Early Transcriptions – Handel-Liszt, Marcello-Bach, Bach-Busoni, Mozart-Liszt

Mariam Batsashvili

(6 press reviews)
Original Recording Format: DSD 64
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It is said that the young Bach regularly travelled far and wide for any opportunity to hear organist Johann Reincken, a man who could improvise at the organ better than anyone – that is, until Bach ultimately came to surpass him. He, too, could move an audience to tears. Everyone knows that Prague adores Mozart, and especially The Marriage of Figaro, which Mozart conducted himself in the city in 1787. But not everyone knows that it was at the premier of his Prague Symphony, when he surprised the audience with an improvised piano solo that descended into a brilliant fantasy on the Figaro aria Non più andrai, that he won the heart of the city forever. 
And then, there is Franz Liszt. In the 1830s and 40s, he could count half of Europe among his fans – certainly the female half, at least – not because of his note-perfect interpretation of a late Beethoven sonata (which he was infamous for performing most extravagantly), but because all you had to do was hum a melody from Don Giovanni, I Puritani, Der Freischütz or Les Huguenots and he would set off on a musical odyssey on waves of notes freshly arranged in that musical brain of his… 
Improvising. Fantasizing. On the spot, dressing the theme up in the latest, trendiest styles, turning it into a completely new composition – a musical feat that is the backbone of the jazz of the 20th century, all but vanished from the concert hall today. But it was once the domain of the great composers. Today we play the notes, we play them at an extremely high level, we immerse ourselves in the composer as deeply as possible, we interpret his intentions, but in the end, we restrict ourselves to the dots on paper. 


Please note that the below previews are loaded as 44.1 kHz / 16 bit.
Marcello - Bach - Concerto in d - Andante spiccato
Marcello - Bach - Concerto in d - Adagio
Marcello - Bach - Concerto in d - Preso
Handel - Franz Liszt - Sarabande und Chaconne
Bach - Busoni - From partita for violin solo No2 in d - Chaconne
Mozart- Fantasie uber Themen aus die Oper Le Nozze di Figaro

Total time: 00:55:26

Additional information





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Digital Converters


Editing Software


Mastering Engineer

Tom Peeters


Bruel & Kjaer 4003, modified by Rens Heijnis

Mixing Board

Rens Heijnis custom made


Original Recording Format


Tom Peeters

Recording Engineer

Tom Peeters

Recording location

Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, The Netherlands

Recording Software


Recording Type & Bit Rate


Release DateOctober 21, 2016

Press reviews

Gramophone, febr 2017

“The Marcello is by no means an obvious choice. True, its slow movement used to be a favoured encore piece. But there is little a pianist can bring to the fast outer movements beyond level-headed musicianship, as Batsashvili offers here. Nor is the Handel/Liszt Sarabande und Chaconne exactly an attention-grabber, with Liszt in comparatively restrained mood. The Bach-Busoni Chaconne is at the other extreme, of course – the acme of attention-seeking. If Batsashvili doesn’t embrace its gothic excesses as wholeheartedly as certain virtuosos of yore, that may actually be a bonus for some listeners. Similarly, the Mozart/Liszt/Howard conflation is carefully and persuasively unfolded but without the full monty of abandon and calculated tastelessness it invites (demands?). All fair enough for a debutante, you might say.”

Luister, febr 2017 5 out of 5

Mariam Batsashvli plays graceful, translucent, with sparkling decorations. Then we enter another world. In Handel operation of Liszt immediately clear why the Georgian pianist has won the Liszt Competition 2014. This is her domain. With a rich, generous sound and accurate phrasing will rarely heard works by Liszt a performance with style. Also in The album title ‘Early Transcriptions’ means that the chosen pieces are all adaptations of works by earlier generations of composers from the Baroque and Classical period. The adaptation by the Bach-Marcello concert remains within the Baroque. Mariam Batsashvli plays graceful, translucent, with sparkling decorations. Then we enter another world. In Handel adaptation of Liszt immediately clear why the Georgian pianist has won the Liszt Competition 2014. This is her domain. With a rich, generous sound and accurate phrasing will rarely heard works by Liszt a performance with style. Also in the Bach-Busoni Chaconne the qualities of Batsahvili fully valid: subtle, powerful and virtuosic. Liszt’s ingenious quasi-improvisatory interweaving of themes from Mozart’s opera Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni – completed by Leslie Howard – is similar spectacle the highlight of the recital. The recording is impressive sonorous, by Tom Peeters, in the Muziekgebouw Eindhoven.
Met de albumtitel ‘Early Transcriptions’ wordt bedoeld dat de gekozen stukken allemaal bewerkingen zijn van werken van eerdere generaties componisten, uit de Barok en de Klassieke periode. De bewerking door Bach van het Marcello-concert blijft binnen de Barok. Mariam Batsashvli speelt het sierlijk, doorzichtig, met flonkerende versieringen. Dan gaan we een andere wereld binnen. In de Händel-bewerking van Liszt wordt meteen duidelijk waarom deze Georgische pianiste het Liszt-concours van 2014 heeft gewonnen. Dit is haar domein. Met een volle, gulle klank en een trefzekere frasering krijgt dit zelden te horen werk van Liszt een uitvoering met allure. Ook in de Bach-Busoni Chaconne komen de kwaliteiten van Batsahvili volledig tot gelding: subtiel, krachtig en virtuoos. Liszt’s kunstig quasi-improvisatorisch vervlechten van thema’s uit Mozarts opera’s Le Nozze di Figaro en Don Giovanni – voltooid door Leslie Howard – is qua spektakel het hoogtepunt van het recital. De opname is indrukwekkend klankrijk, van de hand van Tom Peeters, in het Muziekgebouw Eindhoven.

Piano news, january 2017 5 out of 5

Schon das von Bach übernommene Konzert von Allesandro Marcello mag sie mit einer inneren Strahlkraft und einer anschlagstechnischen Feinhiet zu versehen, dass man sich sicher sein kann, diese Werk auf dies Weise noch nicht gehört zu haben.
Und hier blitzen dann auch Batsashivlis humorvolle, verspielte und technisch-brillante Seiten auf und machen diese CD zu einem Fest des faszinierenden Klavierspiels einer wirklichen Ausnahmeerscheinung unter den jungen Pianisten. Bravo!

Even the concerto of Allesandro Marcello, taken over by Bach, may well have an inner radiance and a touch of technique, that one can be sure not to have heard this work in this way.
Batsashivli’s humor, playful and technically brilliant approach sparkles and make this CD a feast of fascinating piano playing of a real exceptional person among the young pianists. Bravo!

Pizzicato, dec 2016 5 out of 5

This is one truly beautiful piano CD with a rather special yet totally attractive program. Mariam Batsashvili has a flawless technique, she uses a broad color palette as well as finely tuned dynamic nuances, but at the end, every technical aspect disappears behind the pianist’s overwhelming sensitivity and poetry’

De Gelderlander, nov 2016 4 out of 5

De jonge Georgische opent haar boeiende exposé echter met de transcriptie die de beroemde Bach in 1713/14 maakte van het Hoboconcert in d van zijn Italiaanse tijdgenoot Marcello. Het luisteren is een feest want Batsashvili weet de barokke klanken op de moderne vleugel in een perfecte helderheid te communiceren. Dat is best knap voor iemand die zich vaak in de pompeuze retoriek van Liszt begeeft.

Opus klassiek, nov 2016

We horen het allemaal terug in het uitzonderlijke raffinement van haar spel op deze cd, de kleurrijke sferen die zij oproept (Bach/Busoni), de aristocratische elegantie die zij etaleert (Bach/Marcello), de briljante finesse die zij tentoonspreidt (Mozart/Liszt) naast de contemplatieve diepte van haar betoog (Händel/Liszt).


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Cobra Records 69 albums

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