Each time I buy a Sudbin recording, I end up wishing it was the beginning of a 'Complete works of...'. His Scarlatti sonatas are the most magical piano versions I've ever heard, and one disc is a tantalising taster, leaving me wanting much more (even at full price, I'd probably invest in a 30-disc box set). With this disc, I now feel the need for Sudbin's view of the rest of Liszt's Transcendental Studies too. There's a freshness, a clarity of vision, and a vigour, which befit a young pianist, but without exaggeration or indulgence. Maturity but with no hint of boredom in familar repertoire.
As usual with BIS, the recording quality manages to be precise and analytical, while projecting a warmth, a full-bodied piano sound, and a pleasing acoustic. Concentrate, and you can admire the fine detail and even the pedalling; relax and the music sweeps all before it and you forget the passage of time.
It's also worth mentioning the accompanying booklet. There's a detailed 8-page essay by Sudbin himself, full of new insights, witty without being arch, and genuinely enhancing the listening experience.
It's not often one hears performances that truly re-create the music. Sudbin's astounding virtuosity, coupled with vivid imagination, create Liszt performances that surpass anything I have heard before, even the wonderful recording by Volodos. His own programme notes are also very revealing, both of the artist and the music. Clearly an intellectual as well as a virtuoso. Top quality recording too
I was first alerted to Sudbin when I heard his Scriabin disc. The playing here is no less impressive, in a programme that has some commonality with the Scriabin disc - a penchant for the 'fantastic' and 'delirious'. Beautifully recorded too - great piano sound.