FRANZ LISZT (1811-86)
Complete Piano Music, Volume 14.
Bunte Reihe, S484/R149.
Valerie Tryon (piano).
Naxos 8.553507 [DDD]
Liszt's transcriptions of Ferdinand David's Bunte Reihe, Op. 30
(originally subtitled '24 Character Pieces for violin and piano through all
the keys') is a 72-minute demonstration of the art of transcription. That
Liszt can hold the attention for nearly an hour and a quarter is all the
more astonishing given the standard of David's music: the booklet notes state
that, 'His music does not astonish, nor does it leave a lasting impression'.
This hits the nail squarely on the head.
Successful transcription requires not only show-stopping virtuosity but also
tasteful delicacy. Tryon, whose playing is always crisp and considered, brings
off the Mendelssohnian Capriccio in D minor deliciously. She also
has the measure of the heavier, more virtuoso numbers and throughout is intensely
Hardly surprisingly given his proclivity for things Hungarian, Liszt wrote
two versions of the Ungarisch in A minor. Tryon is equally expressive
in both the more restrained first version and the schwungvoll second.
There are some real surprises here - the Gondellied in F would not
be out of place in the Années de Pèlerinages, for example.
Many movements would make ideal encore pieces. A trawl through all 25 tracks
in order, however, is not recommended. Naxos' sound could perhaps do with