LISZT: Vallée d'Obermann. Il Penseroso. St. François d'Assise - La prédication
aux oiseaus. Bagatelle ohne Tonart. Bagatelle sand tonalité. Hungarian
Rhapsody No. 13. Sposalizio. "Weinen,Klagen, Sorgen, Zagen." Funérailles.
La lugubre gondola No. 2. En rève - Nocturne.
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 1 in C, Op. 15. Piano Concerto No. 2 in
B flat, Op.19. Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37. Piano Concerto
No. 4 in G, Op. 58. Piano Concerto No. 5 in E flat, Op. 73 "Emperor." Fantasia
in C minor, Op. 80. Rondo in B flat, WoO 6. 33 Variations on a Waltz
by Diabelli, Op. 120. Polonaise in C, Op. 89. Piano Sonata No. 32 in
C minor, Op. 111.
ZEISL: Piano Concerto in C. Pierrot in der Flascha.
BOCHIHINA: Canto Ostinato. WALTER: Vacuum Hallucinations.
VROE: Theremin Islands. HIRSCH: Rezitativ und Arie. KLEIN: If
NIKOLAEV: Black and White Music. EGGERT: The Son of the
Daughter of Dracula versus the Incredible Frankenstein Monster (from
Outer Space). YUSUPOVA: Kitezh-19.
It is surprising that a pianist of the stature and reputation of Arcadi Volodos has made so few recordings since his spectacular first disk of piano transcriptions issued a decade ago. Interpretively, this new Liszt release is extraordinary, for the most part focused on the composer's more brooding works, although there are plenty of fireworks in the form of the Hungarian Rhapsody and Funérailles. I imagine Volodos' legion of fans would have prefered some of the concert etudes or other display pieces, but perhaps those will follow later. On this CD Volodos doesn't hesitate to add his own embellishments from time to time, and to great effect, and his playing is distinguished by an uncommon range of dynamics. No doubt Volodos is the virtuoso supreme. This CD is available only in SACD format which can, of course,be played on any CD player. The recordings were made at Teldex Studio in Berlin on a Steinway piano in three sessions during 2006: May 2-4, August 12-14, and September 23-25. The sound, unfortunately, is overly-resonant resulting in a lack of clarity in the bass and, oddly, upper registers sounding quite brittle. I would have liked, as Chuck Gerhardt always put it, more of "the sound of flesh on the keys."—an artist of this calibre deserves the finest sound, surely not heard on this issue.
Decca continues to reissue major past recordings and offers American pianist Julius Katchen's Beethoven concerto recordings made from 1953 to 1964, complementing their release of Katchen's recording of solo works of Brahms. Katchen's died of cancer in 1969, a tragically early end to an extraordinary career. These Beethoven recordings are dynamic to the extreme, and beautifully recorded by engineers Kenneth Wilkinson and Arthur Lilley. This budget-priced release is most welcome.
Viennese composer Erich Zeisl, born May 18, 1905, gained considerable
fame after publication in 1922 of Drei Lieder. In 1938 he
went to Paris, and eventually made his home in the United States. He
died in 1959 after
a heart attack. Few recordings have been made of Zeisl's music, aside
from some lieder. His Requiem
ebraico was recorded in Decca's Entartete Musik series
(a disk ARKIVMUSIC has
resurrected). The 36-minute piano concerto didn't have its premiere
until 2005 when it was played by the Saratoga, California Orchestra
conducted by Jason Klein with Daniel Glover as soloist. Pierrot
in the Bottle is a ballet written in 1929 based on a story by
Gustav Meyrink with an oriental fantasy subject in which Zeisl utilizes
some traces of ragtime and jazz . The
five movements include festival music, an oriental love scene, the
of the bats
and a funeral march. However, neither
the concerto or ballet have any particular distinction. The high point
of the concerto is the rhapsodic second movement; there are lots of
busy notes in the
outer two. Surely these fine performances do what can be done for the
music, and, as usual, cpo's audio is just fine.
R.E.B. (June 2007)