Franz Liszt Transcriptions of Franz Schubert Songs
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Franz Liszt explained what moved him to his intense preoccupation with Franz Schubert's lieder between the years of 1833 and 1845 during his 1838 visit in Vienna: "I heard in the salons, with vivid pleasure and sentimentality bringing tears to my eyes, an artistic friend, the Baron von Schoenstein, present Schubert's lieder. The French translation renders only a very incomplete sense of how this mostly-very-lovely poetry connects to the music of Schubert, the most poetic musician ever to live. The German language is so admirable in the area of sentimentality, perhaps only a German is capable of comprehending the naivetÃ© and fantastic aspects of so many of these compositions, their capricious appeal, their melancholy letting-go."
Commenting on his new recording, Lahusen writes "After recording works of Franz Schubert on the Graf fortepiano (Hammerfluegel), I am coming back to Schubert, this time with Liszt's assistance and on a modern Fazioli piano. The magnificent Valse Sentimentale A Major provides a little bridge between the two very different CDs since it is recorded on both. For me, the transcriptions are primarily works of Schubert that have been elevated to piano works in their own right thanks to the unique talent of Franz Liszt as both a pianist and composer. The complex various levels of the transcriptions, consisting of two to three autonomous piano accompaniments and one line of melody, is what makes the pieces so appealing to the pianist. Likewise, this is what gives the works their high educational value: Liszt himself taught these works well into his elder years.
What fascinates me the most in these transcriptions is the two, at first appearance, conflicting elements developing side-by-side: on one hand, the vast pianistic compositional means Liszt - as no other - possessed which he makes use of in these transcriptions at his best, and yet the simplicity and inwardness of the `simple feelings' of Schubert's original expression."
Wide-ranging, emotion-drenched playing gets under the skin of Liszt and Schubert
The young German pianist Nikolaus Lahusen continues his revelatory exploration of Schubert with an emotion-drenched recital of Franz Liszt's song transcriptions. The consciousness-altering effect comes not from sentiment, however, nor from the simple beauties of Schubert's original inspirations, but from the subjective, often haunted nature of the transformations they undergo in these extraordinary performances of Liszt's virtuoso arrangements.
In Erlkönig, for example, by setting a tempo slower than any singer would dare, Lahusen captures the terrible reality of the arguments for the boy's soul, making the words superfluous and the father's pleading less urgent, more consoling. In Auf dem Wasser zu singen, Lahusen's highlighting of seemingly random notes gradually takes precedence over the purely melodic line. In Soirée de Vienne No 6, which concludes the disc, Lahusen finds the core of its sad, bittersweet gaiety residing in what are usually only minor rhythmic fragments.
There are other approaches to these great transcriptions, such as Jorge Bolet's elegant recordings for Decca or Frederic Chiu's Technicolor stunner for Harmonia Mundi France, but Lahusen has created through both his playing and his ordering of the Lieder a uniquely intense experience. Almut Telsnig's slightly resonant recording for Bavarian Radio repays playback at high volume, reminding me of William Christie's remark, made during his Harmonia Mundi days, that he preferred to listen to his harpsicord recordings as loudly as possible, as if he were inside his instrument.
Lahusen's wide-ranging, articulate and detailed liner notes, after setting context with the incomparable tragedy of Schubert's songs having become widely known first in Liszt transcriptions, discuss the selection of the transcriptions, how they show that Liszt 'felt and lived in Schubert's world', and why he switched to a modern Fazioli F308 piano after having made his first two Schubert discs for Celestial Harmonies on a Graf fortepiano. --Gramophone, August, 2003
Top Customer Reviews
The program: Celestial cd: TT: 68:09: Liebesbotshalft; Ungeduld; Sei mir gergruBt; Stanchen; Du bist die Ruh; Gretchen am Spinnrade; Erlkonig; Der Muller und der Bach;Aufenthalt; Wasserflut; Lob der Tranen; Auf dem Wasser zu singen; Trockne Blumen; Meeresstille; Soiree de Vienne, No. 6 (d'pres Franz Schubert).
The instrument selected for this recital was a 10 foot Italian Fazioli F308; needless to say, the instrument certainly impacts a large sound. The performances are exciting and the select lyrical lieder are well captured by the artist. The program notes are very good and add to the enjoyment of this particular recital. This cd is highly recommended. The piano sound is spacious and the performances have clarity, brava and panache.
NOW I listen to it all the time in my car while driving.
For me, this was a great purchase and I do recommend it to all.