It’s very much been a personal journey. For a pianist, the Transcendental Etudes cycle is one of the most towering mountain peaks of the literature. I was inspired by one of Ferruccio Busoni’s aphorisms, that “Bach is the alpha and Liszt is the omega of piano playing”. And Liszt definitely is the omega: almost without exaggeration, everything in modern piano writing – starting with the 19th century piano technique, and beyond – was invented by Liszt in the decades that he was busy with the Transcendental Etudes . There’s something very touching about the fact that he came up with the musical material of these pieces when he was a 15 year-old boy. Those first, 1826 versions of the Etudes are very advanced for a 15 year-old, but in another way also rather naive. In 1837 comes the nearly unplayable, incredibly virtuosic second version, but even though they have been technically transformed, the pieces stick with the same musical material – the themes, the basic shapes – of the first version. And finally comes the 1852 version, the picture of these pieces in Liszt’s adulthood: whatever might have been overwrought in the second version is now streamlined and really perfected, and that is the version I’ve recorded. So the pieces are already a journey in that sense – and it’s a huge journey for me as a pianist to experience the challenges in the Etudes firsthand so to say, while internalizing them
Total time: 01:03:53
|Original Recording Format|
van den Hul
B&W Nautilus Loudspeakers
Sonodore RCM402, DPA 4006
Stephan Cahen, Dirk Fischer
Konzertsaal der Siemens-Villa Berlin-Lankwitz
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||September 9, 2016|
MusicWeb International [Recording of the Month]
Extraordinary pianism that strikes a perfect balance between impetuosity and insight; bar-raising sonics, too.
“With this album, Kirill Gerstein confirms his prominence as a pianist, giving ample proof of his supreme musical insight in what may be called Liszt’s life. Indeed, these transcendental studies cover a major part of his creative life.
In the liner notes Gerstein explains how he understands and visions the score, thereby giving clues to his interpreting the 12 different parts. I encourage everyone to read them for a better understanding of his approach.
For me, it takes a truly great pianist, like Kirill Gerstein, to not only being able to technically highlight the material, but also to reveal the emotional depths and the transcendental nature of these Etudes.
Together with the spotless recording of Myrios Classics, guided by the uncompromising ears of Stephan Cahen, this performance has become a memorable reading indeed!
Performance and Multichannel Sonics: 5 of 5 Stars Rating.”
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