> LISZT Piano Recital Zeynep Ucbasaran [ch]: Classical CD Reviews- July2002 MusicWeb(UK)






Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Les cloches de Genève (from Années de Pelèrinage, Première année), Funérailles (from Harmonies poétiques et réligieuses), Eroica (Transcendental Study no. 7), Nuages gris, Fantasie und Fuge über das Thema B-A-C-H, Schubert Song-transcriptions: Erstarrung (from Die Winterreise), Aufenthalt (from Schwanengesang), Ave Maria, Rapsodie espagnole
Zeynep Ucbasaran (pianoforte)
Recorded 7th, 14th, 17th November, 8th, 15th December 2001
at Abravanel Hall, Academy of the West, Santa Barbara, California
EROICA JDT 3092 [72’ 39"]

For ordering details please visit www.zupiano.com



Zeynep Ucbasaran is Turkish, began her studies at the Istanbul Conservatoire at the age of four, then studied in Budapest, Freiburg and Los Angeles. She has a secure technique and a sound sense of structure which produce satisfying performances of the BACH Fantasy and Fugue and the Spanish Rhapsody, and she writes her own unfussy but informative notes. She also has the benefit of a rich-toned recording (though I noticed a shift in perspective as the Spanish Rhapsody started) and a piano which is better in tune than many for Liszt’s ascents and descents to the extreme ends of the keyboard.

If I have a reservation, it is that in the more poetic moments she seems not quite able to float a singing tone or to fine down accompanying quavers into an impressionistic mist. This is particularly noticeable in Les cloches de Genève which remains rather too firmly present. Brendel’s performance, at a more flowing tempo, speaks of the intangible as much as the tangible. His Vox recording of Funérailles attains blistering heights that leave Ucbasaran sounding merely dogged.

As these are the first two works on the disc I began to prepare in my head a review which would have been more damning than actually proved necessary. However, I must point out that the problem of the singing tone, and of the separation of the differing strands of the texture generally, raise their heads again in the Schubert transcriptions. Not so much Aufenthalt where Liszt’s monstrous inflation of the original song could never be made to sound Schubertian, but in Erstarrung the melody hardly comes through at times, and the accompaniment to the Ave Maria, warmly as the piece is played, could have taken on a more filigree nature.

I wish I could have been more than mildly complimentary over a gifted young artist, but if you hear Liszt for the first time through this disc you will get a more limited idea of his range than you would from the likes of Brendel, Richter, Horowitz and others. I very much hope Ucbasaran will now refine her range of keyboard colours and work a lot over texture, and maybe let us hear the results in some Schumann or Debussy.

Christopher Howell


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