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Liszt: Transcendental Etudes & Piano Sonatas [2 CDs]

Liszt: Transcendental Etudes & Piano Sonatas [2 CDs]

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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).


It’s been worth the wait. Each piece reflects absolute clarity of intention, even in the case of the longest and most episodic one, ‘Ricordanza’. Piemontesi has a rare ability to let us hear the individual notes in a rapid fortissimo wash of sound, and his variations of touch give free rein to the poetry. ‘Harmonies du soir’ opens with a silky touch, and builds to a majestic climax before dying back to a faint echo of itself. The lyrical ‘Paysage’, too, opens sotto voce, but as the sound palette becomes richer, one has the feeling of watching a series of receding landscapes, as in a Chinese scroll painting. ‘Wilde Jagd’ hurtles headlong, ‘Feux follets’ is gorgeously shaded and the virtuosity of ‘Allegro agitato molto’ is magnificent.

-- BBC Music Magazine

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 2
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Pentatone Music
    • UPC/Barcode: 8717306260527
    • Item Number: PTC5187052