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Liszt Opera Transcriptions

Gaetano Donizetti, Ferruccio Busoni, Jean-Yves Thibaudet Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: London
  • ASIN: B00000421C
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 390,192 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dazzling Performances 11 Oct 2010
By Scriabinmahler TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Thibaudet plays these very taxing and wonderfully inspired opera transcriptions by Liszt with amazing technical polish & beautiful singing tones. There are brilliant recordings of similar repertoire by Barenboim, but Thibaudet's performances surpass them for the excitement and artistic refinement of his playing. Beautifully recorded.

Track list:

# Rigoletto: paraphrase de concert (after Verdi), for piano, S. 434 (LW A187)

# Valse à capriccio sur deux motifs de Lucia et Parisina, transcription for piano (after Donizetti), S. 401 (LW A88a)

# Valse de l'opéra Faust, transcription for piano (after Gounod), S. 407 (LW A208)

# Polonaise aus der Opera Eugene Onegin, for piano (after Tchaikovsky), S. 429 (LW A293)

# Spinnerlied aus Der Fliegenden Holländer, transcription for piano (after Wagner), S. 440 (LW A204)

# O du mein holder Abendstern, transcription for piano (after Wagner: Tannhäuser), S. 444 (LW A163)

# Elsas Traum und Lohengrins Verweis, transcription for piano, (after Wagner: Lohengrin), S. 446/2 (LW A185/2)

# Isoldens Liebestod: Schlußszene aus Tristan und Isolde, transcription for piano (after Wagner), S. 447 (LW A239)

# Fantasie über Motive aus Figaro und Don Juan, for piano (after Mozart), S. 697 (LW A90)
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's just as you would expect. 31 Jan 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
J-Y T delivers beautiful performances of beautiful tunes. If you want to hear something a little unusual then this is the disk for you.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thibaudet triumphs on this disc 14 May 2000
By Trevor Gillespie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I fell in love with this CD upon my first hearing of it. First of all the transcriptions by Liszt are excellent. Secondly, the way Thibaudet plays them is just mind boggling. His pianissimos are incredibly controlled and moving, while his fortes are spectacularly powerful, bold, and commanding. The London recording catches all this detail with brilliant clarity. One example on this disc is the transcription of the Liebestod. You know it should be wonderful, but in the hands of this gifted pianist, the piano soars and aches the feelings of Isolde. It's like Lizst and Thibaudet bring out the whole of the orchestration on the piano. In the climax, I was amazed to hear the loud rumblings of the lower end of the keyboard while the soaring melody on the other end of the keyboard lifted me away. The transcription of Mozart is wonderful. It makes one wish that Mozart had lived and composed on into the Romantic Period. There are some wonderful transcriptions of Donizetti and Verdi as well. In the end, what I can say is this: Thibaudet has become a wonderful interpreter of Liszt. On this disc Thibaudet shows us the wonderful ability of Liszt and his own wonderful pianist abilities.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb playing 27 Dec 2006
By Alex - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This CD consists entirely of truly outstanding playing. In fact, these recordings are so good that even Horowitz himself (who rarely said positive things about other pianists) expressed admiration for them and for the power and technique which Thidaudet demonstrates. In fact, it is not just power and technique but also lyricism and a beautiful touch which Thibaudet brings to these pieces. Every note and phrase has been assiduously judged and weighted and these really are artistic performances, full of life with never a dull moment.

The pieces are all arrangements by Liszt of popular tunes from famous operas. Liszt wrote many such pieces and, of course it's a matter of opinion, but for my money Thibaudet has selected most of the best ones for this CD. Perhaps the least exciting one is the well-known Rigoletto paraphrase, a piece which has been done to death by so many pianists. I don't know if this is what takes the edge off it, perhaps it even took the edge off it for Thibaudet and so although his performance of this is very good, it is not inspirational like the other pieces.

The Spinning Chorus paraphrase is played superbly and with a great deal of charm and grace. Similarly, the Concert Waltz based on tunes from 2 operas by Donizetti is played with power and charm - brilliant octave and chordal playing throughout and in the exciting finale. The Polonaise from Eugene Onegin is also excellent - you'll be humming the tune to yourself for ages afterwards and listen out for the glittering passage work in the middle of this piece, Thibaudet makes the piano sparkle and sing.

The biggest feat of technique is in the notoriously difficult Figaro paraphrase. Here the music makes many demands of the pianist right from the word go yet when you hear Thibaudet playing it, it's hard to guess at how difficult the piece is so graceful and easy is his playing. There are a couple of minor clinkers towards the end in a fiendish passage but frankly that's neither here nor there. Particularly impressive (for the pianists among you) is his playing of the rapid contrary motion scales in thirds in both hands - such speed and accuracy and he even manages to inject some wit into it. A phenomenal performance.

The Faust waltz is great too. Listen out for the fun glissandos in the recapitulation of the second theme towards the end.

Finally, a word about the Liebestod from Tristan & Isolde. A very performance but the definitive performance of this is by Horowitz in his CD "The Last Recording".

A great CD, destined to become a classic recording. Thibaudet should be proud of this superb piece of work. If only other pianists took the same care to make their playing as polished and musical and imaginative.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The singing keyboard of Thibaudet 8 Jun 2010
By P. Adrian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Even if this CD would have contained only the Final Scene of `Tristan and Isolde' by Wagner or the fabulous Fantasy on two motives from Mozart's `Le nozze di Figaro' in pianistic transcriptions by Franz Liszt, I would argue that it is worthwhile in its own right and should not miss from any music-lover collection. Fortunately, it contains much more. It is devoted by phenomenal pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet to a special genre: opera transcriptions for piano. It is well-known that Franz Liszt - the unmatched wizard of the keyboard in the XIXth century - championed with huge success this genre, paying a special attention without envy to the operatic output of his colleagues. Along with the above mentioned ones, the composers featured in Liszt's transcriptions on this recording include Donizetti, Verdi, Gounod and Tchaikovsky.

This is a relatively old recording realized by Thibaudet in the early 90s stemming from his declared passion for opera and deep admiration for opera singers. Notwithstanding, it sounds fresh and alive, mainly due to Thibaudet's astounding virtuosity and infallible sense of phrasing. In his hands, the keyboard literally sings and traverses the whole gamut of feelings, as otherwise only the human voice can do. He masters supremely all the details of the scores with great bravura and panache so that the effect is hair-rising, while a ceaseless state of charm settles for almost 70 minutes.

Five stars!

P.S. This CD was followed some 15 years later by a second one with opera transcriptions (Jean-Yves Thiabudet: Aria without words - DECCA, 2007). Though on that sequel recording it was not Liszt who partnered the great opera composers, but contemporary arrangers, the success proved the same.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Glossy readings that lack musical depth 15 Nov 2011
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I must dissent from the previous reviewers who have raved over Thibaudet's irritating, glib Liszt. French Liszt is not a byway I've traveled, and perhaps it's de rigeur to be glittering and superficial in order to reflect cultural values like charm and sophistication. so far as technique goes, Thibaudet is as dazzling as anyone could wish for; his lightness of touch bespeaks a pianist who specializes in Ravel. But the interpretations verge on salon music in the worst sense of that word. Great Lisztians squarely face the brass-plated junkiness that afflicts a good deal of his piano music, and the confrontation is especially sharp in the opera transcriptions.

As part of his mission to spread the music of other composers, Lizst devised hundreds of transcriptions, paraphrases, reminiscences, and the like of the kind that fill this album. To encompass such a prodigious output, he fell back upon tried-and-true gestures that rolled off as from an assembly line: hence the octave doublings, arpeggios, scales, and added froufout that keep the fingers busy but benumb the mind. To get around this problem, either you must possess a riveting keyboard personality like Horowitz or the musicianship of Grigory Ginzburg that can turn lead to gold.

Unfortunately, Thibaudet lacks both, and there are long stretches when I could sear that this was a player piano fitted with a piano roll rather than a living musician. (For some reviewers this isn't a defect, as witness the rave reviews given to piano roll recordings from Rachmaninov that have been spiffed up with a computer.) The vacancy of Thibaudet's interpretations can be quickly told by listening to the underlying melodies from Verdi, Donizetti, Bach, tc., which he tosses off so carelessly. The overly bright and brittle sound of the piano adds to the effect of trivialization. This is an album for people who equate Liszt with going to the circus.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dazzling performances 11 Oct 2010
By Scriabinmahler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Thibaudet plays these very taxing and wonderfully inspired opera transcriptions by Liszt with amazing technical polish & beautiful singing tones. There are brilliant recordings of similar repertoire by Barenboim, but Thibaudet's performances surpass them for the excitement and artistic refinement of his playing. Beautifully recorded.
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