Chopin & Liszt are both hailed as composers who belong, above all, to the piano. Liszt is perhaps the greatest technician the instrument has ever known, and Rubinstein described Chopin as the “soul of the piano”. Why, then, play these composers on the harp?
Chopin and Liszt were practically the same age: Chopin was born in 1810 and Liszt a year later, although he outlived Chopin by thirty-seven years. At the time the majority of the works on this CD were written, both composers were living in Paris: such a thriving musical centre that Chopin wrote to Kumelski he had found the best musicians and opera in the world. The city was crammed full of pianos and pianists, eager to make their names in such an exciting artis- tic environment. Wherever an instrument enjoys so much social importance, so many good artists and fine manufacturers, many compositions will be written for it. But the piano was not Paris’s only point of interest in the 1800s. The French Revolution of 1789 was accompanied by a revolutionary aesthetic movement – Romanticism.
Total time: 01:07:50
|Original Recording Format|
Cultural Centre 'De Bogaard Sint Truiden
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||June 13, 2015|
Anneleen Lenarts is already one of our foremost young European harpists. All of her harp renditions were revelatory in their lucid clarity and tonal allure.
The Liszt pieces have technically daunting virtuosic sections, particularly in cadenzas. Lenarts tackles all these difficulties as though they didn’t exist, with fluency and natural ease which is breathtaking. Even the tricky Liszt concert study ‘Waldesrauchen’ (Forest Murmurs) comes off as if written for the harp, with a delicacy of touch in the passage work which is magically sprite-like.
That old warhorse “Liebestraume” comes newly minted, being given narrative flow which is usually neglected. Led by Lenart’s dynamically shaded singing tone to a spectacular climax with scintillating fireworks in the fizzing cadenza, this is an interpretation to treasure. The carefully chosen Chopin works too are a wonder, from the passionate and wayward early Polonaise Op.26 no. 1, to a fragrantly perfumed Nocturne Op.9 no.1 and a simply superb rendition of Chopin’s finest nocturne, Op.48 no 1 in C minor, which is as good as any I have heard from the great piano masters.
Another hoary old Chopin piece, the Fantasie-Impromptu in C# minor, is presented as if new. The speed and clarity of articulation in the whirling notes would make any pianist green with envy, and the dramatic ebb and flow of the piece are superbly realized, with the full rich sonority of the harp brought into play at climaxes. I was left feeling that I might well prefer her harp version over the usual piano ones.
Anneleen Lenarts shines new light on the two featured composers with her compellingly idiomatic arrangements and spontaneous musical communication which goes from her nimble fingers (and feet!) straight through to the listener’s heart. This disc held me spell-bound, and I would love to hear some more from Anneleen Lenaerts; she is, without doubt, a musical enchantress. Enthusiastically recommended. 5-Stars for Performance, Stereo, and Multichannel DSD Sonics.
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