Hyperion Records

Illustrations du Prophète de Meyerbeer, S414
composer
1849/50
composer
1849; Le Prophète

Recordings
'Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 17 – Liszt at the Opera II' (CDA66571/2)
Liszt: The complete music for solo piano, Vol. 17 – Liszt at the Opera II
Buy by post £20.00 CDA66571/2  2CDs   Download currently discounted
'Liszt: Complete Piano Music' (CDS44501/98)
Liszt: Complete Piano Music
Buy by post £200.00 CDS44501/98  99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)  
'Louis Kentner – The pioneering Liszt recordings, Vol. 2' (APR5614)
Louis Kentner – The pioneering Liszt recordings, Vol. 2
APR5614  Download only  
Details
No 1: Prière – Hymne triomphal – Marche du sacre
Track 1 on CDA66571/2 CD1 [15'24] 2CDs
Track 1 on CDS44501/98 CD39 [15'24] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
No 2: Les patineurs: Scherzo
Track 2 on CDA66571/2 CD1 [13'16] 2CDs
Track 2 on CDS44501/98 CD39 [13'16] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)
Track 14 on APR5614 [8'48] Download only
No 3: Pastorale – Appel aux armes
Track 3 on CDA66571/2 CD1 [12'03] 2CDs
Track 3 on CDS44501/98 CD39 [12'03] 99CDs Boxed set + book (at a special price)

Illustrations du Prophète de Meyerbeer, S414
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The first Illustration is of the medley paraphrase variety. It may, of course, be performed independently of its fellows, but the pieces work very well as a contrasted set, and there is a certain amount of thematic cross-referencing.

Although Liszt’s subtitle accounts for the main material of the piece, the movement is seriously infiltrated by the Coronation March which appears, ghostlike, at the outset, and whose trio section dominates the peroration. The Prière is rather fragmented but introduces the theme ‘Ad nos’ in Meyerbeer’s original compound time (cf. the ‘Ad nos’ Fantasy and Fugue). Quite the most impressive passage is the fanfare which leads from the Hymne to the Marche du sacre, which is itself defiantly four-square.

The mighty ‘Skaters’ scherzo used to be a regular recital war-horse for all players of sufficient stamina from Busoni to Kentner and is the most tightly-constructed piece of the set. Liszt’s sliding effects far exceed the predictable use of glissando and, as everywhere in the collection, his subtle improvements to Meyerbeer’s harmonies, his reorganisation of the original tonalities in order to make a symphonic key structure, and his hinting at one theme whilst exploring another make these pieces superior to many of their kind.

The third piece begins as an engaging variation upon pastoral material, but works itself to a feverish pace before the ‘Ad nos’ theme ushers in the ‘Call to Arms’ march, which itself becomes frenetic and suddenly and brilliantly resolves into the Orgie and a headlong conclusion.

from notes by Leslie Howard © 1992

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