What an astounding virtuosity can Arcadi Volodos display in his marvelous renditions! What infallible his musical instincts can be! And what a good fortune presided at his emergence on the international concert platform (more than a decade back) so that his unique talent was enough to launch a fabulous career and no prizes won in tough competitions or recommendations from famous professors were required! Volodos entered the international top circuit at once, being instantly recognized as a wizard of the keyboard. His celebrity made him one of the most sough-after pianists of the last decade and he relentlessly amazes worldwide audiences ever since. However, his recordings are not numerous. His repertory as well is focused only on those composers whose works mould on his unmatched skills.
Here Arcadi Volodos tackles a pinnacle of the virtuosic repertory offering an all-Franz Liszt recital recorded in 2006 for Sony Classical. Useless to say that the monumentality of the Lisztian textures, their finger-wrecking volutes and deeply thought structures (claiming a kind of truly vanguard at their time) suit Volodos in a sparkling way prompting him to a dazzling articulation of this kind of music. I can't pick up a certain piece on this CD to say it is better served than another. All they exhibit distinct facets of Volodos's incredible artistry and are treated with the same commitment and joy of playing.
One last remark: I think the main quality of Volodos here is that his virtuosity is lucid and crystal-clear throughout. Even at the fastest speed, even in the most complicated passage, Volodos is not enraptured by the effect of his playing but masters magisterially and dominates the proceedings in a "cool blood" manner. Just listen to Valle d'Obermann, Saint Francois d'Assise, Sposalizio or Funerailles. Gorgeous accounts! I give them all the five stars!