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Track(s) taken from CDA67085

Ballade No 1 Le chant du croisé – Première Ballade, S170

composer
1845/8; in D flat major

Stephen Hough (piano)
Recording details: November 1999
St George's, Brandon Hill, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Tony Faulkner
Release date: November 2000
Total duration: 6 minutes 53 seconds

Cover artwork: Romantic Landscape (1860) by Antal Ligeti (1823-1890)
Magyar Nemzeti Galéria, Budapest / Bridgeman Art Library, London
 
1

Other recordings available for download

Leslie Howard (piano)

Reviews

'At last, Hough tackles Liszt’s Sonata on record and the result is as musicianly as this fine pianist’s admirers might expect' (Gramophone)

'Hough transforms the rumbling, chromatic bass line [Ballade No 2] into an almost terrifyingly atmospheric setting' (BBC Music Magazine)

'[A] beautifully rendered collection … the wonderful refinement and quiet poetry of his playing is a constant joy. A highly distinguished disc' (The Guardian)

‘This is a superlative recording, one that defies criticism. Hough’s pianism is evocative, spiritual, and technically and tonally scrupulous. What better compliment could be given than to say that this is the way one imagines these pieces might have sounded when Liszt himself played them? Recorded sound is ideal, and an excellent, detailed booklet adds to the value of this outstanding release’ (American Record Guide)

'Hough at his meticulous best' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Thoughtful, intelligent, and beautifully recorded too – a special release' (CDReview)
Composed between 1845 and 1848 (i.e., before Chopin’s death), the Ballade No 1 is a sadly underrated work. The subtitle ‘Le chant du croisé’ (‘croisé’ means ‘crusader’ rather than ‘cross’) suggests an underlying narrative that Liszt declined to elaborate further, but the work is an evocation of the period of the Crusades (which given Liszt’s Catholicism is an apt subject). The initial rising motif alludes strongly to the opening of Chopin’s First Ballade, a debt that must have been conscious on Liszt’s part, while the answering idea is a scherzo-like gesture that seems to confirm the key of D major. The main body of the work, however, is cast as a set of character variations on the crusader’s ‘song’ in D flat major, with a joyfully heroic march as a middle section, replete with ‘rapido con bravura’ scales and other virtuoso intricacies.

from notes by Tim Parry © 2000

Composée entre 1845 et 1848, la Première Ballade est une œuvre encore malheureusement trop souvent sous-estimée. Le sous-titre «Chant du croisé» suggère une trame narrative que Liszt ne précisa point. Cette partition évoque certainement la période des Croisades (un sujet approprié considéré la force des sentiments catholiques de Liszt). Le motif ascendant initial fait indubitablement penser à la Première Ballade de Chopin, une dette certainement consciente de la part de Liszt. Quant à la réponse, il s’agit d’une tournure à la manière d’un scherzo confirmant la tonalité de ré majeur. Le corps même de l’œuvre s’articule autour de variations sur le «Chant du croisé» en ré bémol majeur, avec pour section centrale une marche héroïque pleine d’allégresse, riche en gammes «rapido con bravura» et autres délices virtuoses.

extrait des notes rédigées par Tim Parry © 2000
Français: Isabelle Battioni

Zwischen 1845 und 1848 (d.h. vor Chopins Tod) komponiert, ist die Erste Ballade ein allzu oft unterschätztes Werk. Der Untertitel „Le chant du croisé“ (wobei hier „croisè“ eher Kreuzritter als Kreuz meint) läßt auf eine zugrundeliegende Fabel schließen, zu der sich Liszt nicht weiter geäußert hat, aber jedenfalls beschwört das Stück die Zeit der Kreuzzüge herauf (was als Thema zu Liszts Katholizismus paßt). Das anfängliche ansteigende Motiv bezieht sich stark auf die Eröffnung von Chopins Erster Ballade, eine Schuld, deren sich Liszt bewußt gewesen sein muß, denn der antwortende Gedanke ist eine scherzoähnliche Geste, die die Tonart D-Dur zu bekräftigen scheint. Der Hauptteil des Werkes ist jedoch als eine Reihe von Charaktervariatonen über das „Kreuzritterlied“ in des-Moll gestaltet, mit einem frohgestimmt heroischen Marsch im Mittelteil, reich an „rapido con bravura“ gespielten Tonleitern und anderen virtuosen Feinheiten.

aus dem Begleittext von Tim Parry © 2000
Deutsch: Anne Steeb/Bernd Müller

Other albums featuring this work

Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 2 – Ballades, Legends & Polonaises
CDA66301
Liszt: Complete Piano Music
CDS44501/9899CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
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