Beethoven - Reflections | Piano Classics PCL10224

Beethoven - Reflections

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Label: Piano Classics

Cat No: PCL10224

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 15th January 2021

Contents

Artists

Leonardo Pierdomenico (piano)

Works

Beethoven, Ludwig van

An die ferne Geliebte, op.98 (arr. Liszt)
Piano Concerto no.3 in C minor, op.37
» I Allegro con brio (trans. Charles-Valentin Alkan)
Symphony no.5 in C minor, op.67 (trans. Franz Liszt)

Artists

Leonardo Pierdomenico (piano)

About

The heroic voice of the greatest pianist/composer of all, recast by two of his most virtuosic successors.

As the probably apocryphal recipient of a kiss from the ailing and elderly Beethoven, Franz Liszt was celebrated by his contemporaries as ‘the’ successor, the keeper of the flame, no less than several other composers equally deserving of that accolade from Schubert and Schumann to Brahms and Wagner. The connection between Liszt and Beethoven, however, is particularly strong in the medium of the piano, through which they spoke to the audiences of their time with a voice of untrammelled authority and vigour.

Liszt’s project to transcribe the nine symphonies of Beethoven occupied him, on and off, for almost three decades. His aim was not merely to compress all the crucial instrumental voices within the compass of a single keyboard and ten fingers. More ambitiously, his transcriptions strive to ‘grasp the spirit of the work as well as the letter’, as he indicated in a preface to the collection. The Liszt/Beethoven Fifth is certainly no less bold, striking or relentless a path-breaking piece than the original, perhaps especially suited to the piano medium by virtue of its first movement’s defining and intrinsically percussive nature, which has attracted interpreters of the calibre of Glenn Gould and Paul Badura-Skoda.

Now the marvellously gifted Leonardo Pierdomenico joins their ranks, with a critically acclaimed Piano Classics debut of.’ little-known Liszt already under his belt: ‘a stunning debut’ according to Gramophone. ‘Would that half the seasoned Lisztians I know had Pierdomenico’s keen ear for stylistic differentiation within this half-century of repertory. His highly developed technique and cultivated sound, both adaptable to a variety of affects, are wedded to those twin essentials for artistic Liszt-playing: imagination combined with thoroughgoing, scrupulous musicality.’

These gifts are equally suited to a less familiar example of Beethoven transcription from the golden age of the keyboard lion: Charles-Valentin Alkan’s version of the Third Piano Concerto’s first movement in which Beethoven’s work is ‘reduced’ to the scale of Alkan’s own keyboard-only Concerto. But listening to the result, a reduction is hardly the term, for Alkan’s imagination and insight brings the tense dialogue, the battle and fray of Beethoven’s other titanic C minor orchestral work into focus with no loss of impact on the listener, capped with a breathtakingly complex cadenza which quotes the finale of the Fifth Symphony at its climax.

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