2020
52,943 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider



£11 post-free anywhere
(currently suspended)


TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Bruno Monteiro (violin)


More Preludes to Chopin
Kenneth Hamilton (piano)


Gloriæ Dei Cantores


 

Recordings of the Month

May


Beethoven Piano Concertos


Stradal Transcriptions


LOSY Note d’oro


Scarlatti Sonatas Vol 2

 

April

Feinberg Piano Sonatas


Schoenberg Violin Concerto


Early Keyboard


Nun Danket Alle Gott
Now Everyone Thanks God

March


Haydn Scottish Songs


Choral Music


Liszt Sonata


Renaissance Bohemia

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage



Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Support us financially by purchasing this disc from
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) arr. Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Symphony No. 7 in A, Op. 92 [40:52]
Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 21 [26:25]
Yury Martynov (pianoforte Erard 1837)
rec. 17-21 September 2012, Doopsgezinde Gemeente Church, Haarlem, The Netherlands
ZIG-ZAG TERRITOIRES ZZT317 [67:17] 

We’ve had a few good recordings of the Beethoven symphonies as arranged for piano by Franz Liszt, but Yury Martynov’s project is - to my knowledge - the first on period instruments. It’s certainly a welcome change of pace as long as Martynov keeps selecting pianos as good as this 1837 Erard, which has a pretty full and clear sound that shouldn’t irk many modern-instrument enthusiasts. It approaches the orchestral qualities Liszt desired; the bass is especially satisfying.
 
It’s been very common for pianists to compensate for the smaller sound by playing more quickly. Pianos can’t sustain notes the way that stringed instruments can, so a lot of Beethoven’s writing, transcribed for piano, benefits from being played like piano music. Yury Martynov bucks this trend, turning in performances slower than many orchestral ones. The Seventh symphony’s allegretto is 9:34 here; compare to Kleiber’s 8:09 or Karajan’s 8:01 (1962).
 
Martynov has a more romantic sensibility, stripping the First Symphony of its post-Haydn classicism. It’s ironic, given his background in early music and continuo performance, but Martynov takes many a creative liberty - consider the big slowdown for a hushed, heavily pedaled reading of the third-movement trio, or the long suspenseful pauses as the finale begins. Honestly, I find the expansiveness and soft touch detrimental in the First; this is a piece and an arrangement that could use a little classical rigour and sharpness.
 
The same qualities which give me pause in the First Symphony contribute to an excellent performance of the Seventh. Though virtuosity is on full display in the fast movements, it’s Martynov’s hypnotically slow, funereal tread in the allegretto and his light, jovial way with the scherzo that stick in my memory. His is a performance that really uses the piano, and specifically this period instrument, to maximum effect.
 
The booklet offers helpful discussion about what changes Liszt had to make during the transcription process, even if it frames the discussion in the context of Freudian analysis. The sound is good and the piano, as mentioned, a joy to hear; if I liked this less than Martynov’s first volume, it’s because the rather sleepy First Symphony performance doesn’t live up to the vitality of the other three works he’s recorded. The Seventh is a reading that would enrich any collection.
 
Brian Reinhart