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Liszt

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Product details

  • Performer: Nikolai Lugansky
  • Composer: Franz Liszt
  • Audio CD (24 Oct. 2011)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naive Sa
  • ASIN: B005IQXSI2
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 124,249 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Chasse-neige
  2. Etude n°10 in F minor
  3. La Campanella
  4. Vallée d’Obermann
  5. Sposalizio
  6. Les jeux d’eau de la Villa d’Este
  7. Sonnet de Pétrarque 123
  8. Isoldes liebestode (Wagner)
  9. Feux follets
  10. Valse oubliée n°1

Product Description

Product Description

The great Russian virtuoso Nikolai Lugansky presents his recording to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Franz Liszt (1811-1886) – an album of popular piano pieces including La Campanella, Valse oubliée, his version of Isolde’s Liebestod by Wagner, some of the Douze études d'exécution transcendante, and several gems from Années de pèlerinage, among them Vallée d'Obermann, Sposalizio, Les jeux d'eau de la Villa d'Este and Sonnet de Pétrarque 123. An acclaimed recording artist, Nikolai Lugansky has recently signed an exclusive contract with the Naïve-Ambroisie label. The Moscow-born pianist put together this disc, his first devoted entirely to Liszt's music, with a seriousness, freedom and concern for overall unity worthy of the composer himself. His last release - an all-Chopin recital for Onyx - was described by The Guardian as "unquestionably thrilling", and his recording with violinist Repin of Sonatas by Franck, Grieg and Janácek (Deutsche Grammophon, October 2010) was hailed by Gramophone as "a quite magnificent performance". It also won the Prize for best Chamber Music recording at the BBC Music Magazine Awards 2011. Nikolai Lugansky won the Diapason d'Or for his recordings of the complete Chopin Études and Preludes, and the Rachmaninov Preludes and Moments musicaux, as well as an Echo Klassik Deutscher Musikpreis for his 2005 recording of Rachmaninov's Piano Concertos Nos 1 & 3. Capable of great refinement and sensitivity in Mozart and Schumann, and breathtaking virtuosity in Rachmaninov and Prokofiev, Lugansky is a pianist of extraordinary depth and versatility. Recent and upcoming engagements include concerto projects with the Leipzig Gewandhaus and Andris Nelsons, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Vasily Petrenko, Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen, and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich and NHK Symphony Orchestra all with Charles Dutoit; recitals at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Moscow State Conservatory, London’s Wigmore Hall, Prague's Rudolfinum and the Wiener Konzerthaus; and chamber music collaborations with Vadim Repin and Leonidas Kavakos. Personnel: Nikolai Lugansky (piano)

Review

(4 stars) Lugansky favours fantasy over whimsy...a handsome programme. Throughout, there is a feeling of extemporisation. -- The Independent On Sunday, (Anna Picard), December 4, 2011

(4 stars) Striking...blending lyricism with panache...the sheer beauty of Lugansky's playing belies the work's difficulty...an absolute knockout. -- The Guardian, (Tim Ashley), November 11, 2011

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This new Liszt recital, one of the most impressive to emerge in this bicentennial year, is about evenly divided between ferociously difficult etudes, both Transcendental and Paganini, and selections from Annees de pelerinage. To clarify the program, let me list it before making any comments.

Transcendental Study, S139 No. 12 'Chasse-neige'
Transcendental Study, S139 No. 10 'Appassionata'
Grande Étude de Paganini, S. 141 No. 3 'La Campanella'
Vallée d'Obermann (Années de pèlerinage I, S. 160 No. 6)
Sposalizio (Années de pèlerinage II, S. 161 No. 1)
Les jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este (Années de pèlerinage III, S. 163 No. 4)
Sonetto 123 del Petrarca (Années de pèlerinage II, S. 161 No. 6)
Isolde's Liebestod (after Wagner), S447
Transcendental Study, S139 No. 5 'Feux Follets'
Valse oubliée No. 1, S.215/1

So far, my favorite release in the flood of Liszt piano recordings has come from Nelson Freire, a masterful musician who can turn dross to gold, and there's plenty of dross in Liszt to work with. Every vulgarism that piano playing is capable of began with this master showman, and the trick is to bring down the house while still extracting the music that lies beneath the trickery. No one can deny Liszt's gifts as a composer, yet equally undeniable is the cornball obviousness of his idiom. The saving grace of his piano compositions, for me at least, is that Liszt was born to write for the instrument; he inspires the greatest virtuosos to give of their best (leaving aside those few, like Serkin and Schnabel, who stay away).
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this cd from the great Lugansky of Liszt - many pieces I had not heard before. The playing is intoxicating and highly romantic. Prepare to be seduced! Beautifully presented by Naïve, recording in Potton Hall.

Astounding!!!
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Format: Audio CD
This disc by Lugansky was made in 2011 by his new exclusive recording company, Naive. The actual recording is strikingly realistic with excellent definition and range as well as instrumental timbre.

Up to 2011 Lugansky's recorded output has focussed upon works by Rachmaninov and Chopin for which he has achieved a considerable following. This disc is not a 'live' recital but by consisting of works taken from larger sets of works, the effect is one more of a recital. The works played here are mostly taken from the Transcendental Etudes, the Paganini etudes, the Annees de Pelerinage books and the transcriptions.

Although there are plenty of pianistic challenges and fireworks included in this selection of pieces, the over-riding impression that one is left with is Lugansky's delicacy of touch as well as his variety of subtle expression. Even at moments of greatest technical challenge he delivers a remarkable clarity instead of the more frequent physical sense of struggle overcome associated with many of those most demanding passages. The result of all of this is an enhanced awareness of his sheer musicality and also of the composer's musicality rather than the more normal focus on display.

In such a varied programme there will be different favourites chosen by different listeners and fro different reasons. I would suggest that the Campanella etude offers a particularly delicious feast of refined pianism and delicacy as does the Feux Follets. The Vallee d'Obermann will satisfy those more interested in impressive climaxes achieved over an extended duration.

Regardless of personal preferences this disc can safely be described as outstanding for a wide range of reasons as suggested above and deserves to be added to collectors' libraries regardless of doubling.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I can't add a great deal more than the other reviewers, but I feel I owe a few words to this CD.

In the past I've let some recordings of Liszt play and not been stunned - until now with this one. In my opinion this is a recording that must be listened to, what I mean is I stop everything and get totally
immersed in the beauty of the music.

On this recording I like to think of Nikolai Lugansky as a artist as he brilliantly creates a picture or story of each piece. Into each piece it's almost as if he's taken a canvas and weaved colour and warm tones into it. Along the way he makes the piano sing as he creates the illusion of a direct link between the music and the listener.

A truly stunning performance of great sensitivity.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9b698c18) out of 5 stars 4 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bd807c4) out of 5 stars Nikolai Lugansky displays sparkling qualities in a demanding Liszt programme 9 Jan. 2012
By P. Adrian - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
2011 was the anniversary Liszt year. Therefore, some world-class virtuosos felt entitled themselves to release recordings entirely devoted to the oeuvre of the great romantic composer. Among these, the Russian virtuoso Nikolai Lugansky offered - in my opinion - one of the best accounts in the field. Beginning with selection of pieces, his performance proves a compelling approach to this very demanding part of the pianistic repertory. No less, Lugansky's musical insight and technical skills confirms his growing reputation as a first-class performer musician.

Three of the 12 Etudes d'execution trancendante (Transcendental Studies) get here nothing less than superb versions. When it comes to the celebrated Chasse-neige its haunting theme gains sparkling inflections under Lugansky's fingers. While a deep melancholic flavour flows throughout. From Annees de pelerinage, Lugansky chooses four numbers, climaxing in the Sonnet 123 by Petrarch. La Campanella, minutely controlled by, employs a vivid finger-work and fascinates.

Concluding, I consider that Nikolai Lugansky seems perfectly suited for this kind of repertory. Yet, his manner of playing avoids bombast and exaggerations. It is a special mixture of delicacy and meaningful virtuosity. As a personal note, I remember his performance in Bucharest during the 2009 edition of the George Enescu Festival, where his version of the 4th concerto by Beethoven gave rise to an enthusiastic reception.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9b845c30) out of 5 stars An outstanding disc offering a rewarding extension to Lugansky's recorded repertoire 12 July 2014
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This disc by Lugansky was made in 2011 by his new exclusive recording company, Naive. The actual recording is strikingly realistic with excellent definition and range as well as instrumental timbre.

Up to 2011 Lugansky's recorded output has focussed upon works by Rachmaninov and Chopin for which he has achieved a considerable following. This disc is not a 'live' recital but by consisting of works taken from larger sets of works, the effect is one more of a recital. The works played here are mostly taken from the Transcendental Etudes, the Paganini etudes, the Annees de Pelerinage books and the transcriptions.

Although there are plenty of pianistic challenges and fireworks included in this selection of pieces, the over-riding impression that one is left with is Lugansky's delicacy of touch as well as his variety of subtle expression. Even at moments of greatest technical challenge he delivers a remarkable clarity instead of the more frequent physical sense of struggle overcome associated with many of those most demanding passages. The result of all of this is an enhanced awareness of his sheer musicality and also of the composer's musicality rather than the more normal focus on display.

In such a varied programme there will be different favourites chosen by different listeners and fro different reasons. I would suggest that the Campanella etude offers a particularly delicious feast of refined pianism and delicacy as does the Feux Follets. The Vallee d'Obermann will satisfy those more interested in impressive climaxes achieved over an extended duration.

Regardless of personal preferences this disc can safely be described as outstanding for a wide range of reasons as suggested above and deserves to be added to collectors' libraries regardless of doubling.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bba0444) out of 5 stars One of the best Liszt recitals to come out this anniversary year 15 Nov. 2011
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This new Liszt recital, one of the most impressive to emerge in this bicentennial year, is about evenly divided between ferociously difficult etudes, both Transcendental and Paganini, and selections from Annees de pelerinage. To clarify the program, let me list it before making any comments.

Transcendental Study, S139 No. 12 'Chasse-neige'
Transcendental Study, S139 No. 10 'Appassionata'
Grande Étude de Paganini, S. 141 No. 3 'La Campanella'
Vallée d'Obermann (Années de pèlerinage I, S. 160 No. 6)
Sposalizio (Années de pèlerinage II, S. 161 No. 1)
Les jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este (Années de pèlerinage III, S. 163 No. 4)
Sonetto 123 del Petrarca (Années de pèlerinage II, S. 161 No. 6)
Isolde's Liebestod (after Wagner), S447
Transcendental Study, S139 No. 5 'Feux Follets'
Valse oubliée No. 1, S.215/1

So far, my favorite release in the flood of Liszt piano recordings has come from Nelson Freire, a masterful musician who can turn dross to gold, and there's plenty of dross in Liszt to work with. Every vulgarism that piano playing is capable of began with this master showman, and the trick is to bring down the house while still extracting the music that lies beneath the trickery. No one can deny Liszt's gifts as a composer, yet equally undeniable is the cornball obviousness of his idiom. The saving grace of his piano compositions, for me at least, is that Liszt was born to write for the instrument; he inspires the greatest virtuosos to give of their best (leaving aside those few, like Serkin and Schnabel, who stay away).

I can only imagine that Liszt's star stands highest in Russia, given the great recordings left by Horowitz, Richter and Grigory Ginzburg, and the very fine ones from Gilels and Berman. Lugansky follows in their footsteps with a display of dazzling technique, real temperament, and the courage - perhaps the compulsion - to possess a strong personal slant. It's the last quality that sets him above a younger, not yet formed keyboard whiz like Lise de la Salle and Yuja Wang. Lugansky has become truly himself, and although he's not immediately recognizable like Horowitz and Richter, you can't miss his sense of command and the personal way that he interprets each piece.

Simply for that aspect, one can begin with Liszt's transcription of the Liebestod from Tristan, music that Horowitz recorded on his last CD for Sony. Lugansky stands up to such a strong, even crushing comparison. He phrases as freely as Horowitz but to my mind more naturally and with a greater sense that this began as vocal music. For another aspect, one turns to the Chasse-neige etude, delivered with such consummate ease and lightness that you forget technique altogether.

I've always noticed how decisively Lugansky goes his own way, the difference being that early on it was a way that seemed arbitrary and artificial too much of the time. But either he has grown or he has grown on me, because now I appreciate the sometimes quirky approach, as in Vallee d'Obermann, an evocation of grand Swiss scenery where most pianists move somberly, even gravely, building to thunder in the climax. At 13:40, Lugansky's timing isn't especially quick - Ginzburg takes a minute less, while Arrau takes a minute more - but he lets in more light and avoids grandiosity. Lugansky shares a mercurial quality with another Russian, Mikhail Pletnev. I'd be tempted to call them the anti-Gilels of our time.

Finally, the triumph of technique can't be left out. When Vallee d'Obermann reaches its climax, Lugansky lets the sparks fly; he always has reserves of power, yet he rations his thunder and lightning. Like Ginzburg, his natural bent is to astonish us with fleetness and refinement in soft passages. He civilizes the various knuckle-crunching etudes and makes them purr. I could also list some negative virtues: Lugansky isn't ponderous, vulgar, heartless, mechanical, brittle, or obsessed with playing to the gallery.

In fact, the question arises whether this outstanding album qualifies as one of the greatest Liszt recitals on disc. I'm not sure I can go that far, simply because two numbers, Valse oubliee no. 1 and Sonnet no. 123 of Petrarch, don't rise to the unforgettable level of Horowitz, Richter, and Ginzburg. In an age where so few pianists transcend the dazzling side of Liszt, Lugansky can, and that's enough for me to feel very grateful.
3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9bd80c08) out of 5 stars a perfect performance 14 Jan. 2012
By jane - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This CD is a must for all lovers of Liszt's piano music;the selection is varied and the performance,by the great Nicolai Lugansky,is wonderful.
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