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Hyperion Records

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Death as a Friend (1851) by Alfred Rethel (1816-1859)
Track(s) taken from CDA67403/4
Recording details: July 1998
Budapest Studios of Hungarian Radio, Hungary
Produced by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Engineered by Tryggvi Tryggvason
Release date: November 1998
Total duration: 21 minutes 53 seconds

'Exemplary, and superbly recorded' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Howard's dedication is clear in all his playing here, with clear, crisp articulation vividly caught in finely balanced sound' (The Guardian)

'Hyperion's production, as always, is superb. For the Lisztian, this is indispensable' (Fanfare, USA)

Grosse Fantasie 'Wanderer', S366
1822; D760 Op 15

Adagio  [7'20]
Presto  [4'36]
Allegro  [3'49]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
We encounter the ‘symphonique’ epithet again in the Franz Schubert: Grosse Fantasie opus 15—symphonisch bearbeitet für Piano und Orchester—Liszt’s beloved ‘Wanderer’ Fantasy in his transcription which was for many years extremely popular, and which, frankly, lies much easier under the hands than Schubert’s original. Apart from the tiny cadenza which forms the transition to the E flat section of the first movement, Liszt adheres scrupulously to Schubert’s work, very rarely allowing himself very much in the way of decoration, let alone succumbing to the easy chance of adding counter-themes. (This version is not to be confused with Liszt’s later reworking of the piece for solo piano, S565a but it does equate with Liszt’s published reduction for two pianos, S653.)

In the first section, Liszt lets the orchestra speak first, and the piano enters only with the second, quiet statement of the principal theme. Liszt takes various melodic fragments into the orchestra—often as woodwind solos—and gives some of Schubert’s repeated chords over to the orchestra altogether. The slow movement is left to the piano to begin, the orchestra entering where Schubert’s left-hand tremolo is now taken up by both hands on the piano whilst the thematic material is passed to a dialogue between wind and strings. In the variation with the filigree writing in the right hand Liszt restores Schubert’s theme in the winds and in the left hand, where Schubert’s original merely hints at it, and he allows the whole orchestra to join in Schubert’s mighty climax. Exchanging phrases between piano and orchestra is Liszt’s starting point for the arrangement of the scherzo and the fugal exposition of the finale is left to the piano, with the orchestra joining gradually thereafter in a nicely calculated crescendo. Throughout the piece, Schubert’s more extreme demands are modified: the octaves at the end of the first movement, the terrible leaps to the right-hand arpeggios at the end of the scherzo, and the final page of arpeggios in both hands which so often brings disaster in concert are entirely avoided, these last being replaced by more solid chords from the piano and fanfares from the horns and trumpets.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 1998

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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