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Liszt:Fantasie Und Fuge CD


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1. Fantasie Und Fuge Uber Den Choral Ad Nos, Ad Salutarem Undam, S259 - Garrick Ohlsson
2. Sonata in B Minor, S178 - Garrick Ohlsson

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Review

Ohlsson attends equally to the work's forceful and lyrical aspects(and the latter are considerable during the Adagio). --IRR,June'11

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Brillliant!! Mind Boggling! 9 Jan 2012
By Piano lover Bob - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This great recording has been out for about two months now. I have been listening and listening to it. I have read the overwhelmingly great reviews from Fanfare, BBC, and Gramophone. I,like many others know the Liszt Sonata very well, have heard Ohlsson play it at Lincoln Center in NY, (it was awesome). But I did not know the Fantasie and Fugue, transcribed by Busoni and wanted to become more familiar with it. It is a wonderful work. Being originally written by Lizt for the organ,it is massive in its texture - much of it is very dense.
I mentiion this because it could be badly played as just a bunch of heavy. thick chords!! It take a great pianist like Ohlsson to properly 'voice' the chords - he is constantly finding which notes are essential to bring out to define the harmonic structure that transition the piece to its next section. There are times in the last fugal section where Ohlsson brings out the bass line, under huge left hand chords, while the right hand is very rapidly playing its own cascading chords. Its brilliant, thrilling!

As for the Liszt Sonata I have to paraphrase Fanfare's Music Magazine. They say, I believe, that the Liszt Sonata has been recorded 175 times!!!! What could one more recording possibly have too say they distinguishes it from the others? Well, just listen, Mr. Ohlsson has done it! The drama, the endless soft shading of the pianissimos (soft) notes is incdredible. The dramatic siilences,then the feverishh fugue at the end is staggering.....until the final chords just die away. The sonata can be played as a strictly flashy work with a lot of runs. Or it can be played as a great work of drama, as Mr. Ohlsson plays it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Garrick Ohlsson plays Liszt 7 May 2012
By M. Stanley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In March, 2012, we heard Garrick Ohlsson perform an entire program of Lizst's music, and the Fantasie, and the Sonata in b were both included in the first part of the recital. The sonata was performed just before the intermission and Ohlsson's interpretation was masterful, clear, passionate, and romantic in every sense of the word. The audience was far from uneducated and Ohlsson received a long standing ovation at the end of the sonata and before the intermission. Most unusual in my experience. This CD echoes almost perfectly that electrifying experience except that one is not in the presence of the actual performance. But the music is there and the strength and passion and understanding of Liszt's music all come through beautifully. Ohlsson makes sense of Liszt...not easy to do since I think Liszt is usually made into a big overly sensual mess, frequently played by pianists too fast and too loudly in order to show off their technique. Ohlsson turns the music into a strong fabric of luscious sound, a waterfall of crashing notes that suddenly metamorphose into one heart-stoppingly delicate, simple melody with ease. It all comes though on this CD. All I can say is that as a pianist, I always thought I should like Liszt but didn't really. After hearing Ohlsson's interpretation, especially of the B minor Sonata, I've learned a lot. I bought this CD after the Ohlsson recital and I'm glad I did. Strike while the iron is hot! And this is a Hot Iron! Five Stars on this superior CD all the way! A strong pianist, true artist, great music.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
First a solemn rarity, followed by a B minor Sonata that isn't completely satisfying 10 July 2012
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
At barely 50 min., Garrick Ohlsson's contribution to the Liszt bicentennial isn't exactly generous, but since the passing of Earl Wild and the sidelining of Byron Janis by premature arthritis, he ranks as America's senior virtuoso, so to speak. Ohlsson turned 74 this year, and his long career hasn't, I must confess, attracted me. I associate him with magnificent technique at the service of musicality that isn't original or inspired. But I know that others feel very differently. On this occasion the pianist offers a daring novelty, a 29-min. transcription for piano of Liszt's Fantasie and fugue on the chorale Ad nos, ad salutarum undam.

they are both keyboard instruments, but the organ is as different from the pianoforte as the harpsichord is from a concert grand. The pipe organ is essentially a wind instrument, with no variety due to touch on the keyboard. There are dozens of other differences, including the extensive array of foot pedals that organists employ ad the blasting cathedral sonority that the instrument produces. As in is Bach transcriptions, Busoni sets out here to give the illusion of enormous power, continuous tone production,, and endless legato of an organ. The result is virtuosic, and no one in the audience is likely to be ticking off how close to organ-laying the piece resembles.

The real question is whether anyone needs another long, rather doleful piece, capped by a knuckle-crunching 8-min. fugue from a composer who has already produced hundreds of such pieces for the piano. The mournful chorale is treated in the Fantasie section as an Adagio that creates a solemn atmosphere. The Fugue that follows is pure fireworks, with the customary fistfuls of octaves and arpeggios, made doubly dazzling since the pianist must keep the main lines of the fugue going at the same time. Ohlsson achieves all this, although I doubt that I would ever want to hear the score a second time. the best part of his performance is his air of seasoned, relaxed musicality. It elevates Liszt's idiom to something more appealing than blood and thunder under the velvet cover of religiosity.

Ohlsson brings the same seasoned assurance to the B Minor Sonata, where of course he faces decades of illustrious rivals. Thee isn't the electrifying effect made by keyboard giants when they are in the mood to spit fire. If you expect to sit on the edge of your seat - as I do with Horowitz, Zimerman, Richter, and Pollini in this work - you may be quite disappointed. Ohlsson's is a more self-reflective account, reaching for poetry and lyrical calm whenever he can. I'm attracted to such an interpretation, certainly more than I am to clattery banging, but in truth a complete B minor Sonata needs to inhabit both extremes of contemplation and fire-breathing. that's the special quality of this work, which despite the title of sonata comes off as an extended romantic rhapsody. Is Ohlsson's slow pacing and restraint the result of age? I won't venture to guess. From bar to bar I admired the poetry, but overall there was a meandering quality to his reading that lost my attention.

As a footnote, the piano is a good-sounding instrument that has been recorded superbly.
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