Beethoven-Liszt - Symphony no.3; Mozart-Alkan - Piano Concerto no.20 | BIS BIS2615

Beethoven-Liszt - Symphony no.3; Mozart-Alkan - Piano Concerto no.20


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Label: BIS

Cat No: BIS2615

Barcode: 7318599926155

Format: Hybrid SACD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 4th November 2022

Gramophone Editor's Choice



This recording brings together two of the greatest works of the Classical era in transcriptions for solo piano by two of the greatest pianist-composers of the Romantic era, resulting in two of the most thrilling experiences that nineteenth-century pianism has to offer.

Successfully marrying the unique characteristics of the piano to the defining features of Beethovenís orchestral writing, Franz Liszt is showed here at his most colouristic. He vividly captures the rapid scene shifts and mood changes of Beethovenís Eroica and exploits not only the pianoís ability both to whisper and to roar, but also the power and intensity of silence. In Mozartís Piano Concerto no.20, Charles-Valentin Alkan takes on a different challenge as he masterfully weaves the orchestral and solo piano parts into a single tapestry that brims from start to finish with piano writing of startling inventiveness and originality.

These two pianistic tours de force are presented here by Paul Wee Ė also a barrister specialising in commercial law at Essex Court Chambers in London Ė whose astonishing technique and passion for nineteenth-century pianism have been highlighted on acclaimed recordings dedicated to music by Alkan and transcriptions by Thalberg.


Whatís immediately striking is how fast Alkan draws you into a world where you donít miss the orchestral colours of Mozartís original. Thatís as much down to Wee, his Steinway and the splendid engineering (courtesy of David Hinitt at Wyastone Concert Hall) as the transcription itself. ... The cadenza is, of course, Alkanís own, and itís gloriously OTT in its virtuosity, harmonic adventuring and scale, all of which Wee handles with delightful insouciance... Beethovenís symphonies as rethought by Liszt are, unlike the Mozart-Alkan, almost commonplace these days. What the Third, in particular, gains by being heard in this form is the single-mindedness of its invention, the ferocious tautness of his symphonic vision. So is Wee up to it? Oh yes, absolutely. ... The cover photo, channelling Caspar David Friedrichís solitary hero, is entirely apt.  Harriet Smith (Recording of the Month)
Gramophone December 2022

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