One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger              Founding Editor: Rob Barnett              Contact Seen and Heard here

Some items
to consider

  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
  • Mozart Flute Quartets
  • Schubert complete piano works
  • Sammartini: 6 Concerti grossi
  • Henze Kammermusik 1958
 
Tudor



CD and Blue-ray Audio


CD and Blue-ray Audio


CPE Bach Cantatas
a revelation


Biber: Sacred Choral Works
Don't miss it


Jonathan Dove


Tommie Haglund
Unique and Powerful music


Organ Fireworks


Highly Entertaining


A triumphant performance


Bruckner Symphony 4
One of the finest I have heard


A most joy-inducing recording


A winning partnership


A Lohengrin to treasure.

 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Franz LISZT (1811-1886)
12 Transcendental Etudes (Études d'exécution transcendante) for solo piano, S.139 (1852 version)
Kirill Gerstein (piano)
rec. December 2016, Siemens Villa, Berlin
MYRIOS CLASSICS SACD MYR019 [64.00]

This is Kirill Gerstein’s second release on Myrios Classics following his acclaimed first orchestral album comprising of the Prokofiev Second Piano Concerto and the world première recording of Tchaikovsky’s own final 1879 version of the First Piano Concerto (review).

Born in the Soviet Union in 1979 Gerstein is an American/Russian pianist who made his main orchestral debut in September 2000 with the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich under David Zinman. For this new album on Myrios Classics Gerstein has turned to a solo recital programme of Liszt’s 12 Transcendental Etudes having performed the full cycle on tour last year in London and New York. Owing to the considerable technical difficulty of some of the pieces Gerstein has described the cycle as “one of the most towering mountain peaks of the piano literature.”

Like many of Liszt’s works the set of Transcendental Etudes has a rather convoluted history. The cycle is comprised of material written when Liszt was a mere 15 year old in 1826. Known at that time as Etudes on 48 Exercises not the 12 actually written, evidently Liszt intended to write 2 studies using all major and minor keys. In 1837 using the same material the composer significantly revised the cycle expanding its contents into more virtuosic, more technically challenging pieces. During the 1837 revision Liszt allocated programmatic titles in French and German to the set with the exception of Etudes No’s 2 and 10. Ferruccio Busoni gave titles Fusées (Rockets) to Etude No. 2 and Appassionata to Etude No. 10 although they are not used here; just the key and tempo markings. The set was published in 1839 as the 12 Grandes études. In 1852 Liszt now in his 40’s gave more revision to the cycle, now titled Études d'exécution transcendante and according to Gerstein “streamlined” the cycle, and this is the version he plays here.

For its time the piano technique required for these Études was extremely advanced and goes further than the usual purpose of an étude with the pieces at times taking on a near spiritual dimension. With a real sense of engagement Gerstein’s concentration is palpable and he seems in his element confidently tackling the often severe challenges Liszt’s cycle presents. Gerstein achieves ardent determination with real authority in the Molto vivace and the Mazeppa, a deeply reflective and passionate mood in the Ricordanza and a dramatic journey in the Chasse-neige, maintaining the tension throughout.

Probably taken from an on-line interview, in the booklet I enjoyed reading Gerstein’s informative dialogue about the Transcendental Etudes with Tom Service. Recorded at Siemens Villa, Berlin on my standard player this hybrid SACD has admirable sound which is clear with an excellently balanced Steinway model D-274.

Michael Cookson
 


 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical



Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
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
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger