LISZT: PPiano Concerto No. 1 in E Flat. Piano Concerto No.
2 in A. Concerto in E miojnor "Malédictgion."
Tenor arias by Puccin i (Tosca, Turandot, Manon Lescaut,
La Bohèmbr>e), Donizett (Daghter of the Regiment L'Elisir
(Aida, Rigoletto La forza del destino), Adam (Le Postillon
de Lonjuneau)), Bizet (Carmen), Gounod (Faust, Romeo
BIS has given young French pianist Alexandre Kantorow an extraordinary showcase for his talent with this SACD of music of Franz Liszt. Born in 1997, Kantorow is at the beginning of his career and obviously will receive much attention for what is heard on this disk. The two Liszt concertos are of course staples of the repertory and have been recorded numerous times. Both are given virtuoso readings and particular attention is given to the lyric sections of both, played at a very relaxed tempo—with telling effect. We also have one of Liszt's lesser-known works, Malédiction here identified as a "piano concerto," although it really isn't. The 16-minute work is in one movement without display opportunities of the composer's other works for piano and orchestra. A strong case is made for the work in this performance with the pianist in top form with sensitive accompaniment from the Tapiola Orchestra led by the pianist's father, violinist-conductor , Jean-Jacques Kantorow who has directed several small orchestras. These are intriguing performances, recorded with uncommon clarity in fine, if not particularly "surround" sound.
Young Chinese tenor Yinjia Gong (b. 1983) has received considerable acclaim, As his idols are Jussi Bjoerling and Nicolai Gedda. he moved to Sweden where he studied and sang a few Italian roles with the Royal Opera. Stockholm. This is his first recording, offering a wide variety of Italian and French roles including two of the most demanding roles usually associated with Juan Diego Florez Gong negotiates them with a slight sense of stress, producing a sound that is not very attractive. r. Cong's voice has a raw intensity that is not always pleasant, and his attacks on all those high are a bit edgy. He is most successful in the Puccini arias, but needs more time to develop the beauty of sound and control of the greatest tenors. BIS's recording is bright and with rich orchestral sound. Two purely orchestral opera excerpts are included. Complete texts and translations;are are provided. There always is a need for first-rate tenors; Gong surely is promising.
;In 2007 S.G. wrote an extensive review of a CD of Boris Tishchenko's Symphony No. 3 and the balletYaroslavna, commenting on the elements that affected this Russian composer (1939-2010). He composed profusely for orchestra, chamber music, vocal music and a great deal of piano music including ten sonatas. This unusual BIS recording features two of his most important, No. 7, Op. 85 composed in 1982, and No. 9, Op. 99 written in 1986. Both are large-scale works and lengthy: No. 7 is 40:12, No. 8, 29:38. Sonata 7 is scored for piano along with large bells, tubular bells, and glockenspiel;iel, here played by percussionist Jean-Claude Gengembre. There are many repeated notes for the piano and bells, and most listeners will find both of these sonatas rather puzzling listening; I surely did and I have no desire to experience them again. Pianist Nicolas Stavy is to be commended for presenting this music rarely heard in the concert hall. The BIS engineers have caput red the solo piano and percussion soiounds with their usual expertise. A most unusual SACD indeed, for those searching for something very different..
R.E.B. (September 2014)