria was composed following Liszt’s first return visit to Hungary in 1839 having moved from his homeland aged 11. He was welcomed with open arms as a great celebrity and artist by his compatriots.

Undoubtedly inspired by this visit, the post Vörösmarty wrote his patriotic ode ‘To Ferenc Liszt’ to which Liszt eventually responded with his episodic work, Hungaria. Die Ideale is a highly episodic work based on quotes from a poem by Friedrich Schiller and was first played in 1857 in Weimar, conducted by the composer. The final work, Battle of the Huns takes its inspiration from Kaulbach’s painting of Attila the Hun.

The final volume of this epic series is released in 2009 and will include the Dante Symphony.

This is the fourth volume of Gianandreas Noseda’s recordings of Liszt’s symphonic poems with his BBC Philharmonic. We do not often hear Hungaria these days, nor Die ideale, but Hamlet and Hunnenschlacht are better known. As so often with Liszt, one is struck by the advanced harmonic language and the originality of the ideas and the orchestration. The playing has the fire and drive that Noseda brings to romantic music; the recording is as clear and vivid as we have from to expect from Chandos
The SundayTelegraph

All these qualities are conveyed by orchestra and conductor in a way that tells you that true virtuosity is achieved through discipline rather than a more generalised and garish drama. This finely recorded disc is a glorious addition to the series.

Yet as Gianandrea Noseda reaches the fourth and final volume in his outstanding complete series, one can at last savour Liszt’s phenomenal overall achievement as never before. Even Die Ideale, a half-hour meditation on a Schiller poem, sound utterly gripping in Noseda’s hands and puts fine versions by Bernard Haitink and Kurt Masur quite in the shade
Classic FM Magazine

Noseda and the BBC Philharmonic, faced with so much in-and-out material, wisely refuse to turbocharge the idiom and risk melodrama. Instead, their relatively restrained approach conjures an appropriate set of mellow, mid-19th century orchestral colours, while generating pace and excitement where the music permits.
BBC Music Magazine

I find a great deal to admire in these performances. The extraordinarily high technical values attendant on the recording reveal myriad details of gesture, colour and texture that have simply been inaudible heretofore. The beautifully blended sound of the BBC ensemble is nothing less than a sensual delight. Ultimately these are strikingly imaginative interpretations of what is, after all, the most important and influential body of European orchestral music composed during the 1850s. Very highly recommended.
International Record Review


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