Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
Valse Impromptu, S213 [6:36]
Capriccio alla Turca, S388, on themes from Beethoven’s The Ruins of Athens [9:12]
La Leggierezza, etude de concert in F minor, S144 No. 2 [4:54]
Hungarian Rhapsodies Nos. 6, 10, 11, 12 [28:02]
Liebestraum in A flat, S541 No. 3 [4:45]
Galop Russe S478i [3:09]
La Danza S424 No. 9, after Rossini [4:23]
Grand Galop Chromatique, S219 [4:03]
Vanessa Benelli Mosell (piano)
rec. March 2012, Montevarchi, Italy

This is the hardest kind of CD to review, because I have no strong feelings about it one way or the other. A lot of this is Liszt’s flashiest, most virtuosic stuff, but low on nutrition: galops and dances, a Capriccio on themes from Beethoven’s The Ruins of Athens, four Hungarian Rhapsodies. Vanessa Benelli Mosell uses these chances to really show off her technical prowess, getting through an hour of nearly impossible music without breaking a sweat. It’s all well-engineered, too, except the Capriccio, where the loudest chords caused my headphones to crackle.
So why am I underwhelmed? It could be that this breed of music is just not for me. It could be that the recital feels a little soulless: compounding the showy but shallow music are performances that don’t really have a strong personal stamp. Thus even the Liebestraum in A flat is pretty but curiously unpoetic. The Rossini dance clatters along with little dynamic contrast between mezzo-forte and anything else.
Most of this music I suspect I’d like better if they were played more imaginatively and less “straight”. The Hungarian Rhapsodies I know I like better in the hands of Cziffra or Jando - the best recording Jando ever made. Nevertheless, they’re competent and entertaining. This whole disc is competent, entertaining and underwhelming. I wish I’d liked it more. Then this would have been easier to write.
Brian Reinhart
Competent, entertaining, underwhelming.

Byzantion was rather more taken by this album


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