One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Zwei Konzert-Etuden, S. 145/R6: a) Gnomenreigen (Dance of the Gnomes); b) Waldesrauchen (Forest Murmurs)
Trois éudes de concert, S. 144/R5: a) Il lamento; b) La leggierezza; a) Un sospiro
Etude en douze exercices, S. 136/R1
Morceau de salon, étude de perfectionnement, S. 142/R4a
Ab irato, grande étude de perfectionnement, S. 142/R4b
Mazeppa, S. 136/R2c
William Wolfram (piano)
Rec. Performing Arts Centre, Country Day School, King, Ontario, Canada, 30 Jan - 2 Feb 2003 DDD
NAXOS 8.557014 [63:06]


American William Wolfram is the soloist on volume twenty of this continuing Naxos survey of the complete piano music of Franz Liszt. I have no recollection of having heard of Wolfram previously but on this showing I hope it is not the last.

The most extensive works on this release are the twelve studies Etude en douze exercises which Liszt composed at the prodigious age of thirteen. In these twelve studies Wolfram is bold and expressive in a stimulating and thought-provoking performance. The concert studies Gnomenreigen (Dance of the Gnomes) and Waldesrauchen (Forest Murmurs) are especially fine works and Wolfram gives a most convincing and erudite interpretation. The Dance of the Gnomes requires the pianist to rapidly alternate the hands in a swift scherzo. Forest Murmurs, which is an evocative work, has the melody accompanied by gently rippling figuration. The Trois études de concert have been given the descriptive titles Il lamento, La leggierezza and Un sospiro and give the performer plenty of opportunity for virtuoso display. It is hard not to be impressed by Wolfram’s imperious sense of rhythm.

The three works which conclude this recital are the two short Morceau de salon, étude de perfectionnement and the Ab irato, grande étude de perfectionnement and the magnificent Mazeppa which is derived from material used in the Allegro grazioso the fourth of the above Etudes en douze exercises. Liszt was inspired by the story of the hero Mazeppa from a book of the same name by Victor Hugo and in 1851 developed Mazeppa into a large-scale orchestral tone poem. Wolfram is a pianist in command of his technique and with a total belief in his interpretation. He has a calm, stylish and controlled attitude to these virtuoso works; flashy and crudity are not words in his vocabulary. The soloist’s presence and amazing lightness of touch when required is outstanding and made an immediate impact on me.

The clean recorded sound is very truthful. At times Wolfram’s admirable playing made me sit up in a performance that would put some recitals from certain glittering top international names to shame. Top-drawer playing from William Wolfram who is an inspired choice in this repertoire.

Michael Cookson

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

September 2022
Nikolai Medtner
Herbert Blomstedt
Tarrodi Four Elements
Secret Love Letters
Lisa Batiashvili

August 2022

Louis Caix d'Hervelois

orchestral songs



String Quartets

la folia



July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I



Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.