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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67455
Recording details: April 2003
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Engineered by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Release date: May 2004
Total duration: 20 minutes 33 seconds

'Leslie Howard is once again an ardent and reflective champion in both his playing and in his brilliantly informative essay; he also promises further discoveries. Hyperion's sound and presentation is immaculate as ever' (Gramophone)

'his stylistic understanding is always impeccable, and as recorded here his Steinway makes a warmly appealing sound' (BBC Music Magazine)

'So we learn more about this extraordinary composer, thanks to that rare combination of Howard's scholarly musicianship … and fearless keyboard technique, allied to the ongoing commitment of Hyperion Records—without which the entire musical world would be so much the poorer' (International Record Review)

'Howard's playing is so refined that even the almost impossible passages of the Concerto are made to seem easy and this is simply the best recorded piano sound I've heard in years' (The Times)

'no-one fascinated by Liszt, or by Romanticism at fever pitch, will tolerate being without this. Howard's Steinway sounds like it's in your living room—whispering, crooning, or thundering—up close and near. Liszt lives! Long live Liszt!' (Fanfare, USA)

Concerto sans orchestre, S524a
composer
circa 1839

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
It was Liszt’s habit, when preparing the earliest drafts of his works for piano and orchestra, to begin with a score for solo piano, albeit with some indications of instrumentation, and then to expand it, orchestrating much of the material and then developing quite new textures in the solo part. We can see this process interrupted incomplete in the posthumously published Concerto in E flat major, S125a (sometimes misleadingly called ‘No 3’ – see volume 53a), and the plethora of surviving drafts of the two famous concertos clearly carry the process to a painstakingly refined conclusion if we compare the first results with the last. In the Concerto sans orchestre recorded here, we are probably dealing with the first complete version of the piece which would eventually become Concerto No 2. All the musical material will be familiar, though almost all of the textures were greatly altered over the years – after all, the final touches to the piece were made a quarter of a century later. As so often, many of the technical solutions had to await the final version; here there are many quite extraordinary difficulties. The things immediately apparent are the work’s originality and freshness – qualities which Liszt managed to retain through all the revisions – and that this is already a splendid work in its own right. We have borrowed the title for the otherwise untitled MS from Schumann.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 2004

Other albums featuring this work
'Liszt: Complete Piano Music' (CDS44501/98)
Liszt: Complete Piano Music
MP3 £160.00FLAC £160.00ALAC £160.00Buy by post £200.00 CDS44501/98  99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)  
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